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theksmith

Beartooth, another off-the-grid way to use your cell phone

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Another high tech replacement for the venerable walkie-talkie?

 

https://www.beartooth.com

 

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Seems similar in concept to the goTenna we posted about quite some time ago, but with more features including built-in topo maps.

 

The goTenna guys seem to have been somewhat successful as major stores are carrying them, including REI. The beartooth, though more advanced, is still in pre-order stages. It looks like they are doing a Kickstarter/GoFundMe sort of thing on their own, so order at your own risk for now.

 

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I just wish there was a common standard (frequency range/modulation/encoding) for the how these devices communicate so that many companies could make their own variation but people using any of them could still communicate. Right now you have to have friends with the exact same device for them to be useful in any way.

 

Are off-grid cell phone enabling devices part of an emerging market, or will we get ubiquitous satellite based cell phones before these things standardize and take hold?

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The estimated range of the BearTooth seems to be greater than either of the GoTenna options. But yeah, wish there was a common standard so they could all talk together on the same network.

 

I think the BearTooth will need to get into REI stores, etc. too if they want to be successful.

 

As far as satellite goes, I see this as a compliment to not a replacement for an Iridium phone. The satellite phone will always be good for emergencies. But these off-grid communication systems seem like a better tool for general in-group communication as there is no per-use cost. It is like CB radio for the modern age.

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I bit the bullet and ordered a pair of these. Terri and I are often out in the wilds; her hiking, me mtn biking. There's been a few times when it would have been nice to coordinate but one or both of us couldn't get cell service.

 

They're supposed to start shipping in February, but you know how these startups go. It could be a while. :rolleyes:

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Initially Beartooth was trying to make a case for your phone that would operate on FRS/GMRS or 2m. I liked this option over the goTenna due to the fact it could communicate with other radio users not just other Beartooth users. i believe they were having trouble getting it through FCC though there are now similar products on the market (Android based phone/radios).

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Initially Beartooth was trying to make a case for your phone that would operate on FRS/GMRS or 2m. I liked this option over the goTenna due to the fact it could communicate with other radio users not just other Beartooth users. i believe they were having trouble getting it through FCC though there are now similar products on the market (Android based phone/radios).

 

i agree, operating with an existing standard like GMRS would be preferable

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