Sunday, February 16, 2014

Remote Cabins: Cost of Communications Technologies

Some people move out to the boonies to avoid communications with humans! Others, like us, can live in a lovely, remote spot only because of such technologies for business, emergencies, information, and personal connections. Below is a list of equipment we have bought or built, with price points, organized from least to most sophisticated (and power dependent). Some worked beautifully from the start. Others required several iterations to get right.

If you are at the point of comparing and contrasting several different remote properties, two prudent considerations might be to assess which communications products and services will work in one location vs. another and how much power various options will draw.  For example, a position on this or that side of a mountain, or high or low in a valley, can influence reception.  Every telephone company we called said that we would be unable to receive phone service at our location. However, an antenna that my husband installed high on a 120 foot power tower (solar/wind) proved capable of receiving line of sight signals from a cell phone tower about 45 miles away.  

Hand cranked radio ($20)
(for incoming communications during power outages)
We bought a used, hand cranked radio on E-Bay to use during Houston, TX hurricanes and have kept it for many years since. What a cheap, small, useful purchase! This is a no brainer to keep at home or in your vehicle.

Walkie talkies ($79)
(for two way communication in line-of-sight, limited ranges)
We love our walkie talkies (about $79 at Sportsman's Warehouse).