In this post I will run through our plans for communication and for keeping the technology powered up.
I should say ‘up front’ that technology is not an important part of the trek. We are walking after all. We have an experienced leader fluent in Nepali and will be supported by experienced, tried and trusted Sherpa porters. However, accidents do happen and should it be necessary to summon International Rescue we need to be able to do so immediately. We also owe it to our long-suffering and extraordinarily tolerant families to let them know we’re ok from time to time. In my own case I want to be able to communicate more widely with friends through this blog. Not to excess mind you; just from time to time to share my experiences and the joy (or otherwise) of our endeavours.
So, on to the communications of which my principal tool will be a Thuraya XT satellite phone borrowed from Tim but fitted with my own SIM card. The Thuraya XT is a good quality and modern unit capable of sending and receiving text and email in addition to voice calls. However it has no photo capability. To that end, in addition to a ruggedised Ricoh WG-30 ‘point and click’ camera I will have my iPhone with me to grab a few pics. These could, given the occasional smidgeon of connectivity in some of the larger villages (unlikely but I’m an optimist), and having fitted a Nepal Telecom SIM card to avoid eye-watering O2 roaming charges, be uploaded to the blog. I also hope to be able to connect the iPhone to the satellite phone for data (i.e. photo) transfer but can’t test that until I’m in Kathmandu. It is nonetheless something I will look into once I’m there.
Of course, all that communications capability is only any good if it can be powered. The same goes for my 2 GPS units. To ensure there is always enough juice in the batteries I will be carrying 2 solar charging units; one main unit and a backup.
My main charger is a 26W 12V/1.4A BRUNTON Solaris foldable array that aught be able to recharge a phone or camera battery in 1 to 2 hours of decent sunshine. The backup is also a foldable array but a smaller ANKER 14W 5V/2A unit. Both are fairly light at about 1.7lbs or 0.8kg.