A field test of push to touch over cellular (PoC) during 6 hours of skiing in Whistler, British Columbia
Thirty-seven centimeters (37cm or 15 inches) of fresh, fresh snow overnight in Whistler BC, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, was a good enticement for us to make the decision to meet up with our friends for a Sunday snowboarding trip.
Whistler/Blackcomb is a huge ski area, and it’s easy to get separated from your friends and really difficult to find each other again. Knowing that, I set up an ESChat account for me and my friends so we could communicate with each other on the ski hill. ESChat is a PTT (push-to-talk) app from SLA Corporation, “the leader in public safety push to talk” that turns your mobile phone into a two-way radio. While some might think this might have been a little overkill for a day of snowboarding, I wanted to try out the Savox Promate RSM 30 radio accessory- especially the GPS functionality – as knowing the locations of your friends is a big bonus.
Arriving at 8.30, we first had to find our friends who had spent their weekend up in Whistler and were already in the lineup going to Blackcomb Mountain. A long message chain developed which involved taking your gloves off, taking your mobile phone out, reading a message, writing a new one, and putting everything back on and in place. We finally ended meeting up for lunch at Glacier Creek Lodge at the top of Blackcomb. Here’s the thread of our long conversation leading up to lunch:
Having found each other and enjoyed lunch together, I prepared our phones with the PTT application. Downloading, signing-up, changing settings, assigning us to a group was easy. Also easy was connecting the Savox Promate RSM-30 remote speaker microphone, a PoC radio accessory. The entire set-up took five minutes, max. And SURPRISE! the map feature even showed the different skiing routes as well as our locations.
I connected the wired Savox Promate RSM-30, my own SamsungS5 Active, as well as my wife’s iPhone 5, and my friend’s iPhone 6. Super easy.
Would you like to find out more information about PoC Communications? Download this informative guide from Savox Communications.
The benefit of using the RSM-30 were obvious: We could place our cell phones within our inside pockets to keep them safe and warm. The RSM-30's belt clip was attached to the collar of the our jackets. Even with thick ski/snowboard gloves, finding and pressing the PTT (push-to-talk) button was easy, so now communication was now much better than before.
Since it was our own channel and not a radio frequency, we didn’t need to care about the communication rules of half-duplex communication or radio discipline. So we were chatting, singing, and joking through the PoC solution for the next 3 hours. Lots of fun and games.
Results at the end of the day:
- Mobile phone: Only needed when taking pictures but didn’t touch it for communication. Battery drainage was not bad despite the active GPS tracking. It went from 90% to 80% on my Samsung S5 Active over the 3 hours.
- Mobile network: Although there is Telus WiFi on Whistler/Blackcomb, it was not reliable enough in terms of coverage or speed, so we all went with LTE. Data usage <10 MB.
- ESChat app: Absolutely reliable. Messages were transmitted fast which even allowed for quick change of plans “turn right on ‘Backstage Pass.” As it turned out we didn’t need the map feature as the communication kept us close to each other.
- The ruggedized Savox Promate RSM-30 lived up to its reputation. It took a few deep dives with all of us into the snow, got wet, cold, and beaten without any ill effects, and that includes the cable, one of the most vulnerable components of RSMs in general. Thus the MIL-STD testing for temperature, moisture and the IP55 rating is proven. The belt clip was outstanding as it never came off - not even once. Truly, this is just not possible with any other belt clip. The PTT and volume buttons were easy to find, and could be operated even with thick gloves. Volume was nice and loud (up to 100 dB), and speech was clear, even with snow covering the speaker and a helmet over your ears.
Overall, a great solution to communicate with friends during a ski trip.
Please note that ESChat is a solution only for professional use, but there other app providers such as Zello, that offer apps for non-professional use. Accessories such as the Savox Promate RSM-30 are available in US and Canada, in both wired (RSM-30) and Bluetooth (BTR-155) versions. For app providers outside the US and Canada, please contact Savox, and don't hestitate to contact us if you've any questions about Savox radio accessories.