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RIP Death Valley pay phones

Death Valley related discussion
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netllama
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Re: RIP Death Valley pay phones

Post by netllama » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:17 am

MuleQueen wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:41 pm
Typically, phone companies pull their pay phones when there isn't enough usage to justify the expense of keeping and maintaining them. But in a place like Death Valley where cell coverage is unreliable, and we tell people it is unreliable, and folks sometimes get into life-threatening trouble, I think there ought to be an exception. There should be a way the NPS can designate this a public safety necessity and require that the land-line pay phones be kept.
Except that cell phone coverage along the paved roads in the park is no longer unreliable. Its been good for years. People need to stop clinging to and spreading outdated information. No one used those pay phones because cell phones worked.

TrailHound
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Re: RIP Death Valley pay phones

Post by TrailHound » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:05 am

Except that cell phone coverage along the paved roads in the park is no longer unreliable. Its been good for years. People need to stop clinging to and spreading outdated information. No one used those pay phones because cell phones worked.
I didn't know this. I have always assumed little to no cell coverage. So, I never actually checked my phone for a signal. I'll give it a try when I am in DV next, likely the spring.

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jacknv7
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Re: RIP Death Valley pay phones

Post by jacknv7 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:48 am

This RootMetrics map will give you an idea of coverage. Zoom in to Death Valley and you can select your cell network provider and compare...

http://webcoveragemap.rootmetrics.com/en-US

The Coverage app works great in the field and also lets you compare providers...

http://www.twostepsbeyond.com/apps/

kwalsh
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Re: RIP Death Valley pay phones

Post by kwalsh » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:06 pm

MuleQueen wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:41 pm
There should be a way the NPS can designate this a public safety necessity and require that the land-line pay phones be kept.
The NPS has taken the approach of trying to increase cell coverage instead which is much more useful and has been quite successful so far. The landlines have really been of little use there for a number of years so no loss that they went away.

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JesPortland
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Re: RIP Death Valley pay phones

Post by JesPortland » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:42 pm

Nice to see you here again, MuleQueen! ;-)

MuleQueen
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Re: RIP Death Valley pay phones

Post by MuleQueen » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:16 pm

Howdy, jes. Now and then I get the notion to drop by here and see what's going on. But I think I can be more useful elsewhere in cyberspace. :cool:

As for the cell phones, it is true that they sometimes work away from the settled areas … and often they don't. My housemate and I both had challenges this summer, and we weren't living in tents at Mahogany Flat. We weren't the only ones, and this is a regular situation for visitors and people who live in the park.

I have mixed feelings about increasing cell coverage throughout national parks. While it may enhance safety in many cases, it also has the undesirable effect of making too many people too confident in the ability of their e-things to tell them every move to make, ensure they will never get lost, and get help for whatever mess they get into, wherever they get into it. Death by GPS (an all-inclusive phrase that includes any e-thing that we become so reliant on that our life may depend on it) is a very real problem, as more people who really shouldn't be very far from a McDonald's, and don't know how to read a paper map. figure they, too, can be part of the Great Outdoor Experience. Folks here might be shocked at how many visitors do not have a paper map in their possession - only a cell phone. At the same time, many of today's visitors might be shocked to know that people have been coming to Death Valley for decades - and living there for centuries - and getting along fine without electronic devices.

Then there is the aesthetic issue: too many people don't respect their fellow visitors or the tranquility that attracts many people to parks. Not everyone thinks it's a treat to go to a beautiful natural setting and listen to people in the middle of a long and loud conversation with their stock broker.

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MojaveGeek
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Re: RIP Death Valley pay phones

Post by MojaveGeek » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:48 am

I'm happy not to have cell phone coverage in the park, though if I have it I will use it - check weather, good for emergency, etc. I certainly disagree about having coverage on the paved roads, at least for my carrier, T-mobile (which admittedly is generally weak in rural areas). For example from a trip this spring, on the drive from Ashford Junction to SPW, I had coverage only within a few miles of FC, and that is on a sub-contractor T-mobile uses (USA-comnet or something) that is not full featured for me (very limited data).

My buddy at AT&T and fared better. Good coverage along 95, worked at SPW, but lots of gaps otherwise.

kwalsh
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Re: RIP Death Valley pay phones

Post by kwalsh » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:04 pm

@MuleQueen - I completely agree and would prefer there not be much cell coverage at all for the reasons you stated. But the NPS seems to have taken the position that having more coverage is likely to save lives and I tend to agree with their logic. There have been a lot of SAR calls originated by cell in the park from remote areas in recent years.

The one other positive aspect of the coverage is that I do know that almost anywhere in the park with just a little hunting I can get enough signal to check the weather forecasts including radar which has come in handy a few times when I’m on multi day trips well into the backcountry. Basically AT&T coverage is everywhere as long as you have line of sight to one of a few different peaks.

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