Hire a mountain radio, as the Mountain Radio Service is more reliable than cellphone coverage in the backcountry. Also learn about personal locator beacons.

Mountain radios

The Mountain Radio Service is one of the most reliable forms of two-way communication in the backcountry, as cell phone coverage can be minimal.

The service has lightweight radios which are ideal for hunters. The radios function in both the North and South Islands.

You cannot buy a mountain radio - it is a hired service.Check with your local visitor centre for where to hire one.

Satellite phones

Satellite phones can provide near global phone coverage by connecting to orbiting satellites rather than land based sites. Using either geosynchronous or low earth orbit systems, they can almost guarantee contact with the outside world when you are out in the hills.

Check with your local visitor centre for where to rent a satellite phone.

Personal locator beacons

Personal locator beacons are designed mainly for trampers and hunters, and are small enough to fit in your pocket. Once activated, the signal is picked up by satellite and/or aircraft, then the message is relayed and the beacon’s position calculated.

They use the UHF 406MHz frequency, and a beacon that is GPS equipped will cut down the time it takes for you to be found. Keep your beacon in a place you remember and where it is easily accessible.

Talk to your local visitor centre about where to rent or buy one for your next trip. 

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