William Mougayar alerted me to the North Pole expedition of his friend Maxime Chaya who is one of only 17 people in the world who have done the 3 poles (North, South & Everest).
So, I asked William if he could ask the team the technology they were taking along and Angie Aggens of Polar Explorers which helped outfit the expedition responded:
Motorola 9505a satellite phones that use the Iridium network.
Ipaq PDA’s with software from Human Edge Tech
Fastfind Plus Personal Locator Beacon made by McMurdo
Brunton solar charger will go in at the resupply when there is more sunlight.
Icom handheld ground to air VHF radio
several Garmin GPS units, iPods and MP3 players
Surely all the equipment is ruggedized?
“Nothing special to make them rugged other than keeping them warm and avoiding condensation whenever possible. This usually means sleeping with the items or at the very least wearing them for a little while in your inner pockets before you use them so the battery gets warm.
Remember, they started the expedition at -45 to -50 F and even the stoves were having a hard time working! All communication devices are kept in rugged waterproof containers, even though most of them claim to be waterproof. They are carried in separate sleds for redundant safety (ie. in case one sled is lost they will still have coms). Furthermore, only one phone is used unless there is a problem to reduce wear and tear on the phones. Several of the items have special batteries rated to cold temperatures, or at the very least external battery packs that can be run off AA lithium batteries.”
And then this understatement : “All in all the expedition is relatively low-tech.”
Low-tech or not, when Maxime is back, I would love for him to contribute to the Technology and my Hobby series.