Bought and activated my new ZOLEO communicator last week. This morning I had arranged to send a test SOS message and that worked perfectly (tangential PSA: if you just bought a new communicator, make arrangements per the instructions to send a test SOS). So I decided I would also quickly test the check-in button.

Nothing.

So I wait 15 minutes in case it takes that long. 

Nothing.

Chat with tech support and send another test and nothing. I call tech support and they looked at the backend and saw everything seemed to be working but still... nothing.

So now we come to the point of this thread and my PSA: Before testing the check-in or, even more critically, USING IT ON TRAIL, make sure your contact(s) add the device's SMS number to your contact information in their phone!

Turns out that my wife had turned on the "block SMS messages from unknown senders" setting and because I hadn't added my number, it blocked the test. Added my sat com number to my contact info on her phone, tried another test, and within 30 seconds she got it.

So I used up three or four of my monthly messages in figuring this out. But it is worth it to know it's functioning properly. Hopefully this little tale will save all of you a little bit of time, grief, and money.

BTW, I can now say with absolute certainty that ZOLEO's customer service and tech support is really good and I am happy I chose this model.

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Smart investment!

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@Dad_Aint_Hip 

I wanted to reach out and connect with you on this topic. As my family and I have begun to expand our adventures this summer, we have come to realize that our close proximity to Mt. Rainier National Park (less than an hour away) gives us some tremendous opportunities to get outside, even just for a day trip. However, about 15 miles before we get to the park entrance we completely lose cell coverage. As such, I've been reading reviews and info on satellite messengers voraciously, attempting to see which would be the best fit for our needs. I landed on the Zoleo, (in part because of your review here!) and it arrived earlier this week. I used your advice here during set up and it was a breeze! I used it in our neighborhood (in airplane mode) and everything seems to be working perfectly. I'm hoping to use it 'for reals' in the coming week and see how it does nearer the mountain. 

Thanks for taking the time to do this write up, it was super helpful!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-JohnJ  here's hoping you don't actually have to use it for 'for reals'.  🙂

@OldGuyot 

Totally fair point! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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That's awesome, @REI-JohnJ - glad I was able to help you spend your money, LOL

As @OldGuyot said, I hope you don't have to use it "for reals" although the ability to text and check in is pretty sweet.

Not sure if you know this but last month (maybe six weeks ago) Zoleo added a new service for actually tracking. You can send your coordinates to up to 5 people so that can track you on a map. It's $6 a month. I haven't added that service yet and likely won't unless I am on a long trip (over a week)

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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I've only used mine to send test texts and checkins, and it works beautifully for that. I guess before I truly depend on it, I should set up a test SOS as well. Thanks for that reminder.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Thanks for the tip, I've been intrigued by this option for a while.  If interested, I'd come across a podcast interview with the Pres of Zoleo talking about the unit and how if differs from other available options: https://adventureriderradio.com/adventure-rider-radio-episodes/tag/Zoleo

 

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