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[pct-l] Re: AOL Instant Communicator

> I made a cell phone call from the summit of Whitney in 1996.  I was
> >  
> > I also didn't get a signal on Witney, or in death valley.

If you don't want to carry a satellite phone, get a straight ANALOG cell phone
if you can find a carrier that will sell you one with a straight analog
contract (they will try to talk you out of it).    
Analog works in lots of places that PCS or other digital
technologies don't.   Often not very well, but better than not at all.
My experience with a digital phone with an alleged analog dual mode was not
very good, so I currently carry a Motorola Startac pure analog phone which
has worked in a number of high places - but seldom down in deep valleys.
I had success on the slopes of Slate Peak (?) on the PCT 
just north of Harts Pass
and the summit of Telescope Peak in Death Valley - but I have observed
that summits aren't necessarily good because you can pick up too many cells
(sometimes from different carriers in different states) and they contend.
I pay about $1/minute for roaming and long distance.

This is not an issue for through-hikers.   I'd be skeptical that any cell
phone's rechargable batteries would last long enough, even unused, 
to be reliable when needed... the charge just slips away.     If there is such
a thing as a cell phone that runs on regular alkaline AA cells, that might
work, since you could buy new ones in most places.

Or you could carry the car adapter and a twelve volt car battery in case
your pack is too light.