Please be aware that all of these recommended modes of communication can be unreliable and at times you will be unable to make contact with anyone. If you are having difficulty receiving a signal, it may be possible to improve signal strength by getting to higher ground. This can be very time consuming and in some cases dangerous; please use caution. As always with technology, ensure you know how to use your device and be aware of the weaknesses of your system.
Satellite phones are the preferred means of making contact. Your phone can put you in touch with emergency assistance 24 hours a day. We recommend obtaining a satellite phone prior to your trip as they are not available in Nunavut. Phones that operate on the Iridium system currently provide the most reliable coverage over Auyuittuq National Park but other options are available. Make sure to bring extra batteries and keep your device dry and warm if possible. Portable solar chargers for batteries are also recommended. Be sure to program emergency phone numbers into the phone and bring a written copy as back-up.
There are areas of the park, especially in the Owl River valley, where satellite phone coverage is unreliable.
Satellite messenger devices
Satellite messenger devices can be used to allow family and friends to track your trip progress as well as to initiate a distress signal (SOS). Like satellite phones, the Iridium satellite system provides the most reliable coverage in Auyuittuq National Park. For this reason, InReach devices are recommended over SPOT devices.
Some models of InReach devices allow for two-way text messaging. Ensure you pre-load your contacts before beginning your trip. Make sure that you have advised your family and friends who may be tracking your “okay” messages that the absence of a message does not necessarily mean you are having problems; it may indicate poor coverage.
The SOS signal is non-reversible and should be used in a life-threatening situation only. SOS signals have inadvertently been sent (pocket dialed) without the user knowing it, resulting in unnecessary search and rescues in Nunavut national parks; please ensure you carefully handle and monitor your device. During your registration, we will collect information about your device(s) in the event that there is a need to check the activity from it.
Visitors should be aware that the SPOT satellite network has poor coverage at high latitudes and that signals can be obstructed in valleys such as the Akshayuk Pass. They are NOT considered a reliable method of communication.
Emergency radios are provided in all emergency shelters and staff cabins, but should not be relied on as the only means of communication on your trip. Instructions for use, communication schedules and call signs are provided at these locations. Radios are monitored during regular ofﬁce hours. You will be provided with details during your orientation and registration session.
Radios are monitored during regular office hours, but reception is variable and can be impossible at times due to weather and atmospheric conditions.
Personal locator beacons
Personal locator beacons (PLB) can also be carried into remote areas. When activated, they send a distress signal to the Canadian Forces in Trenton, Ontario, who will initiate a rescue from there. Once activated, the signal is non-reversible; these are to be used in a life-threatening situation only. Make sure your PLB is properly registered. Call the Canadian Beacon Registry, CFB Trenton at 1-877-406-7671, email email@example.com or register online.
Only PLBs that transmit a distress signal at 406 MHz are permitted in Canada.
Contact the Parks Canada office in Pangnirtung for more information on communications systems.