bartle writes: The new gearshift design for the Jeep Grand Cherokee appears to be causing rollaway accidents: 121 crashes and 30 injuries so far. The gear shifter is designed to look and feel similar to a traditional automatic gear shift lever but it is meant to cycle through the gears rather than move directly to a certain gear. A driver who is used to placing their vehicle in park by pressing the shifter all the way forward may instead be setting it to neutral before exiting the vehicle. The NHTSA is investigating.
bartle writes: I currently spend a lot of time hiking in the Colorado Rockies. Cell phone reception is very unreliable and I'm curious if carrying a small amateur radio would make any sense at all. I don't want to add too much weight to my pack so I'm uninterested in carrying a radio that weighs much more than a pound; from what I gather this would give me at best 5 to 10 watts of transmitting power. I have no idea if this is enough to be effective in a mountainous region, I'm hoping some experienced Slashdot hams could give me a clue.
I'm only interested in acquiring a radio and license if it is a lot more effective and reliable than the cell phone I already carry. Otherwise I'm probably better off just waiting for Globalstar to bring back their duplex service and buy a next generation SPOT messaging device. I know some Slashdotters will want to suggest a modern SPOT or Personal Locator Beacon; these are suitable for the worst kinds of emergency but I'll point out that reliable communication can help prevent small crises from becoming big ones.
I don't expect anyone to be able to answer this question spot on but I bet there are a few Slashdotters out there with experiences they can share. Are small, amateur radios effective in the field or are vehicle rigs really the only way to go? Or am I just best off waiting for satellite?