Episode Description

In this episode, Jimmy is joined by X Overland team members Matt Hopkins (Global Logistics Coordinator) and Ryan Connelly (Operations Manager) to discuss communications for overlanding and outdoor adventurers.

Matt is a High Alpine specialist for Gallatin Valley Search and Rescue in Bozeman, Montana, a member of our local HAM radio family, and, in addition to his role at X Overland, owns and operates a long-range trucking business.

Ryan has been on several X Overland expeditions and is highly familiar with every type of communication device used by our teams, from handheld radios to Starlink.

These guys are more than qualified to discuss all aspects of communications for overlanding and outdoor adventure and that’s exactly what we do in this episode!


Ryan Connelly

Director of Operations at X Overland, currently driving a mildly built 2010 Tundra. Husband of one, father of 4, Ryan is a mechanical engineer and an adventure seeker [...]

Matt Hopkins

Matt Hopkins is a member of the Gallatin County Search and Rescue team as well as a local overland enthusiast. He has been with the team since 2016 [...]

Jimmy Lewis

Jimmy joined the X Overland team in 2022. With a background in outfitting, education, and writing, Jimmy works on applying his eclectic insight to our content creation and [...]

Detailed Episode Summary

Part 1 (1:30-5:06) Who is Ryan Connelly? We welcome Ryan Connelly to the show! Ryan holds the position of “Operations Manager” at X Overland and has been working with the team since the first episode. Learn more about his story here.

Part 2 (5:07-14:19) Communications for Overlanding and Vehicle-Based Adventure–Mindset: Why do we need to communicate as overlanders? Matt Hopkins and Ryan discuss why it’s important to communicate where you’re going and what you’re doing to someone you can trust.

Part 3 (14:21-24:58) Communicating with a Cell Phone in the Outdoors: We explore all things using a cell phone to communicate while adventuring and overlanding. WeBoost Antennas, Apple iPhone S.O.S., cell phone GPS, and how to conserve cell phone battery power are all discussed here and more.

Part 4 (24:59-29:00) Communicating with a Satellite Messenger: The Garmin inReach, the SPOT system, and the difference between a “Locator Beacon” and a “Satellite Messenger” are discussed here. Satellite positioning, satellite text, and satellite S.O.S. are explained and the guys discuss how to optimize your use of these devices.

Part 5 (29:01-32:30) How to Communicate with a Satellite Phone: What are the best practices for using a satellite phone while adventuring and overlanding? The guys discuss the latest in satellite phone communication and how you can afford to use these on your own adventures to meet both your personal and business needs.

Part 6 (32:31-35:53) Using Starlink for Overlanding: What is Starlink? How does it work and how do you use it? Why might it be useful for overlanders and anyone adventuring remotely?

Part 7 (35:54-37:32) Using Satellite Messengers to Communicate on Social Media: You can set up a MapShare Page on Facebook using a Garmin inReach. The guys discuss how to do this and why it can not only provide safety but also add some fun to your adventures.

Part 8 (37:32-50:28) Different Types of Radios for Overlanders and Adventurers: From C.B. Radios to Handheld G.M.R.S. vehicle-to-vehicle radios, to HAM/Amateur radios that require licensing to operate, the guys discuss the pros and cons of these different types of radios, how they operate, how to use them, and, in the case of HAM radios, obtain proper licensing.

Part 9 (50:29-58:13) The Basics of HAM Radio for Overlanders and Adventurers: What is “HAM Radio? Why is it useful? Why do you need a license to be a HAM radio operator and how do you get it? The guys discuss all things HAM radio to help you understand what it is and figure out if HAM Radio might be for you.

Part 10 (58:14-1:04:09) What is “G.M.R.S. Radio” and Why is it Useful to Overlanders and Adventurers? Difference Between HAM and G.M.R.S.: G.M.R.S. radio is another route to go for overlanding communications for which it is easier to get licensed. Ryan explains what you can do with G.M.R.S. and why it may be a better fit for some than a HAM license.

Part 11 (1:04:10-1:06:59) How Do You Obtain a HAM Radio License? Matt Hopkins, X Overland’s Global Logistics coordinator, explains the process of obtaining a HAM Radio license covering everything from how to study for the test to finding resources to help you get started with the process.

Part 12 (1:07:00-1:06:59) Optimizing Your Mindset for Overlanding and Adventure Communications: Jimmy, Ryan, and Matt discuss the exciting learning process that involves overlanding and adventure communications and the benefits of having the ability to communicate with people on whatever platforms they happen to be on: C.B., G.M.R.S., or HAM. Jimmy also mentions the value of building redundancy into your communications approach.

Pick Your Platform:

Listen to Our Other Podcasts


Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!