Letter Re: Security for Unattended Retreats

Technology has so advanced that we are now on the threshold of a new era in security. Off-the-shelf wireless burglar alarms are getting so sophisticated that you no longer need the services of a security company. If your retreat is in an area that has cell phone service, you can get a system that requires no hard line. Look for a GSM [Global System for Mobile Communications] Wireless Security System. GSM is the newer cell phone that uses a card. You don’t have to sign up for service at your retreat location and pay a monthly charge. Simply buy a prepaid card and there is never a cost except those (hopefully) few times that the system calls you. Of course you can typically program these systems to call any or all of six different phone numbers. Some of them have other features, such as a connection to a loudspeaker whereby you can talk directly to any intruder. They accept numerous inputs from motion detectors, temperature sensors, etc. Some of them are capable of running on battery backup power. This means that you can set up a system at a retreat with no phone service, and no electricity, and still be fully protected. These systems are commonly available on eBay for $300 or less, and can be purchased from local security equipment dealers. – K.L. in Alaska

JWR Replies: Thanks for that suggestion. OBTW, I anticipate that even the remote Rawles Ranch will be inside of cellular coverage in less than 10 years.