Boost “Border” Phone
I highly recommend these phones. I carry one with me on the border , in addition to my regular cell phone. I have used it many times to call the Border Patrol when my other carrier had no signal.
You can buy these cheaply at Walmart and they are pay as you go, no contract neccessary. One excellent asset of this phone is that it's on the Nextel system and you can use the walkie-talkie feature for one dollar a day no matter how many times you use it. The walkie-talkie can be used with anyone else who has a Boost phone OR a Nextel phone and cannot be monitored by those to the south who regularly listen to our FRS radios.
For inexpensive, secure communicatons the Boost Mobile phone cannot be beat! I highly recommend that all the observers I work with get one of these!
All communications have downside though and, after extensive use I have found a few dead spots. As I regularly patrol the California/Mexico border I find that from Jacumba to almost Smith Canyon on the border these phones have no service. However, from Smith Canyon to Tecate, with the exceptions of the La Gloria and Smith Canyon bottoms, these phones have excellent coverage. As a side note CB radios work very well in a pinch from the canyon bottoms, where phones and FRS radios don't get out.
Communication is essential and this is cheap insurance!
Credit where credit is due: Kingfish was the first one to recommend these phones to me several years ago.