My MC is trapped in South America (Brazil/Venezuelan border) without a phone, passport, luggage, etc. Her family knows she's missing but don't know the circumstances or where she is.
At one point, the MC tries to make contact with her family. I haven't decided on a method yet. Could be a cell phone she finds or a Sat phone or maybe even email. The only requirement is the contact is ultimately unsuccessful. It lets the family know that she's alive, but it doesn't reveal where she is. She doesn't get the chance to say and they can't trace it. There don't even find out where in the world she is.
The police haven't been called, so there is no one in place to trace any calls, but the brother is a computer programmer and would be capable of tracing something if necessary. (except the plot requires he fail ).
I know email can be traced unless it's origin is intentionally hidden, which is not the case here. Same with a cell phone, though I don't know how it would work with a foreign cell phone. (Maybe it's a throwaway, if there's a foreign equivalent.). I've been leaning toward a Sat phone, but I haven't been able to find much on the ease or not of tracing one.
Perhaps she uses the cell or sat phone of a tourist. Would that trace back to the home country of the owner rather than the current location?
Any one have any ideas for the best method of contact given these restrictions?