Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 34

Thread: SPOT messenger, who is using one?

  1. #1
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
    Posts
    4,218

    Default SPOT messenger, who is using one?

    I have been trying to activate mine all day. They took my money but so far nothing else has happened. I sent a question to them, but it will take a few days to get a reply.

    For those of you who have used them, did the registration and activation go smoothly, or are there hick-ups to be expected???
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  2. #2
    Member JOAT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Soldotna, ALASKA since '78
    Posts
    3,720

    Default

    I've been using a SPOT for several years now (1st gen model). As I remember it, the activation was instantaneous. Every year when I renew the subscription, my account updates instantly as well. Never heard of anyone having problems before.

    What exactly is the problem? I assume you created a new account, and then registered the serial number of the SPOT to your account, right? Does the SPOT show in your account's device list? If so, have you set up the notifications for it yet? If you don't have the messages set up to go anywhere, it could appear that nothing is happening, but only because you've not told it what to do when you send a message.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  3. #3

    Default

    I've had my SPOT for a couple of years and the registration and activation went smoothly, also the annual updates, too. Like JOAT says, you have to create the account and set up the notifications.

  4. #4
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
    Posts
    4,218

    Default

    Yeap, I set up the account and it shows the device.
    And I filled in several e-mail notifications for the messages and a bunch more for the path following deal. That is when nothing happened. It never sent the e-mail to folks giving them the link and it does not send anything to the email list when I do the I'm OK function...
    and yes i wait until both green lights are flashing together.
    There must be a step I missed doing...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Initial activation for my spot went well, however I upgraded my service to include real time tracking several months later and that didn't go well. The regular features worked, but real time didn't I sent a couple emails and never heard a reply. I called SPOT and they were able to get it figured out while we were on the phone. Essentially they had to de-activate my unit and then re-activate it. Everything has worked well since.

  6. #6
    Member Toddler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    556

    Default

    I had the same problems. I called to SPOT and talked to a technician and got told "well it sounds like you're doing everything right" but it still didn't work. I got so frustrated I just put it in a drawer where it sits today. Every year someone from SPOT calls to renew my subscription and I tell them the story inevitably they tell me they will have someone from customer service call but I have yet to receive it.

    Sorry to be a bummer but those are my first hand experiences.


    Drew
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

  7. #7
    Member JOAT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Soldotna, ALASKA since '78
    Posts
    3,720

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Yeap, I set up the account and it shows the device.
    And I filled in several e-mail notifications for the messages and a bunch more for the path following deal. That is when nothing happened. It never sent the e-mail to folks giving them the link and it does not send anything to the email list when I do the I'm OK function...
    and yes i wait until both green lights are flashing together.
    There must be a step I missed doing...
    Alrighty, now we're getting somewhere. If the device is listed in your account, then it has been successfully registered. When you are logged into your account, click on the "My GPS Locations" tab (which is the first one that opens when you log in). Do you have any messages listed on that page?

    If there are no messages listed, then you haven't sent any messages, or more likely the system hasn't received them. You said you wait until "both green lights are flashing together", but that's actually only the first step in the process. Maybe you're not letting it finish.

    Here's how to use the Check In OK message feature...

    1- Get outside to a location where you have unobstructed view of the SOUTHERN sky. The communications sats are on the south horizon. If you're on the north side of a mountain (like in Homer), you may be blocking the signal via the terrain. Go to the top of the hill to run your test.

    2- Turn the unit on. You should get a single blinking green light.

    3- Push the Check/OK button momentarily. You should now get a 2nd blinking green light.

    4- Set the unit down with clear sky view and leave it alone for a full 20 minutes. The 2 lights will blink throughout. The message light will go solid for a couple seconds when it is actually sending the message. It will send the same check-in message 3 times about 6-8 minutes apart. This is to ensure that the message gets through.

    5- When it is done with the message, it will go back to a single blinking light. Now you can power it off and put it away.

    6- Go check your messages to see if it went through. Report back with the results.

    There are slight operational differences between the original unit and the newer unit with some secondary features. Which one do you have?
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default patience

    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    when I do the I'm OK function...
    and yes i wait until both green lights are flashing together.
    There must be a step I missed doing...
    Yes, waiting.

    When both green lights flash together, it means it's still intending to send.

    When they stay on for about 5 seconds it means it IS sending.

    When they go back to flashing together, it means it is intending to resend (though only one email emits, from an OK button).

    And then when it is sending the redundant OK msg they again both stay on for about 5 seconds.

    At this point only one green light is flashing, not two. That means SPOT's job is done; email sent.

    I bought one as soon as they began selling them and this is how mine works. I have no experience with later units so if yours works differently than this, its newer/smarter/faster/whatever than mine. I love mine.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    4- Set the unit down with clear sky view and leave it alone for a full 20 minutes.
    I would suggest 30 minutes. With full view of the SOUTHERN sky; that's where the satellite is.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    973

    Default

    Same exact problem I had - Just figured it out last week. On mine you can only hold the send button down for 2 seconds or it will not work. Once we changed that procedure it seems to work every time.

  11. #11
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
    Posts
    4,218

    Default

    I have no idea which mine is.... I bought it a year or two ago. Orange, with 4 buttons and four lights. Just says SPOT on it....
    I also signed up for the constant tracking. That may be a problem...

    I will try jiggling the handle...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I have no idea which mine is.... I bought it a year or two ago. Orange, with 4 buttons and four lights. Just says SPOT on it....
    I also signed up for the constant tracking. That may be a problem...

    I will try jiggling the handle...
    That means you have the older model same as me, that takes two AA batteries instead of the newer model which takes two AAA batteries.

    The only concern with having the tracking option (which I do have) is that you activate by pressing the OK button for 5 full seconds, and once its in that mode no other buttons work, except the off button (which also must be held for 5 full seconds).

  13. #13
    Member JOAT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Soldotna, ALASKA since '78
    Posts
    3,720

    Default

    Tracking is not a problem, but is a separate function as FM indicated above. If you have the older unit (takes 2 AA batteries), then follow my instructions in post #7 exactly and report back on whether or not you got a message to go through to your account and/or to any of the emails on the list.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  14. #14
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
    Posts
    4,218

    Default

    Yes mine has two AA batteries...
    I got the I'm OK part to work now. But it was not doing the breadcrumb deal yet.... I will try it again tomorrow, tonight was mostly trying to keep my BFR client from killing me...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default bread crumbs do NOT result in emails

    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Yes mine has two AA batteries...
    I got the I'm OK part to work now. But it was not doing the breadcrumb deal yet.... I will try it again tomorrow, tonight was mostly trying to keep my BFR client from killing me...
    Turn on bread crumb mode (hold OK button for 5 solid seconds until you see both lites blink (the unit must be on first, but not for more than a second or two is just fine).

    Note that no emails are sent.

    Go to your spot page at findmespot.com. Log in. look up that unit (likely you only have one), and inside that unit's info look at the messages; it'll show you one page with all spot messages: breadcrumbs, OK msgs, Help msgs, and probably 911 msgs, but I can't attest to that last thing because I've still never used the 911 feature.

    I'm betting when you do this page looking at online, you'll see the messages from when you thought it wasn't working; likely you accidentally put it in bread crumb mode then.

    Also note that after putting it in bread crumb mode (tracking mode they call it) you must turn the unit OFF before it'll successfully do anything else.

    I've used my SPOT a lot, for years now. Love it.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    5 Minutes from Bings Landing
    Posts
    426

    Default

    Or you could just get a Fast Find 210 and not worry about problems.

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default PLB vs. SPOT

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin476 View Post
    Or you could just get a Fast Find 210 and not worry about problems.
    More than twice the price, no OK button, no "send family help" button. It's likely to be like my brother's PLB where he even has to pay someone else just to change the batteries!

    btw, kevin, what real info do you have that your Fast Find actually works? That's the downside of PLB's over a SPOT; PLB's are never used until you actually have a life/death situation. I use my SPOT a lot, and am very confident in its abilities through my many experiences using it and seeing the results.

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    5 Minutes from Bings Landing
    Posts
    426

    Default

    Read reviews at places that sell spot, tons of complaints, read the reviews of fast find. No subscription or anything. plus do you know what the coast guard, air force and civil air patrol would rather you have? Cospas Sarsat will detect Fast find anywhere on earths surface and with the "homing" transmitter they can find you even faster.


    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    More than twice the price, no OK button, no "send family help" button. It's likely to be like my brother's PLB where he even has to pay someone else just to change the batteries!

    btw, kevin, what real info do you have that your Fast Find actually works? That's the downside of PLB's over a SPOT; PLB's are never used until you actually have a life/death situation. I use my SPOT a lot, and am very confident in its abilities through my many experiences using it and seeing the results.

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default From a framed picture here on my wall

    About 20 years ago I asked a calligrapher friend of mine to please enscribe a phrase that had been a newsclipping in my wallet for the previous 15 or so years. I'll turn around now and read it from its frame on the wall behind me, typing it here; a quote from the (former; she's dead now) newspaper column Dear Abby (Abbigail Van Buren):

    "Education without experience is like a load of books on the back of an ass."

    No offense Kevin. I'm glad you like your choice of beacon. So do I, and my experiences with it are the reason why.

  20. #20
    Member JOAT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Soldotna, ALASKA since '78
    Posts
    3,720

    Default

    I agree 101% with FM on this one. The SPOT wins hands down in my book as well. I've read through a number of the "complaints" about SPOT online. I guarantee that 99% of them are due to operator error. This is not a device that you just buy, toss in your pack, and drag it out when you have an emergency, hoping that it will work. It is something with everyday value and it needs to be setup prior to use. In fact, my family has become so reliant on my SPOT tracking feature that there is no way in the world I could get rid of it now. Earlier this spring, I forgot to turn it on while traveling once. Oh boy, when I got to the next zone with cell phone coverage, I had a list of missed calls and msgs from wives and mothers trying to see if I was OK because my SPOT tracking page wasn't updating! A buddy of mine just did a 2,500+ mile motorcycle trip through half of Alaska and parts of Canada. I can assure you that the only thing that allowed peace with his wife during that trip was his frequent use of the SPOT (I'm on his SPOT callout list, so I got all of his OK msgs and fortunately no help msgs amongst them). It's a great device and I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone that travels away from cellular coverage. And I'd recommend it before any PLB on the market.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •