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Thread: More Spotty performance from my SPOT

  1. #1
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default More Spotty performance from my SPOT

    After much complaining I cancelled the tracking (bread crumb) feature for my SPOT because it hardly ever worked.

    Then a new and interesting problem arose........ After flying way the heck out in the middle of nowhere.... I sent the I am OK signal a few times so my wife and friends would know where I was.......

    Well... they never received a darn thing....

    Later when I came back home I made a heated phone call to SPOT HQ. They told me that it probably did not work since I had gone over 200 miles from the last place were the unit had been turned-on...I was informed that if I went any great distance, I needed to turn on the machine while not moving and let it sit for half an hour while it had a clear view of the sky... This was so it could figure out were the heck it was....

    Or I needed to trigger it a few times while enroute....so the little thing can keep track...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  2. #2
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    That's the goofiest thing I've ever heard. Not sure what is going on at SPOT HQ, but that's not the way GPS works... or at least not the way it's supposed to work. Mine has always figured out where it is within a couple minutes of turning it on, even after taking long road trips to other areas of the state. What you're saying is a concern that used to exist under the original GPS systems of the early 1990's, where they would have to perform a "sky search" after traveling more than a couple hundreds miles from the last point where it was locked on. That process could take 10-20 minutes. Modern GPS units generally get a lock within 1-2 minutes after long travels.

    I have flown down to Portland and hit the OK button on the SPOT as I pull out of the parking garage in a rental and had a check in msg go through within just a couple minutes. So I think they are feeding you a load of BS on that 200 mile thing. Besides, if the unit didn't have a GPS lock, it would flash the red light instead of the green one, so you would have feedback to know that it isn't sending the msg out.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  3. #3
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Yeah I have never been impressed by these guys......

    I think I will be doing the Spider Track thing next year if I get another plane...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    I'm using the Spot II and haven't ran into any problems. I just recently did a check in from Denver, jumped on a commercial airliner, checked in from Anchorage (over 2000 miles) then flew all over near Talkeetna for a week and it bread crumbed perfect. Never missed a beat. Are you using fresh lithium batteries and placing it in a clear view of the sky. I even clipped mine to the overhead x-brace in the super cub in which it was just dangling and it worked great.

  5. #5
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    Ran an old spot over 4 years. Pretty much every flight. All over the state. Mostly C180 and cub and just clipped in wing root of both. I had one email not send about 3 weeks ago. Other than that, perfect.

    I think you have a problem unit. I'd get another or go spidertracks or check out the in reach SE if it bothers you. 'course global star has been adding satellites to their constellation continuously for a couple years so SPOT's only getting better.

    I just bought inreach se and when the spot contract is up, that will get the tracking added to my contract and my spot will likely go to dumpster. I really like what it does for the $ invested. A more affordable option to sat phone and tracks like spot/spider.......great unit for MY uses

  6. #6
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    Forget the Spot and look at the Delorme inReach SE. It has two-way texting ability and uses the Iridium satellite system. They have just recently rolled it out and are still working on a few features. But being able to send AND receive both preset messages and regular texts is a giant step forward. Also getting a reply to your SOS would be a huge peace of mind while you are sitting in the wreckage of your airplane waiting for rescue.

  7. #7
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    My Spot never worked and the manufacturer never cared. Likely a quality control issue but with no support to make it right I wasn't impressed. Spidertracks has been perfect for tracking and has user features I'd be reluctant to give up. The newer spiders serve as bluetooth hotspots to text two ways through your smart phone, too. The equipment is more expensive than the Inreach but the service plans cost less. If your tracker is going to be a long term item you need to look at the cost over a few years, not just the day you buy it. Another good option is the Iridium 9575 phone that has a tracking feature. It also has fairly straight forward texting out and if the other party is at a computer, texting in. To send a text to an Iridium phone requires an Internet connection.

  8. #8
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    I've been writing about SPOT issues and been involved in various capacities with dogsled race tracking with them, and am in frequent correspondence with the Trackleaders guys, who have hundreds of them. What we've found is that there's a lot of variability in how reliable a given unit is - some just don't uplink reliably. We think it has to do with antennas but nobody is really sure. The SPOT 1 is a lot more reliable than the SPOT 2 (and has better battery life - the move to AAA batteries in the SPOT 2 was not a good one). The SPOT 3 just came out. They say that they've addressed some of the problems with the SPOT 2 but time will tell.

    I have not had issues with my SPOT, but there are some bad units out there and it sounds like you got one.

    I am not particularly impressed with the DeLorme stuff and if I wanted a reliable emergency beacon I would not take the InReach on a bet. It's a neat yuppie toy but for heading into the bush I want something that's simple, that has replaceable (disposable) batteries, and doesn't waste power on extra radios that allow you to pair with your smartphone. It makes sense if you're on a sponsored trip and you want to be able to publish to social media and keep your sponsors happy, but not as an emergency device.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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    If we are talking solely an "emergency device", thats easy. 406 PLB, 406 ELT, 406 EPIRB. Depending on if we are in land, air, or sea.

    Commercial monitoring devices are no substitute.

  10. #10

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    Just out of curiosity, which generation spot unit had the problem?

  11. #11
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    I'm not sure about the original SPOTs but the SPOT 2 had a variety of problems, including manufacturing consistency (so some were fine and some were not). They made some mistakes with antenna placement as well. The Gen3 is much more reliable and has improvements around battery life, etc. Also, if all you want to do is track and don't need emergency signaling or another message button they've now got a unit called "Trace" that does nothing but send out location updates.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

  12. #12

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    Sucks when the shoe is on the other foot doesnt it. I bet that company had good customer service none the less, some buisness and mechanics could learn from places like aviat, lycoming, cessna, etc. I can call any of those places all day and they are great people.

    I suspect that are not any actual buisness owners on here and any of the posters that are antagonistic to me do own buisnesses then they must put on a good front when doing buisness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    After much complaining I cancelled the tracking (bread crumb) feature for my SPOT because it hardly ever worked.

    Then a new and interesting problem arose........ After flying way the heck out in the middle of nowhere.... I sent the I am OK signal a few times so my wife and friends would know where I was.......

    Well... they never received a darn thing....

    Later when I came back home I made a heated phone call to SPOT HQ. They told me that it probably did not work since I had gone over 200 miles from the last place were the unit had been turned-on...I was informed that if I went any great distance, I needed to turn on the machine while not moving and let it sit for half an hour while it had a clear view of the sky... This was so it could figure out were the heck it was....

    Or I needed to trigger it a few times while enroute....so the little thing can keep track...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rppearso View Post
    Sucks when the shoe is on the other foot doesnt it. I bet that company had good customer service none the less, some buisness and mechanics could learn from places like aviat, lycoming, cessna, etc. I can call any of those places all day and they are great people.

    I suspect that are not any actual buisness owners on here and any of the posters that are antagonistic to me do own buisnesses then they must put on a good front when doing buisness.
    Dude,
    You are ruining every thread on this forum. What would it take for you to leave for another year? (Everyone's thinking itů.I'll ask)
    I mean, I laughed as hard as anyone for a while but its not funny anymore.

    I think everyone has probably googled "rppearso" by now.


    Moderators,
    Can we vote him off the island or something?

  14. #14
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Moderators,
    Can we vote him off the island or something?
    Roger that....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    Im with these fellas.......

  16. #16

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    I would Pay to enjoy this entire forum site and not have the childless drama that rppearso brings to the table... no wonder he is recently divorced... I am about to divorce myself from this mess. I will miss the great folks and wisdom found here...

    Tom

  17. #17

    Default WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A google search revels MORE craziness than I imagined....

    Wow.... is all I can say...





    Quote Originally Posted by AK-HUNT View Post
    Dude,
    You are ruining every thread on this forum. What would it take for you to leave for another year? (Everyone's thinking itů.I'll ask)
    I mean, I laughed as hard as anyone for a while but its not funny anymore.

    I think everyone has probably googled "rppearso" by now.


    Moderators,
    Can we vote him off the island or something?

  18. #18
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    Just bought an Inreach.. Seems to have the best reviews and coverage. I'll report back with my experience as soon as possible.

    On the other topic I would support a ban of rppearso

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk

  19. #19
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    Kinda new to posting here. So will try again. Have had InReach for a couple years now. After having family receiving 2:00am calls from emergency services (FAA) due to faulty RCO reporting even though notems did not report such dead battery failure went with InReach. So while traveling the Iditarod trail to Nome InReach device failed to turn on. After 6 days of waiting and flying in questionable weather in and around Nome can say flight plan is still the best bet. Will b contacting InReach soon on this issue and report back. Bottom line no one or nothing can save u if u screw it up. So plan it accordingly or die for the lack there of. If family is not happy I am not happy.

  20. #20
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I'm a SPOT Generation I user since shortly after they hit the market. Completly satisfied with the service and haven't had a single issue with the device. I use it constantly. I make 500-mile drives across Alaska every couple weeks with it sitting on the dashboard. Folks at home log into my SPOT page and see where I am (within the last 10 minutes). A quick push of the check-in button and everyone on my list gets an instant email showing where I'm at. When off grid hunting or playing in the wilderness, it's a simple and reliable means of letting folks know that all is well.

    The SPOT I is no longer avialable (unfortunately) and the SPOT 2 had some issues with battery life and such, but it is no longer available. The SPOT 3 has fixed battery life issues, added external power capability, and added some features. If I weren't so comfortable with the outstanding performance of my SPOT 1, I would buy the SPOT 3. Just don't have a reason to upgrade from something that works.

    If you want to debate the SPOT vs. InReach, you have to put all the cards on the table. The InReach is extremely expensive. Yes, it uses the Irridium satellites, which have greater coverage over the planet surface. SPOT uses the Globalstar system, but remember that it is a data carrier and not the same frequency that voice sat phones use. So the SPOT feed to the Globalstar network is far better than a satellite phone on the Globalstar network.

    Let's go side by side:

    SPOT Gen-3 device costs $149.95
    InReach SE costs $299.95

    Or, if you want to couple the device to your smartypantsfone...
    SPOT Connect for Smartphone link costs $169.99
    InReach for Smartphone link costs $249.99

    SPOT annual service plan is $99.99 for basic service with unlimited messages including direct email, SMS text, and auto posting to social media
    Or, if you want Tracking service, the annual service plan is $149 for unlimited messages plus unlimited tracking. If you get the Connect device that links to your smart phone, you can compose and send custom text messages via the phone. These cost 10 cents per message (they are purchased in a bundle in advance).
    You can add GEOS rescue insurance for an additional $17.95 per year (pays for costs of your rescue and medivac up to $50,000).

    InReach service plans read more like a complicated cell phone plan, so you need to figure out in advance what features you want to use and how often you'll be using them.
    Basic service is $119.40 per year and allows up to 10 messages per month. Additional messages cost $1.50 each. Tracking costs you $0.25 per track point.
    Mid-Level service is $299.40 per year and allows up to 40 messages per month. Additional messages cost $0.50 each. Tracking is unlimited.
    High-level service is $599.40 per year and allows up to 120 messages per month. Additional messages cost $0.25 each. Tracking is unlimited.

    Always a good idea to look at the fine print. The InReach might sound neat on the surface (especially when they say it is Irridium based), but you're going to pay dearly to have it and even more if you use it very much. I kinda like being able to use my SPOT as often as I please without paying any attention to how many messages I've sent this month.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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