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Thread: Has anyone purchased a SPOT yet?

  1. #1
    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Default Has anyone purchased a SPOT yet?

    I read the prior spot post...But I was wondering if anyone has tried one out yet?

    I do like the fact of sending a "I'm O.K." message to the wife every now and then for her peace of mind.

    20 min to send a message in one spot...I could deal with that. Just send the message when your at resting at camp or prior to hittin' the sack at night.

    Just wondering.
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  2. #2
    Member Tolman24's Avatar
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    Default Not yet

    I am seriously considering getting a couple, one for my use and one for my son who spends a lot more time way off the road. I want one to use when boat camping. As you mention a "I'm OK message once or twice a day helps my wife sleep better. Being able to send a "need assistance" to friends or family without declaring an emergency would help for the times I may get stuck or need an unplanned pick up would help. Of course during the "emergency call" you are hoping that a 20 minute window is not to long. If you had been using the track feature at least someone may have the last known coordinates. Seems like a cost effective tool for piece of mind. It would be nice if the unit displayed the GPS coordinates or a notice that satellites were found. That way you would know if you needed to move elsewhere to transmit.

  3. #3
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Just a thought, but you've already got your handheld GPS there, so if you have good sat reception on your GPS, then the SPOT should have the same GPS signal. I've been thinking about this unit also. The price is right, it just needs to stand up to field use to get a reputation. I guess someone has to buy the first one...
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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default yep...

    JOAT makes a good point. If the gps works, so should the spot. Same technology utilized in both. I have the ACR terrafix and it is a very impressive unit. Something you may want to compare the spot system against. There are some big differences.
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    Default just a thought

    I'm pretty sure I read that you can rent one... Why not rent one, use for a trip or two...

    I too purchased an ACR but I have the MicroFix... Same basic unit danatherock has...

    It's not good for "non-emergency" messages but then again the peace of mind my loved ones get is knowing that "if" the time ever comes for me to need help "NOW!!!" I'll have the technology to get it.

  6. #6
    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WinMag View Post
    I'm pretty sure I read that you can rent one... Why not rent one, use for a trip or two...

    I too purchased an ACR but I have the MicroFix... Same basic unit danatherock has...

    It's not good for "non-emergency" messages but then again the peace of mind my loved ones get is knowing that "if" the time ever comes for me to need help "NOW!!!" I'll have the technology to get it.
    Renting ones not bad idea....But, I venture out alot (every chance I get). Sure I've gone years without one of these gizmo's.

    Personally, I could care less of having one other than I still like the idea for a piece of mind for my wife with a message now and then. (On the other hand I ain't gettin' any younger either.)
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    just ordered one. it hasn't arrived yet. I'll get a report back how it works. I also need a satellite phone, maybe next month.

  8. #8
    Member ken210's Avatar
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    Default works great

    So just thought I would chime in on this one. There was a news article on an elderly gentleman out at Mccarthy who sent off a 911 call and with in 30 mins a rescue helo from kulis was off the ground in route to his location. A great peice of mind not only for you but it gives the rescue crews an actual gps cord. Takes the searching out of the rescue. And unlike an ELT on airplanes once one is set off it means someone set it off.

  9. #9
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    JOAT makes a good point. If the gps works, so should the spot. Same technology utilized in both. I have the ACR terrafix and it is a very impressive unit. Something you may want to compare the spot system against. There are some big differences.
    Not true: The GPS works on the militaries global positioning satelites while the Spot works on both the GPS satelites as well as the Global star communication sattelites. The Global Star network is aging and is in the process of being replaced. The last information I looked at showed that the upgraded GS constilation won't be fully online till 2012 or so. If you have good signal on your GPS then your "spot" likely knows where it is however it may or may not be able to let anyone else know! The globalstar network does not have full coverage in AK so the 20 minute window may or may not apply, also the 20 min is an average not a gurantee so if it sends 10 messages in under 1 min that leaves alot of seriously delayed messages to still end up at a 20 min average. The tech looks amazing I wish it was on the Irridium network casue I would own one allready. I am however looking forward to the real alaskan reviews! A good thing to note when you test it is the time you send a message to the time someone recieves it I don't know if the unit time stamps the messages or not but that would be handy information!

  10. #10
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Some more SPOT info...

    Sorry if I was confusing, but my comment was referring only to the GPS signals, which is where it takes a longer period of time for the unit to figure out your location and SPOT doesn't tell you it's progress with your location info. The sending of the text message is a very brief transmission (about 5 seconds according to SPOT user's manual). Yes, it needs to comm with the GS system, but the unit automatically sends multiple copies of your message to increase the probability of a good transmission, hence the reason why you have to leave it turned on for 20 minutes to ensure your message is sent.

    According to some additional 3rd party user reviews (other than the ADN story) that I've read just today, the problem portion of the Globalstar system is with 2-way voice transmissions, specifically on the leg from the satellite back down to the phone. The SPOT uses a different uplink band from your field location which is reported to be 100% operational, so the reliability of these SMS text messages is reported to be much better than what phone users experience with voice transmissions.

    The manual also says that the lights will give you indication if the message was sent with or without location data due to failure to aquire a position from GPS for any reason. It also gives you indicators when sending the message.

    In the 911 mode, the info and location is sent continuously at 5 minute intervals, further increasing the likelyhood of a good comm just through repeated attempts.

    Their website has been updated over the last couple months and now has more info on it. I note the annual pricing is $100/yr for the basic service. Add another $50 if you want continuous position waypoint tracking and add another $8 for rescue insurance (covers costs of your rescue).

    http://www.findmespot.com/

    All in all, I'm liking the sound of this unit more and more, so I think I'm going to go ahead and buy one next month.

    I checked their dealer locator and found that Susitna Energy Systems in Anchorage is selling them for $145, which is a pretty good deal over the online SPOT store ($170) or Amazon ($149).

    http://www.susitnaenergy.com/?subcat...6&prod_id=5183
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  11. #11
    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldfsh View Post
    just ordered one. it hasn't arrived yet. I'll get a report back how it works. I also need a satellite phone, maybe next month.

    You would be my new hero........

    I do wish that all of these devices had a better way of communicating with the operator that the device is infact talking to the satellites/communication centers.
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    Default

    When these were first advertised (about three months before they were available), there wasn't alot of data for Alaska; what was available was all for South East Alaska. I was able to get a loaner from the company for 2 1/2 months before they hit the market on November 1. We were able to send it out to several areas and try it out, using the "Help" and "O.K." modes. The 911 function wasn't activated at that time, neither was the tracking feature. We used it out to Kotz, Coldfoot, north side of Brooks range, Galena, on the Hog river, Chicken, and Eagle. Seemed to do pretty well. There were a few gliches, but we weren't able to confirm (or deny) operator error, like leaving it on for 20 minutes after pushing the button. It did work well from a small plane, and it worked well on the Yukon river from Tanana up to Yukon crossing. I will be ordering at least 5 (waiting on funding) with tracking feature to continue collecting data. As soon as I can get them in the field I'll update the good and the bad on this forum.

  13. #13
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default GEOS rescue insurance

    Been doing some more research on SPOT as I'm getting closer to purchase. When you buy this unit, you have the option to also buy rescue insurance for $8/yr. Looking at the fine print, this is a $150/yr policy that is only offered for $8 at the time you register SPOT. If you don't buy it with the initial activation, you can't add it later.

    A quote from the terms:


    GEOS Search & Rescue Terms

    The scope of GEOS SAR benefits includes payment, by GEOS, of up to $100,000 in any one year, limited to $50,000 any one incident, for the provision of necessary additional Search and Rescue resources (including helicopter, aircraft, private search teams etc.) up to the single incident limit for a period not exceeding 72 hours from the time of call for assistance where these are requested by the appropriate rescue authorities and which are necessary to prevent injury or illness or danger to human life as a result of an unforeseeable emergency or to pay for any costs and expenses claimed against you by the appropriate rescue authorities. Provision of additional resources under this service must be first authorized by GEOS.

    PLEASE NOTE This benefit does not apply if:-
    a) your situation is caused by circumstances such as a forecast change of weather conditions, which could reasonably have been anticipated at the date you started your trip
    b) you have NOT made adequate provision of resources or training or competence needed to complete your planned trip.
    c) In the case of death of the Member, GEOS will not be responsible for the transportation of the body
    d) GEOS will endeavour to arrange a successful rescue but cannot accept liability for failed rescues due to unforeseen circumstances beyond their control.

    Take careful note of the very general exclusionary terms (fine print)!
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  14. #14
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    my spot came yesterday, i got signed up and tried it out. sat locked on guickly and within 5 mi sent ok signal. works in the truck driving, sent help message while driving. sent text message to son which he had no idea what it was. It only sent a message every 10 min or so but it worked. won't send message at will, just when it is programed every 10 min or so. I'm in wasilla. I'll try it out at lake louise this weekend to see if there is coverage there. pretty simple, obviously not a good as a sat phone, but a cheap alternative for a back up survival help, and a good way for the wife to keep track of me

  15. #15
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default Have you seen this?

    http://www.adn.com/outdoors/story/263545.html

    Guess they work pretty well.

    Cheers.

  16. #16
    Member BigHinER's Avatar
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    Default SPOT Sold Out at REI

    HouseHold 6 and I were at REI the other day and I wanted to look at the SPOT. The salesman said they were sold out because apparently shortly before they sold out someone had one, needed to use it and was rescued. I don't know the whole story.... He said after that, they sold out pretty quick. They had a couple of the ACR green and yellow PLBs. The price does sound right. He also stated the recover/ rescue service is privately owned and "IF" they deem it an unneccessary rescue, they could charge more for the rescue. I like the idea also of sending an "I'm OK message". I am really considering getting one myself.and keeping it on my wheeler. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
    Originally Posted by BIGBOB
    Estimate of time of death appears to be same day he died.

  17. #17
    Sponsor Greg @ Anch Sat Phones's Avatar
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    Default Looking for SPOT testers! Who wants to try one????

    Hello Everybody! This is Greg from Surveyors Exchange, we are a sponsor of this Safety Forum. Since the recent article in the newspaper I have gotten a lot of calls about this SPOT. Since it works off of the Globalstar Satellites I am definitely skeptical about its reliability. Just because it works once does not mean it will work when you really need it to. Eagle Enterprises (Your complete Aviation, Marine and Outdoor Safety Store) tested out a SPOT and they hoped that it would work. But they were very unsatisfied with its reliability and refuse to sell it. I also cannot & will not sell any product that I don't believe in. So I am looking for volunteers! Please email me at greg@tse-ak.com if you would like to try one out. I will be on vacation until 2/20/08 so I will contact everybody once I return. Of course my co-workers will be watching over my shop for me but I am handling this complete SPOT testing project.

    Iam looking forward to getting this SPOT tested out. But I am afraid that I already know the answer....I would NOT depend upon the SPOT. If you can afford to buy an Iridium satellite phone that is still thee best option. Please also email me if you woudl like my new sat phone info. Airtime is getting a lot cheaper. For only $198 you can keep a sat phone active for 6 months with 200 included minutes. Our website is still under construction so it is best to email me at greg@tse-ak.com if you are interested in some sat phone info.

    My Best,
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  18. #18
    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Seems like a nice little unit but, not sure if I like the yearly fee's. Are the yearly fees worth it? You can buy a mini B for a little more with no fee's. I still think I am going with a sat phone, while you are in trouble you could be talking with rescue and or medical staff to talk you through a situation if need be.

    I think I'll wait to see how this unit works.

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    I took a look at the web pages coverage map. It doesn't cover all of Alaska and it cost $99 year. It sounds nice. But I don't know if I would put that much faith in it until someone has tested it.

  20. #20
    Sponsor Greg @ Anch Sat Phones's Avatar
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    Default Who can test out a SPOT for me in March???

    Hi,

    This is Greg from Surveyors Exchange.

    Who can test out a SPOT for me in March? I am looking for immediate volunteers to test out this SPOT.

    I will post the results once I get them back from all of my volunteers.

    Please email me if you are interested in testing one out. No charge.

    My Best,
    Greg Lee
    Surveyors Exchange

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