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Thread: Spot Info

  1. #1
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    Default Spot Info

    Does anybody have any up to date info on how they work in Alaska. Still thinking about buying one but was waiting on the results of the test ones from Surveyor's Exchange. I think that is who was doing the test. Thanks

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Yes, they are doing the tests still. I ran a bunch of tests for Greg up to Livengood and down on the Kenai. They seem to get pretty good coverage even north of Fairbanks. I'm hoping he posts a complete report from all of the units he's had in the field over the last month, but from what I saw in the few tests I did, I'm buying one.
    Winter is Coming...

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    I learned quite a bit about them today in a class. Here is a link to the product: http://www.findmespot.com/Home.aspx
    It seems like the kind of tool that could very very useful and quite a bit cheaper than a sat phone. Reading through the brochure in pretty interesting. I believe they will be set up at the sportsmans show also.
    EricL

  4. #4

    Default Needed Feature on Spot

    I have been looking to buy one but unless I'm wrong there is one feature missing that is important to me. From what I have read --if I send out a distress signal I have no way of knowing if someone got the message and that help will be on the way. Am I wrong? A friend who hunts the Yukon and fishes Costa Rica has one and loves the "security" of having the spot. But me I would want to know the "Calvary" was on the way

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    Member EricL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BZep10 View Post
    I have been looking to buy one but unless I'm wrong there is one feature missing that is important to me. From what I have read --if I send out a distress signal I have no way of knowing if someone got the message and that help will be on the way. Am I wrong? A friend who hunts the Yukon and fishes Costa Rica has one and loves the "security" of having the spot. But me I would want to know the "Calvary" was on the way
    That is correct. It does not receive a signal. When you press the 911 feature it will send a signal every 5 minutes for 1 hour. Knowing that satellites are always moving, it may not get a signal right now but more than likely will in a couple minutes. I don't know why they don't add the ability to receive unless it shows up in a future model.
    There have been times with my sat phone that I can't pick up a signal but if I just wait a minute or 2, I will receive one. I have never NOT been able to get one. This is the type of equipment that a fella needs to decide exactly what he wants to be able to do. Guess it depends on how much "piece of mind" you want. I understand that a SPOT was used here in a Alaska to rescue a guy out of Wrangell St. Elias after he fell and broke his leg.
    Don't you wish you could look into the future and see what they will be doing with this type of technology in about 20 years???
    EricL

  6. #6
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    Default Does is work

    Question is how does it work north of the brooks range. Guess I will have to ask someone a the sportsman show.

    Terry

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    Member EricL's Avatar
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    They showed us a map of the world and the %'s of receivings. Most of Ak is in the 99% receivable areas. The extreme most NW area of Ak and some of the Alutians were at 98 or 97% success of receiving the signal. Ask them to see this map.
    EricL

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    Hmmm, If I remember right, the maps on their website and the ones I've seen on paper show a whole lot of Alaska in the less than 96% chance area.

    BTW, there is a guy at the Sportsman Show this weekend selling Spots for $129. He's in the hockey arena. He said that you can rent service for $10 or there abouts, instead of $100 per year. And he said that for under $10 per year you can get the 911 service only. I questioned him on these two options and he wasn't really sure about them, but thought they were still options. Anybody know?

  9. #9
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Clarifications...

    In the check-in mode, the unit sends your position about 4 minutes after pressing the button, then resends it 2 more times at about 5-6 minute intervals.

    If it cannot aquire your GPS position, it will give you an error code via the blinking LEDs so you know that you don't have GPS sat coverage and need to move.

    It does not let you know if your message was successfully received. That's why it resends the message several times.

    In the Help mode, the unit sends your position and help message every 5 minutes for 1 hour.

    In the 911 mode, the unit sends your position and SOS message (PLB style) every 5 minutes until you either cancel it or the battery is dead (about 14 days).

    The Spot has been tested north of the Brooks range, but I haven't heard specifics on the reliability of the coverage up there. I know for a fact that they work well north of Fairbanks up to Livengood, even with the southern sky blocked.
    Winter is Coming...

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    I have conversed with Greg (Surveyor's Exchange) a bit about the SPOT & sent him a review from another site. He suggested I post it here.

    http://solotripping.com/forums/index.php?topic=707.0

    The review came from the "maps, Compass, & Navigation" section on this site
    http://www.solotripping.com/forums/index.php

    I think it sounds like a great Christmas gift to ask for this year if Greg is happy with them. Think I'll give it that long to shake out the bugs though.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    What bugs?

    The guy who posted that review on the other site had obviously not read the directions on how to use this unit. Nearly everything in his post was wrong.
    Winter is Coming...

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    Main bug I see right now is their customer service folks (lack of knowledge & no returned phone calls). Hopefully that will work out with time.
    But I will reword my statement to more accurately reflect what I meant.
    I'll probably wait to SEE if there are any glitches in the system they need to get past as there almost always seems to be in the 1st year on new electronic technology.
    That's why I'm still a Windows XP guy until Vista's been out a few years.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    Hey JOAT!
    Guess what my wife got me for my b-day today?
    Yup.
    I may be looking for a personal tutorial soon
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  14. #14
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    So she's the one who bought out all the SPOT stock at Fred Meyer. I saw one in the GPS display case a few days ago and noted the decent price tag ($149) and when I was back by there Friday they were all sold out.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    I bought one @ Surveyor's Exchange. Greg was very honest that I should consider it a tracking device and should not depend on the 911 signal. So far, he's right. I appreciated the honesty and I took my chances. Here's my report.

    I can walk the dog around south Anchorage or Lake Hood and I'm lucky to get two tracking hits in a two hour walk. Oops, not true. I've yet to get two hits on any walk and I walk every day. That's with the unit out in plain sight and walking in all directions for ample time. I've been disappointed in that performance. In a small plane it seems to be a little better, but not much. Two hits in a two hour flight with considerable distance between them. I guess the southern sky is less blocked from a plane. I'm not totally disgusted with SPOT yet, but I can't give it praise, either. I'll keep testing it for a while to see how it performs, but for now? My advice? Wait for better satellite coverage. I wouldn't have bought one had I known what I know now.

  16. #16

    Default SPOT Tests

    My tests have been somewhat different.... I didn't do the tracking option, just the normal subscription. I have done the "Check-in" option at my house, driving around town, and hiking in the Chugach.... I have had about 75% success rate. However, I've also checked the "Help" button (which sends a message every 5 minutes for an hour) and I have had a 100% success rate on that. Basically, over the period of an hour, it was always able to get at least one message out. Based on that, and knowing that the 911 message gets sent constantly until the batteries run out.... I feel pretty confident that it will work if I need it.

    Very un-scientific test, I know.... and only over a week.... I'll post more as I use it this summer to check in with home when I'm in the backcountry.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  17. #17
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    I finally activated mine.
    I've only tried it in Kenai proper, but so far I've got both text & email notifications in both the "OK" & "Help" modes in about 3 minutes. Sat. pics were eirily accurate. Had it pinpointed right betwen the house & garage. I mean that thing was within less than 5'! Can't complain about that.
    Haven't tested the 911 mode yet
    I didn't opt for the tracking mode, so I can't comment there.
    Hopefully I'll get to try it in the woods soon.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  18. #18
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    I would suggest NOT testing the 911 mode (if you read the fine print in the contract, you'll see that they can charge you a pretty hefty fee for any false use, to include momentary testing, of the 911 button).

    I was also very impressed with the accuracy when I was testing one of Greg's units. The GPS in the SPOT is right on target with fast aquisition.

    I've heard nothing good reported about the overpriced "tracking" feature yet. It sounds like it is a little buggy still. Personally, I'm not interested in that feature at all. My "real" GPS always lays down a perfect track and I've no need or desire for anyone else to follow me that closely.

    By the way, Fred Meyer has restocked and has them on the $149 sale again.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    JOAT, I just bought one and have a question for ya. As I understand it, the specific SPOT I bought is "registered" to me. So is that to say if the wife and I are riding ATVs, something happens to her and I activate the 911, I will have to pay for the rescue since it isn't for "me"? Maybe you can enlighten/ educate me a bit please. I tend to get lost in all the legalities.

    Thanks,
    H
    Originally Posted by BIGBOB
    Estimate of time of death appears to be same day he died.

  20. #20
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    That's not the way I read the registration at all. It said that activating the 911 button without an emergency, either accidentally or intentionally, would be liable to the registered owner of the device. If you have an actual emergency, even if it's not specifically the registered owner, they are still going to respond and send help. Who pays for the "help" is another matter. What they're trying to do is prevent people from "testing" the 911 button.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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