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Thread: Spot vs ACR MicroFix

  1. #1
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    Default Spot vs ACR MicroFix

    The rescue below got me thinking about the value of having some sort of locating device on the boat. Would be interested in hearing comments about these two and any others that might be available.

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    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    I have both a ACR ResQFix and a Spot on my boat. Use the Spot to give friends and relatives updates of where we are and let them know we're OK. Not sure I'd want to rely on it in an emergency, though. For that, I have the ResQFix in our ditch bag.

    ACR also makes a slightly less expensive AquaFix. It comes in two models: one with an internal gps, and one without.

    For an emergency signalling device, when your life's on the line, I'd recommend either the ResQFix or the AquaFix (w/ internal gps) over the Spot.

  3. #3
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    FWIW, Here's a discussion of of the differences between a PLB (like the ACR ResQFix and AquaFix) and the Spot.

    http://uscgd13.blogspot.com/2008/10/...r-beacons.html

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    I just took a class Aircraft Land and Water Survival Class with LTR (Learn To Return) and this topic was covered in class. Bottom line, the Spot in most of Alaska is unreliable and spotty at best. Pretty disheartning to hit the Help Button and not know if it worked or not. The ResQFix is the way to go and works every time as long as you have batteries with a charge. Batteries have a 5 year replacement and 11 year shelf life. Cost is significantly different but when it comes to survival, you can't put a cost on you or your loved ones life. BTW this class is a must for those of us that fly alot or any for that manner. Its a two day high speed and Top of the Line Class. Best bang for your buck class you will ever take. LTR is a Top Notch Organization with world wide real experience.

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    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhollis View Post
    FWIW, Here's a discussion of of the differences between a PLB (like the ACR ResQFix and AquaFix) and the Spot.

    http://uscgd13.blogspot.com/2008/10/...r-beacons.html

    Great article.

    I carry an ACR AquaFix plus an Iridium sat phone.

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    Default Good thread

    After reading thru this thread I have a couple of observations;

    I bought an ACR 406 hz PLB w/ internal GPS 2 years ago and wouldn't go anywhere without it. It is globally covered w/ no dead zones. I really like that I can post specific info on their website before each trip regarding any medical conditions of people onboard (med's being taken, etc) so if I trip the alarm, the appopriate responding people are already aware and have an idea of what they might be facing. You can also post info like number on board, names on board, routes and destinations, fuel on board, total miles running, etc, etc. Only complaint I have is you are limited to the number of text's in your online filing - WAY too short for this digital era.

    I have been thinking about getting a SPOT so my family could get updates on my position and know that I am safe BUT did not know that the annual membership is about $100/year - too much $ for me.

    Chico - I have read about the LTR seminars and most of the comments were very positive.

    Thanks to all for posting their thoughts and be safe out there boating.

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    Thanks for the education guys, most helpful.

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    I would definitely say that if you can afford it go w/ the the PLB. But if you can't then the Spot certainly seems better than a plastic "rescue" whistle and signal fire! For most of the southern part of the state you should have very good reception w/ the spot. I am hopeful that they will add some features to it like a confirmation tone to let you know when your message got out. I am surprised that no one has come up with a text based system! They should be extremely cheap and work on existing technology.

    I can't imagine that the folks ar irridium are going to allow the SPOT to continue unchallenged much longer.

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    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I am surprised that no one has come up with a text based system!
    If your sat phone has the proper programming, text messages are only 60 cents.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by akjeff View Post
    If your sat phone has the proper programming, text messages are only 60 cents.
    Correct, but at $1/min (for Iridium) I can sure squeeze in a lot more info if needed during that 1 minute phone call than a 60 cent text.

  11. #11
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I would definitely say that if you can afford it go w/ the the PLB.
    If you're considering the cost of a PLB vs the Spot, make sure you take the $100 annual fee for the Spot into account. With the initial purchase price plus $100 in anuual fees, it won't take more than a few years for the Spot to become the more expensive to the two.

  12. #12
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Here's a new PLB that can be had for the same price as a Spot plus the Spot's first year's activation fee.

    http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|135|714833|320722&id=1190343

  13. #13
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    spot tracking feature is also additional $49.
    some ACR models have $50 rebate till end of the month.
    JUST ORDERED THIS ONE:
    ACR AquaFix 406 MHz GPS Interface and Onboard GPS Personal EPRIB
    $459.99 $459.99 MSRP- $750
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
    MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER

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    FWIW, I live in Juneau and spend most of my time in the Lynn Canal, Favorite Channel and Chatham Straight and I can't get my SPOT to work at all reliably.

    Thanks to everybody for the info on the PLBs. Think I'll make an unplanned purchase.

    Cheers!

    PS: Hey Bhollis, greetings from GCAK!

  15. #15

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    I carry the SPOT with me when out hiking alone and especially when out boating. I use it mainly to let my friends and family know where I am at any given time (the "OK" button), and to also let them know if I'm having problems getting back (weather, mechanical problems) and that'll I'll contact them by phone once I'm under way and within cell range (using the "Help" button). Plus when I go places, I use the OK button to conveniently mark where I've been (SPOT sends an e-mail to me with a link to Google Maps that shows my location on a satellite photo) so I can look at it once I'm back at the computer.

    If I got into a situation where I really needed help, I would use the SPOT "911" button hoping that it would send for help, but I wouldn't then sit around assuming that help is on the way and that I wouldn't need to be helping myself. If I wanted a serious way of sending out for help, I'd get something a little more reliable like an EPIRB. But I would still keep and use the SPOT for the reasons described above.

  16. #16
    Member Stanly's Avatar
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    Default Big Fan of the ACR

    I have the ACR MicroFix, the only difference between this and the AquaFix is the color of the unit. Read the "Rescue at 20 mile" thread on the This Topic page. Can't say enough about the peace of mind having these gives you.

  17. #17

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    There's a new PLB with built-in GPS available by McMurdo. Its only $300 (retail) and has all the features of the ACR PLB's. REI carries it online. Looks like a nice little unit and a great price.

  18. #18
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Good, But

    Quote Originally Posted by buffalob View Post
    There's a new PLB with built-in GPS available by McMurdo. Its only $300 (retail) and has all the features of the ACR PLB's. REI carries it online. Looks like a nice little unit and a great price.
    It's about time that someone is dropping the price. I figured that spot would start to bring down the price of the compitition. Does anyone know any details about the new one? Reliability etc? Equipment that I place my families life in, makes me very picky and I tend to scrutinize more.

  19. #19
    Member polardds's Avatar
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    Default Spot did not work for me either

    I bought a spot last year and could not get it to respond reliably up here in Alaska. Plus you do not know if it does or does not get the signal out. Whether I am trying to tell friends I am ok or trying to get emergency help, I would rather go with something more reliable.

  20. #20
    Member Ellamar's Avatar
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    The blinking lights on the SPOT tell you when the signal has been sent out, it's outlined in the instructions.

    We used it on our moose hunting trip down the Yukon and hit the OK button every hour to let loved ones know our progress...worked flawlessly.

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