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Thread: Spot

  1. #1
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default Spot

    Where is the best place in Anchorage (or perhaps online) to buy a new SPOT Satellite Messenger?

    I am hoping to do some fishing and exploring in an old small inflatable this year. I am looking into a SPOT to make the family and friends feel better about our adventures (and maybe to save my own hide too).

    It looks like the annual costs are:


    BoatUS fresh/salt boat insurance 159/yr
    SPOT Tracking 49.99/yr
    GEOS search rescue 12.99/yr

    Plus the purchase of the SPOT itself of about 100$.

    They have a rebate until 3/31 for 50$.

    Is there a new model out that is better? What not to look for?

    We have a VHF radio, and a little bit more than what the Coast Guard requires...and we have taken a CG safety course......I ithink that the spot would be a good addition that could save some $$ in the long run should something unexpected occur.

  2. #2
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default boatUS

    Does anyone here use the towing from BoatUS? It doesn't look like they cover anything in South Central Alaska - and you would have to call their 800 number to get approval if the tower is not affiliated - ya - like that would work good out in the Sound..........

  3. #3
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I just saw the old version of the SPOT somewhere where you got a $100 rebate so it would be free plus the annual fee...I think it was in Cabelas catalog, but not 100% sure...

  4. #4
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Does anyone here use the towing from BoatUS? It doesn't look like they cover anything in South Central Alaska - and you would have to call their 800 number to get approval if the tower is not affiliated - ya - like that would work good out in the Sound..........
    I checked into that, no towing in Alaska and no insurance from BoatUS; I do like there magazine. Chanel 16 is your towing service up here.
    Jay
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  5. #5
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Does anyone here use the towing from BoatUS? It doesn't look like they cover anything in South Central Alaska - and you would have to call their 800 number to get approval if the tower is not affiliated - ya - like that would work good out in the Sound..........
    You’d be better off renting a Sat-phone, last I checked SPOT didn’t have that great of coverage in Alaska. I would also recommend taking two waterproof VHF handhelds, one for general use and one for backup with lots of extra batteries. Also, ACS gets the best service out in the sound and if you have one with and antenna port you’ll double your range in some areas.

  6. #6

    Default Spot

    I have been all over Alaska (Homer,Seward,Whittier,North of F-banks,Yukon river (up and down river),Galena and I have never had a problem with my Spot. I have checked by my tracking function. I love that I can show the Family on the Google map where we went on our outings. I love my spot and I use it for boating, snow mobiling, hunting all over the state, but I also carry a sat phone as back up just in case.

    Later
    Moose

  7. #7
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    My wife and I live in Juneau and have used a SPOT all over SE Alaska. We use it mostly to keep our daughter (who lives in Maryland) up to date on our boat travels. She enjoys looking at the Google Maps of our anchorages each night, and it gives her peace of mind to know where we are and that we're OK.

    Our experience with coverage has been around 90%. It's worked well most of the time, but there have been a few occasions where the signal didn't get through.

    Bottom line for us: We will continue using the SPOT for informal updates of our positions with family and friends, but don't intend to rely on the SPOT in emergencies. For that, we've got both a PLB and handheld VHF in our ditch bag.

  8. #8

    Default Spot

    I feel really good with my Spot. Moose831, sounds like we have been to all the same areas. PWS, Seward,Homer, Yukon, Galena. The tracking function works great everywhere, and my wife feels good seeing where I am at, because she doesn't like boats. I had one guy I know rescued in the mountains by helicopter within about 30 min due to a snow machine accident. Nothing will cover you 100% of the time, but the spot does work a lot of the time

  9. #9
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    My friend used one on a solo sheep hunt and I couldn't wait to get his next location so I could put it into GoogleEarth and see where he was. I felt like he was a lot safer for having it, I could have made it out there via the same route in a matter of days if he got into trouble.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Where is the best place in Anchorage (or perhaps online) to buy a new SPOT Satellite Messenger?

    I am hoping to do some fishing and exploring in an old small inflatable this year. I am looking into a SPOT to make the family and friends feel better about our adventures (and maybe to save my own hide too).

    It looks like the annual costs are:


    BoatUS fresh/salt boat insurance 159/yr
    SPOT Tracking 49.99/yr
    GEOS search rescue 12.99/yr

    Plus the purchase of the SPOT itself of about 100$.

    They have a rebate until 3/31 for 50$.

    Is there a new model out that is better? What not to look for?

    We have a VHF radio, and a little bit more than what the Coast Guard requires...and we have taken a CG safety course......I ithink that the spot would be a good addition that could save some $$ in the long run should something unexpected occur.
    I have the basic service plus the search rescue. $99/year + $12.99/year. So if you just use the basic service it's around $100/year. I have the older model and if I replaced it today I would get the newer model.

  11. #11
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default budget

    Sat phone is not in the budget for me. I have a VHF handheld - only 1 but i have a way to charge it in mind and we are going to get a ditch bag that the radio can stay accessible - but still be in or with the ditch bag.

    I think that we will go with the tracking and search and rescue.

    Does anyone offer trip insurance for going out into the Sound? I know that you can buy trip insurance for just about any adventure - and pretty reasonable. I could tell them that I am on a 3 month trip into PWS........wouldn't that be great!

  12. #12
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    They've had recalls and problems with the second generation unit. Don't buy one yet. They are unproven. The company just started sending out replacements for the recall. I'd wait awhile to ensure that they've worked out the bugs.

    You can get the first generation unit free via one of the $100 with $100 refund deals if they are still available. Cabela's was doing one of those deals around Christmas. Amazon is always a good place to look at buying electronics over the net and they list the SPOT at $89.54 with free shipping.

    Forget about the boat insurance or AAA stuff. That kills the functionality of your HELP button and none of those services are available in Alaska.

    Get the SAR insurance for about $8 as you can't add it later at that extremely low rate.

    The tracking feature is the most valuable part of the unit. You can give a website address to anyone you want and they can watch your progress in real time. It is worth every penny.

    I've been all over the place in the last year and a half that I've had my SPOT. Alaska has GREAT coverage. People who claim it doesn't are just trying to sell Sat phones at highway robbery prices or have never used a SPOT. If you're in PWS there are no dead zones. When you get up into the interior, you can have poor coverage if you're on the north side of a mountain. Anywhere you can see the southern sky will work. I'd put my success rate on OK messages at around 98%. The ones that didn't go through were due to poor positioning on my part.

    I've been in places and conditions in PWS where I couldn't get a decent voice communication link with an Irridium sat phone but the SPOT worked perfectly. The SPOT doesn't use the voice carrier bands, but a separate low-power data band that is much more reliable than voice.

    Also, you can't beat the ultra-low power consumption of the SPOT. I still have the original batteries that came with mine. Near as I can figure, I've got at least 400 hours of tracking time (in 10-12 hour blocks) and at least 100 check-in message sends and they are still running strong. I have a spare set of lithium AA waiting their turn, but this thing just keeps going and going...
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  13. #13

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    I just got a free offer from spot to exchange my Gen 1 for the latest and greatest. Maybe a guy should wait, does any body have an opinion on this???

  14. #14
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT
    They've had recalls and problems with the second generation unit. Don't buy one yet. They are unproven. The company just started sending out replacements for the recall. I'd wait awhile to ensure that they've worked out the bugs.
    Hey Joat, or anyone who might be able to answer; how do I know which generation I have???

    Just like a few other posters on this I've never had a (bad) problem with my spot anywhere I've been in Alaska. I have had it miss an update while in the thick brush and woods but overall it's been very reliable. My wife uses it to track my location while fishing and hunting and has yet to loose me for more than 30mins at a time. Per JOAT's post I also think 98% is about right for reliability and I've had to change batteries about 4-5 times already (but I have used mine for a week at a time on several occasions, just turning it off at night after setting up camp).

    I tell everyone that asks it's more than paid for itself because of the occasions when I get home and wife hands me a hot plate of food because she used it to time my arrival

    Regards to the original question; seems everyone is selling SPOT's nowadays... even here in Fairbanks.

    Ohh and if you buy one get the insurance that comes with... great rescue insurance if you are in an area that charges for rescue.

  15. #15
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Generation I or the original "SPOT Personal Tracker" is the bigger unit with 4 exposed black buttons along the bottom front. The unit is orange. From left to right they are "Help", "On/Off", "OK", and "911" and labeled using English words (no pictures).
    http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=101

    The new SPOT 2 or "SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger" is the smaller package that has 4 gray buttons arranged in a circle and they have icons instead of words on them. Then there are 2 buttons (one on each side of the front) that are hidden under protective caps to prevent accidental activation of the Help or SOS functions. The unit is available in orange or gray color schemes.
    http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=102

    Note the battery run times on the SPOT 2 are listed as about 1/4 to 1/2 of what the original SPOT put out. This unit uses 3 AAA lithium batteries while the original used 2 AA lithium.

    The recall of the first wave of SPOT 2 is over and they are now shipping the corrected units. They started an offer today where those with a registered SPOT 1 and upgrade or add a SPOT 2 and get a rebate kickback.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  16. #16
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default ty

    thanksb for good info joat

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