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Thread: Spot gps

  1. #1
    Member AKHunterNP's Avatar
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    Default Spot gps

    Do any of you use a SPOT GPS and if so what has your experience been? Battery life, coverage, tracking, messages?
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

  2. #2
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    Question me too

    I am considering using Spot and would like to know the same info. The one thing I have heard is that it is fairly spotty ( pun intended) coverage above the brooks range.

    Thanks

  3. #3
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    I've got one and have used it everytime I go out to let the girlfriend know I'm still around and doing well. I don't use the tracking feature and only turn it on when I want to send a message or mark a GPS spot for later when I get home. Now, I'm nowhere near remote as you probably are as I'm down in Southern California, but the signal has taken anywhere from 2 to 45 minutes to get out. On average it takes about 15 minutes to get a message out. I am in the local mountains around 8-9K feet and it's wooded. I can see the sky when I signal, usually in a small clearing. It seems to me that you need to point it towards the sky and wait for the satalights to pass by to get a signal lock and then send the message. I will continue using it just to give the people at home peace of mind while I'm out and about. Hope this helps.

    -Mack

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    I have it and the tracking service and it works great. I use it out in PWS and use the tracking so family back in the states can see what I'm up to. I use the OK button to let my son and friend know all is OK for my float plan. As much as I hate to say this, do a search on this forum on the Spot.
    Last edited by Muskie; 03-15-2010 at 09:52. Reason: added

  5. #5
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    There is a LOT of information about the SPOT system in the gear forum and the safety/survival forum. Use the search function - you'll find lots of reports.

  6. #6
    Member AKHunterNP's Avatar
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    Thanks, I did the search and came up with all kinds of threads. Guess I'll have to refine my search.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

  7. #7
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    Default Spot

    Saved my bacon, when we flipped out boat up twenty mile last spring bear season, got rescued by the state troopers. Pm me if you have any questions..

  8. #8
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default First Generation SPOT

    My experience with my SPOT has been positive; that has been over the past year.

    Battery life is ridiculously long. A pair of Lithium AA's will last 4-6 months with constant use in cold temperatures. Point of info: When I bought it in April of last year, I "OK'd" and "Tracked" from April until June almost daily.

    Coverage is pretty decent. I haven't found a dead zone in Alaska - yet. But occasionally, lack of line of sight to the big sky will cause a loss of signal. Overall, 99% of the time I have a signal.

    Tracking works about 80% of the time. Vast majority of the tracks will post, and all is well, sometimes the track posts just don't go. Dunno why.

    Messages is about 90%. I believe it's more of a SPOT messenger service more than the SPOT itself. I have all 20 address filled on the "OK" message, and sometimes all 20 get the message, sometimes only a few get the OK. Same is true with the "Help" button. I've never pushed the 911, hopefully never will.

    I would not want to count on this to save my butt in a life and death situation. It is better than nothing. I like it for the ability to 'communicate' with my wife while out in the field.
    Last week I was on a cruise to Mexico, ran SPOT, and my folks were able to 'watch' us on the cruise.

  9. #9
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I like mine quite a bit, battery life is surprisingly long. Mine is 2 years old and still on the factory batteries. I'll replace them this summer out of guilt, they have a lot of hours on them already.

    I get pretty good coverage. If you don't have a pretty good view of the southern horizon you won't get a message out but typically good otherwise. My wife went from Delta to Chickaloon over the weekend and the the only missed signal was in the Gulkana Canyon area- no surpise there.

    Not something I'd bet my life on but it does let the folks back home know you're OK, even if you're running behind schedule. Not the end all be all of PLB devices but for cost and utility they're pretty good.

  10. #10
    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    Post "spot"..there thinking of having a class in fbks !!!

    heard it on the raido, they will fly a guy in from the states (SPOT,CO) ...call shane, @artic fire and safety/30TH in fbks .... if there is enough folks they will do it.
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

  11. #11
    Member ninefoot's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    i agree with general consensus, my experience has been one year of use sporaticly with many clients using there own personal spot. all positive, wouldnt count on it to save my life, but it definitely has the potential to save a life, absolutely. really simple to use as well as being fairly cheap for what your getting. a good thing i think for the solo or remote hunter.

  12. #12
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I had the same question a few years back and after much research, I got the ACR Terrafix. There are newer models of ACR plb's out now, so read up on these if interested. Looks like they made them even smaller, lighter, and able to send "I am OK" messages like the SPOT plb's. ha ha.. Whatever. Awesome product, batteries are good for many years, works anywhere (unlike SPOT) and is completely waterproof. Operating temps of like -40 to 158. You register with NOAA (takes 5 minutes online) after you buy the ACR and that associates the distress signal emitted to you and your personal information. You can update it anytime on their website and I do so before each float trip. Number and weight of people in group, any medical problems, bush pilot name/number that flew us in, trip dates, etc.. If interested, research online as you can find it much cheaper on some websites than others.

    http://www.acrelectronics.com/product2.aspx?sku=2883

    Here are the two new offerings...

    http://www.rei.com/product/798479

    http://www.rei.com/product/804323


    -Dan


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    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  13. #13
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Hmmm, ACR $500 or SPOT for $50. That's a tough sell.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default true...

    Ha ha...

    Yeah, I never said they were cheap, I said they were better. My life is worth $500 and I am sure yours is to you. I guess it just depends on where you spend your time. Not a product some folks will be able to justify. But if you go remote or go at it solo, this is money well spent. I assure you if any of us were hurt bad enough and off the grid a hundred miles, the last thing on our mind would be $500.


    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  15. #15
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Used one for 10 days in Kyrgyzstan and was able to successfully mark all my camp sites, as well as where animals were seen .... and subsequently shot. Now have those GPS coordinates available to fellow sheep hunters who will follow me there....in case the guides are reticent to initially go "to the best 'spots'". Pretty handy.

  16. #16
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default my experiences

    Dan, gonna have to call foul on you... lol... you getting a commision???

    just had another thread about spots here http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=74746

    very informative stuff on spot vs sat phones... some of my remarks below also copied off my post there, lol

    someone there made a remark about gen 1 vs gen 2 problems but mine has never had a problem anywhere I've been in Alaska (including on the Brooks). I have had it miss an update (tracking) 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 (tracking feature updates every 10mins). I'd go out on a limb and say it's been 90%-98% accurate. I've had to change batteries about 4-5 times already (but I probably have near 400-500 hrs easy on it, I use it for a week at a time on several occasions every year since buying it, 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

  17. #17
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    Default Good buy

    I have one as well -- mostly for letting the wife know that I am still alive when up in the mountains. I would send the "OK" signal every morning (to let her know that a griz didn't get me that night) and evening. She received message on her phone and e-mail. All messages that were sent, were received -- from areas in the Wrangells, down to Resurrection Peninsula. I've been pleased with it so far, and it's nice to know that I have a way of sending for help if needed.

  18. #18
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    Default great unit

    I have one, will be selling my sat phone now. SPOT works great in all areas Ive tried it in, Yukon, BC Alberta.

  19. #19
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    So far my SPOT has worked well for me...
    Is there any advantage (other than size) to the new SPOT over the old one?
    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."

  20. #20
    Member AKHunterNP's Avatar
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    as far as I can tell the only difference between the two is that SPOT 2 is smaller and you get an extra message button so you can send a different message. My wife bought me a SPOT 2 for christmas and i just got it back from SPOT after the recall so I still haven't activated it yet.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

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