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Thread: SPOT satellite GPS

  1. #1
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    Default SPOT satellite GPS

    The SPOT satellite GPS sounds like a great idea. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with them in AK. How about as far north as Brooks? What about a satellite phone? Any opinions?

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default PWS

    only in PWS so far. Perfect coverage so far. I dislike their software...it seems to hang up often on me.

    By october I will have some more info on coverage when we run up the haul road.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Dillingham

    Used mine in the dillingham area and 5th lake with great success.

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Borrowed one last year to keep family current with my where abouts in Kyrgyzstan - no prob and now have valuable GPS coordinates as to specific locations for friends that are to follow.

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    Default sat phones or spot

    are you guys using the spot gps or the sat phone

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    SPOT. For answers to the OP's questions, please search for SPOT. There are dozens of threads with very detailed accounts of just how well they do work in Alaska.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Can't say that I've used mine in AK, but its my understanding that it is completely based on satellite availability. If your handheld is working, your SPOT should be as well. My wife loves mine, she likes getting the OK messages with the google earth image.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    There are 2 different sets of satellites involved with SPOT. The GPS system is always available, everywhere on the planet at all times. That's never a problem as long as you can see overhead sky. SPOT uses this set to figure out your location, but that's only half the operation.

    The SPOT sends your location via a text message through a satellite phone communication channel. These satellites aren't set up for world-wide coverage. In Alaska, they are low on the southern horizon. So, if you're on the north side of a large mountain, you probably won't be able to get a signal out. It is this phase of the operation that determines the success of getting your message out. This is why the SPOT makes multiple attempts to send the message out. With a check-in message, it tries 3 times about 6-7 minutes apart. With the Help message, it tries every 5 minutes for an hour. With the 911 message, it re-sends every 5 minutes until the battery it dead. The system ignores duplicate messages, so once the text message gets through, it is delivered and any repeats after that are ignored.
    Winter is Coming...

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    There are 2 different sets of satellites involved with SPOT. The GPS system is always available, everywhere on the planet at all times. That's never a problem as long as you can see overhead sky. SPOT uses this set to figure out your location, but that's only half the operation.

    The SPOT sends your location via a text message through a satellite phone communication channel. These satellites aren't set up for world-wide coverage. In Alaska, they are low on the southern horizon. So, if you're on the north side of a large mountain, you probably won't be able to get a signal out. It is this phase of the operation that determines the success of getting your message out. This is why the SPOT makes multiple attempts to send the message out. With a check-in message, it tries 3 times about 6-7 minutes apart. With the Help message, it tries every 5 minutes for an hour. With the 911 message, it re-sends every 5 minutes until the battery it dead. The system ignores duplicate messages, so once the text message gets through, it is delivered and any repeats after that are ignored.
    What Joat said I love mine I keep track of my guides when they are out on a trip and I can see how fast they are going and where they stop. They know I'm watching so they do what they are told they can not say it was not me cause I have proof
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    I had read that SPOT uses the Globalstar Sat network and that it is not reliable in high northern latitudes IE Yukon Territory, Brooks Range. Because of that, I opted to buy a McMurdo PLB instead. I'm still interested in SPOT because of the additional features (particularly with the new partnership with Delorme that allows you to send text messages via the Delorme GPS) but am just curious if anyone has experienced any problems with sending signals and if so at what latitude. Most of my trips will be in the South Central area but I'm not going to rule out a Brooks Range hunt someday so would want equipment that will work reliably throughout the State.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    I just bought one this morning using the Fred Meyer $20 off coupon. SPOT has a "rebate" program now where get 1 year of Tracking if you buy the $18 Product Replacement. I'm tryiing to decide if the Tracking is worth it. Any input on the tracking? It seems you can accomplish the same thing by just sending Ok messages often. It might be worth 18 bucks to try it for a year.

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    I program the OK button for other purposes and use the tracking feature for the "OK" signal, so for me tracking is useful.

  13. #13

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    Used mine on the north side of the Brooks last fall and it worked perfectly, even in a pretty steep valley. I'm intrigued by the new Delorme Earthmate PN-60W. Has the spot but allows texting and has a GPS.

    http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/...on-capability/
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    Default ...

    They are starting to become an "issue" up here as people are using the emergency button if they get a flat on a road when out driving. They think the Troopers Search and rescue is like a AAA auto coverage.

    Don't know what will come of it, but the rumor is (since the State pays for SARs) that they will start citing people for false report if it isn't an emergency and making them pay for the man power (usually the entire Fire Dept shows up to head out for SARs).
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan22 View Post
    They are starting to become an "issue" up here as people are using the emergency button if they get a flat on a road when out driving. They think the Troopers Search and rescue is like a AAA auto coverage.

    Don't know what will come of it, but the rumor is (since the State pays for SARs) that they will start citing people for false report if it isn't an emergency and making them pay for the man power (usually the entire Fire Dept shows up to head out for SARs).
    the new spot can bet set up for emergancy road side service but that disables the SAR function... it has to be done at time of sign up...


    i have been carrying my spot II in my bino pack in the hydration pack folder i left it on for three weeks on one set of batteries. and the wife got the text every time i told it to... from the yukon river
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  16. #16
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default OK function

    I'd like to hear more about what you use the OK function for....I like the track..but it sure makes a lot of waypoints.

    I forgot to send OK a couple times and people got worried that we were not OK...I told them not to worry unless I send a HELP signal......

    I am on the original set of batteries and I have used it a lot every weeekend for a month now.

  17. #17
    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I'd like to hear more about what you use the OK function for....I like the track..but it sure makes a lot of waypoints.

    I forgot to send OK a couple times and people got worried that we were not OK...I told them not to worry unless I send a HELP signal......

    I am on the original set of batteries and I have used it a lot every weeekend for a month now.
    I think for most people that wait for the "OK" signal to ensure that you haven't been injured or incapacitated on the trip. If you were injured or incapacitated prior to being able to hit the "HELP" signal, no one would know.

    From all the things I've read, the SPOT "OK" function has really opened up a lot of kitchen passes from the wives of guys who like to go out into the back country.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

  18. #18
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    I used my SPOT this weekend and it worked great. We went up to King's River to ride ATVs for the day. This was a "guy" ride so the wives all staid at home. I knew the wives would be concerned about their fellows being gone all day and cell coverage is spotty at best...plus, who wants to constantly have to check their cell phone to let their wife know they are ok???

    So, before I left the house I sent a message to each of the wives (4 including my wife) with a link to my shared SPOT tracking page...

    The wives were able to check in on our location and trail progress without us ever having to stop and try to get a message to them. The SPOT took care of it for us. Personally, I like the fact that I can change plans and ride longer than expected without trying to get the wife a message saying so. If I don't show back up at the house at my usual time, she gets online and checks out my location.

    It allows for piece of mind for family and friends when you are out in the back country.

    Additionally, if I am out overnight I will turn my SPOT off when I go to sleep for the night. I turn it on the next morning and send an "OK" message to my contacts (wife and son). That lets them know I am up and awake the next morning. I then turn the tracking function back on when I hit the trail for the day.

    The bonus for me is that I have all my way-points saved on my SPOT page when I get home and I can share those points with friends very easily.

    I keep my SPOT located in the front fender storage compartment of my Grizzly 700 when I am on the trail. It still transmits from inside the storage compartment. No need to have it mounted on the bars!!!
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
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    "I'd like to hear more about what you use the OK function for...."

    You can set the OK button to send a message that says, "Trip is being delayed an extra day." Then you can program the HELP button to send a message that says, "I'm at the take-out, come pick me up."

    I can think of a lot of uses other than just OK & HELP. In fact you could tell the person you will be sending these messages to that if you get three of these, "I'm at the take-out, come pick me up" messages within an hour, it's because I need help. That way you would still maintain all your functions and add more specialized ones too.

  20. #20
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    Woman rescued in the Brooks after activating her SPOT

    http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_s...-Brooks-Range?

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