SPOT

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AZLOT69
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SPOT

Post by AZLOT69 » Dec 12 2007 5:59 pm

NEW PRODUCT- "SPOT" IS A PERSONAL SATELLITE MESSENGER. LIGHTER-CHEAPER THAN A SATELLITE PHONE OR EPERB.

JUST OUT-THIS IS THE FIRST GENERATION AND I'M SURE THEY WILL GET EVEN BETTER. i'VE TESTED IT AND VERY HAPPY SO FAR. IT WORKS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SUPERSTITIONS-FAR AWAY FROM CELL SIGNALS. BESIDES CALLING FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE YOU CAN ALERT AS MANY AS FIVE PHONES VIA TEXT MESSAGE, AND OR COMPUTERS THAT YOU ARE OK AND IT SENDS A MESSAGE WITH YOUR CURRENT GPS COORDINATES AND A LINK TO GOOGLE EARTH WHICH SHOWS EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE AT. I HIKE ALONE OFTEN SO THIS ASSURES ME AND OTHERS.
It's best for a man to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open his mouth and remove all doubt.
--Mark Twain

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davidanthonyporter
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Re: SPOT

Post by davidanthonyporter » Mar 28 2008 11:22 am

I have one and I haven't had any problems. It seems to take a while for it to find a satellite, but other than that it works well. The annual service is around $100 bucks and as I recall the unit was in that same ball park.

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Grasshopper
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Re: SPOT

Post by Grasshopper » Mar 29 2008 4:46 pm

davidanthonyporter wrote:I have one and I haven't had any problems. It seems to take a while for it to find a satellite, but other than that it works well.
Ken(topohiker) has been using his SPOT weekly on some very remote hikes. When I join him (twice over the past three Saturdays, 3/15 on the remote Salome Wild.-Boyer Cabin Tr#148 hike & yesterday on the Sierra Ancha-Moody Point Tr#140 hike), I have been logging the "actual time" that we transmitted all our SPOT messages, and then after arriving home verifying my email messages to assure that ALL these transmitted SPOT messages did arrive and then checking to see what is the time difference between actual transmitted time and actual email received time. Here is what I have confirmed for just these two previous hikes: Like David says it does sometimes take a while to find a satellite and complete the transmittal loop. For approx eight to ten hike SPOT transmittals made, it took between 10minutes to 90minutes to reach my email inbox. Also, for each of these two hikes, Ken and I were both missing "one" SPOT transmittal in our email inbox. On the Boyer Cabin Tr hike, the missing SPOT transmittal did finally arrive about 15hrs later on the next day. For yesterdays hike(as of this posting) I have still not received the missing SPOT transmittal..Not good IF either one of these two transmittals had been our cry for HELP vrs our OK confirmation. Otherwise, it seems to be working well!..
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

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davidanthonyporter
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Re: SPOT

Post by davidanthonyporter » Mar 29 2008 5:44 pm

Have you tried sending the transmittals to a cell phone? That seems to work well.

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joebartels
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Re: SPOT

Post by joebartels » Mar 29 2008 5:51 pm

Take a piece of paper. Grasp tightly and blow on the edge. It's louder than any plastic or metal whistle. Even if you're out of audible range and the satellites signals are low you have a sheet of paper to write your will on. Though I'd seriously think twice before blowing a whistling in the drug ridden chaparral ranges.
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

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fotogirl53
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Re: SPOT

Post by fotogirl53 » Apr 03 2008 8:20 pm

I hike solo frequently and the spouse gets worried. SPOT has solved these issues. The option for a 10 minute automatic check-in is great if I fall and knock myself out and can't push the 911 button. We have the arrangement that I send the location when I leave the car, then check-in manually every 30 minutes(Check-In button). If my location hasn't changed in 60 minutes, he has my last known location and can either come find me or call out the troops. I also signed up for the Track Progress option that sends my location to my SPOT account automatically every 10 minutes. At least that way, help may get to me in time based on lat/long. info if I'm unconscious or the family should be able to find my remains! I haven't had any trouble with connecting to a satellite in the areas of northern AZ around Flagstaff, Sedona, Sycamore Canyon, Kingman, Oatman, Bullhead City. I don't think that the type of people who buy SPOT would push the 911 button unless there was a real problem. They will probably push the Ask for Help button that sends a message to people you have listed on your account.
Allergic to cities.

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Grasshopper
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Re: SPOT

Post by Grasshopper » Apr 03 2008 9:18 pm

fotogirl53 wrote:I don't think that the type of people who buy SPOT would push the 911 button unless there was a real problem. They will probably push the Ask for Help button that sends a message to people you have listed on your account.
Sounds like you have a good plan the way you two use your SPOT, but I do think that some of us who also use this unit may not have put much thought into the meaning of the "ask for help button". There should be a clear understanding with those who would receive this "send help" message from us (via email or cell phone), as to what we want them to do IF we need to send this "send help" message.. Presently, IF I were home monitoring the SPOT "OK" progress of my hiking buddy, and then I received a "send help" transmittal request from him, I think my first thought/action would be to pick-up the phone and dial 911... He and I and the others who are on his email list do need to be sure we are all on the same page IF a "send help" transmittal ever happened... Maybe, the understanding should be: the person who is using the SPOT and needs to send a help message, first transmits the 911 need, then second transmits the "send help" need which confirms to family, friends,etc.. that 911 has already been contacted! :-k
Last edited by Grasshopper on Apr 03 2008 9:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

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davidanthonyporter
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Re: SPOT

Post by davidanthonyporter » Apr 03 2008 9:21 pm

I have told my family that if I hit the help button they are to call 911. Help for me means that I need help but it is not a life threatening situation.

911, for me, is I am in serious danger and need immediate attention.

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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: SPOT

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Apr 04 2008 7:33 am

If your disabled and unable to use your Spot, you need a plan B with your contact person. For example if they do not hear from you after 24 hours from a certain time of day, it is time to call the appropriate Sheriff's department.

I fell one time and was unconscious for four hours and totally out of it for another ten hours. Of course I was alone and off trail which is what I usually do. I had even parked off the trailhead a ways under a paloverde tree which would have made it difficult for a helicopter search to even find my vehicle. It took me three hours the next morning to crawl down to the bottom of the canyon I was in and park myself under some shade next to a stream. Not having told my wife where I was going I figured it would be at least three days before they even found my vehicle. Fortunately eight backpackers came up canyon that morning and found me. And even more fortunately they all were co-workers from a local hospital! Doctors, techs and nurses! They splinted my leg and provided me with pain medicine which I knew you could not get over the counter! They then walked me out with a man on each side of me holding me up. Don't let this happen to you - get a Spot if your going off trail alone and have a plan B with your contact....... :scared:
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
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fotogirl53
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Re: SPOT

Post by fotogirl53 » Apr 07 2008 9:12 pm

The plan you have with friends/family may be the most important piece of using SPOT. When you were injured, if you had a plan to check in every hour or two, and then you didn't, someone (or multiple people you list as contacts) would notice that you hadn't checked in and they could have asked for help for you. Of course, this means that you just can't take off unannounced to anyone to romp around the wilds. But I think this little loss of independence is worth the peace of mind for me and my family.
Allergic to cities.

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chumley
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Re: SPOT

Post by chumley » Apr 08 2008 8:51 am

Even without SPOT, telling somebody where you're going is the most important thing. As a sad reminder, in this morning's Republic, there's an article about a guy whose body was found 300 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon. He'd been missing for over 3 weeks. In a not-so-pretty-picture, park officials were alerted to the location of the body by "heavy condor activity" in the area. He was only 29 years old.

In a case like this, if you fall 300 feet, you may not be conscious or able to send a SPOT signal, but that's where the pre-planned check-in times and last-known-locations really help out.

Of course, in this case, I infer that he was not hiking, but was rather just taking in a relaxing view from the Trail View Overlook "after leaving his home upset" (or perhaps he jumped? :( The article doesn't say much.)
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Jeffshadows
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Re: SPOT

Post by Jeffshadows » Apr 08 2008 9:36 am

Like a lot of others, I do frequently hike alone into areas that are quite isolated. Radios work at times, at others you're all alone. That, and no HAM or CB radio will ever actually put me into 1-to-1 contact with family at home and tell them to send help. If you are lucky enough to get a Ranger or other responsible party on a radio, you're usually okay...usually. I'm glad to see all of the replies about this little gadget; I was afraid it was going to be another "flash in the pan" that came and went before it ever repaid its cost. It looks like this thing might be nice for the "I'm OK" feature, alone. Even if it takes a second to negotiate a signal, it might give me an excuse to stop and take a breather every-so-often on longer treks.

I'm wondering how the 911 feature works. Like others were saying - I'd probably sooner have a plan with my family to call Sheriff's SAR if they got a "Send Help" message from me before I'd trust whatever functionality SPOT has worked out with the 911 system?

Jeff
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Jeffshadows
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Re: SPOT

Post by Jeffshadows » Apr 28 2008 8:15 am

davidanthonyporter wrote:I have told my family that if I hit the help button they are to call 911. Help for me means that I need help but it is not a life threatening situation.

911, for me, is I am in serious danger and need immediate attention.
Hey David,

So it works pretty well for you? I was super close to buying one this weekend but wanted to get first-hand accounts of how well it works from someone other than sales staff before I dropped the $$$. Either way, I'm thinking this could be a situation where I would sooner be glad to have it and not need it than the opposite, though. My main concern is coverage. I've also heard stories about people getting the "I'm okay" messages hours or days after they were sent...

Thanks for any info!

Jeff
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Jeffshadows
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Re: SPOT

Post by Jeffshadows » May 12 2008 8:06 am

So, this was the first weekend I had the unit out in the wild, so-to-speak. It seems to work pretty well. When I tested it in the backyard it sent the "check-in" message after a really long delay, but it was extremely accurate. When I had it down in the Santa Ritas this weekend, it sent the initial "check-in" message almost immediately from the trailhead. Everything went pear-shaped when I tried to send another one from up in the canyon, however. The second one didn't actually go out until I got back to the trailhead, some 45 minutes later. My suspicion is that one must stand still after telling it to check-in until it negotiates and sends the message, otherwise it won't do so until you stop for a while. That could be a ways away. Either way, it doesn't really affect the call for help functionality since, presumably, someone would be stationary in that situation, anyway...
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Grasshopper
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Re: SPOT

Post by Grasshopper » May 12 2008 8:51 am

Jeff MacE wrote: My suspicion is that one must stand still after telling it to check-in until it negotiates and sends the message, otherwise it won't do so until you stop for a while. That could be a ways away. Either way, it doesn't really affect the call for help functionality since, presumably, someone would be stationary in that situation, anyway...
Ken and I hike with his SPOT unit most always in pretty remote areas. After returning home & reviewing the spot transmittals against my hiking notes of when Ken actually did the transmittal, I find the same thing happens that you are finding. He mentioned to me that in the manual it notes that one should lay the unit on the ground and press the transmit button(two lights will start blinking), when only one light is blinking then the signal was transmitted..this could take anywhere from ~1min to 15minutes. Well, this guideline does not fit our hiking style (to stay in one place that long each time we want to send a "check-in" message), so during the hike period we just push the "check-in" button more often during our hikes to assure that enough transmittals are sent. Also, as you note, "it doesn't really affect the call for help functionality since, presumably, someone would be stationary in that situation". Especially while hiking in remote areas, I think it is another good safety investment and certainly a good "piece of mind" for those at home who are receiving & monitoring our "check-in" messages. We try to always make sure we actually transmitted TWO KEY check-in messages: one at the beginning TH start and one at the ending TH.. this generally assures those following the GPS coordinates on Google Earth that we at least make it back to our vehicle & will also give a general idea of how late we will be for the drive back home.
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

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Jeffshadows
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Re: SPOT

Post by Jeffshadows » May 12 2008 9:00 am

Grasshopper wrote:
Jeff MacE wrote: My suspicion is that one must stand still after telling it to check-in until it negotiates and sends the message, otherwise it won't do so until you stop for a while. That could be a ways away. Either way, it doesn't really affect the call for help functionality since, presumably, someone would be stationary in that situation, anyway...
Ken and I hike with his SPOT unit most always in pretty remote areas. After returning home & reviewing the spot transmittals against my hiking notes of when Ken actually did the transmittal, I find the same thing happens that you are finding. He mentioned to me that in the manual it notes that one should lay the unit on the ground and press the transmit button(two lights will start blinking), when only one light is blinking then the signal was transmitted..this could take anywhere from ~1min to 15minutes. Well, this guideline does not fit our hiking style (to stay in one place that long each time we want to send a "check-in" message), so during the hike period we just push the "check-in" button more often during our hikes to assure that enough transmittals are sent. Also, as you note, "it doesn't really affect the call for help functionality since, presumably, someone would be stationary in that situation". Especially while hiking in remote areas, I think it is another good safety investment and certainly a good "piece of mind" for those at home who are receiving & monitoring our "check-in" messages. We try to always make sure we actually transmitted TWO KEY check-in messages: one at the beginning TH start and one at the ending TH.. this generally assures those following the GPS coordinates on Google Earth that we at least make it back to our vehicle & will also give a general idea of how late we will be for the drive back home.
Agreed. It's very much something I'd rather have and not need than vice-versa...
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Jeffshadows
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Re: SPOT

Post by Jeffshadows » Jun 06 2008 12:53 pm

Well, just as a follow-up: I'm still having issues with this thing. It's probably operator error, but it's down-right frustrating given the cost. I'll try to post up more if I figure out what I'm doing right\wrong, maybe it will save someone else frustration later on...
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Grasshopper
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Re: SPOT

Post by Grasshopper » Jun 06 2008 1:49 pm

Jeff MacE wrote:Well, just as a follow-up: I'm still having issues with this thing.
Sorry to hear that! Nothing new to report here "+ or -" from me hiking with Ken and his SPOT.. us having one still seems to outweigh not having one. Bruce- who posted this original forum topic, and David who also ownes one, have not posted in a while. I wonder if they are still satisfied with their SPOT??
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

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Jeffshadows
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Re: SPOT

Post by Jeffshadows » Jun 06 2008 1:55 pm

I'd be interested to hear, too :)
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AZLOT69
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Re: SPOT

Post by AZLOT69 » Jun 06 2008 6:39 pm

I had it fail for me once or twice-but that was when I got impatient and put it back in the pack. If I stop for a snack I place it out in plain sight of the sky and it works every time. Very popular up in the Sierras its considered standard equipment by backcountry guides.
It's best for a man to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open his mouth and remove all doubt.
--Mark Twain

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Grasshopper
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Re: SPOT

Post by Grasshopper » Jun 14 2008 10:24 pm

From my hiking partner..last SPOT message transmittal at the ending TH(note the time of night arrival).. kind-of glad I did not hike today!! :D Arrive TH at 10:07pm (west of Strawberry,AZ..Verde River TR).. then drive back home to So. Scottsdale)..

----- Original Message -----
From: noreply
Subject: OK ESN:0-73XXXXX

SPOT Check OK. I'm out hiking. Here's a way point
ESN:0-73XXXXX
Latitude:34.3559
Longitude:-111.5699
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/15/2008 05:06:55 (GMT)
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

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