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SPOT

Posted: Dec 12 2007 5:59 pm
by AZLOT69
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.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Jun 16 2008 6:46 am
by Jeffshadows
It looks like the key is the view the unit gets of the southern horizon, not even sky. If it has a clear view of the southern *horizon*, it seems to send the OK messages relatively quickly. We had it out in the Ritas with us this weekend and the one message I tried to send from down on the Super trail inside of the canyon was taking in excess of six minutes so I turned it off. On the saddles and the summit where it could get a clear shot south, it took about 45 sec - 1 minute.

The other thing that was hosing me up is the fact that you really have to sit and stare at it to look for when the right indicator light shines steady for a second, indicating that it sent the message. The confusion came because it goes right back to blinking with both lights, so if you're not watching you'd think it hadn't done anything...

Re: SPOT

Posted: Jun 16 2008 10:00 am
by AZLOT69
Great.....keep using it, as with anything safety related, we have to be familiar and comfortable with it BEFORE the emergency.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 11 2008 3:05 pm
by Dirt4dinner
I figured I would find a SPOT thread on this forum someplace. I just got mine this past week from my parents for Christmas. There are REALLY good deals on them for the holidays. Both REI and Bass Pro Shop have them for $149 and a $50 mail in rebate. I just tested mine this morning for the first time in my front yard. The message came across before I could get back inside to the computer.

I'm looking forward to field testing it in a few weeks up in the Sups.

I think this is the perfect holiday gift for just about everyone on this forum!

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 11 2008 3:06 pm
by Jeffshadows
Dirt4dinner wrote:I figured I would find a SPOT thread on this forum someplace. I just got mine this past week from my parents for Christmas. There are REALLY good deals on them for the holidays. Both REI and Bass Pro Shop have them for $149 and a $50 mail in rebate. I just tested mine this morning for the first time in my front yard. The message came across before I could get back inside to the computer.

I'm looking forward to field testing it in a few weeks up in the Sups.

I think this is the perfect holiday gift for just about everyone on this forum!
I'll be interested to see how yours does, I was thinking of sending mine back. Only about 35% of the "OK" messages ever get through.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 11 2008 4:36 pm
by Grasshopper
Jeff MacE wrote:Only about 35% of the "OK" messages ever get through.
Jeff, do you have a "top-back-strap" on your day pack? If so, try clipping your SPOT back there. I know the thought of not seeing it as you hike is :o , but it seems to transmit better up high and if hiking with someone you can have them press the OK button when it's time.. Try this before you give-up on it.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 11 2008 6:17 pm
by mttgilbert
This is the spot as I see it:

I've had the spot for a little while now and have been using it fairly frequently (my wife likes the check-in feature). She has received every one of the messages I have sent. Some of them have taken a little while to get to her, but they have all arrived. I don't watch the lights, I just press the button and go. I keep it on the outside of my pack, usually clipped and girth hitched to one of the compression straps on the side. It does get VERY spotty reception for the map-tracking feature and only about half of my movements show up on the track log.

I'm not super convinced that this is the end all be all of PLBs but I think it beats the alternative $500 units with no-check in or personal safety net options. And it is a first generation product so they haven't had time to work out all the kinks. For the price and the weight I'll keep carrying mine. I think they'll get better over time and I will eventually replace it, but for now I think it's about the best thing of it's kind out there.

I know some other folks who have them and have had much less luck than I have. One thing to keep in mind (this happened to a buddy of mine); if you - for instance - send an "OK" message and, before it gets uploaded, click the OK button again, it cancels the message. If you are having trouble with the messaging you may try just letting it cycle for a while. The message just might get through after a little while; like I said, I haven't had any messages that didn't go through eventually.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 11 2008 6:42 pm
by Dirt4dinner
I know in the next 3-5 years this technology is going to explode! I have a good feeling the technology is going to start leaning towards fully customizable messages. They should start having a key board on them, like a black berry or cell phone with full keyboard. You will be able to type whatever you want and send it. But for now the SPOT is going to get my wife and mom to calm down when I go on hikes!

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 11 2008 9:32 pm
by Jeffshadows
Grasshopper wrote:
Jeff MacE wrote:Only about 35% of the "OK" messages ever get through.
Jeff, do you have a "top-back-strap" on your day pack? If so, try clipping your SPOT back there. I know the thought of not seeing it as you hike is :o , but it seems to transmit better up high and if hiking with someone you can have them press the OK button when it's time.. Try this before you give-up on it.
I'll give it a shot this weekend; I was starting to wonder if got a bad unit...

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 15 2008 4:12 pm
by Jeffshadows
Well, it didn't fare a lot better this time. I tried leaving it on the entire time to no avail. I'm going to try a couple of other things and see if I can come up with a recipe for success with it. I'll let everyone know how it goes...

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 15 2008 7:00 pm
by Grasshopper
Jeff MacE wrote:Well, it didn't fare a lot better this time.
Well, maybe you did get a defective lemon..

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 15 2008 7:13 pm
by fricknaley
mine sent 1 of 6 from Rincon Peak...not cool.

do you guys stay stationary when you send yours and for how long? I tried just sending and moving this time. Clearly, not the correct decision.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 15 2008 7:34 pm
by Grasshopper
nickfraley wrote:do you guys stay stationary when you send yours and for how long?
No, we are always moving when we transmit an "OK". It does take various amounts of time to transmit, but it almost always does as long as we are not in a slot canyon type of situation. Also, having the southern horizon in view seens to help some too. We have less problems now with the SPOT transmittals since we started attaching it to a top-back-compression strap on Ken's daypack... He's hikes in front and I hike in back of him and press the OK button for him. I believe the SPOT directions state that when transmitting you should stop, put it on a flat surface, then press the buttons and wait for ~10-15minutes.. but that won't work for us as we would be using flashlights back to the TH for every hike we do.. ;)

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 15 2008 8:42 pm
by Jeffshadows
I may break down and pay for tracking this year just to be done with it...

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 15 2008 11:11 pm
by rushthezeppelin
Dirt4dinner wrote:I know in the next 3-5 years this technology is going to explode! I have a good feeling the technology is going to start leaning towards fully customizable messages. They should start having a key board on them, like a black berry or cell phone with full keyboard. You will be able to type whatever you want and send it. But for now the SPOT is going to get my wife and mom to calm down when I go on hikes!
It will probably be more like a Satellite phone that has GPS built in but ya this stuff is hopefully going to be much more reliable soon.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 15 2008 11:31 pm
by nonot
that won't work for us as we would be using flashlights back to the TH for every hike we do..
Hank likes to limit this to only 50% of his hikes, :GB:

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 21 2008 1:30 pm
by Dirt4dinner
I tried the track function on mine a few days ago hiking from Peralta Trail Head, out past La Barge Springs (close to Charbolis Spring). It sent 7 track messages over the course of 5 hours. If it actually worked PERFECT and sent one ever 10 minutes, it should have sent 30 messages. So 7 out of 30 is only 23%. Not to impressive.

I think I will start using it more for OK messages when I stop for lunch or for the night. That way I can be sure to lay it on a flat surface and give it ample time to transmit the OK message.

.....even though it's not flawless, it's sure a lot better than nothing.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 21 2008 2:23 pm
by Davis2001r6
Results like that is why I don't have one yet. Or Combine it with a GPS so it can actually give you useful information as well. Good start with the technology, I just think it leaves a lot to be desired right now.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 21 2008 2:40 pm
by Dirt4dinner
The track function is the only problem with it. Thankfully, that is an option when paying for the service. So you can actually save yourself $50 by not using that service. The OK message seems to work perfect, and the help and 911 options are invaluable. So even with the spotty (no pun intended) track messages, it's worth the money.

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 21 2008 3:28 pm
by Jeffshadows
Dirt4dinner wrote:The track function is the only problem with it. Thankfully, that is an option when paying for the service. So you can actually save yourself $50 by not using that service. The OK message seems to work perfect, and the help and 911 options are invaluable. So even with the spotty (no pun intended) track messages, it's worth the money.
The OK message *does not* work perfectly for me, Nick, or two other people I know of off-hand. I'm working on why...

Re: SPOT

Posted: Dec 21 2008 6:55 pm
by nonot
Odds are that the unit is transmitting every 10 minutes but the satellites are not picking it up. To improve your odds the following general recommendations may help:

In general, have an open/unobstructed view of as much sky as is possible, based on coverage maps it looks like the two most relevant birds are somewhere above south Texas/northeastern Mexico and off the coast of California.
Optimumly orient the unit towards the sky (since I couldn't find the antenna pattern on their website, the most likely guess is to have the unit be held flat horizontally like setting it on a table, perhaps this is in a manual?)
Don't place the unit near metal objects like a digital camera or in a cast-iron pot :).
Don't use the unit near other transmitters/radio towers.

I don't have one but it sounds like a fun gadget that could help save someone's life.