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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
Eco
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Default Spot Satellite Personal Tracker


http://www.spotgpspersonaltracker.com/home

opinions appreciated. pros / cons, whatever ..
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 10:09 PM
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There may be some info in this blog and more opinions in the forums on their site:

http://www.equipped.org/blog/?p=82

http://equipped.org/SPOT_ORSummer2007.htm
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 10:36 PM
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 08:16 AM
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Picked one up at London Drugs in Mission a couple of month back and I`m happy with it . Like the older GPS units Spot does not work under heavy tree cover ( I`m sure some terrain limitations apply to to other PLB`s or satellite phones as well ) but any place with open sky I have been able to get messages out with no problem and the location coordinates it has sent have been highly accurate . ( Also useful for plotting your route as you can send an unlimited number of " I`m Ok " messages for the basic subscription charge of $99.99 US a year ).
This is the first device I`ve come across with a cost/benefit ratio that appeals to me . For 2 bucks a week even a 50% chance of getting out of a jackpot is a lot better than zero ........

Wulf
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
Eco
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Thanks for the info and feedback.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 12:40 PM
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So at the current subscription rate, I have feeling that over four years you will have paid the price of an ACR or comparable PLB. the one benefit that the Spot has "Currently" overthe PLB but not forever is the ability to transmit a "I'm ok message" which reduces the potential of false alarms. Currently no technology is available to assist an unconscious person. With a PLB, your contact person has to assume you are ok and just delayed unless it has been activated. If you are injured or sick and definitely need help then you activate it. Visibility For PLB's is more efficient as it utilizes both LEO and GEO stationary satellites and the operating parameters and minimum standards must meet RTCM,COSPAS/SARSAT NOAA/NASA and applicable TSOs and airworthiness directives. Just a reminder that the PLB also transmits a GPS GPS coordinate on the latest models.

Perhaps at some point the "I'm ok" message will be worked into the PLB data stream and perhaps it wouldn't be a major deal for the nearest Rescue centre to update your contact person with a status report if there was a delay. I don't know if I agree that this is needed though.
Also good
http://www.equipped.org/blog/?p=83
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 01:23 PM
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I am wondering if the lsO2 AAs are sufficient to operate the unit in low temps. As per Doug Ritter's Blog they won't confirm it meets the COSPAS SARSAT RTCM standard of -40 degrees. In fairness to the unit though, how often do you come across those temps and the unit should be close to your body anyways.

I have to say that I am still in favour of PLBs
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 01:33 PM
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http://www.equipped.org/home.htm
a lot of good PLB articles on Doug's page
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 03:16 PM
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if i do get one...it would be more for my wife to check in on me.. so she could sleep at night if she's not on the trip. I'll probably wait forever for an all in one.

...it took forever for "them" to amalgamate a cell phone/mp3 player/camera etc.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
Eco
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Good argument for both, but I must say I do like improving standards that PLBs are required to meet.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 06:06 PM
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I bought one of these about 4 months ago. I use it all the time, especially when flying. It works as advertised but I wish more thought was put into it. There are a few things I don't like and it doesn't really give you feedback if its successfully transmitting other than blinking lights.


An example. Press "OK" button for 2 seconds to activate OK message but push the same button for 5 seconds to activate tracking mode. Why couldn't they have a seperate "tracking button"?

I think that the next edition will have some of the bugs worked out.

I have never had to use it in an emergency situation (touch wood) but so far I can tell its accuracy is very good because when I go home and check the tracking online its bang on. For me its money well spent.

By the way I also have an ACR AQUAFIX eperb (bought it 2 years ago). I trust that one more and would take it on a "bigger" adventure but I would also take the Spot as I can send "OK" messages to my wife, etc. You can't do that with a regular epirb.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 06:48 PM
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" Does it do what I want it to do ? " is more important to me than " Does it meet standard xyz ? " It may not work at the north pole at minus 72 deg F but then chances of me being there are not all that great either . We all have different requirements and expectations .
If I can be out somewhere working on a trail and my wife can check the email and there is a message that says I reported at 11.22 from 49.3196 / -122.2138 , I`m ok and she can click on the link below for a Google satellite image with my exact position indicated by the arrow I`m happy with that .

I agree with russianfront that the design could be improved and I too have found the accuracy is excellent .

Wulf
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 08:44 PM
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the cost over5 years for spot vs plb is about the same .the benifit of the plb is that when activated it is carried on the search and rescue frequiences (also posts gps position).the spot is not the way to go if you are wanting a proven emerg beacon,or else use a sat phone . the spot is great for keeping touch with wife but use a plb for your first choice emerg system try reading some of this http://www.backpacker.com/cgi-bin/fo...9;t=9991098278
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
quote:By the way I also have an ACR AQUAFIX eperb (bought it 2 years ago). I trust that one more and would take it on a "bigger" adventure but I would also take the Spot as I can send "OK" messages to my wife, etc. You can't do that with a regular epirb.
Russian Front: If your Aquafix survival Epirb is supplied with lithium sulphide batteries Ls02, I believe it still has to meet TSO C91 and 91A for the transport of hazardous materials on board of an aircraft. These batteries are more robust than typical lithium AAs but if they burn they are a problem. Aircraft ELTs will be requested to comform to 406Mhz standards as of February 2009 I believe. Hopefully this means that all issues with respect to Ls02 batteries has been dealt with ( you have to assume so). If you're pilot is ok with you travelling on board with it then there is no problem. LsO2 battery certification has taken a long time time to deal with but Ballard has certainly helped in dealing with this problem.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 10:53 PM
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Wolf I think you would be a valuable resource in to the effectiveness of the SPOT unit especially if it is providing the updates which you indicate ie: remote worker reporting. From what I can see the advantage of the SPOT unit is that it only uses the Simplex side of the Globestar SAT carriers as apposed to the duplex side for SAT phones which has the most problems currently. Keep the feed back coming.

NorthernBC you have my vote. On the PLB there is a one time registration fee with NSS (National Search Secretariat) and that's it. In the event of an emergency the PLB sends your registration code, GPS position, and Doppler position to the Mission control centre and then transferred to the nearest Rescue Coordination centre and onto local SAR or SAR Squadron. Does it work? Yes I can tell you it does. Corperal Rick Smith of (then) RCMP 100mile house had his wife medivac'd out for a heart condition with one of our early units. And that is when we were relying on Doppler shift only untill the deployment of units capable of uploading GPS coordinates to GOES East/West.

Personally I would like to see the technologies married but Orbcomm at the time wouldn't come to the table.
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