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Satellite messenger ?

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Satellite messenger ?

Postby The Other Tom » Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:56 pm

My wife has always been somewhat concerned about my safety on the trail. I thought about satellite phones....too heavy and expensive. Is the satellite messenger a good alternative ? Anybody tried one ?
Connect to http://www.findmespot.com/explorespot/s ... enger.aspx



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Postby Shawn » Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:26 am

I've got one, largely for the same reason you describe as I am often out solo.

The SPOT works better than advertised IMO. The unique ability to pre-define two text messages makes the unit most useful. For example, if I know I will be overdue I can simply push a button and the wife receives the text indicating same so I don't induce some extra anxiety back at home.

No doubt you've read the info on the web so you know an email is sent with not only the predefined text but a link to Google maps with the exact location and time of which the message was sent.

Of course the unit does have a '911' feature, while it is nice to have this was not the primary purpose for the purchase.
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Spot

Postby gdurkee » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:27 pm

Shawn:

Our supervisor sent that URL out to a couple of us to think about. Were you able to transmit from most everywhere?

It's slightly cheaper through these folks:

http://www.globalcomsatphone.com/spot/

Thanks,

g.
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Postby dave54 » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:41 pm

Significantly cheaper and lighter, but not as good, is an external antenna for your cell phone.

I have one that has a mag base for sticking on a car roof, and has 6' of wire. I can put the antenna on my pole and hold it high. Sometimes I get a usable cell signal where the phone alone did not, and often don't get any better reception. But it is better than nothing.
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Re: Spot

Postby Shawn » Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:16 am

George,

So far, I have been able to xmit from everywhere, yet I have not been in the deepest of canyons, etc. (the spring and summer will be my first real back country test).

The thing is, the unit provides an affirmation that the signal was sent as expected. It will also xmit without a GPS lock, obviously with different results. It seems a much more sophisticated unit than most people give it credit for until a full hands on evaluation is done. As an old nerd, I am quite impressed.

In summary, if I can look up and see the sky I think the unit will get a signal out.


gdurkee wrote:Shawn:

Our supervisor sent that URL out to a couple of us to think about. Were you able to transmit from most everywhere?

It's slightly cheaper through these folks:

http://www.globalcomsatphone.com/spot/

Thanks,

g.
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SPOT

Postby oldranger » Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:56 pm

I have two reservations.

1. This is completely private. Globalstar hasn't been a reliable sat phone provider. I know this system is not exactly the same and is supposed to be more reliable. What if they decide they can't make money on the system and quit? Will they give a heads up or will it just happen when you finally really need it.

2. Expected limitation. My daughter gave me a wrist mounted GPS that I use when doing my training hikes and xcountry skiing. On overnighters and longer it stays at home. I have found on heavily forested north slopes that I lose enough satellites that it give me a message asking If I have gone indoors. Even the wrist I wear it on affects reception. I usually keep it on the wrist that is to the south. Anyhow that may be an indicator of some limitations with SPOT, too. I

I'm still considering SPOT, but if Globalstar Satelite phone service improves or if Iridium gets a 7 oz. phone like globalstar I might go that way. Up in eastern oregon there are few locations with reliable cell phone service so for desert rats a sat phone may be the best way to go for emergencies and to keep in touch with the family (I have elderly parents that are subject to health emergencies) when two way communication is needed.

mike
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Postby BSquared » Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:33 pm

That gadget looks really cool to me, too, particularly since my wife is somewhat concerned about my planned 2009 JMT solo (let's see I'll be...carry the one, add two... well into my 60s ;) ). The modification I'd really like to see is a GPS position readout. They've got all the electronics in there, so it doesn't seem like it would be that big a deal to add a little LCD display with UTM coordinates on it...
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Postby The Other Tom » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:16 am

Discussion on the same topic from another forum..
http://www.paddling.net/message/showThr ... 714#809860
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Spot

Postby frediver » Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:50 am

The price of the unit is not that big a deal but the continuing price of service charges is the deal breaker for me.
I dont need anymore easy monthly charges to protect me !
How long will it be before we are required to have a device like this whenever we go out?
IMO FRS/GMRS handie talkies should have a signal feature built into the units.
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Re: Spot

Postby asabat » Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:31 pm

IMO FRS/GMRS handie talkies should have a signal feature built into the units.


IMO no! Make it available on some units, but don't mandate more stuff most of us don't need and drive up the price. I use FRS radios only for very short range (across the yard) work. Otherwise I use a real radio (ham or public service). I don't want to pay more than $10 for an FRS as that's all I need.
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Spot/Frs

Postby frediver » Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:23 pm

Sounds good to me, I am not big on mandates either.
It should be an easy optional feature to build into a new unit, it might open up a whole new market. Then again with business desiring continuing revenue a fee free system might not be an easy sell in the board room.
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Postby maverick » Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:12 pm

I was also checking out this device since I dropped my Globalstar
account.
I never had problems attaining reception, though in some places it
took a little longer to get a fix on a satellite, or I could not carry on
a very long conversation, which it is not really what I intended to use it
for anyway, but thats not something Id want to say to my wife.
The reason I dropped Globalstar was the billing fiasco that carried
on for several months after which I got tired of dealing with.
Would I recommend them, yes, if and only when they hired some
competent people in the billing dept!
Iridium is supposed to be better in all aspects but is even more expensive
so they are not a viable alternative for me.
I never carried a phone anyways till 3 yrs ago when my wife said
"carry a phone or don't go".
Last edited by maverick on Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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