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SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby longri » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:25 pm

psykokid wrote:Just a quick question longri - how were you carrying the spot?


It was in a fanny pack at my waist, in front of me. A thin layer of 1.4 oz/yd2 silnylon between the SPOT and the sky. That should be fine. And anyway, when I was sending a message I would set it out on a rock or something and watch it. Watch those little lights blinking: "Yes, you're your message was sent!". Lies.

The SPOT has some issues, something I knew before I rented it. And the literature that came with the rental basically said the same thing: that messages might not make it and there's really no way to know, until you get back home, whether it worked or not in a particular case. So send lots of messages to keep your family and friends happy. That's a blatant admission that the technology is faulty.

So I'm going to look into the InReach and passive PLB options. I'll probably still be a renter.
Last edited by longri on Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby rlown » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:34 pm

My Garmin Explorer is on the way when Mav gets back. A friend on this next trip informed me that Delorme Inreach Explorer had a really bad Acronym! Decided I'm old enough and it's time. Oldranger leaves his SPOT on for 20 mins each evening on a rock in clear sight of the sky, but no stats from him on that success rate..

Longri, did you call SPOT about the message cancellation conundrum?

Has anyone on this forum ever pushed the SOS button on either device??
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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:09 pm

rlown wrote:My Garmin Explorer is on the way when Mav gets back. A friend on this next trip informed me that Delorme Inreach Explorer had a really bad Acronym! Has anyone on this forum ever pushed the SOS button on either device??


It is a Delorme GARMIN InReach Explorer! Anyway I will never drive a KIA for the same reason. I'm glad your getting one so now I can use your tech brain as a resource. Maybe someday I will have a reason to test the SOS, but I hope not.

-Russ
"...Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?"

Kahil Gibran.
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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby oldranger » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:56 pm

rlown wrote:My Garmin Explorer is on the way when Mav gets back. A friend on this next trip informed me that Delorme Inreach Explorer had a really bad Acronym! Decided I'm old enough and it's time. Oldranger leaves his SPOT on for 20 mins each evening on a rock in clear sight of the sky, but no stats from him on that success rate..

Longri, did you call SPOT about the message cancellation conundrum?

Has anyone on this forum ever pushed the SOS button on either device??



99.9% success rate not counting for operator error. The one time a message did not go out was from the bottom of lee vining canyon. This let me know that if you are in the bottom of an e-w running canyon you should probably head up the north side before sending the message. It also worked perfectly on our trip to Alaska, right up to the time I drove away with it on the roof of the 4 runner and lost it. Now have a new gen 3.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby longri » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:17 am

rlown wrote:Longri, did you call SPOT about the message cancellation conundrum?


It's not even my device; it's a rental. And these sorts of problems have been documented elsewhere. It's just that a lot of people say theirs works nearly perfectly. I met one guy who actually uses the different messages (OK, alternate, help, tracking) as bits in a code to increase the number of types of messages he can send. Clever, but only if the messages are reliably received.

The other reason I didn't buy a SPOT was reports that dealing with the company can be really, really frustrating. Hard to get on the phone, difficult to get emails returned. And it's a subscription. They take your money every year and cancelling requires some effort apparently. One suggestion I read of in a couple places was to subscribe for the year and then call your credit card company and tell them you lost your card so that they give you a new number. WTF?


rlown wrote:Has anyone on this forum ever pushed the SOS button on either device??


From what I've read this is another issue with SPOT. While it works, the reliability is lower (how much?) than with a proper PLB due to the technology/satellites involved. I don't claim to understand the details, but I knew that carrying a SPOT that drops messages and has 1-5 hour gaps in tracking might also fail to signal an SOS in some types of terrain.

At one point in my walk I got kind of disoriented traversing in a forest. Busted up terrain, huge downed logs, steep, loose dirty gullies, that sort of thing. The kind of place where you could easily twist an ankle or worse. I thought -- nobody will find me here and probably my SPOT isn't even visible to the GPS satellites. Sure enough, when I got home there was a large gap in tracking coverage there, not too surprising. But what did surprise me were the even larger gaps in areas where I though sky visibility was pretty good.

Another thing. I really thought being able to message and have tracking would provide peace of mind and possibly the rare safety aspect of known location if I were incapacitated and unable to hit the SOS button. But it had a weird side effect. I felt like someone unseen was watching me. I found I hated that feeling and wondered if it might influence my choices. I'd rather be unseen, I think. The funny part is, when I got home it turned out my wife lost the URL to the tracking page. And that she only got a fraction of the email messages I thought I was sending. I was mostly unseen!
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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby rlown » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:29 am

longri wrote: I found I hated that feeling and wondered if it might influence my choices. I'd rather be unseen, I think. The funny part is, when I got home it turned out my wife lost the URL to the tracking page. And that she only got a fraction of the email messages I thought I was sending. I was mostly unseen!


I don't leave the URL with my wife. I leave it with an independent 3rd party who knows my plan and can communicate with the sheriff effectively. But that did make me chuckle a bit. I'm only getting the Garmin for emergencies. No tracking.

I do appreciate your input on this thread.

And Oldranger.. set up your spot on the hood in front of the drivers side from now on :)
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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby longri » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:53 am

I've run into a couple of people in the last two years who had some way to get NOAA point forecasts including detailed forecast discussions on their Garmin devices. That would be worth a few bucks to me. You can't do anything about the weather but sometimes knowing what's likely to happen in the next 1-3 days can influence choices.

The weather was weird in the Sierra when I was up there. Unseasonably warm and humid, cloudy and sometimes raining at night. Not really a typical monsoon condition but far from what I think of as standard early September weather. I would have loved to read a few words from the guys at NWS, even if it were just to satisfy my curiosity.
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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby sambieni » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:19 am

I have inreach SE (cheaper?) model; 1 year old now. Use mostly for (pre-set) texts, confirming elevation/coordinates against my paper map, in-case of SOS need. Rarely waypointing.

Texting is nice feature. Last week, wife texted a daily weather report, which not necessary, but a nice to have even if on the ground was not exactly as she texted. It was handy when we came into smoke cover one day, as she reported we'd expect. She texted to confirm fire was not near me, just smoke, so we continued as planned.

Inreach almost always goes out w/in 5-6 minutes of programming. Tree cover can be a challenge, but usually can find a clearing close by and send. I estimate 5% failure rate in my 300 miles / 2-3 weeks of usage.

Fully admit, weird having text capabilities during a backpacking trip compared to younger years. But then again, I didn't have wife and 2 little ones at home wondering about me (and me them)... YMMV
Last edited by sambieni on Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby freestone » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:20 am

rlown wrote:
Has anyone on this forum ever pushed the SOS button on either device??


I never have, but this is from Snow Nymph, several years ago....


"Three of us back packed in for an overnighter. We got to camp and dropped some gear. We started climbing Virginia peak, and 0.4 mi up, a 500# boulder about the size of me rolled. I was below it, luckily close to it or it would have crushed me bouncing down the chute. This was at 3pm. Hiked down CL3 chute with only clavicle pain, but L leg started feeling weird before I got to camp. Once at camp I made the decision to push 911 on my SPOT personal beacon (5:09pm). Gimp leg would not do well going 7 mi w/3000' el loss. SAR arrived on foot ~1:45am and checked me (BP, HR, etc) They made calls and said helo would be there in the morning. Since I could not walk to helo, they gave me morphine and put me on a flatboard and carried me there. I was on helo by 7am and flew to Mammoth. Got to Mammoth around 9:20am and xferred to ambulance. At first declined morphine, but after being moved again it felt like a big knife in my neck so asked for another shot of morphine. In Mammoth ER til about 5pm, and got drugs and xrays, and lots of sleep. Tam and Jefe picked me up and took me to their place and fed me before taking me home."
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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh!

Postby austex » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:12 am

I have a friend that flys helicopters in WA.They got a call for SAR on Rainier. Guy pushed the SOS on his device at 8:30p... Found him 50' of where it said he was. Transported him out with a compound fracture. (Older SPOT device w/o communication feature)
I have had an Inreach SE for 3 yrs now; never used the SOS function. But 100% of my texts inbound and outbound were received within 10 mins of sending. I get confirmation it's sent (Only experience is in the Sierra) With the ability to text back and forth to SAR they would have a better idea what was wrong. If no answer text back from me; I guess they assume the worst and send in the hounds...
To me it's and insurance policy and peace of mind for the family as I'm usually solo. Wouldn't hesitate to use it for a stranger.
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