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Re: Garmin Inreach subscription plan analysis

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:37 pm
by longri
bobby49 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:13 pm
I can't give you a complete answer, since I don't use any Spot devices. Geographical coverage depends on (1) which satellite system is in use, (2) the altitude of that satellite system, (3) the power transmitted from the device up to the bird, and (4) the power transmitted down from the bird. That gets into all sorts of messy technicalities. The digital length of the message dictates how long the link has to stay good to get a confirmed signal transfer, and for the birds in low earth orbit the overhead time is only 30-60 seconds for each pass. Geosynchronous satellites are all in high earth orbit, appearing to hover in one spot in the sky, so coverage tends to stay more constant, but those aren't generally used for messaging. Also, some devices use only the satellite signals that are above a certain mask angle above the horizon, since low angle satellite signals get unreliable. Believe me, we've only scratched the technical surface of this stuff, and I used to teach GPS classes.

That wasn't even a partial answer. :-)

I found a blog where it was mentioned that there was a need to upgrade the ground stations in Asia and Australia before 2-way messaging would work in those regions. That seems to be one of the bugaboos with the Spot technology.

Given my own disappointing experience with 1-way Spot messaging I wonder how well the 2-way messaging works. At least with 2-way you'll get feedback (or a lack thereof).

Re: Garmin Inreach subscription plan analysis

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:55 pm
by maiathebee
TurboHike wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:55 pm
maiathebee wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:31 pm
Cool, thanks everyone for the input! Some things to think about re: battery life vs # of texts. hrmm hrmm
Lots of good info here, even some more financial comparisons...

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/c ... tor-beacon
Good resource for sure! idk about their 5-year estimated cost, though. Looks like they computed that assuming you'd use the device all 12 months, even on the Freedom plan for Garmin or Flex plan for SPOT.

Re: Garmin Inreach subscription plan analysis

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:15 pm
by bobby49
longri wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:37 pm
Given my own disappointing experience with 1-way Spot messaging I wonder how well the 2-way messaging works. At least with 2-way you'll get feedback (or a lack thereof).
Exactly.

When I send a message on my inReach SE, the thing will blink and spin for a while and then finally give me the sound effect that it is confirmed up to the satellite. But on some devices, the send confirmation only means that it left the device successfully. You really don't know for sure where else it went in the chain of events. Then, suppose that the inReach SE message got to its terrestrial destination. Suppose that party responds immediately. The message will bounce around through some places in the network, then up to the bird. Which bird? Again, it depends on what bird is in view, and that may have changed considerably in a few minutes. There might be traffic congestion in the network, or maybe not. Then after a while, I will have my inReach SE "check" for incoming messages which are stacked up at the bird. Then the thing will signal me again when the new incoming message is down to me and confirmed.

If I have properly alerted recipients that there might be messages, then they will be checking. In general, I get responses back in anywhere between five minutes and one hour. If I was fairly certain that my recipient was listening, and if I still didn't see any response, I will "check" again and again for an hour. If nothing by then, then I would resend my entire message, although I have never had to do that so far.

If you are trying to exchange messages back and forth from one device to another in the field, then it isn't much simpler, even if the two are relatively close position-wise.

Re: Garmin Inreach subscription plan analysis

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:05 pm
by CAMERONM
The flow chart cost analysis does not really reflect my priorities for Mini use, especially the use of tracks for ongoing breadcrumb safety. Yes I use some messages and need the SOS capability, but my take is that if you use the Mini for several months of tracking, the Annual Recreation is the only way to go. The need for tracking makes the other considerations financially moot.

Re: Garmin Inreach subscription plan analysis

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:25 pm
by longri
CAMERONM wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:05 pm
The flow chart cost analysis does not really reflect my priorities for Mini use, especially the use of tracks for ongoing breadcrumb safety. Yes I use some messages and need the SOS capability, but my take is that if you use the Mini for several months of tracking, the Annual Recreation is the only way to go. The need for tracking makes the other considerations financially moot.

Why does tracking change the logic of the flowchart?

If you're only going to use it for "several months" instead of 9 or more I think the Freedom Recreation plan would save you money. Am I wrong?

Re: Garmin Inreach subscription plan analysis

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:43 pm
by maiathebee
CAMERONM wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:05 pm
The flow chart cost analysis does not really reflect my priorities for Mini use, especially the use of tracks for ongoing breadcrumb safety. Yes I use some messages and need the SOS capability, but my take is that if you use the Mini for several months of tracking, the Annual Recreation is the only way to go. The need for tracking makes the other considerations financially moot.
Unlimited tracking and location pings are provided with all plans except Safety... I'm confused?

Re: Garmin Inreach subscription plan analysis

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:38 pm
by CAMERONM
Well I might be missing something here but my understanding is that the "safety" plan charges for tracking. I rack up thousands of breadcrumb track points.

Safety Plan Details

Unlimited SOS
10 text messages/month
Unlimited Preset messages (predefined messages set up on the website)
Tracking points: $0.10 USD for each point
Overages are $0.50 USD for each text message over the 10 messages allowed in the monthly plan period.
Text messages include free-form sent messages and received messages.
Tracking points refer to the individual "breadcrumbs" sent by the inReach at user-selected intervals ranging from 10 minutes to 4 hours.

EDIT
OK I see now that while the tracking definitely argues for a "recreation" plan, one could save money to do a monthly version vs an annual plan if only using the device for a few months of the year. I just opted for the annual as I do use it for most of the year.

Re: Garmin Inreach subscription plan analysis

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:43 am
by longri
The flowchart doesn't even mention the Safety plan so the charge for tracking is irrelevant. One could argue that the omission of the Safety plan is a minor flaw in the flowchart as that plan would appeal to a certain type of user. But as it is the flowchart correctly predicts the best plan for you.

Re: Garmin Inreach subscription plan analysis

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:09 pm
by maiathebee
longri wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:43 am
The flowchart doesn't even mention the Safety plan so the charge for tracking is irrelevant. One could argue that the omission of the Safety plan is a minor flaw in the flowchart as that plan would appeal to a certain type of user. But as it is the flowchart correctly predicts the best plan for you.
Yep! I ruled out the Safety plan for myself because it's too basic (as mentioned in the blog post but not over here on this thread). It definitely could make sense for some people. Maybe if I get some time I'll do a more in depth comparison including the Safety plan.