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Postby Flux » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:15 pm

I went round and round with buying a spot or plb and read a ton of reviews. While I probably should have bought the newest ACR beacon which is tiny and you can send self checks and OK messages with tracking, I opted for the SPOT-II as it was 100 bucks.

I had it set up in 15 minutes and paid the somewhat expensive yearly fee and got the SAR insurance too. I insure everything else, might as well have a little bit of sprained ankle insurance.

Setup was cake and I only had a small issue figuring out adding multiple contact numbers,l but I just didn't see the button on the website.

First try out my back door in Palmdale, CA had the OK message out in less than 5 minutes and my iPhone picked up the email. One click on the link and it had me within 100 feet or less on the google map. Good enough in my opinion and very fast.

Where I think folks make mistakes is not understanding the blinking light sequence. When you depress one of the function buttons (OK, HELP, CUSTOM, TRACKING, SOS) the GPS indicator will start blinking, once it acquires the mail indicator will start blinking. They should blink green in unison for 15 seconds, then the GPS indicator will stop blinking but the mail indicator will keep blinking for 1hr 20 minutes to let you know it was sent. You need to let it go for 20 minutes to be safe from everything I read, but my message went in a couple minutes.

So far so good. The thing is tiny!! and yes I would be careful with it, but safe inside a pack shouldn't be a problem. The website is straightforward. Both the help and the SOS buttons have covers so they can't be pushed accidentally and the unit appears to be sealed from water.

Hopefully I never need this thing, but it could take a bit of pressure off you or someone else trying to help you. A little piece of mind I guess. I am sure they will have one with a keyboard in a year or two to send personal messages.
Last edited by Flux on Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Mike McGuire » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:28 pm

I am just back from a 9 day solo trip out of Horseshoe Meadows, Cottonwood Pass, Big and Little Whitney Meadows down to the Kern. Then up the Kern to Wallace Creek to the JMT, excursion up Whitney, and back out via PCT, Lower Soldier Lake and Cottonwood Pass. I rented a SPOT II from lowergear.com for about $80 for two weeks including round trip shipping. It arrived in a timely fashion, and did all that I expected it to. There were a few tracking gaps deep in the Kern in heavy timber areas, but that's seems pretty forgivable. Renting it at that price seems like a pretty good deal to me compared to purchase cost, annual fees etc., especially considering my annual solo use is of the order described. Technologies change, unit may fail, companies go belly up--not my problem.

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Postby oldranger » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:22 pm


Why do you consider Spot just for Solo use? Even with multiple partners on a trip notification of help could easily exceed a day or more. Besides I always tell my wife, "just because I send a 911 message does not mean it is for me!" So far all I have sent is, "I'm ok, keep the bed warm!"


Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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