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Spot GPS

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Spot GPS

Postby whrdafamI? » Thu May 17, 2012 4:55 pm

Has anyone on here had any experience with one of these? I have thought about getting one but didn't care for the subscription rate or the "automatic renew" of your contract. Had enough of one of those with a home security system that was highly over-rated.
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Re: Spot GPS

Postby The Other Tom » Thu May 17, 2012 5:39 pm

I have an older one. Sometimes it was difficult to know if it really sent the ok message or not but maybe I wasn't using it right (has to be flat ,etc). Thank goodness I never had to push the help button but it was good comfort to my wife back home when I sent an OK message. I don't know if the new ones are less complicated. I stopped the auto subscription after a year. There are several reviews here, just do a search.
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Re: Spot GPS

Postby whrdafamI? » Thu May 17, 2012 5:51 pm

Well wouldn't you know it? Should have put this on "Outdoor Gear". Did a "search" on there Tom and did get 20 hits. Nothing exactly current but its a start.
Better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it!

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Spot GPS

Postby Bluewater » Fri May 18, 2012 1:19 am

I used a Spot II last summer while on a long solo thru hike. It made my wife and family feel more comfortable and it sent all of the check-in messages successfully. It was fun for family to watch my progress as the check-in emails included a link to a google map with my location. I felt some comfort knowing that if anything happened I could get help. I paid the extra $10 for $30,000 worth of insurance to cover the cost of a rescue. I like hiking and climbing solo but I don't use it as an excuse to take unnecessary risks.

I did have one negative experience on a shorter trip last summer. I used Duracell batteries instead of lithium and didn't realize it would not work until the first night of a three night cross country trip. I was with three other guys and we were just too far out to even consider hiking out just to fix it.

It was user error on my part. It works fine as long as lithium batteries are used.

If used responsibly it seems like a very good safety device, especially for solo hikers. I plan on using it again on longer solo trips this season.

BTW, the Spot II is smaller and lighter than the first generation, about 4 ozs.
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Re: Spot GPS

Postby AlmostThere » Fri May 18, 2012 6:38 am

I've heard positives and negatives about them. Sometimes they fail, like all electronics can.

Also, you should check where you are going before worrying about paying for searches. in Fresno County, you never pay for searches, and never will. In Yosemite they don't charge but they bill your medical insurance for any medical aid rendered.
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Re: Spot GPS

Postby oldranger » Fri May 18, 2012 7:52 am

Bill,

I have been using one for several years. Two failures (for check in mode) in that time. One due to operator error (I now review operating instructions once a year) the other deep in Leevining Canyon. It helps to understand the system. Most satellites are to the s. so if you are in thickly forested narrow e-w canyon or on n. slope it may not work. But that is the same for sat phones or anyother locator beacon. Also if you use one make sure that people who receive the "I'm OK" message understand that the satellite view they see if they view the message on a computer is not in real time. On one early season trip my wife thought I was trudging through snow when there was none at all!

Mike
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Re: Spot GPS

Postby Flux » Fri May 18, 2012 10:34 am

Bought one last year when they were on sale for 50 bucks. I have tested it and have missed one or two check in's but I am not sure why. It's a small device and I am kind of glad to keep it with me. I think you will find a few mixed reviews about them, but mostly positive. I know a couple mountaineering guides use them and the tracking feature as well.

One big issue is to educate whoever the check-in messages go to. I sent them to my wife and when I got out of the backcountry she had sent a text asking if I was OK. She also had not paid attention when I told her about my trip plan and forgot that I took Monday off on a three day. This device, coupled with telling people where you are going and when you will be back is pretty worthy and adds a definite layer of protection. This year, when I get a couple days back in the stix, i will be glad to have it.

I'm gonna do some hiking and fishing this weekend and maybe some off trail stuff, i will have my spot with me.

The same SAT company that runs this also has a SAT phone with the SOS feature built in. So if you want to go all out, it's available.
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Re: Spot GPS

Postby rlown » Fri May 18, 2012 1:40 pm

Hi Bill,

There are also some other threads out here on the Spot device:

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5610&hilit=spot+ii+spot+device

Just do a search on "spot device" and they show up.
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Re: Spot GPS

Postby whrdafamI? » Fri May 18, 2012 6:08 pm

Thanks Mike and Russ! I am still not sure if I am going to spring for one or not. I got a couple of REI gift cards and was thinking of using one of them for that. I use to be a "gear junkie" but finally was cured. I don't like putting anything in pack that I don't feel is really needed.
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Re: Spot GPS

Postby gdurkee » Sun May 20, 2012 9:30 am

Also take a look at the DeLorme InReach combination. You can pair a satellite transmitter with either a Android or iPhone or their GPS. I've not tested it but they advertise two way texting, emergency activation function (to the SPOT command center); tracking & etc.

Another guy and I had a long discussion the other day on searches that go on for a long time (e.g. over 3 days). The cases we recounted were all of individuals hiking alone. I'd brought the topic up because I'm interested in SAR tactics after, say, day three when nothing is showing up as far as clues go. Needless to say, a beacon or tracking point would be a huge help in finding people. Same with a two way text function. These things (SPOT also) get misused in the sense that an emergency is declared when perhaps it isn't a true emergency. Most agencies will respond as if it is -- a good conservative policy, but a major drain on resources. A two way texting function allows the agency to find out what's going on. Even one way texting would be a major improvement.

Of course, out of the zillions of hikers, very few get lost or injured. Still, those few create huge efforts in trying to find them. Which is all to say that, while I understand the woodsy, self-reliant mountain man psychology (and the people lost are almost entirely guys), from a SAR standpoint, these things are really useful and can save lives.

Also, the GeoPro Messenger has come down in price. It's aimed more towards agency use and has no dedicated emergency command center (calls for help go to a pre-programmed user-created list). It also has two way texting, tracking etc.

George
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Re: Spot GPS

Postby oldranger » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:10 am

My spot check in function performed perfectly in S. Yosemite between May 21 and 31, except when I forgot to activate it one night!

Mike
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Re: Spot vs inreach

Postby Sierra_Summits » Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:40 pm

Anyone had experience with both spot and inreach? I'm tryin to pair with my iPhone 4s and wondering which is better at pairing and better reception.

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