Spot device protocols

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Re: Spot device protocols

Post by tim » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:06 pm

oldranger wrote:How about taking it out. Then taking it to a local ranger station or police department and having them send an "I'm OK message" then the receivers of the message can figure out where it is and contact the pd or ranger station. You could also contact spot and give them the serial # on the device and they could tell you who to contact to return it.
I agree on taking it with you if the Spot has been there for long enough that no-one is coming back (say if you camped where it was left overnight). But if you are not going to be out in civilization imminently the lack of messages for several days (or even an OK message from an unexpected place) could be a problem for the owner and their contacts. I would tend to take it to a ranger station (assuming there is one on your route) for that reason so Spot can let people know what is going on.

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Re: Spot device protocols

Post by cloudlesssky » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:23 am

Just before I start hiking for the day: turn on the Spot, select the tracking function, and then send a checkin message.

When I finish hiking at the end of the day: send a checkin message, set up camp, and then turn off the Spot.

A Help message means: I'm in some difficultly but not enough to call out SAR.

No signal/messages means the Spot is broken or out of batteries. Don't assume or do anything until I'm overdue.

I use the tracking function because I read somewhere that the SOS message will be sent regardless of whether the device has an accurate GPS fix, so SAR could use the track to help isolate your position.

As for battery use, I used the tracking function ~12 hours per day for 5 days at a stretch before replacing batteries recently. I replaced the batteries after 5 days even though the batteries indicated good (wouldn't want to need the SOS only to find dead batteries). And I always carry spare LiIon batteries.

I like the idea of using the custom message to indicate a conscious deviation from planned itenerary. Right now I don't use it. Thanks for the good idea.

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Re: Spot device protocols

Post by Flux » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:48 am

When I wrote up my itinerary for the wife on the last trip, I simply stated that it's a tracking device and can fail. No news is good news until we don't come out on the planned date.

I hit it once a day and let it run for a half hour minimum. All messages got through in email and one MMS did not make it to my iphone. The wife enjoyed looking at the map and seeing us on Merriam Peak and also seeing that we deviated from our overly-ambitious plan. To me, it was like saying "hi" every day to our families.

I probably should use the custom message to state we are deviating from the itinerary.

It did not give me a false sense of security. I contemplated heading out due to dry nose nosebleeds because they could have been something else. I took my time to carefully assess my situation in that case.

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Re: Spot device protocols

Post by AndyMac321 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:39 am

I have been using a SPOT for a year now. I enjoy having a gps track of my trip and my my wife enjoys the peace of mind. My protocol for the SPOT are as follows:

I leave the track feature on while I'm hiking with the device tied to the top of my pack.

I send an OK message when I get to camp safely.

The HELP can mean a few things depending on what I have told my wife before leaving. It can mean that we have hit a minor snag and are cutting the trip short and will contact her when we get to the car. Or If a ride is needed my wife will look at where the signal was sent from and use that to know where to pick me up. (She is always left a detailed list of the itinerary and exit points.)

A 911 will only be sent if I am incapable of exiting the wilderness on my own in a true emergency. Not to be used as an "escape" button. I only say this because my uncle is a park ranger and has been sent out on calls because people get scared in a thunder storm or slightly lost at night. (Bodie for those of you wondering)

Loss of contact is to be taken as a lost or broken SPOT and nothing else. Although my wife will worry until I contact her.

My 911 message contains my itinerary, description, names of the members of party (if any), and a link to a website with pictures of me in my backpacking gear.

I really do love downloading the tracks and checking them out on Google Earth. There's something about seeing it after I've done it that I really like.

Overall it's a great device, but shouldn't be a replacement for leaving an itinerary or self reliance.

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