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Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby LMBSGV » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:28 pm

I'd like to add one bit of information on the SPOT. Along with the regular SPOT, there is the SPOT Connect, which links a smartphone to the same satellite system as the SPOT 1 and SPOT 2. It allows for a text message of up to 41 characters along with the Checkin/OK, Help, Track Progress, and SOS of the SPOT 1 and 2. It's priced higher than the SPOT 2 ($170 versus $120).



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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby rlown » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:30 pm

still have to connect it and touch it.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby John Dittli » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:52 pm

Yep, you have to push the button, and if you can't, your dead, but if you did push the button say an hour or even a day before, the search area would become infinitely smaller and the likeliness of finding your body and bringing closure for your loved ones would be greatly increased. (And reducing prolonged danger to SAR members). If you don't care about any of that then don't bother.

Sorry to be so blunt, but I spent over a decade as a climbing ranger in the North Cascades, looking for people, rescuing people and bringing home those less fortunate. I can tell you in 99% of the cases, families wanted the bodies recovered. We spent many dangerous hours looking for people.

I still don't carry such a device due to some crazy personal purity ethics syndrome, but I'm getting older and my wife worries more; I'm definitely reconsidering.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby ERIC » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:09 pm

If the OP recognizes there were already threads going on this subject, not sure why a new one needed to be created. :dontknow Moving the thread to the gear forum, but stopping short of merging with another thread (for now) in case I'm somehow missing something here..
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby rlown » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:26 pm

cuz we know we can die.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby frediver » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:21 am

IMO these devices need a local command on feature. IE Off-Standby-ON.
Standby would turn the device on every few min or hours and allow it to receive
a broadcast signal to turn on the locator beacon. This would remove the need for
a subscription service, the main downside to Spot type devices. Two batteries
"could" be used to enable a stand alone capability for the beacon function.
Having a command "ON" would also work if the search becomes a recovery.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby gdurkee » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:01 am

Well, it took me 10 minutes and one cup of coffee to figure out what an OP was. But, aha!, it's the Original Poster, which is me! Not as swift as I need to be sometimes... -- LOL, SCOMN.

But, my original thinking was that this was really more a safety topic and, because both of the SAR/Larry threads were on Backpacking, I thought that the most attention-getting place to put it. So that was my thinking anyway. Also, I tend to only check a couple of threads. And then my cat hit the cursor when it was over "Backpacking" -- so there I was.

The gear/gizmos are important to the thread, of course, but my main thing is safety so John and I aren't spending extra time in a helicopter or thrashing over icy rocks looking for someone. I really hate helicopters... .

Oh. One more story: almost exactly a year ago a friend was riding his bike on USFS roads (paved) up near the crest. He lost control and went winging off into the trees, breaking his femur. Ouch. But he had his trusty SPOT and was found and taken out by ground ambulance at last light. Extremely unlikely he would have been found that night without the SPOT and the temps were in the low 20s -- tenuous chance of survival. So it's true that there are cases where you can't push the button, but there are many more-- the majority if the person is alive -- when you can. His wife was pretty happy he had one anyway.

g.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby BrianF » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:52 am

One more factor with the Spot. Even with the cheapest subscription you get 3 options of signals -"OK" which emails your contacts your OK message and GPS location and so can give SAR a last known position, "SOS" which goes to both your contacts and directly to SAR, and "Help" which is a pre-written email notification (you set up your own wording) to your contacts only, not SAR. All of them send GPS coordinates.
Personally I have set up the "help" to let my contact know that I am in trouble, do need SAR help but it is not a life or death problem - no need for SAR to take uneeded risks to get to me rockets-in-pockets. This could also be used in the case of a broken down vehicle, where friends could come to your aid. Of course you need contacts who are on the ball. I leave my contact the dispatch numbers for the SAR authorities where I will be, so she knows who to contact and how.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby Hobbes » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:49 am

rlown wrote:we've all seen some very big talus here. it doesn't take much to die in there. add that to your probability. Esp, the solo part. We could just accept that as the risk. Wifey doesn't like that much. And that spot isn't gonna get pressed.


I'm in the same camp as you. If you're on a trail, you probably don't really need a tracking device because (a) you're not in any particular danger; and (b) someone will most likely come along soon enough if you've fallen ill.

However, if you are off trail, and in fact doing so at a pretty extreme level like Larry, how is a tracking device supposed to help you? Are we to assume he was in some way incapacitated, but otherwise could have sounded an alarm if so equipped?

How does that jive with these 3 notable deaths from this past season?

Michael Ybarra:
http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from- ... 20705.html

Tom Heng:
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/C ... 750126.php

Gary Dankworth:
http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/Bo ... 86376.html

If you're going to "play" at this level, there aren't any electronic gizmos that are going to provide any meaningful protection. What you really need is a partner, rope & a helmet. Since that doesn't comport with the beauty of solo x-c, then you're left dealing with the reality of the situation.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby Flux » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:17 pm

Story:

I follow a board called 14ers.com as I lived in Colorado for a while and there is often good talk on there about gear etc. They are a tight community, like here. Well a couple years back a guy from Chicago went solo hiking in the Holy Cross Wilderness which used to be my back yard in Vail. The guy was last seen acting a little strange about two miles into his loop at a lake. He then vanished. A search took place and a lot of the 14ers folks altered weekend plans to go check out the area in hopes of finding this guy. Very familiar as to what just went on. He had sent a trailhead picture via cell. One could instantly tell he was armed to the teeth with the latest gear, but a very heavy pack as it looked. He had a GPS with him. NO SPOT.

They looked everywhere for this guy, but could not find him. They said goodbye. A couple years later his camp was found but some items were missing. They found his body near camp. His camp was just off a 4x4 road that leads to the old mines that were on his loop, but was invisible from the road. It was surmised that he got AMS and tried to get down and out but never made it. Someone may have found his abandoned camp and grabbed the GPS and other items but never saw his body some distance away.

For a guy with all the gear, he had no SPOT and that alone would have saved his ass. It also would have made his extraction a quickie SAR run instead of an exhaustive and expensive search. His family would have had closure in days had he passed but still got out some coordinates. I don't offer this in judgment, but more as advocating the use of these devices. We are all allowed to make our choices and I respect both decisions.

I own a SPOT II, and it's worked very well for me. I did not opt for the one that links to the cell phone as then I have two batteries to look after. I have preset messages and can change my contacts. I don't use the tracking, but transmit from base camps and any off trail adventures like peaks or remote lakes. I use this in conjunction with a very well laid out itinerary (even if generalized) that is left with my wife. I also leave her all emergency contacts including any relevant to my partners that I head in with. I love the device and would not abuse it, but I am also not new to the wilderness. I am a hiker and a scrambler. I don't go alone any more. I have a wife, 2 kids, 2 more on the way, a dog, and three cats that depend on me. I use the wilderness to empty the box and sooth my soul. I completely and utterly appreciate the device and have nothing but respect for the folks who might have to come save my ass. It's a modern convenience that I am glad I have. It is no substitute for caution and wisdom, but it soothes my mind knowing that I can mitigate risk and get after the GT's and a few peaks. It has limitations, as have been pointed out.

I admire greatly those that can simply head into the wilderness free of their burdens. That is not my fate. I am glad they are not shouldering my anxieties and responsibilities, which can be very very heavy at times. My SPOT takes away some of my anxiety, which is priceless and allows me to enjoy more freedom knowing that the folks counting on me are in touch with my travels. My wife loved zooming in on the map from her desk at work and seeing my SPOT on top of Merriam Peak or sitting by a lake fishing. She knew that I was sharing it with her in some way.

I had also taken the time to explain the coordinates and how she could relay those to the SAR group if we were late in coming out. She also knew that if she did not get one not to worry, we could be in a canyon or the batteries died. So everything is explained in detail. We have protocols.

Simply, I urge anyone who heads out to have one. Understand it's limitations and don't use it as a substitute for an itinerary, good judgement, and prudence.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby rlown » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:44 pm

a nice story.. too bad he didn't bring a friend along to share the experience being up there. You do not know a SPOT would have helped him.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby Flux » Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:21 pm

rlown wrote:a nice story.. too bad he didn't bring a friend along to share the experience being up there. You do not know a SPOT would have helped him.


He was seen on day one acting funny. He either took drugs or was already suffering AMS. He made it over one pass which probably put him there day one or day two. At some point he knew he was in trouble medically and began descending a jeep trail but stopped and camped. He had the ability to set up camp. He would have had the ability to push the SOS button on his SPOT if he had one.

Regardless, I advocate the SPOT or any other PLB. It's in my nature to take all precautions.
Last edited by Flux on Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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