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SPOT Satellite Messenger

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by timbernet, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. timbernet

    timbernet Boring, Oregon Member

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    In another thread the "SPOT Satellite Messenger" was brought up. I am curious if anyone on here has used it and what they think about it....

    I've been tempted a few times to buy one, but then I read reviews like this on REI.com:

     
  2. Clark

    Clark Seattle New Member

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    I own both for my boat -- SPOT and an EPIRB. Personally I don't think of SPOT as a device suitable for summoning actual rescuers. I see it more as a device to let friends and family know where you are and that your boat hasn't gone down yet :). The tracking feature of SPOT is *very* good at giving peace of mind to family members when you are far off shore.

    (The tracking is not perfect, however. Many will note that it won't reach a satellite under dense cover, and in my experience sometimes under heavy cloud cover it did have issues. But I kept it up on deck (tied to the main mast) on a long multi-week off shore trip. It generally worked and it suffered some pretty tough conditions (several storms, extremes of sun and salt). My only advice is to change its batteries religiously every 10 days or so (if you use the tracking feature) and not when it tells you they are low. The last 2-3 days before the low battery indicator comes on were when reception was the spottiest (no pun intended)).

    All told it depends on what you want them for. If you're going on a long off shore trip, I'd recommend both. It's small $ compared to everything else and the folks back home will enjoy punching up your progress on their computer each day. If you just want one for hiking, etc, the SPOT is probably sufficient and is what I grab for that purpose (even though I have the EPIRB).

    -C
     
  3. PDXGS

    PDXGS Aloha... yes, Aloha, Oregon Member

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    I have a SPOT.
    I've racked friends all over the world with their SPOT devices. When used properly, they are great. When not, they can be at least confusing.
    You need to be clear about your instructions to those contacts that you are informing via SPOT.
    It's not a replacement for an EPIRB but it's considerably smaller, less expensive and more practical- with tracking, and several notification levels.
    FWIW, I'm in wilderness search and rescue in Northwest and Central Oregon and I like it.
    I also carry it on my person when I'm riding my motorcyle alone on longer rides.
    Cheers,
    Jorge
     
  4. BUZO71

    BUZO71 Emerald Valley, Oregon New Member

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    Wow.... My problem with the equipment you are talking about is they seem to run between 500-1000. Now for large boats or technical climber, that might be worth it, but for weekend trekkers, most won't buy them. Whats the alternative?
     
  5. Clark

    Clark Seattle New Member

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    Short, but honest answer -- a cell phone. Get in trouble, hike up to get in line of sight of some tower. Or get your general class ham license and go QRP :) But a cell phone works pretty well in more places than you can imagine and you likely have one already.

    Even the spot is $300 going in the first year and $150 every year thereafter. Basic PRB or EPIRB ~ $700. A sat phone is ~ $1k and the prepaid plans have outrageous terms (such as $3/minute and they expire in 30 days). None of it is cheap.
     
  6. BUZO71

    BUZO71 Emerald Valley, Oregon New Member

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    well, cellular works on not only LOS but within the cell's reach. So, Cellular doesn't provide a reliable means of comms in the backwoods. My point is the a Spot would at least provide SOME protection. I know that state employees are using them in the field. They seem to work as needed. I'm sure not as useful as a higher end model but hey, something is better than nothing.