gps tracker

Submitted: Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 18:21
ThreadID: 136422 Views:922 Replies:7 FollowUps:19
hi Guys,could someone advise me on the best gps tracker and location device.We travel throughout oz and I would like a device that my family will be able to locate me at anytime and also emergency notification if we get into trouble.
Would appreciate advice please.
kman
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 18:26

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 18:26
Hi kman

Your Best Buy is the SPOT with real time tracking every 5 minutes.

Once you have it registered and activated ( online and in the USA ) you can send the link to all your friends and they can track your every move, as long as it is turned on.

Cheers


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Follow Up By: Member - nick b boab - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 06:12

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 06:12
What are the costs to register & run each year ?
Cheers Nickb

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 07:16

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 07:16
Hi Nick

I have had my SPOT Get 3 for just under 2 years now and like any Safety Item that I carry, the cost of purchasing the unit and annual subscription do not come into account in the event that my life may depend on it.

I paid $176 for my SPOT Gen 3 that is a once off purchase.

From memory it cost me approx US$168 per year (at the time was about $220 AU) for my annual subscription or on a weekly fee of around $4

The new SPOT unit are very good on battery use, with last year I only had to purchase I pack of 4 AAA Lithium batteries (less that $20 AU) That included many short trips and then using it 24/7 for one month when we headed north.

The unit can run off my 12 Acc if needed to reduce the cost.

For me, I can not put a cost on the safety of Fiona and I when travelling and for less than $4 per week, I get continuous 5 minute real time tracking 24/7 for 365 days.

Some will bitch about the cost of subscription, but for my if anyone can not afford $4 a week, then they can not afford to head bush, that usually cost far for than $4 week to travel.


Safe Travels.



Cheers



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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 07:52

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 07:52
A good way of looking at that $4 weely cost Stephen, in some places, it's only a litre of fuel, and that only gets you a few Ks down the road !
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 17:02

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 17:02
That's $4.00 a week if you use it each and every week of the year.

If you use it one month a year, it's $220 a month.

Depends which way you look at it.

IMHO having friends being able to see you in 'near real time' is the only decent application for a SPOT.

They are not quite as good as an EPIRB for rescue.
They are quite useless as a high precision tracking device.
If you don't care too much if your friends can't track you till you get to the next phone tower, then EO can do it as part of the annual membership.

It's a 'look at me' device.


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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 20:49

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 20:49
"It's a 'look at me' device."

Some families like and take reassurance in that, Tony.

Horses for courses, I reckon.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 08:25

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 08:25
Agreed Frank. That is the one practical use for them IMHO.
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Follow Up By: Member - nick b boab - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 09:15

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 09:15
What are the costs of running the EPIRB ? &
how do they differ from the spot tracker ? has anyone ever had to use either of these for an emergency??
Cheers Nickb

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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 13:54

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 13:54
Hi Nickb

There are no "running costs" associated with an epirb. Once purchased & registered, there is no other outlay. I have a GME MT600 EPIRB that we take when we travel. It has a 10 year battery life, and for about $260 purchase price, that works out to $26 per year, or about 50c per week. If you don't need real time tracking, then this is the best option for emergency response.

Epirbs differ from a Spot Tracker in that they are an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Once activated, they send out a signal that is picked up by a Satellite & relayed to an Emergency Response Centre. From my understanding, Spot Trackers on the other hand rely on a private tracking system that needs a subscription to access. If an emergency situation arises, you need to rely on whoever the tracking company is to contact the Emergency Response Centre.

Approx. 12 months ago, a couple got seriously bogged on the CSR, they activated their epirb, and were picked up by a helicopter in about 2 hours. They had to wait a few more weeks for the track to dry out before they could recover their vehicle.

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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 14:57

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 14:57
Macca, I wouldn't have thought that being seriously bogged would have been a good enough reason to activate a PLB. Being on the CSR, they would or at least should have had plenty of food and provisions to see them out for a few week and other travellers moving past. Obviously we don't know the full extent of their circumstances but it hardly sounds life threatening. Michael
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 15:54

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 15:54
NickB wrote:

"From my understanding, Spot Trackers on the other hand rely on a private tracking system that needs a subscription to access. If an emergency situation arises, you need to rely on whoever the tracking company is to contact the Emergency Response Centre."

All of that is correct but there is one important factor missing and that is...
There is a formal agreement between Australia's Emergency Response Centre in Canberra and the Spot emergency people - Geos in Canada, I think, but it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that the agreement stipulates that an emergency signal originating from a Spot in Australia's area of SAR responsibility WILL be handed over to Australian SAR authorities with minimum delay.

When you as a subscriber push the emergency button on a Spot it sends the Spot ID and its current position to the Geos centre. The ID tells Geos who the subscriber is. That info and the position are relayed to Australian SAR. My friend who worked in AUS SAR told me the delay could be around 20 minutes, so it's not as good as an EPIRB or PLB, but I suppose it's better than nothing - certainly if you're on a budget.

In the Spot system, if you subscribe you enter personal details - name, address, medical, next of kin etc - onto your own Spot web page much like the registration of a PLB or EPIRB and that info is passed to AusSAR if the SOS/911 button is activated.

I don't know what happens if a signal is received from a Spot that doesn't have a subscription. I suspect that every activation is acted upon, I think there is international agreement on that, so Geos would advise AusSAR of the activation and position, but there would be no personal information.

Two other things that my old Gen 1 Spot can do that, to my knowledge, EPIRBs/PLBs can't:

One is send a simple, pre-formatted "I'm ok" message to designated addressees. The helps settle the nerves of the worry warts who think that 68 year old adults are delicate and cannot look after themselves after proving time and time again that they are not and they can.

The other is in the event of a non life-threatening situation where you're stuck you can send a pre-formatted message to previously selected addressees advising them of that. You cannot specify the problem, but you can tell them you need non-urgent help. That obviously has limitations, which is why we now have a satphone.

Other devices like the inReach and later Spots can send text and email messages via a connected smartphone.

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Follow Up By: Member - nick b boab - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 21:01

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 21:01
thanks for those replay's McLaren3030 & Frank P
maybe.... i might feel a little more confident in the epirb only as much as its
a more local and we know they work i.e sea rescue , the one off cost $$$ could be better over many years aswel . The spot obviously has lot more functions !!
Q how does the panic button work on the HF radio's ?? is that going send help ASAP if there's no communication ??
Cheers Nickb

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 23:38

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 23:38
I haven't had much to do with HF's since the mid-90's, Nick, but in those days they had an emergency button that was used on your "local" RFDS base frequency, to alert the base that you did have an emergency.

The signal transmitted was a piercing tone, that would cut through the worst of atmospherics, trip an alarm in the base and alert/wake up the duty officer. I've even used the emergency button one afternoon, when we were presented with an unconscious toddler. The tone guarantees you have the frequency to yourself, to talk to the base.

Don't know what they have these days, but am quite sure the same procedure would be used by the RFDS.

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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, Mar 19, 2018 at 00:29

Monday, Mar 19, 2018 at 00:29
Hi guys

Just to clarify the "panic button" is the RFDS Emergency Call Button.

The RFDS red "Emergency Call" button is no longer functioning - (with the exception of the Port Augusta base. (As detailed in the current VKS737 literature).

Contact with RFDS is via the selcall feature of your model radio (only if fitted). Contact via HF radio is dependent on suitable HF atmospheric conditions.

A sound working knowledge of HF radios and atmospheric conditions is needed to operate a HF radio successfully. They are not like a UHF were you just grab the handset and start talking.

In saying that, I still have one fitted to my vehicle, as well as satphone and PLB, and believe they all continue to have a place in remote outback communication.

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Anthony
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Mar 19, 2018 at 08:05

Monday, Mar 19, 2018 at 08:05
Hi Michael, from memory, they had been stuck for several days, almost two weeks from memory, and were running low on water. Two things they did that was not advisable, they travelled during the “off” season, so there weren’t many others on the track at the time, and they travelled “solo”, no one else to help.

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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 at 09:41

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 at 09:41
Macca, I guess thats fair enough if they stuck it out for that length of time, We can't treat the system as a taxi system or it will fail when we need it most. Regards, Michael.
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 10:20

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 10:20
Hi kman,

Another vote for the Spot Tracker.

I have a Gen 1 version, had it for over 10 years I think. It has the same tracking functionality as Stephen's (above reply) as well as SOS and limited messaging which are the main points for us so we haven't bothered to upgrade.

I tested a DeLorme InReach tracker which has similar tracking and SOS capabilities but with far superior messaging by connecting (via Bluetooth) to a smartphone or tablet. However the combined costs of purchase and the very expensive connection plans in Australia ruled it out for me. Ownership and useage costs to get the same tracking as Spot offers were almost the same as a satellite phone without the ability to talk.

We think our bases are covered with the old Spot for tracking, a second-hand Iridium phone into which we put one of our post-paid Telstra SIMs when in remote areas, and a PLB.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 10:27

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 10:27
I see now that Garmin has taken over the inReach and that there are new models that may make that unit a better bet than it was for me.
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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 06:25

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 06:25
Here's a link to the Garmin's "InReach" device.

It has some better monthly plans as well so u don't have to have a 12mth contract....

Garmin In-Reach
Cheers..... RobM
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 10:40

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 10:40
I have had Spot devices for years, currently a Spot 3. They have the potential to save your life so cost does not come into it. If you cannot afford one, then you cannot afford to travel IMHO.
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Reply By: Member - Rustygq - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 08:24

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 08:24
Me 3
Had a Spot Gen 3 for a few years now and it lets friends and family know exactly where you are. Also SOS function. If bush walkers were forced to carry these devises it would save millions in search costs when they get lost, not to mention lives.

A funny aside. I forgot to turn mine on one morning and took off. A couple hours later a mate noticed I wasnt moving and rang and said "Get out of bed you lazy bastard."
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Mar 19, 2018 at 07:35

Monday, Mar 19, 2018 at 07:35
I replaced my GME 410G EPIRB with the Spot GEN3 last year.
The battery on the GME had reached its expiry date and the only viable alternative was to buy a new one at around $300. A great device for purely emergency use.

The Spot GEN3 can be set to constantly track your progress and keep nominated family and friends aware of your current location, even when in remote areas.
It also has the SOS feature when in dire situations requiring emergency response.
Annual fees are not cheap but you get what you pay for.
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Reply By: Member - nick b boab - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 08:10

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 08:10
Kman : just found this , it maybe an interesting read < thanks to baz the landy .
PLB v tracker
Cheers Nickb

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Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 09:57

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 09:57
Yes a comparison of the benefits of a Tracker vs a PLB has been done to death on the forum.

However this thread is about Trackers of which the PLB is not - yes if unfortunately the worst happens the item of last resort is the PLB which gives current position but does not give tracking information.

Really for a tracking device there are only one of two options - a Spot style of system with its associated subscription costs but basically works anywhere and provides tracking advice.

The other option are the trackers that receive information from satellites but use the mobile phone network to communicate tracking and position information with the obvious limitation that when outside of the mobile network they do not work - so really outside of cities etc are of not much use.

So for Tracking a Spot style system is really the only way to go.

For a fail safe reporting system in case of emergency well as discussed in the link there are various options but the best is probably a combination of PLB and one of the communications devices - SPOT, SAT Phone, HF etc
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Follow Up By: Member - nick b boab - Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 at 06:39

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 at 06:39
Tracker & plb ~ Garmin inReach
Interesting what the outdoor gear lab comments were in regards to spot send .
Cheers Nickb

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Reply By: kman1 - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 12:48

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 12:48
many thanks to all for your comprehensive advice on a GPS tracker.
kman
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