Spot Messenger – EPIRB like emergency radio device

Submitted: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 09:51
ThreadID: 58040 Views:5066 Replies:5 FollowUps:10
This Thread has been Archived
KiwiAngler and Richard in post 57987 mentioned an emergency satellite based device called the Spot Messenger:
Spot Messenger

KiwiAngler kindly offered to answer some question about it as he has owned one for a while, so here goes:

The cost appears to be US$200 to purchase the device and US$100 per year service fee for the basic level of service?

“Alert 911” appears to be automatically handled – who, in Australia, is contacted and how long does that contact take?

“Help” appears to send a fixed text “Help” message and co-ordinates, via SMS to contact phone numbers I have previously supplied to the Spot people. How many different numbers will they send to and can I tailor that message from the Spot handset?

Is all of Australia covered by their satellites?

Anything else you think worth mentioning?

Thanks KiwiAngler.

Mike Harding

mike_harding@fastmail.fm
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 10:01

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 10:01
Correcting and answering parts of my own post:

Purchase price is US$170 not US$200.

Satellite coverage map
AnswerID: 306081

Follow Up By: traveller2 - Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 10:45

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 10:45
There was quite a lengthy discussion a couple of weeks back about spot messenger and the pro's and con's
0
FollowupID: 572104

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 11:56

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 11:56
Doesnt it use Globalstar as a providor so that should answer 95% of reliability questions
AnswerID: 306099

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 12:01

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 12:01
Yes, it does use Globalstar which is one of the reasons I'd like to hear first hand experience from users.

In defence of Globalstar:

My understanding is they are (have?) repalcing their satellite network

Getting a tiny packet of data through a comms system is a _whole_ different ball game to establishing a long term voice link.

Mike Harding
0
FollowupID: 572118

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 17:17

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 17:17
Independent SPOT Messenger review

This independant review was very informative and answers the Globalstar question (along with many others)

Follow me via SPOT:

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=2d464de362759825a

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 572152

Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 17:41

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 17:41
KA ,
Thanks for that . A very interesting article .
Willie .
0
FollowupID: 572156

Reply By: KiwiAngler - Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 17:35

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 17:35
A couple of the above questions answered:

Purchase price can be as low as US$134 (off e-bay)

Alert 9-1-1(don't get hung up on the 9-1-1 bit - it is only a label) signal goes to Canbera (the same group that receives EPIRB signals)

The "Help" and "OK" messages are not fixed in the sense that you can set them up via your website to say whatever you like. But when the button is pushed that is the mesaage that is receieved. You can change the message via your web account.

The "OK" and "Help" messages cannot be sent via SMS Txt in Australia (other countries you can) that is because the Australian Telcos will not allow free access to the SMS system. I have discussed this with SPOT technical and they say that thye have run into this attitude in some other countries and they are trying to come up with an alternate way to send the SMS Txt message. Until that is sorted your messages are sent via e-mail.

The contact list for "OK" and "Help" are not supplied to the Spot people they are created by you in your SPOT web account. I have set up 6 different people to recieve my messages. The "OK" message goes to a different group of people to my 'Help' message. My "OK" basically goes to my friends and family, whilst my "Help' message goes to my mates who have 4x4 and are mechanics or electricains :-)) both of these message also tag a Googlemaps URL which shows your location (lat/long) actually on the map.

Nothing is 'tailored' from the handset it is all done from your own SPOT account on the web.

Yes - all of australia is covered - wherever the Globalstar sats reach is where spot reaches. - check the SPOT website COVERAGE to see coverage

Follow me via SPOT:

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=2d464de362759825a

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 306139

Reply By: aroundwego - Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 22:03

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 22:03
Quote
Alert 9-1-1(don't get hung up on the 9-1-1 bit - it is only a label) signal goes to Canbera (the same group that receives EPIRB signals)
Unquote

Not quite, it goes to the GEOS International Emergency Response Center who will then pass on the details to Australia.

Earlier this year a kayaker off Tasmania needed assistance and used his Spot Mesenger, it took many hours before the details were passed on. Since this, some arrangements have been put in place to have a contact point in Australia who then pass it on to the relevant state authority

AnswerID: 306396

Follow Up By: aroundwego - Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 22:09

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 22:09
One advantage that EPIRBS have over Spot is that Epirbs transmit on 121.5 (and 406 for ew ones) that allows rescue services to home in on your location, which is often still required even if you are transmitting your GPS position - particularily in dense hilly areas.

Dont get me wrong though I would like to pick up a Spot for its other features and it still has a useful sar capability
0
FollowupID: 572390

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 16:44

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 16:44
aroundwego -

you are correct it does go to a 3rd party 24/7 monitoring company GEOS website.

I didnt go into a lot of detail as the original question only asked 'who in Australia is contacted'

I wasn't aware of the Tasmanian Kayaker incident that you refer to - I would like to read more on it, can you point me to the article?


Follow me via SPOT:

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=2d464de362759825a

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 572484

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 16:55

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 16:55
>I didnt go into a lot of detail as the original question only
>asked 'who in Australia is contacted'

Not quite, I also asked how long does it take. In fact this was my main concern because I was pretty sure SAR Canberra would end up with the info eventually but if GEOS did not have its act together in regard to other countries (and the product is, clearly, mainly targeted at North America) and doesn't really have much idea who to call in Oz, or Malaysia or Algeria etc and hasn't established credibility with that country, then the usefulness of the device as an EPIRB is zero. Frankly if the can't sort it out for Oz (a structured Western country) they do not inspire confidence.

I shall e-mail GEOS and ask for details and assurances of their procedures - perhaps I should also enquire if they have a complaints division? :)

Mike Harding
0
FollowupID: 572486

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 17:15

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 17:15
wow :-))

You have to be careful with your grammar here eh! :-)))

I put the emphasis marks in the wrong place and added 1 too many words - I should have said

I didnt go into a lot of detail as the original question asked who in 'Australia' is contacted.

Do I get a tick now?? :-) :-)

Mike - snap - I sent such an e-mail to GEOS yesterday - actually late last night before midnight (have to be correct in what I say :-)))))))) - havent had a reply yet - I am putting the delay down to the time zone difference :-) rather than a failure to communicate


Follow me via SPOT:

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=2d464de362759825a

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 572489

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 23:27

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 23:27
Kiwi,
I bit the bullet and got one. I want my Dad to carry it in his daily drives.

I have managed to get an SMS message sent via

http://www.utbox.net/

There is a free trial - it is fairly cheap.

Check it out.

Richard
0
FollowupID: 572594

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Friday, May 30, 2008 at 15:04

Friday, May 30, 2008 at 15:04
Richard

Yes I saw that website and a couple of others, but at this stage I have held up joining as I am not keen on paying the 14c per sms message - I will wait until I leave for my CSR trip (12th July) before committing - hopefully SPOT will/may have come up with an alternative that will be free :-)))

Us Kiwi's are reknowned for having deep pockets and short arms amte :-))
Follow me via SPOT:

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=2d464de362759825a

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 572658

Reply By: richard - Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 19:34

Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 19:34
Kiwiangler,
How have you found SPOT. As mentioned in a thread I ended up getting one with the tracking option.

I have managed to sort out the SMS issue so that when a message is sent a number of people will get SMS messages by setting up GMAIL to forward to a SMS service provider - not straight forward.

However my first impressions of SPOT are not good.

I tested the tracking option today in basically it was useless. In 7-8 driving trip around a NP near Canberra I only received 6 notifications of where I was (one is supposed to be sent every 10 minutes) and of the 6 4 were at the location I was having lunch ie there were 4 in the same location.

I also sent an OK message which never got through to any one, even though the lights were flashing in unison and then went to one light after it was supposed to ahave sent it.

It appears that if you stay still when you press the message buttons. I can understand this for 911 ans may be HELP but not for OK as a message can take a long tome to get through (up to 20 minutes).

I bought this thing for two reasons one was for my father to carry when he goes out driving as I am worried he may break down in areas where a m-phone want work and for my own use while 4wd and/or touring.

Over all testing has not been good. I will continue to test it. I will not subscribe to the tracking next year though - only did it this year for a bit of fun - no fun so far!

I would appreciate how you have found it - do you have to remain still while sending OK message - I suspect you don't but seems to work better if you do.


Richard

AnswerID: 308844

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (14)