SPOT Satellite personal Tracker

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 08:43
ThreadID: 66912 Views:3120 Replies:12 FollowUps:17
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Has anyone used one of these. If so what are the pro's and con's.

http://www.findmespot.com/australianewzealand/features.php?page=alert

They sound good and not that expensive.
Whats your opinion.
Thanks
Wato35
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Reply By: Member - Mick O (VIC) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:16

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:16
Wato,

there are some recent threads in relation to the SPOT tracker if you do a search. A search of the forum will probably turn up a few more. Comes up every now and then.

Cheers

Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: wato35 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:38

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:38
Mick

I did try to do a search but didn't come up with much. Every time I do a search I seem to get alot of stuff thats not relevant to the subject.

I will try again.
Thanks

wato
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:18

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:18
Do a search on here with your post header as the subject.

Someone on here has one and has posted quite a bit about it earlier

It is always worthwhile doing a search before posting as most things have already been discussed, sometimes quite frequently.

Cheers
AnswerID: 354484

Reply By: DIO - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:42

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:42
When you do a search, if you don't get exactly what you are looking for, refine the search parameters. If you want an exact find put the word or phrase into inverted commas " ". Here is what you are looking for S.P.O.T. Messenger
AnswerID: 354488

Follow Up By: wato35 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:50

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 09:50
DIO

Thanks for that, I was not using the inverted commas. It works alot better now.

Cheers

wato
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 10:09

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 10:09
Try this then

http://www.exploroz.com/Forum/Default.aspx?s=1&ky=%22spot+messenger%22&sd=&ed=

The correct name is "Spot Messenger"
AnswerID: 354491

Reply By: Member - Dick (Int) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 10:19

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 10:19
I have two of them. They work OK provided they can have a reasonably clear access to the sky such as in the desert. Sometimes in a forest area they do not work so well, you can have a GPS receiving a good signal but SPOT is not so I suspect the antenna and receiver is not as good as those in the Garmin GPS.

Several members are using them successfully. They are good value and allow your family or friends to track your travels over the internet. They are available from the EO Shop.

Cheers
Dick







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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 14:48

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 14:48
Not anymore sorry.
MM
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Follow Up By: Grungle - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:37

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:37
Hi Michelle,

Why aren't you stocking them anymore? Is there an issue with the product, supply, price increase etc?

I have looked at them before and am interested but was waiting for a few to be sold and real world tested before I committed.

Regards
David
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 15:57

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 15:57
Hi David - just an internal issue in the wholesale supply chain coupled with insufficient sales turnover to make it viable for us.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 10:30

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 10:30
You can buy a SPOT for $298 at Softrock solutions in Perth 9418 1411 - Bibra Lake - I have one and they work well. They can send a help message to 10 emails or 10 sms texts to mobile phones with your GPS coordinates when in a non life threatening situation or a 911 emergency call to our national rescue organisation in Canberra when in dire need of rescue
AnswerID: 354495

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 10:55

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 10:55
Hi Denis,
The buy price is $298 but how much extra each year and how much extra again to be able to send the sms texts.

Also, are you sure that everything is in place with the Spot organisation to immediately pass on your details to the rescue control centre in Canberra ?

.
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 12:09

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 12:09
Hello Kiwi - you get a combination of 10 addresses by email or sms for $115US per year.There are 3 main types of messages sent to them; 911 Emergency, Help, and Ok - your Help or Ok messages are sent to these addresses, use them as often as you wish (unlimited at no extra cost). If you mistakenly send a non genuine Emergency message you will incurr a cost of $350US per hour. When a emergency message (911) is activated an email is sent to Canberra with your GPS coordinates and a telephone operator also rings them and monitors the emergency until closure.
Cheers Dennis
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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 13:17

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 13:17
Thanks Denis,
The Spot beacons are not officially recognised in NZ yet due to a contractual problem to do with who pays and how much for a genuine search & rescue mission. As I understand the situation the Spot people have an insurance policy that pays $XXXXX towards a search but (naturally) as they are paying they want to be the ones who authorise who spends what and where. I was told that there is still a similar situation in Australia but will have to check up on that aspect. I am not knocking the Spot system and will purchase one my self before my next trip in May. My 406 beacon is rather large and of course does not have the sms capability which my family would like when I "disappear" into the outback for several weeks at a time on my trips to Oz.
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 14:52

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 14:52
Spot will sell you an insurance policy to extract you from places not covered by a national search and rescue operation (say out of Australia in the back blocks of India). They tell me that they will inform my 10 email contacts and ring my home plus 2 emergency telephone numbers in the event of a 911 message. I have asked these contacts to check with the police to confirm that a emergency rescue is in place when the 911 message is sent.

They will also receive my GPS coordinates by email, as will AUSSAR, our national search and rescue organisation based in Canberra, when we are in dire trouble (life threatening).

The AUSSAR will also be contacted by a telephone operator based in Houston who will remain in contact till the emergency has been solved.

The 911 message will be sent from our accident location every 5 minutes until the batteries go flat (up to 7 days with new batteries).

This is information sent to me by SPOT - I believe them to be a proffessional organisation and I expect they will do as they say.

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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:51

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:51
Thanks Denis - looks good.

.
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Reply By: Zebra400 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 11:34

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 11:34
You may be interested to see some people's travels using SPOT. Jason Jonas operates a site which allows SPOT users to send all there positions to him and he posts them on his website. Currently this is a free service. I have been using it for the past 6 months. I find it much better than the info shown on the SPOT site. Each user can decide to show or hide their position data. Our trips are password protected but many people allow everyone to see their trips. Check out many travellers info at http://jasonjonas.org/spot/index.jsp

The cost for operating the basic service is USD115 pa.

I think it is a great way to let family & friends follow our 4WD & MTB trips in outback Oz, plus offer an emergency service as well.

Laurie
AnswerID: 354509

Follow Up By: Member - Dick (Int) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:28

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:28
They are great to let your family know where you are. I do a lot of walking away from the vehicle. One Spot stays in the vehicle and I carry the other one. If I have a problem and send a message my son will know where I am in relation to the vehicle.

In my opinion Spot is not a substitiute for a real EPIRB which I always carry. If I am in a critical situation I would not want to rely on Spot.



Cheers
Dick







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Reply By: rossco44 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:42

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:42
We went through the SPOT research exercise back in Feb and received useful info on this forum. One aspect I followed up with SPOT on was what happens to annual fee ($115) approx if you arn't travelling & needing the SPOT every year. Was told you just need to phone and cancel as the annual fee is direct debited from account. Still yet to purchase and try out!
AnswerID: 354535

Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 17:14

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 17:14
Sons work just bought six.
Do a lot of site work over eastern OZ and it solves their OH&S duty in providing a safety system for loners on site.

Says it works well in just keeping track how people are going on site.
No one has hit the emergency button yet.
AnswerID: 354544

Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:05

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:05
Re the insurance policy, check the wording closely as the conditions are very restrictive.

....

I've gone for a GPS equipped PLB rather than the Spot as the latter is said to be pretty limited without full sky overhead and I'm often under tree cover or in gullies.Spot uses a sat system and apparently the closest to us is over Malaysia.

I'd talked this decision over with a guy at GPSOz.

When you really are st*ffed the PLB is more reliable. The Spot gives you outgoing OK messages but is not as good as a last resort.
AnswerID: 354643

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:15

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:15
I can see the benefits of both systems Sigmund. Maybe I will keep the 406 as a primary emergency device and use a Spot for family peace of mind :-))

.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:47

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:47
Yeah, I agree. If I could afford it I'd have both.
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Follow Up By: GneissD - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 11:20

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 11:20
I was told that SPOT uses one of the satellite constellations that is made up of 50 (??) satellites. I was told these are always moving and that you should be able to always connect with a couple of satellites at a time here in Australia.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 12:25

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 12:25
Any GPS will need several sats to get a fix. If the closest is Malaysia that means the next closest will have a lower angle of view limiting its accessbility in hilly country here.
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Reply By: GneissD - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 11:12

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 11:12
They are a great way to stay in touch, although I would always have a second form of comms (EPRIB, radio, phone, etc).

They are in shops for around $350, but you have to subscribe overseas to make it work. There are two subscriptions in US dollars, the inital one for $115, and the tracking option for another $50.

You must be outside to use it and you have to leave it out for 20 minutes for all the messages to get through. There are no configuration options or settings so you can't make it transmit faster. The only things you can set are email addresses and SMS numbers and messages via their website.

The buttons on the device allow you to "Check in I'm Ok", "Ask for Help/Assistance", or "Send the authorities". You have to work out who (friends) you are going to send the first two messages to as its no good if you send them to people who can't help or respond. The last message goes to SPOT in the USA, and they then call up the authorities in Australia.

If you do a quick search on the web you will see heaps of people have used them overseas and they have worked well (ie the authorities turned up to save them), so I would have good confidence that when you press the button it will all work as it should.
AnswerID: 354685

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 12:38

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 12:38
Spot uses the Globalstar sat network which I'm told has better coverage of the Northern hemisphere than the Southern. There is no polar coverage in either case.
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Reply By: gpsoz - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 10:57

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 10:57
Just as a clarification, SPOT uses two set of satellites:

On the GPS side, to determine your position, the normal GPS satellites used by 99% of other GPS devices eg Garmin, Magellan etc, world wide coverage. The ability to determine your position will be affected by your location, including tree cover, terrain, (eg bottom of ravene) much the same as any other GPS. These satllites orbot the earth.

On the message side, SPOT uses GlobalStar's satlleite constellation which has good coverage of most of the world. For Australia the nearest satellite is over Malaysia but as long as you can see the sky this shouldn't be an issue. This statellite is stationary. See this site for coverage details.

http://www.findmespot.com/australianewzealand/coverage.php

Take a look at this Web site, http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=1210
which has a good overview of how it all works.

We have just finished a trip from Sydney to Melboure via Hay and the Vic High country and found the coverage of BOTH sat networks excellent. We did some timing tests from pressing the OK button and receiving the SMS message and on avergae it is was it took 6 minutes to receive the SMS message. Both devices were next to each other n varying terrains.

More questions fire away

cheers
brian
AnswerID: 354869

Follow Up By: GneissD - Monday, Mar 23, 2009 at 18:23

Monday, Mar 23, 2009 at 18:23
I followed the link (http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=1210) and the video shows the satellites moving about. I have had a look on wikipedia and it says that the satellites in the globalstar constellation (and similar ones) move about in order to maintain their low orbit height, so I don't think your comment about the satellite being over Malaysia is right. This seems to be more in line with satellites in a geo-stationary orbit like optus.
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