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restlesss
09-07-2013, 22:28
I am going to hit the Tetons in October, my wife requested I get a locator so she knows I am alright. Can anyone give me an idea of an easy tracker that doesn't cost an arm andleg?

Cmc222
09-08-2013, 08:54
The spot cost me $99 to buy. Then I paid 99.99 for a year service. I also bought the 49.99 so my family and friends can track me. Then $12.95 for insurance (just in case). So for only $162.93. I was able to send my wife and kids a pre programmed message when ever I wanted with out worrying that I do not have cell service. Plus the emergency button if I ever need it. It gave my family and I had another means to communicate while I'm on the trail. To me it is money well spent. Highly recommend the spot GPS.

Colter
09-08-2013, 09:16
Is it's a great comfort to worriers back home, until a message fails to make it through, and that happens often (http://www.amazon.com/SPOT-Satellite-GPS-Messenger-Orange/product-reviews/B00CICM150/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_1?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending). When a message doesn't make it, worriers will be more worried than ever.

bfayer
09-08-2013, 10:59
Is it's a great comfort to worriers back home, until a message fails to make it through, and that happens often (http://www.amazon.com/SPOT-Satellite-GPS-Messenger-Orange/product-reviews/B00CICM150/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_1?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending). When a message doesn't make it, worriers will be more worried than ever.

Do you have one or are you just going on other peoples reviews?

I have been using my spot 2 for a couple of years and I have never had a message not go through.

My wife however knows not to worry unless she receives a help message.

Just the fact that I have it makes her life easier, especially when I have the kids with me. That makes it well worth the cost to me.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

fwish
09-08-2013, 11:07
I have had a Delorme Inreach for the past two years. I do a lot of solo hikes in my area and my wife and children feel a lot better just knowing that I have a means to contact them while out and about. They also like the idea that I can call in the calvary if I really get into trouble. Well worth the price just for the peace of mind and the fact that without something like this they might not let me roam the woods alone.

Colter
09-08-2013, 12:54
Do you have one or are you just going on other peoples reviews?

I am going on other people's reviews, including reports on various backpacker forums. Some people have found them to be dependable, others have had "Spotty" results. If the Spot 2 has worked well for you, that's great.

max patch
09-08-2013, 12:57
and the fact that without something like this they might not let me roam the woods alone.

You're only 63. Maybe in a few years you won't need permission to go alone.

max patch
09-08-2013, 12:59
When a message doesn't make it, worriers will be more worried than ever.

Thats the point I try to make (and fail) every time this subject comes up.

magic_game03
09-08-2013, 14:27
I was in the Tetons in '11 and for the most part I could get cell service on the east side of the range with no problem.

handlebar
09-08-2013, 15:38
I've never had my SPOT fail to send an I'm OK message. One has to let it sit for up to 15 minutes for the messages to go thru. The one I have works with my Delorme PN-60. The In-reach wasn't available when I bought it. If I were buying today I'd get the In-Reach as you can send and receive short text messages. With the one I have you can only send.

DLP
09-08-2013, 16:50
I know exactly where the terrible SPOT reviews come from. I owned the first generation SPOT. It worked fine in the Bay Area and I took it on the Tahoe Rim Trail. It worked on the Mt Rose Hwy and didn't work again for the next 90 miles. Realistically, it never worked again. My husband was insane and texting my DEAD cell phone 4 times a day, "Please come home!! I'm so worried" and "You have to stop now! I can't take this!". I was VERY upset.

I returned it (to REI) and got the second generation SPOT and have NO problems with it in over a year. I've been out with it in California and Nevada approximately 30 days/nights with it with no problems. Occasionally, it can't find a satellite but walking a few feet fixes the issue. Just out of curiosity, it went on a cruise from LA to Hawaii and back. It worked perfectly every day all across the Pacific Ocean and on all of the major Hawaiian Islands.

I have not exactly babied this second SPOT. I experienced some terrible thunder, lightening, and rain one night a few weeks ago and my SPOT (and cell phone) accidentally ended up totally submerged in a 4" puddle for about 30 mins. No exaggeration. The SPOT worked just fine even after that, which is good because it took 4 days for my cell phone to dry out. ( I can't believe my phone actually did start working again. It is a 10 year old flip phone, should anyone want a review of it... lol)

My husband and I have had many, many conversations with the SPOT customer service between the first one not working and activating the second SPOT and changing accounts and lost passwords. Between the two of us, we have had 9 or 10 SPOT customer serv. convos. I have only had positive experiences with the customer service. (I don't work for them, nor do I own stock. :) I'm only a customer.)

I have it set for three messages. One is something like, "Hi! All is good! Love you!" The second is, "I don't have phone service. I'm having fun and all is good!" The third "HELP" message is, "I need you to meet me at this location!". I figure I'd use this one if I break an arm or something...

I would not hesitate to buy a 2nd or 3rd generation SPOT. Husband now texts messages like, "Got your message. Glad you are having fun." :) It has made a huge difference in my husband's comfort level.

DLP
09-08-2013, 17:21
PS... I think that a lot of the 1 star Amazon reviews are for the first generation of SPOT which WAS released too early with a lot of bugs.

A lot of the 1 star reviews also seem to be for people's inability to use the website. I am not the most tech-y person, but was able to figure out the website. And then some people are peeved that there is an annual fee, so they give it one star.

Somebody activated their SPOT on Forester Pass... and helicopters showed up 2 hours later. YMMV, of course. It is also unrealistic to depend on ANY electronics... stuff happens.

http://postholer.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2475

DLP
09-08-2013, 17:27
One has to let it sit for up to 15 minutes for the messages to go thru.This is also my experience. I can't just hit it and start walking.

bfayer
09-08-2013, 19:16
I know exactly where the terrible SPOT reviews come from. I owned the first generation SPOT...

That makes sense, I only have experience with my Spot 2 which has worked perfectly. I have not had to deal with customer service so I can't talk about that.

It seems the biggest issue has to do with managing expectations on both the sending and receiving ends. On the sending end you can't just turn it on, press the button, turn it off and put it back in your pack. What I do is take it out when I reach camp at the end of the day, turn it on, push the button and leave it to sit on a rock while I cook dinner. Before I go to bed, I pick it up turn it off and put it away. So I think some of the issues people may be having is trying to rush the process.

On the receiving end, my wife knows that I can't be trusted to remember to tie my own shoes sometimes, so she is not going to get all worked up if she doesn't get an OK message every night.

I program one of my buttons with a "come pick me up" message, so she knows to come get me the next day. Overall I am happy with my SPOT 2.

If I didn't have a family to deal with, it don't think I would spend the money on the SPOT. If I was going somewhere that was remote enough to worry about it, I would get a real ELT and not pay the annual fee.

Mags
09-08-2013, 20:21
I am very thankful my wife only mandates two conditions on any trip I take (solo ones included):

1. A trip itinerary with a rough map of my planned route and contact numbers such as the local ranger office
2. Give a call when I am back in cell phone range and let her know how the trip went

Not going to get in the whole spot / connectivity debate, but it is a solution that works well for us.

wornoutboots
09-08-2013, 22:41
Interesting, I just returned from the Northern 140 miles of the JMT to Bishop Pass with the 1st generation of SPOT & my wife said she only received 1/2 of my signals?? I had no idea there were issue with this? Thanks

MuddyWaters
09-08-2013, 22:45
When people expect to hear from you, they worry if they dont.
If you send a message at 6pm every night, they will panic if one doesnt show up till 7

If they dont expect to hear from you, they wont worry at all.

nu2hike
09-09-2013, 09:46
I have the second generation Spot and have never had it not work as advertised! I mostly hike on th AT and as mentioned above in some locations it takes longer for the signal to send, but it always has!
My family has a copy of my itinerary and strict instructions as to when to call in the troops! If this device gives them some piece of mind then to me it's worth carrying!

DLP
09-09-2013, 10:53
my wife knows that I can't be trusted to remember to tie my own shoes sometimes, so she is not going to get all worked up if she doesn't get an OK message every night. LOL Same here. Sometimes there is user error, as in I don't always remember to send a message.

If things were reversed and I was staying home and my husband was going out alone for 9-15 days, I would not worry. However, every person is different and he worries. Every couple and every family is different. And in OUR case, the SPOT2 works every time... and it does help with his mental health.

I also find throwing a lot of statistics at him helps. Riding a bike is way more dangerous. Realistically, day hiking is more dangerous and most search and rescues are for day hikers. To me, the worst is driving home after an all day day hike. I'd rather walk and sleep. As people say here all the time, it is just walking and sleeping. Although, you should probably tie your shoes when you walk. :)

There is also a lot to be said for the more you go out and the more you return unscathed... the less your family worries.

Sailing_Faith
09-09-2013, 11:23
I have a couple years using a spot 2, other then just north of the coast of Columbia I have not missed more then a couple of messages.

i do not pay for the extra 50$ "tracking" feature, you can press the "ok" button frequently as you want for the same effect.

i set my "message" button to say that I have either reached my goal, or stopped for the night. That way when I push it no one is expecting to receive any more messages until I start going again.

i also have the delorme, and it is heavier and chewed through batteries very fast. Nice to have the message capability, but probably more then I would want to hike with.... But that is just me.

good luck!

Don Newcomb
09-22-2013, 10:10
Part of the issue with SPOT may have something to do with the GlobalStar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalstar) satellite system on which it relies. GlobalStar has had some problems with their satellites going bad. Most voice customers have abandoned GlobalStar in favor of Iridium, INMARSAT or other satellite service because of service holes, which result in dropped calls. Now, this should not directly impact messaging services, like SPOT. However, you may have to wait for a satellite to pass by before the message can be sent. I also am given to understand that periods of high sunspot activity adversely impact GlobalStar.

Shutterbug
09-22-2013, 11:38
Do you have one or are you just going on other peoples reviews?

I have been using my spot 2 for a couple of years and I have never had a message not go through.

My wife however knows not to worry unless she receives a help message.

Just the fact that I have it makes her life easier, especially when I have the kids with me. That makes it well worth the cost to me.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2 I have been a Spot user since they first came out. I was a strong advocate for Spot until I actually needed it. Last year in October, I was hiking the Clear Creek Trail in the Grand Canyon. A member of my party had a life-threatening medial emergency. The one and only time I have needed the SOS feature, it was not received. Apparently, the signal was blocked by the canyon walls. It wasn't a failure of the Spot device. It was an issue of the positioning of the satellite at the time. My criticism is the Spot doesn't show whether the message was received or not. Fortunately, my friend recovered and I got him out without a helicopter rescue, but it could have gone the other way. I have now switched to the Delorme Inreach because it has two way communication. It sends and receives messages. If an SOS doesn't get out, I will know that it was not received.

Don Newcomb
09-22-2013, 14:56
.....The one and only time I have needed the SOS feature, it was not received. Apparently, the signal was blocked by the canyon walls. It wasn't a failure of the Spot device. It was an issue of the positioning of the satellite at the time. ..... This was something I thought about after it was too late to edit my previous post. All satellite systems have issues with positioning. With geosynchronous satellites you need a direct view of the satellite's fixed position somewhere off towards the equator. If you are on the wrong side of the mountain you may have to hike all the way around before you can get a connection. LEO satellites OTOH are constantly moving around. Unless you have a clear 360 view you may not be able to hold a continuous connection. However, with a messaging system like SPOT you don't need to hold a long connection, just a few seconds can be enough. Having said that, a place like the Grand Canyon is the worst possible place to try to use a system like SPOT. You would have to catch the satellite almost directly overhead for it to work.

Another Kevin
09-22-2013, 16:45
Part of the issue with SPOT may have something to do with the GlobalStar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalstar) satellite system on which it relies. GlobalStar has had some problems with their satellites going bad. Most voice customers have abandoned GlobalStar in favor of Iridium, INMARSAT or other satellite service because of service holes, which result in dropped calls. Now, this should not directly impact messaging services, like SPOT. However, you may have to wait for a satellite to pass by before the message can be sent. I also am given to understand that periods of high sunspot activity adversely impact GlobalStar.

For what it's worth, Delorme InReach uses Iridium.

dirtypaws
09-22-2013, 19:20
I have had a Delorme Inreach for the past two years. I do a lot of solo hikes in my area and my wife and children feel a lot better just knowing that I have a means to contact them while out and about. They also like the idea that I can call in the calvary if I really get into trouble. Well worth the price just for the peace of mind and the fact that without something like this they might not let me roam the woods alone.

Fwish - what's your experience been with the inreach? Have been looking at that or the newer Inreach SE for an emergency locator (would still carry my cell phone). It seems to be more reliable than the SPOT in terms of connectivity, but it definitely costs more.

Maui Rhino
09-22-2013, 22:54
Dirtypaws, I have been very happy with my inReach paired with my cell phone. It has reliably sent and received messages, even when I was camped at the bottom of a cliff several hundred feet high. I turn it on at sunset, send a message to check in with the wife, get a reply back that my wife and kids are okay and turn it off. I'm usually done in a few minutes. The peace of mind is fantastic for my wife. Wife happy, life happy. The map package for my phone is not that good compared to my backcountry navigator pro app, however, so I don't use it for navigation. It could work in a pinch, though. I upgraded from a Spot I system which never worked in my area at all.

Don Newcomb
09-23-2013, 01:02
For what it's worth, Delorme InReach uses Iridium.Does that mean that the InReach has global coverage. Despite it's name, GlobalStar's coverage is not actually global. So, I assume that SPOT only works in some regions.

Coffee
09-23-2013, 07:27
I used the Spot 2-3 times per day on the JMT. Based on my review of what got through, I would say that close to all of the messages got through when I waited the recommended 20 minutes after the message light first appears. This lets the spot go through its full cycle (I believe it tries to send three times). A few times I didn't wait and I know that at least one of those messages did not make it.

Spot out is quite primitive and really needs some firm confirmation of a successful message but I would use it again even with the limitations since it provided peace of mind to family members and also was fun for them as they charted my progress on the maps.

Don Newcomb
09-23-2013, 10:28
Looking around, the InReach SE would seem to be the best such system around. It has the advantages of being a rugged, stand-alone unit that has global coverage and bidirectional communications. Even in the worst location (a canyon on the equator) you can wait until you see the signal as the satellite passes overhead and send and receive messages then.