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  1. #1
    Crazy Larry #1's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Satellite Messenger

    Here is something we all might consider carrying just in case we get into a tight spot and need help considering the cureent thread about the missing hiker.

    http://www.findmespot.com/

  2. #2
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    I have been reading a lot on the SPOT messenger. The opinions I found say it is too early to say how well it works. I'm curious to see if anyone here has used it. It is a lot different from a PLB. I have read some problems with getting a GPS lock in dense tree cover. That might be the same casse in a PLB, I'm not sure. It will still send an emergency message without a GPS lock. Works on a SAT phone network.

  3. #3

    Default WSJ review of SPOT

    Here is a review from the Wall Street Journal, I think a password is needed for a link so here is the review:

    On a chilly day, most folks find it tough to open the front door to retrieve the newspaper -- much less climb a 15,000-foot mountain. But plenty of people court danger by rappelling down canyons and camping in remote woodlands. This week, I tested a device that will give thrill seekers a little extra insurance: It lets the folks back home track their progress, and learn when they're OK or when they're in trouble.
    When activated, the $170 SPOT Satellite Messenger from SPOT Inc., the Milpitas, Calif., unit of Globalstar Inc., emits a signal to GPS satellites, which notify SPOT's messaging service. The service then sends a message to friends, family or emergency rescue teams about your current status. Because it uses GPS technology, the SPOT will work even when you're far from cellphone signal range and anywhere in the world.
    I tested SPOT in my Washington, D.C., neighborhood (city parks still count as outdoorsy) and on a trip across the California desert and mountains on the way to a conference -- though I was scaling mountains in an air-conditioned SUV rather than in a rock-climbing harness.

    In my tests, SPOT worked without a problem. Notifications from the device were delivered to my friends via email and text message and included my current latitude and longitude. The service also sent along canned messages that I set up in advance on the company's Web site at www.findmespot.com and hyperlinks to Google Maps that showed my location.
    SPOT charges a $100 annual service fee, which includes an unlimited number of messages that can be sent out from your device using three buttons: OK/Check, Help and 911. An additional $50 per year tracking service called SPOTcasting follows and marks your exact location every 10 minutes for 24 hours each time it's initiated.
    This simple and straightforward device could really help in a dangerous situation. And the company takes its job seriously: A steely message on the SPOT packaging reads, "Opening this box is the first step in making sure you don't come home in one." But SPOT could also save the day in less-adventurous situations, such as when your car dies and you're out of cellphone range.
    However, SPOT isn't perfect. While its three message-sending buttons make it easy to use, they also limit the types of messages it can send. There's no keyboard, so messages must be brief and set up in advance on the Web site. And the device only sends messages and can't receive them. Your friends and family have no way of getting back in touch with you on SPOT should you send a Help message from beyond cellphone range.
    SPOT is a bright orange device with roughly the same surface measurement as a BlackBerry, though it's considerably thicker. Its durable casing makes it waterproof and floatable, along with working in extremes like -40 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 21,000 feet above sea level. It runs on two AA lithium batteries, which last for different amounts of time according to the type of message being sent.
    Setting up SPOT took only a few minutes on the Web site. A default or personalized message can be set up to go out with OK/Check and Help notifications, and email addresses and cellphone numbers (for SMS text messages) can be entered online as the destinations for these messages. Every message includes the user's current location in terms of latitude and longitude, along with a hyperlink to access that location via Google Maps.
    SPOT sends messages and location information via satellite, including points that can be tracked on a map.
    The OK/Check button can be used most casually by owners of this gadget, as it merely serves to assure others that you're fine. A good example might be two people on a three-month sailing trip who use this button as a means of checking in with family every Sunday night.
    If OK/Check is held down for five seconds, it initiates the SPOTcasting tracking service (provided you've signed up for it) and locates your device every 10 minutes for a 24-hour period. These tracked points show up on SPOT's Web site and are displayed as numbered points on Google Maps.
    SPOT worked for me while driving through a regional park with a campsite, where cellphone range was faint, and up into boulder-crusted mountains. Just minutes after pressing Help or OK/Check or initiating tracking, friends received word of my location via emails and text messages.
    You can't set SPOT to track a trip for longer than 24 hours or at different intervals, such as every hour for a week. And the only way for others to view your tracked points is if they sign in using your online account's username and password.
    The Help button is used in more urgent situations and uses messages such as "Urgent help needed. Pick me up at campsite." (The default for Help is "This is a HELP message. Please send for help ASAP.") But preset messages shouldn't be made too specific during the online setup because they can't be changed from the device later.
    The 911 and Help automatic notifications will always override less urgent messages like OK/Check or SPOTcasting. In the case of the 911 and Help buttons, one can be pressed after the other and the messages for both will still go out at the same time. The 911 button will send a message every five minutes until power runs out (the company says this will last for up to seven days) or until the message is canceled; Help sends a message every five minutes for an hour or until canceled.
    The 911 button is more serious. When pressed, SPOT Inc. automatically notifies a certified 911 company called the GEOS International Emergency Response Center, which contacts your specified emergency contacts first to see if they know anything about your situation before dispatching a rescue squad using your coordinates.
    If you can adjust to SPOT's three-button approach, the device could be helpful for you or someone you know during outdoor adventures. Many people will buy SPOT simply for its 911 button, as an insurance policy on fluky cellphone service.

  4. #4

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    It sounds like pollywog was carrying one of these and "her people" got concerned when her SPOT messenger stopped communicating. It sounds like she was "found" the old fashioned way through the trail grapevine, and perhaps had a WB boost, which is cool of course.

    Anyway, I was reading here...

    http://www.cnet.com/8301-13512_1-9839898-23.html

    ...that dense tree cover is an issue and the gizmo is not perfect, but it does sound interesting. Battery life is between 7-14 days depending on the features you use, I guess.

    http://www.findmespot.com/ExploreSPO...Messenger.aspx

    It sounds to me it could be very useful for communicating that you need help. But, I question the usefulness of the checking in button as there appears to be no verification that it is YOU versus someone else hitting the check-in button unless you devise a system like 5 minutes after noon every day or whatever. Then there is the problem of remembering to do it at the same time(s) every day or accidently hitting the check-in button at an "it's not me" interval.

  5. #5

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    Sounds like one of those anklets Martha Stewart had to wear to make sure she didn't violate her parole.

  6. #6

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    It's kind of funny that it shows where you are on google maps, but unless you carry a google map (or GPS) in your back pocket you are the only one who does not see where you are. Seems a small screen might help if you are in a position to self-rescue.

  7. #7
    Ron Haven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Man View Post
    It sounds like pollywog was carrying one of these and "her people" got concerned when her SPOT messenger stopped communicating. It sounds like she was "found" the old fashioned way through the trail grapevine, and perhaps had a WB boost, which is cool of course.

    Anyway, I was reading here...

    http://www.cnet.com/8301-13512_1-9839898-23.html

    ...that dense tree cover is an issue and the gizmo is not perfect, but it does sound interesting. Battery life is between 7-14 days depending on the features you use, I guess.

    http://www.findmespot.com/ExploreSPO...Messenger.aspx

    It sounds to me it could be very useful for communicating that you need help. But, I question the usefulness of the checking in button as there appears to be no verification that it is YOU versus someone else hitting the check-in button unless you devise a system like 5 minutes after noon every day or whatever. Then there is the problem of remembering to do it at the same time(s) every day or accidently hitting the check-in button at an "it's not me" interval.
    I picked Polywog up this afternoon at Winding Stair Gap about 4pm.She is safely checked in at Budget Inn of Franklin.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Haven View Post
    I picked Polywog up this afternoon at Winding Stair Gap about 4pm.She is safely checked in at Budget Inn of Franklin.
    Cool. I hope she works out any communications issues she has with her home folk. But, I didn't want to turn this into a polywog thread, just a discussion the SPOT device she was reported to have been carrying.

  9. #9

    Default I have had mine for a week

    Quote Originally Posted by The Only Wanderer View Post
    Here is something we all might consider carrying just in case we get into a tight spot and need help considering the cureent thread about the missing hiker.

    http://www.findmespot.com/

    I got my Spot about 10 days ago. So far, it works just as advertised.

    If my wife wants to know my progress, she can log on to the FindmeSpot web site and see my route. The markers are every 10 minutes. I have tried it walking and also in my car. It works well.

    If I want to sent a "ok" message to my wife, I just press the button. It doesn't seem to be instantaneous, but within a few minutes, she gets a preprogrammed text message on her phone.

    Then a while before I reach the trail head, I can pust the "Need Help" button. It sends a different preprogrammed text message saying "Pick me up at the trial head."

    Fortunately, I have had not need to press the 911 button.
    Shutterbug

  10. #10
    Captain Caveman paradoxb3's Avatar
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    "...Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation." -Blind Seer, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

  11. #11
    A Special Breed of Crazy FFTorched's Avatar
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    So you could technically slip this thing into your kid's backpack and track if he goes to school or where he goes?

    It seems like an interesting piece of equipment but what if I'm in some forgotten little place in the backcountry of South East Asia and I hit the 911 button. Will the American's come and save me? Or will lets say the Nepalese police get a text message?
    " It's a fool's life, a rogue's life, and a good life if you keep laughing all the way to the grave." -- Edward Abbey

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