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dla
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dla
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PostThu Jun 15, 2017 8:03 pm 
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RumiDude wrote:
Just the SOS signal itself, what is the difference between InReach and SPOT? It appears to me they both use the same GEOS International Response Coordination Center. Or am I mistaken?

I am not talking about the messaging, because frankly I have no interest in that. I am wondering what are the differences in the SOS functions.

Rumi

They both do the same thing and they both work.  Give InReach a decade and they'll be able to boast 5000 saves.

The Coast Guard reports a 94% false alarm rate with EPIRBs - I suspect it is even higher with SPOT and InReach. So the GEOS staff has gotten pretty adept at making judgement calls. They try to contact you directly, contact those on your contact list, etc. and they have a very good success rate of not calling out SAR needlessly and not leaving somebody to die.

There's a good and bad to communicating via text msg with the person who signaled SOS - they might make some lousy judgment calls. There's a lot of value to having SAR boots on the ground to assess the situation.

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dla
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dla
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PostThu Jun 15, 2017 8:15 pm 
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RumiDude wrote:
Just supposing you need to send an SOS and you press the SOS button, or whatever it is on any particular device, and it doesn't reach whoever it needs to reach to start a rescue. Now what do you do? Does it matter if you know it is successful or not?

Ostensibly you sent the SOS because you can't self-rescue, has anything changed by knowing that the SOS signal was unsuccessful? I am trying to imagine a situation where it changes.

I am serious about this question.

Rumi

The harsh reality is that SAR response is totally dependent on jurisdictionof your area. Here in the US SAR is often the job of the county Sherif. Rich counties have helicopters, poor ones have volunteers with good boots. If you're within range of a coast guard airbase, they'll likely fly out and pick you up.  Sometimes the National Guard will fly out and get you. So if a fellow is counting on SAR, he should probably check them out.

I've encountered some incidents where people perished while awaiting rescue, and we have to remember that SAR is people with lives too.

Sometimes signaling just aids in the recovery.

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RumiDude
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RumiDude
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PostThu Jun 15, 2017 8:58 pm 
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dla wrote:
They both do the same thing and they both work.

So if a person had both the InReach and SPOT and hit the SOS button on both at any particular location, they would either both succeed or both fail to contact GEOS Center, correct? Or is it possible one would connect and the other would not connect? (This is assuming both are working correctly and have a sufficient power source.) Again, I am kinda unaware of these device capabilities so I ask as a total novice.

BTW, there is a 50% mail in rebate on SPOT Gen3 GPS Messenger til 9/4, which means one can be had for $75.

Rumi

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dla
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PostThu Jun 15, 2017 9:33 pm 
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RumiDude wrote:
dla wrote:
They both do the same thing and they both work.

So if a person had both the InReach and SPOT and hit the SOS button on both at any particular location, they would either both succeed or both fail to contact GEOS Center, correct? Or is it possible one would connect and the other would not connect? (This is assuming both are working correctly and have a sufficient power source.) Again, I am kinda unaware of these device capabilities so I ask as a total novice.

BTW, there is a 50% mail in rebate on SPOT Gen3 GPS Messenger til 9/4, which means one can be had for $75.

Rumi

They would both work. GEOS would get two SOS from the same location. Not sure what they would think,  but I'll assume they would consider it a real emergency.

Assuming satellite coverage, (don't take SPOT when filming Antartic penguins), if terrain prevented either getting an SOS signal out, then neither would. Their signaling systems are very similar.

But reality is that both just flat out work.

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skiorkayak
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PostThu Jun 15, 2017 9:53 pm 
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OK, I know this is trivial, but because SPOT and inReach use different satellites, and there are places in the world SPOT does not work, it is possible (although extremely unlikely) that one would work while the other would not. I would not use this to make my decision on one vs the other.
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skiorkayak
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PostThu Jun 15, 2017 10:01 pm 
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The link dla provided was a good read, and anyone considering a SPOT should read it. Anyone that owns a SPOT or inReach and may not be using it properly should also read it. Although it did not change my mind, I do have to admit that the SPOT (used properly) is a viable option for those that do not really care about the additional functions of the inReach.
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Chico
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PostFri Jun 16, 2017 12:46 am 
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Side by side comparison

http://www.bchw.org/Tech%20tips/Remote%20Communication%20Test.htm

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skiorkayak
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PostFri Jun 16, 2017 7:34 am 
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OK, I'm going to try to beat dla to the punch on this one.

Agree with it or not, there are flaws with that "side by side" comparison. The SPOT unit pictured is a 1st generation unit while the inReach unit is a later generation model. Several improvements have been made in the later generation models of SPOT.

I prefer the inReach for what I use it for (for reasons already stated). But that comparison directly contradicts my experience with the 2 units. I have found for the most part that if a message was sent from one unit that it was also sent from the other. I just really like knowing (from the field) whether or not it was sent.

If you are going to have a side by side comparison, they should at least be similar generation units.
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markh752
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PostSat Jun 17, 2017 10:54 pm 
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If I were to choose Spot or InReach, it would be InReach hands down.
I would say that InReach is like my 14 year old that communicates with me and Spot is like my 13 year old that assumes that I know what he is doing.
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RumiDude
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PostMon Jun 19, 2017 12:02 am 
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For me the whole issue with any of these devices is simply the fact I don't want to be communicating whenever I am in the backcountry. Instead I want to concentrate on navigating and enjoying myself. I understand some may worry about me but I remain resistant.

But if I was  to carry something, I would want the most minimal device. I know that having a capability, people often use it, sometimes becoming dependent on it.

Anyway, I have enjoyed the discussion on this topic. If I ever decide to get something like this, I think I am better informed than I was before.

Rumi

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skiorkayak
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PostMon Jun 19, 2017 2:47 am 
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Rumi, I absolutely agree. If it wasn't for my wife and kids, I might not even know that these existed. But since I do have experience with both, I felt my insight might help with someone else making the same decision.

I do like having it along, kind of like my GPS (iPhone). I grew up with, and still carry a map and compass on every trip. The GPS is much faster and I now find myself using it most of the time, but I do not feel I am dependent on it. Similarly, the only hope of a rescue if something went really wrong was letting someone know exactly where I was going and when I would be back. It left little flexibility, but I at least knew someone would likely come looking for me if I didn't show up. I still leave someone a hard copy of a map of the area I am going, along with the projected route (whether on trail or off) along with my expected itinerary. The inReach now gives me the flexibility to change those plans mid trip along with the hope that rescue might come sooner then a day or two after I am expected home. The inReach does offer other conveniences as well, but I do not feel I am dependent on any of this.

If I did not have a wife and children that depended on me, I might not care about any of this. That is why a SPOT might be a viable option for some, and nothing at all might be a viable option for others. Everyone must make a decision for their own situation, and if this thread helps someone else make that decision then it is time well spent.
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DIYSteve
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PostTue Jun 20, 2017 8:03 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
For me the whole issue with any of these devices is simply the fact I don't want to be communicating whenever I am in the backcountry. Instead I want to concentrate on navigating and enjoying myself. I understand some may worry about me but I remain resistant.

But if I was  to carry something, I would want the most minimal device.

If you want SOS only and certain you will never want non-SOS communication, get a PLB. Think it over before you make a purchase decision. Some non-SOS communication is nice, e.g., the ability to check in with home when you're running a day or two late.
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hbb
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PostTue Jun 20, 2017 10:47 am 
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dla wrote:
SPOT has to hit a satellite that is only 800 miles up, since it does so reliably the 400mw is obviously enough.

I'm not sure if I understand how this is a selling point in the context of SPOT v. InReach.

The Globlalstar constellation that SPOT uses orbits at approximately 1400kms.

The Iridium constellation that InReach uses orbits at approximately 780kms.

With a SPOT, aren't you relying on lower transmission power to transmit a signal over a significantly longer distance?
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DIYSteve
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PostTue Jun 20, 2017 2:29 pm 
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Chico wrote:
Side by side comparison

http://www.bchw.org/Tech%20tips/Remote%20Communication%20Test.htm

6 out of 6 vs. 1 out of 6. I've seen other reports with similar observations re inReach messages getting out more reliably than SPOT messages.

skiorkayak wrote:
The SPOT unit pictured is a 1st generation unit while the inReach unit is a later generation model.

If making a buying decision, yeah, a comparo of the most recent versions would be nice. OTOH, some people have what they have.

skiorkayak wrote:
The SPOT unit pictured is a 1st generation unit while the inReach unit is a later generation model. Several improvements have been made in the later generation models of SPOT.

Do you know whether the transmitter circuitry changed?

I'm no RF engineer but I've hung around lots of RF engineers in the course of my career. Subject to the foregoing disclaimer, I'm pretty sure it's just plain silly to suggest that transmission power is always irrelevant. If 0.4W is sufficient power to effectively transmit in a single isolated set of conditions, that doesn't necessarily mean that 0.4W is sufficient to effectively transmit in all other sets of conditions.

Maybe a bona fide RF engineer can chime in re whether 1.6W of transmission power might successfully push a signal through in certain conditions (e.g., dense tree cover) when 0.4W wouldn't.

Note that a typical handheld PLB has 5.0W of transmission power.
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dla
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dla
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PostTue Jun 20, 2017 3:37 pm 
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DIYSteve wrote:
Maybe a bona fide RF engineer can chime in re whether 1.6W of transmission power might successfully push a signal through in certain conditions (e.g., dense tree cover) when 0.4W wouldn't.

Yea you still don't get it, but I  really wish you'd stop spouting FUD on things you know nothing about.

The 3 systems (SPOT, InReach, COSPAS-SARSAT) have Satellites at different altitudes. And they have signaling systems that have been thoroughly tested. And all 3 work.

Here's a good read - info for DYI-steve

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