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Tom
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Tom
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PostWed Nov 07, 2007 11:16 am 
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At $100/year it seems like a reasonable cost for what it does.  Heck, the least expensive Verizon plan for my cell phone is $600/year after tax.   After reading this article the primary concern I would have is it (currently) won't transmit a distress signal if it doesn't have a GPS fix.  What a terrible idea.  You could be SOL if stuck deep in a valley or under cliffs.  At a minimum it should transmit based on the last known GPS coordinates.
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George Johnson
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Joined: 11 Jul 2007
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George Johnson
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PostWed Nov 07, 2007 11:53 am 
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Tom wrote:
After reading this article the primary concern I would have is it (currently) won't transmit a distress signal if it doesn't have a GPS fix.  What a terrible idea.  You could be SOL if stuck deep in a valley or under cliffs.  At a minimum it should transmit based on the last known GPS coordinates.

In an update to that blog posting available here: http://www.equipped.org/blog/?p=73

it appears as though they have reconsidered and it will transmit without a GPS fix. I can't confirm that though. The question is if it can't get a fix, how likely would it be able to transmit?
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Grizzy
Yellow Cedar Hugger



Joined: 16 Jul 2006
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Location: Switchbacks
Grizzy
Yellow Cedar Hugger
PostWed Nov 07, 2007 4:04 pm 
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Tom wrote:
At a minimum it should transmit based on the last known GPS coordinates.

If it doesn't have a fix (connection) to a satellite....what would it be transmitting a distress signal to? Cell tower? nope....I think that would be the problem...unless it can turn into a flare gun smile.gif

--------------
All the birds have flown up and gone;
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by.
We never tire of looking at each other -
Only the mountain and I. ~Li Po~
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Tom
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Tom
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PostWed Nov 07, 2007 4:12 pm 
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I don't know how the technology works but I wouldn't necessarily assume the ability to receive a signal is the same as the ability to send a signal.  It might not send the distress signal to the same satellites it uses to get a location fix.  They could be completely different, and you need more than 1 satellite to get a location fix.  Regardless, if you need help, it's better for the unit to send something than nothing.
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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Nov 07, 2007 4:30 pm 
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The GPS satellites are DOD USN and the communications are private. I tend to trust the Navy more than a company in financial trouble. The DOD has a lot of hardware that needs those GPS birds.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Lono
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PostWed Nov 07, 2007 4:37 pm 
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I would not buy consider buying a SPOT unless and until Doug Ritter gave it a thumbs up.  And right now he's reserving judgement until they can test production units.  From his blog at http://www.equipped.org/blog/:

"Unless you simply must have the latest and greatest gadget, money isnít an issue, and youíre not really buying it as a distress alerting device, my suggestion for the moment is to sit tight until we have a better idea how well this device really works. Consider that this is the equivalent of version 1.0 software. Most of us know better that to be beta testers when something critical is on the line. While SPOT has received a great deal of publicity, it is not built to any recognized specification, has not been thoroughly tested by any independent authority, nor is there any operational history. It got some very cool tricks and a nice feature set, but Iím not inclined to suggest that you bet your life on the device at this time. Letís see how it really works first."
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Coasty
I like Salmon!



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
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Location: Kodiak, AK
Coasty
I like Salmon!
PostThu Nov 08, 2007 12:32 pm 
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Quark wrote:
Why won't they choose a tester in an area of valleys, fog and rain?† Seems they need to have a variety of conditions;† Salt Lake, Arizona and S Carolina?† C'mon. huh.gif†  What kind of a test is that?† A great percentage their potential market lives in a fog up here.

Well lets see... what can I think of... they had the best applications, they are veteran testers, the female tester in arizona is cute, I am not sure.

Anyone can apply to test any piece of gear that we test, and they had the best applications.  SLC - mountains (Wasatch and Uintas) Arizona- Canyons, SC - He hikes the AT and in Smokeys..

by that way if anyone is interested in becoming a tester let me know.. I can walk you through the process.

Jason B

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boot up
Old Not Bold Hiker



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
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Location: Bend Oregon
boot up
Old Not Bold Hiker
PostThu Nov 08, 2007 10:03 pm 
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I have a PLB, but THIS option looks pretty good once it gets proven and you can be sure the subcription company is going to stay around.

The PLB is hooked into NOAA, so I am covered until the unit dies or the Great Armageddon takes our government out and then it probably doesn't matter.   smile.gif

The PLB was NOT my choice but puts loved ones minds at ease.
They figure I am either OK or dead if I haven't pushed the panic button, and if I am too dead to push the button.....well its sort of a moot point anyway and saves them from lugging ashes back up the mountain if they can't find the body.

I agree that if it had some basic text message capability at least, that would make it more of a significant advantage over the PLB.

I assume the PLB I have WILL be obsoleted by something better at some point, which is why I insisted that it not be bought as a gift for me.  But as I say, its more for others than myself, so I dutifully carry the one pound boat anchor that I will hopefully never use.

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friluftsliv
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Coasty
I like Salmon!



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
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Location: Kodiak, AK
Coasty
I like Salmon!
PostFri Nov 09, 2007 7:05 am 
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Quark,

You will get your wish.. our SLC tester has some health issues and has decided to let someone else test and I am the alternate...


Boot Up - Your PLB works on the 406 MHZ freq and it is not going to go away anytime soon.  The CG just phased out the older PLB freq (we call them EPIRB's) and made all commercial ocean going ships in the world switch to the 406 EPIRBs. It is a Safety of Life at Sea rule.  One thing that is good about a PLB over the SPOT is that it transmits on the 406 MHZ not just a GPS signal.  I think that is why SPOT cannot be called a PLB.  Anywho.. look for an initial report soon.

Jason

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The Most Comprehensive Interactive Gear Reviews and Tests on the Planet!
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Mount Logan
Canada's Highest



Joined: 04 Jan 2005
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Mount Logan
Canada's Highest
PostFri Nov 09, 2007 10:56 am 
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I sure am glad that the SPOT can protect me from a raging bruin!  huh.gif

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boot up
Old Not Bold Hiker



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 4566 | TRs
Location: Bend Oregon
boot up
Old Not Bold Hiker
PostFri Nov 09, 2007 1:05 pm 
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Mount Logan wrote:
I sure am glad that the SPOT can protect me from a raging bruin!† huh.gif


But you have to throw it REALLY hard for that to work.
And maybe hope the bear dies quickly from eating the toxic materials in the battery, before it rips you apart.
biggrin.gif

That is the weirdest ad I have EVER seen.  Obviously put together by one of them there slick NYC ad agencies.   rolleyes.gif

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friluftsliv
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSun Nov 11, 2007 7:18 pm 
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Coasty wrote:
Quark,

You will get your wish.. our SLC tester has some health issues and has decided to let someone else test and I am the alternate...

That's the smartest move ever.  Gotta test it in old growth and cliffiness and fog. up.gif

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Coasty
I like Salmon!



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 763 | TRs
Location: Kodiak, AK
Coasty
I like Salmon!
PostThu Nov 15, 2007 8:30 pm 
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SPOT arrived today.  It is very small.. suprising... I will take out this weekend and start my test.. I will let post a link when my Initial report is written.

Jason

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The Most Comprehensive Interactive Gear Reviews and Tests on the Planet!
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GeoHiker
Rocky Walker



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
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GeoHiker
Rocky Walker
PostThu Nov 15, 2007 11:51 pm 
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I'll look forward to the initial report and don't hesitate jumping in here and giving us an update.  I'm very curious to see how it works.   I think the reception will be the biggest make or break deal on whether this device flies.   Does the SPOT have an external antenna port?

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You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye......Eagles
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostMon Dec 03, 2007 9:34 pm 
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Update?

--------------
"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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