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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 13113 | TRs
Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostMon Dec 03, 2007 9:49 pm 
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I think that ad is having the opposite effect desired.  It looks like I may be killed by a grizzly if I get one of these.  I am definitely praying for Jason right now.   paranoid.gif
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostMon Dec 03, 2007 9:53 pm 
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anyone hear from him lately?

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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!
PostTue Dec 04, 2007 5:18 am 
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Hello All,

Still alive... I have been busy at work...

Here is my initial report
LINK

Please take the time to at least click on the link and act like you are reading my report (and the other two testers).

However this is what you want to know... is that I have had mixed results.. no signal on the way up to Melakwa or back from there.. however I am not sure that it wasn't user error since that was my first time using it.  I did a quick overnighter on Lake Easton and it worked fine.. though Lake Easton has much less tree cover.  I plan on doing a dayhike this Friday and will use it again...

Thanks for asking!!!!
Jason B

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http://www.BackpackGearTest.org
The Most Comprehensive Interactive Gear Reviews and Tests on the Planet!
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Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10979 | TRs
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer
PostTue Dec 04, 2007 6:41 am 
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Wait a minute.

Is this the real Coasty or just the Spot service "checking in" on behalf of Coasty with a progress update?  hockeygrin.gif

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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Slide Alder Slayer
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Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2002
Posts: 1916 | TRs

Slide Alder Slayer
Member
PostTue Dec 04, 2007 11:04 am 
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I will be interested in your report Coasty as I have been following feedback from individual users on Backpacking Lightweight and while the enthusiasm is there all have agreed that to get a signal through one has to make sure that Spot has a clear sky and is pointing straight up.

To date all mention missed messages in moderate cover and the question is would this be the same for 911, i.e., better have an emergency situation with an unobstructed view of the sky or have the ability to crawl there. However, that would only apply if solo as ones hiking partner could find clear sky to signal 911.
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GeoHiker
Rocky Walker



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Posts: 6042 | TRs
Location: Off the Deep End
GeoHiker
Rocky Walker
PostTue Dec 04, 2007 1:04 pm 
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Thanks for the update and link Jason.  I'm looking forward to the reviews.  This will be a much needed safety item for many hikers.

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You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye......Eagles
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BirdDog
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Member


Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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Location: Seattle
BirdDog
Member
PostTue Dec 04, 2007 6:05 pm 
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Please take the time to at least click on the link and act like you are reading my report (and the other two testers).

Coasty;
I clicked the link, very well written report. Interesting gizzmo. Thanks.

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"There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country."
Teddy Roosevelt August 6, 1912
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Coasty
I like Salmon!



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 763 | TRs
Location: Kodiak, AK
Coasty
I like Salmon!
PostTue Dec 04, 2007 7:58 pm 
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Dayhike Mike wrote:
Wait a minute.

Is this the real Coasty or just the Spot service "checking in" on behalf of Coasty with a progress update?  hockeygrin.gif

Will the real Coasty please stand up, please stand up...

biggrin.gif

Jason

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http://www.BackpackGearTest.org
The Most Comprehensive Interactive Gear Reviews and Tests on the Planet!
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostTue Dec 04, 2007 8:53 pm 
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Coasty, what's the $100,000 "Search and REscue" benefit provided by Lloyds - an insurance policy for SAR costs?  (though SAR is free, at least at this time it is.  We might loose that if people continue to ignore weather reports in winter...)

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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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GeoHiker
Rocky Walker



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Posts: 6042 | TRs
Location: Off the Deep End
GeoHiker
Rocky Walker
PostWed Dec 05, 2007 1:09 am 
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I was curious about what was being written about the SPOT and some hands on experience, but don't see much out there after several hours on Google.  SAS, could you link to the discussions on Backpacking Lightweight.  I didn't see much there, but maybe I was looking in the wrong place.  I do see a lot of places selling, but where are the hands on reviews?  Maybe I'm a bit impatient, but now days it seems like anything new is put through the ringers online in no time.

I did find 2 owner reviews and discussions here.  WaterTribe  I would think the SPOT would work very well in a kayak on the water, so I was disappointed to see there were problems.

I don't see an external antenna input, so Coasty can you confirm that? Maybe no external antenna input has something to do with FCC type class requirements???  The transmitter power is so low that I can't see it being an issue though.

Cool to see a new product like this entering the market even if it does get racked through the coals by the critics.  The technology has been there for years to provide a small, lightweight, inexspensive tracking unit.  Make it 2 way and work anywhere I go and I'll be the first in line to buy one.  I hope this is the first step in that direction.

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You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye......Eagles
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Coasty
I like Salmon!



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 763 | TRs
Location: Kodiak, AK
Coasty
I like Salmon!
PostWed Dec 05, 2007 5:21 am 
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Hello GeoHiker,

I can confirm that there is not an input for an external antenna and as for these guys testing prior to selling..

What I have found with most companies is that they do test, but their testers know the paramaters of the gear and the data ends up pretty favorable.  Thats why I test for backpackgeartest... we are average joes who don't have the same preconvcieved notions of how it should work.  We take it out and test it and if it works great and if it doesn't great.  Our philosophy is just to test it and if we break it or it doesn't work oh well, we need to get that info out.

Jason

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http://www.BackpackGearTest.org
The Most Comprehensive Interactive Gear Reviews and Tests on the Planet!
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GeoHiker
Rocky Walker



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Posts: 6042 | TRs
Location: Off the Deep End
GeoHiker
Rocky Walker
PostWed Dec 05, 2007 9:46 pm 
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Thanks for the info Jason.  That may be a big mistake by not providing an external antenna connection.   We'll see when more reports come out in the coming weeks.

Hey, if you get bored you could always give us a heads up on how it's working for you. smile.gif

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You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye......Eagles
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captain jack
Serving suggestion



Joined: 25 May 2004
Posts: 3340 | TRs
Location: El. 162'
captain jack
Serving suggestion
PostFri Jan 25, 2008 7:53 pm 
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This SPOT unit seems like an amusing toy. I think it could be lotsa fun if you have a desire to maybe check in when you are hiking.
Would I stake my life on something that might not work in an emergency, well that would be pretty stupid.

I had a chance to touch and play with the new ACR ResQFix/MicrOFix unit at the boat show today.
This unit is a 10 ounce PLB that uses 406 MHz for instant notification anywhere in an emergency, with a 121.5 MHz SAR homing beacon and a GPS transmitter for pinpoint location to within 100 yards.

If you travel solo in the backcountry this unit is very small, easy to activate, and has a self testing mode to verify its operation before you leave.
There is a company here in Seattle that rents these units by the week if you wanted to try it.
There is no subsription fees for this unit, you buy it, thats all. No monitoring companies that may or may not be providing service in the future are required.
REI has them on thier site for $650 bucks, not cheap by any means, but what is your life worth if you have a traumatic injury deep in the backcountry. I could activate this unit with my teeth if I had to, or my feet, good to know if your hands are broken. The design makes it impossible to accidentally activate if you like to just toss things in a pack all willy nilly, like I do.
Multiple retailers have these units at the boat show, the ACR rep there told me they were selling as low as 550 bucks, which is, according to him, only 25 bucks over thier cost.
So if your at the boat show you might want to check these out.

http://www.acrelectronics.com/
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GeoHiker
Rocky Walker



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Posts: 6042 | TRs
Location: Off the Deep End
GeoHiker
Rocky Walker
PostFri Jan 25, 2008 8:24 pm 
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CJ, you have a valid point with putting your life on the line, but you have to look at the break point cost of the item.  How many would buy a SPOT and how many would empty the bank and buy a PLB?  The cost is a big deterrent with PLBs.  I think the tracking function of the SPOT is a HUGE advantage over a PLB and piece of mind for most people.

The 2 way functionality of the SPOT is break thru technology.  I've seen several reports it works well, several more that say it doesn't.  You aren't going to get 100% with any piece of emergency gear.

I like the direction that we are going and it won't be too many years till an affordable tracking device is available for everyone.  I saw the add for the rental PLB's and that's a good idea, but for $60-80 a week I'll go out and buy one.  For the once a year person I suppose it would be cost effective.

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You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye......Eagles
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captain jack
Serving suggestion



Joined: 25 May 2004
Posts: 3340 | TRs
Location: El. 162'
captain jack
Serving suggestion
PostFri Jan 25, 2008 9:16 pm 
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The SPOT unit is $ 150.00 , and you have to buy at least one year of service for $ 100.00, so you have to spend at least $250 if you want it. Thats not cheap.
Each additional year that you want it to function is another $100.00, if not more.
These monitoring companies are labor intensive. The costs associated with monitoring will only go up, not down. If they decide after a coulple of years that they want to charge $200 per year for the service, your stuck paying what they ask.
At $100 per year, in year four you will have paid $550 for the SPOT.
I dont consider this to be an affordable option at all.
Plus what if they dont get your payment, or you forget to renew it on time , or for some other reason they discontinue your service. You want to find out about it when your in dire need of help ?
Like I said before, its a nice toy, like a GPS.
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