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Canon Shooter
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Canon Shooter
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PostWed Jun 21, 2017 10:04 pm 
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I admit that all my InReach information is limited and anecdotal, based only on my own experience, which is limit to only about 4 years over just five or six states, and is based on every single message ever sent being recorded on an Earthmate map, having been sent from mostly remote areas with dense tree cover.  And just because I was just able to send myself a test email with my InReach device from  from inside my travel trailer with the doors closed, windows shut, and metal shades down, while sitting typing this response, clearly should not be an indication that the InReach device works better than a Spot device because I have never used a Spot device.

Please don't let my experience guide your buying decisions, do your own tests.


Update:  Just received a message back to my InReach while it laid on the table in my travel trailer; door and windows closed, metal shades pulled.  Must be that iridium satellite stuck in the tree!
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Tom
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PostWed Jun 21, 2017 10:46 pm 
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dla wrote:
So one person's anecdotal "evidence ", (which of course is not documented), fits your bias and that becomes your "evidence"?

I'm trying to say politely that the author would have more credibility if he did more than "recollect". I think it has to do with some version of the placebo effect.

I don't have much of a bias as I am not emotionally invested with either device as you seem to be.  If I found a comparison that indicated otherwise I'd be happy to share it.  It would seem the reviewers that have tested both devices conclude one is more reliable, shrug.
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hbb
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hbb
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PostThu Jun 22, 2017 9:31 am 
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dla wrote:
hbb wrote:
Now I am confused. If the altitude of the satellite constellation is irrelevant, why in the world did you bring it up earlier in the thread?

I guess I'm wondering why you ask? What is your goal?

I've said repeatedly that all 3 systems work - and SPOT has been tested way, way more than InReach. Since I know you have no Engineering explanation to show how SPOT is inferior, and since I  know that SPOT gives 5X the battery life of InReach, I'll conclude that SPOT works very well indeed.

I'm happy we have choices today.

What is my goal? Earlier in the thread you wrote:

dla wrote:
Where are the satelites? THINK.

Well, I did think about that. I looked into the location of the Globalstar satellite constellation, and was surprised to find that it orbited at a significantly higher altitude than the Iridium constellation.

That made me wonder what it was that you wanted folks to "think" about with respect to the location of the satellites. I wondered if perhaps there was more to the question of location than simply straight-line distance. For example, I know that "skip" can affect the propagation of radio waves:  back when I worked up in Alaska, I used to listen to AM radio out of San Francisco all the time. But I can't receive that same San Francisco station here in Seattle. Maybe there was some similar issue at play with the SPOT, where transmission power was not a big deal due to how the transmission would propagate.

So, I asked for clarification, and wanted to know if with a SPOT, you were relying on lower transmission power to send a signal over a longer distance. You didn't directly address the question, although others did. I still want to know what the folks who designed SPOT were thinking when they developed the transmission power of the unit. Obviously there are a variety of approaches to designing these types of devices, and I find it interesting to look into the reasoning behind the various approaches.
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dla
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dla
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PostThu Jun 22, 2017 7:00 pm 
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hbb wrote:
So, I asked for clarification, and wanted to know if with a SPOT, you were relying on lower transmission power to send a signal over a longer distance. You didn't directly address the question, although others did.

1.6 watts with a compromise antenna doesn't beat 400mv with an optimized antenna.

SPOT works really well face up. Not near as good in any other position.  INReach has to work while people are viewing and poking.

But like I said about a dozen times now - all 3 systems work. Arguing antenna design is about like Killer Burger staff discussing atmospheric chemistry during a discussion on Global Warming.

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Brian Curtis
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Brian Curtis
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PostFri Jun 23, 2017 6:32 am 
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I think it is instructive and interesting to talk antenna design.

The SPOT uses a patch antenna. The advantage of that design is that it is small and light. But it is directional so the unit must be properly oriented to be effective. Because it is directional they can get away with using lower power and that improves battery life.

The inReach uses a quad helix design. It is not dependent on orientation. But the signal has to be transmitted in all directions so it needs to use more power. This design is larger and heavier. But it has the important advantage of being effective in any orientation.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostFri Jun 23, 2017 6:59 am 
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In old school Garmin terms patch antenna is what was used in the old eTreks a quad helix is what was used in gpsmap60s.

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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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hikermike
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PostWed Jul 05, 2017 7:43 pm 
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Have waded through pages of info here and am bored so skipped ahead to give my experience.  I have a Spot gen2.  First didn't work at all and they wouldn't help since I bought it from REI.  Rei eventually found a replacement in Boise Id and had it shipped to local store where I picked it up.  (Apparently SPOT has these made in batches so not always available)  I then reactivated it and found that they had charged me twice for the same device.  Couldn't get it resolved so had American Express deny one of the charges.  Next year, I again got an automatic update without notice nor permission for BOTH devices.  I had not authorized any renewal since I never was notified of upcoming service charges.  Trying to get this all resolved was always through India where I swear I think they purposefully use their language differences/pronounciation to confuse the issue.  Anyway, how has it worked.  In the Cascades it's worked about 50% of the time.  Unfortuneately, it seems to work with the "I'm leaving now" trip start notification but fails with the :I'm here and safe" notification on arrival.  This is true even when it's set off in the very same spot!  (i.e., I arrive at night, send a message, then in am send a new message from the identical spot.  I always wait 20-30 minutes and then send a second message.  This has happened for two years now.  My own saving grace is my wife couldn't care less about my hikes and never checks her messages.  Someone else might have been in panic mode.  I'm switching to DeLorme, just haven't decided which one as I feel they have purposefully marketed underdeveloped models that will "remarkably" have developed new features as soon as I've sprung the price!  (Adobe Photoshop anyone?).
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dla
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dla
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PostThu Jul 06, 2017 6:29 pm 
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hikermike wrote:
I had not authorized any renewal since I never was notified of upcoming service charges.

Always helps to read the actual contract you signed. Also, I have no idea what these failing messages are - must be custom.

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Canon Shooter
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Canon Shooter
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PostTue Jul 11, 2017 10:10 am 
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As I write I am on a ferry on Lake Superior just leaving Isle Royale and just got cell service after a week without and saw this post in my email.

By coincidence I just spoke with a park ranger about an hour ago regarding the Spot, InReach, plb, question.  The ranger told me they like the InReach because it helps them be able to coordinate what type and how quickly to get help to someone. They seem to think the ability to txt from the back country is a net positive.  However, that was just one Ranger's opinion.
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dla
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dla
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PostTue Jul 18, 2017 6:11 am 
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Just an update, SPOT charged me $232 for the next year. I carry a Gen 3 SPOT and have the basic plan  (unlimited Tracking,Help,SOS and Custom messages). Just a data point for those trying to understand the cost difference between SPOT and InReach/Garmin.

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woodchips
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PostThu Jul 20, 2017 8:33 pm 
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When I was researching these a few years back, I settled on an ACR ResqLink.  I like the simplicity and long history if this system.  All of the data points to very good reliability for these - as long as you can live woth just thr SOS function.

When you register, you can enter details about yourself.  In our case, we noted that we are usually traveling with two small children, and both adults have extensive backcounty experience.  Hopefully this would translate to taking us more seriously if we actually needed a rescue!

I'm surprised that more people don't use these - in my experience working with Mountain Rescue, we had a handful of experiences where Spots gave us inaccurate locations, but the inReach and ACR units were always correct.  That said, this may have gotten better recently, and clearly is a small sample size.
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Tom
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Tom
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PostThu Jul 20, 2017 10:23 pm 
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That ACR seems like a reasonable compromise, especially since you don't need to pay for a plan.  About the same price as 1 year of spot service.

https://www.amazon.com/ACR-PLB-375-ResQLink-Buoyant-Personal/dp/B006JXY0CQ

https://hikingguy.com/hiking-gear/acr-resqlink-review/
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JimK
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PostFri Jul 21, 2017 8:25 am 
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ACR runs a spring/summer rebate on the resqlink nearly every year. The $50 rebate ran from 5/1-7/5 this year. I bet it will run again next year. They pay the rebate very fast. I picked one up two years ago. Worth the piece of mind to me, especially as I do a lot of solo hiking.

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mike
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PostSat Jul 22, 2017 4:43 pm 
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ditto.gif what JimK says. Works for me. don't need the extras.

Friends picked up an Inreach for their Alaska trip. Kinda nice to follow them. You can zoom in on the campground and see which space they're camped in!  ....waiting for the ferry home now.

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RichP
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PostSun Jul 23, 2017 2:20 pm 
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Tom wrote:
That ACR seems like a reasonable compromise, especially since you don't need to pay for a plan.  About the same price as 1 year of spot service.

https://www.amazon.com/ACR-PLB-375-ResQLink-Buoyant-Personal/dp/B006JXY0CQ

https://hikingguy.com/hiking-gear/acr-resqlink-review/

I've just purchased one of these.
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