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Discussion Starter #1
After following the now completed search for Donald Masters (his body
was found obscured by brush), see:

http://www.st-owners.com/forums/showthread.php?t=72221&page=21 <http://www.st-owners.com/forums/showthread.php?t=72221&page=21>

I have a greater interest in SPOT. After reading through their web site:

http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php <http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php>

I'm unsure which device is their latest and what's new, if anything. I'm
guessing the "Messenger" replaces the "Tracker" but it is not real
clear. If it does replace the Tracker, does anyone know if it corrects
some of the shortcomings talked about in the Tracker reviews at Amazon?
 

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Cat Herder
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The Messenger is the new device. It doesn't necessarily replace the "Tracker", as the Tracker will still be offered, I believe. Atleast for the time being.

The only real difference that I can tell between the two devices, besides the obvious reduction in size, weight, etc., is the addition of the "Custom Message" feature of the GPS Messenger model. And, I really don't see the need in that.

They had their "Free SPOT" promotion going for a while. It has since ended. Essentially, if you had purchased their two-year service ($200), plus their Tracking service ($50), you get a free SPOT device (after rebate). If you got just the two-year service, then you'd recieve a $75 rebate. Signing up for one-year service would net you a $50 rebate. Info on that here: SPOT Rebate Program. It'd be nice if they did that again.
 

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What is bothering you in the reviews? I've had Spot since it came out and it works as advertised, although I've never had to press the 911 button.
 

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Cat Herder
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Generally the negative reviews speak to unreliability of the connection to the satellite. But here is what they say positive and negative:
http://www.amazon.com/SPOT-Inc-SPOT-1-Personal-Tracker/product-reviews/B000YTZV74/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
I believe most of those issues have come with people attempting to use it in areas with high density cover overhead. Almost no devices, save for much more powerful ones with minimal battery life (or the need to be hard-wired) will work in such circumstances.

If you're not going to be riding in the Amazon, other rainforests, or caves, I think the SPOT is an excellent bit of kit. Just read some of the recent posts over on ADV where people were located using the SPOT device after taking a tumble.
 

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Generally the negative reviews speak to unreliability of the connection to the satellite.
I ride with mine in the top box, label up. It hits the bird almost all the time. It doesn't always work under heavy tree cover, or if the beacon happens to be transmitted while you're riding under a bridge.

It also won't work if it somehow ends up in the bottom of my top box and has to transmit through all that junk. If it's label side down, I wouldn't expect it to hit the bird either.

I've had mine since a year ago last June. No complaints. It works as long as I remember to turn it on and reset it every day.

Here's a ride across New Brunswick a few weeks ago:

 

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I have the old one, but will be buying the new one as soon as available.
I like the idea of tracking and ok being separate.
Currently you cannot do both, one function has to be turned off to work the other.
I do not get an update every 10 minutes sometimes but no biggy.
Mike
 

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I have the old one, but will be buying the new one as soon as available.
I like the idea of tracking and ok being separate.
Currently you cannot do both, one function has to be turned off to work the other.
I do not get an update every 10 minutes sometimes but no biggy.
Mike
There is no real need to buy the new one, it has a not useful addition, but it is smaller and lighter, maybe the batteries will last longer, who knows.

As far as the OK and Track messages go, I guess it is just how you use it. I use the OK to start and end a trip, that is all it is good for if you are using the track mode. When you are in track mode and need to send an OK, turn it off and back on, it will be at the end of the day anyway, simple.

That is just my opinion and I have travelled all around Australia, USA and Canada including Alaska etc.

Next week it is heading down to South America.

The only thing I have never seen officially is how to mount it. At the Iron Butt Rally recently I saw many SPOTs, some horizontal some vertical.

I have mine mounted vertical away from my body and connected to me with a lanyard(this last is important if you 'leave' the bike, the SPOT needs to come with you and not go over the cliff with the bike imho).

I travel Solo, so my needs are slightly different, but I know people are watching the tracks, so in a bad situation, I should be found quite soon.

Cheers
TravellingStrom
 

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The SPOT user interface needs work, still more than the latest offering. It shouldn't be as confusing as it is to know if you are in tracking mode or transmitting an OK message. And having those be mutually exclusive is silly. Since they've just come out with an update, I don't expect another for a while. I got their newsletter saying something about an upgrade program for current owners. I'm interested in that but haven't found any further info.

I have a RAM Mount holder for my current unit, so would hope that RAM quickly makes a holder for the new unit. I love the RAM Mounts.

Travelling Strom makes a good point about the SPOT being attached to the rider and not the bike. I wonder about the horizontal vs. vertical orientation. I expect most hiker users would carry it vertically. This seems like a case for a thigh pocket on you riding pants....which I don't have.
 

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I wonder about the horizontal vs. vertical orientation. I expect most hiker users would carry it vertically. This seems like a case for a thigh pocket on you riding pants....which I don't have.
I don't know about the new one, but the antenna on the old one is under the Spot label. It should face up. The other thing about the new one is that it has a higher power transmitter.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I guess it should be in a horizontal position (label up) to work best. Hikers attach it to the top on their pack or on the shoulder strap top. You make a good point about it best being on the rider. I wear a Roadcrafter and carry my cell phone in the sleeve pocket so it would be with me if I got separated from the bike. The thigh pocket on the Roadcrafter would be a good place for Spot as it usually is near horizontal. I don't suppose the pocket's fabric would block the signal too much, or would it?
I wonder about the horizontal vs. vertical orientation. I expect most hiker users would carry it vertically. This seems like a case for a thigh pocket on you riding pants....which I don't have.
 

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I had the spec sheets but they don't show the power for the Tracker so I couldn't compare with the .16 watts of the Messenger. What am I missing?
I wouldn't worry too much about the actual power spec. I couldn't find one for the older unit either but suspect it was 100 milliwatts. The gain of the antenna is also an important factor and the new unit spec sez it has a better antenna, but the main thing in the favor of these devices is that they have a clear line-of-sight shot to the receiver on the bird. You don't need much power to reach low earth orbit satellites.

I'm a ham radio guy and the low power guys do some amazing things with flea power.

As I said before, I've had Spot since a year ago June and it gives me far better coverage than GSM or CDMA cell phones do. :lol1:
 

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Here's link to Sunday's ride:

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0iTTLFLPOx9ofP0WKqgxvr9MJJIo1iqxq

SPOT works fine with a clear view, not surprisingly, it's not that great with tree cover.

For me, I can rate a ride by the spot hits. If the coverage is good, it wasn't that great. If there a lot of misses, I had a good time. :)

On the route above, there are some gaps of at least an hour or more. As a previous poster stated, it's better than the cell phone. I was out of coverage (AT&T) for about six of the twelve hours I road.

I'm not counting on it saving my life. My family likes to stalk me though, so it's good for that.
 

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PLB's are pretty nice, but what happens when you've run out of gas outside of walking distance...or tipped the bike over and broken your shifter so you can't ride it out of the mountains. No cell-phone coverage.

Are you really going to hit the button on that PLB...or hope for a SPOT with the "Help" feature, so your bud shows up and not the US Airforce? There's a little difference between a case of beer and gas money, and thousands of dollars in rescue fees which your insurance may not cover.
 

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PLB's are pretty nice, but what happens when you've run out of gas outside of walking distance...or tipped the bike over and broken your shifter so you can't ride it out of the mountains. No cell-phone coverage.
There are a lot of options for locator beacons. The reason Spot is popular is because it's relatively inexpensive and it offers close to real-time tracking. It isn't perfect, but neither is radio.

I've played with ham radio APRS trackers for almost 15 years and Spot is better than those since the amateur radio network for APRS is terrestrial rather than satellite based and coverage just isn't as good as a low earth orbit satellite.

As others have said: "my family likes to stalk me" and that's true for me as well. I get calls: "You haven't moved all day" which so far has merely been a reminder that Spot is buried deep in my top box, or I forgot to turn it on.

Bottom line for me: If I'm going somewhere that is truly remote, I'd add a second PLB to Spot.

Oh, and regarding carrying Spot with you rather than leaving it on the bike? The current model is too damn big to pocket. Maybe version two would be better. On the other hand, I'm never more than a few dozen feet from the bike when I'm on the road. Bike broke down? Then I'll pocket Spot.

As to help messages, you can program them ahead of time. They are separate from the 911 button.
 

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There are a lot of options for locator beacons. The reason Spot is popular is because it's relatively inexpensive and it offers close to real-time tracking. It isn't perfect, but neither is radio.
I haven't really looked at all of the options available, just that the first few I found only had the distress beacon, and not some setting for non-life threatening emergencies.

Bottom line for me: If I'm going somewhere that is truly remote, I'd add a second PLB to Spot.
Yeah, that would be the best option.

Oh, and regarding carrying Spot with you rather than leaving it on the bike? The current model is too damn big to pocket. Maybe version two would be better. On the other hand, I'm never more than a few dozen feet from the bike when I'm on the road. Bike broke down? Then I'll pocket Spot.
The current model is fairly large, but I do like TS's idea of a tether that's attached to you, if you must mount it to the bike. As I mentioned in another thread, I'd rather have the SPOT on me incase of an accident, as you, the bike and the SPOT can all go separate directions in the event of a wreck...maybe where the SPOT is out of reach if you're injured.

The new version looks small enough to be able to fit in most pockets, and in some of the pictures, shows an arm-band that the unit can fit into. Not sure how comfortable that would be over gear, but it might work.
 
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