Originally Posted by John E Davies
offroute - do you currently have the "real time tracking" or whatever they call it? If so that would be a great way to see how sensitive and accurate the unit is under cover.
Yes I do. I've been using it to test today since it tries to send a message every 10 minutes. Same results - fairly clear view of the southern sky seems necessary. 10 yards behind my house where the southern sky is blocked I get no messages out. Further behind the house in a fairly low density pine forest I was able to only have one message go out in a 2 hour period. Give the thing a view of the southern sky and it seems to reliably get messages out.
Four days riding in Death Valley next week and I'll have the thing SPOTcasting all day, each of the days. I should then be able to come back and see where the trouble spots are on the ride. I'll also be sending Check In messages when I come across what looks like challenging areas.
As I said earlier, I think it's already proven to me that when riding with a buddy it may be the perfect device. But at this point I'm thinking I want a 100% reliable PLB for my solo rides when I can't always count on getting a message out without moving the unit for a clearer view of the sky. Sitting somewhere by myself somewhere with a broken leg while looking at the device and heavy tree cover or high canyon walls might be a little worrying.
The thing costs as much as a regular PLB over a 5 year period. $150 plus at least $100 each year... Still with its advantages of Check In, Help and Tracking it's a pretty compelling device. It's great to have choices and there is certainly a huge market for this new device.
Edit - BTW a external power adapter is in the works as well as RAM cradles so it can be mounted on bars. Rentals should be available by end of November, so anyone on the fence can evaluate on their own without investing $300 and apply a portion of their rental towards purchase if that's what they decide to do.