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Old 01-24-2008, 11:09 AM   #172
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Ft. Payne, AL
Oddometer: 1,013
Originally Posted by markgsnw
not an very deep review, but I do agree with a couple of their points: the function LED's could be clearer as to what they're trying to say, and the reception is spotty (moan) at times (I went for an urban hike with the unit on my belt, I had zero tracking points sent). I'd like to see an external antenna option a la Garmin / Gilsson.
Jack(s) for external antennas (GlobalStar and GPS) and an external power jack would be nice in a unit designed for vehicular service. I'm just guessing that the SPoT people wanted to simplify their waterproofing/floating scheme by minimizing the number of holes in the case. Remember, this unit is very reasonably priced at $150.

Also, someone -- probably SPoTmaker -- said earlier that one drawback for remote antennas is feedline loss in the 0.4 watt UHF satellite uplink system. Losses in the feedline at this frequency (1.6 gHz) might negate any advantage of an external antenna. I'd like to see another unit come out that has some external jacks and more transmitter power (when connected to an external DC supply).

For what it's worth, I'm of the opinion that the GPS receiver is usually working just fine, but the failure to post position messages is probably due to the uplink to the commercial satellite system not getting through. This is more noticible in tracking mode since each message is only sent once.

Notice that SPoT's adverts usually show people out in the wide open spaces, and their message is "Works where cell phones don't." I think that this is a subtle(?) hint that you might be better off with something else for summoning help in an urban environment -- say, a...cell phone? I also guess that SPoT was primarily intended to send dedicated messages (the OK, Help and 911 functions), and the tracking feature was an add-on. The fact that the dedicated messages are transmitted numerous times implies that they don't expect every one to go through.

Mostly speculation on my part. Your opinions may reasonably vary.

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