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Old 01-25-2008, 09:05 AM   #179
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Bay Area
Oddometer: 163
Originally Posted by markgsnw
Sorry, I don't get the logic. Garmin has an external antenna jack that is waterproof, and I'm not aware of a rash of Garmin owners doing dumbass things like making antennas out of coathangers. I can buy an excellent Gilsson antenna (and have done so) for $20 that greatly enhances the functionality of my GPS unit. Please don't patronize your customers by assuming that they are all morons and need to be protected from themselves.
I don't think the GPS portion of the antenna is the hard part. At this point in the technology curve, gps receivers are almost microscopic, and the necessary antennas are tiny and quite effective. Including the one on the SPOT, which picks up a GPS signal easily while inside the garage.

It's the transmission back to the satellite network that is the engineering problem. With a GPS antenna plugged into a garmin, it's easy for a user to see if the signal strength went up, are there less drop-outs, etc; right from the display. With the SPOT's communication back to the satellite, it is sent blind with no confirmation available (until you check online to see if one awhile back got through). And getting that antenna right evidently has much less room for error. And are there even available external satphone antennas for such devices (perhaps there are, but I haven't searched yet). As in spotmakers post, how would one know if the add-on antenna was helping, hurting, or indifferent; other than just noting that the transmitter wasn't working as well as they expected.

Personally I'd like the additional functionality if it could be put into a v2 or v3 unit, but I wouldn't categorize its removal as being patronizing to customers; getting that antenna exactly right for a reasonably high success rate transmitting back to the satellites is evidently a key engineering point for the gadget.
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