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Old 02-10-2008, 06:32 PM   #196
BigX
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Latest word from the Spot techs is that the guest logon will be available April-May. This is supposed to be a total reworking of the website.

I am just the messenger. Don't shoot me.
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:19 PM   #197
motolocopat
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Location: Glen Rose TX, Northern Hill Country
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Moto-Loco Spot Tour

I purchased one when in the US recently. I used it on a tour I just completed and it tracked us through the Andes and Amazon of Ecuador. Think we may have been the first tour run with SPOT in place....... would ber interesting to know?? I just tie-wired and tywrapped it to the handlebars of one of the bikes. It stayed right on the handlebars the entire time day and night rain or shine and we had some pretty good rain and some near freezing temperatures at 13500 feet one day. Held up fine through all of the bumps, knocks, cold, heat, rain, fog and volcanic eruptions. One set of batteries lasted the entire 8 days of the tour.

Still getting used to it and unfortunatly I did not have a lot of time to familiarize myself with it before the tour and it ended up being on one of the customers bikes instead of my guide-bike so it did not allways get activated %100 of the time and I was not able to key in as many of the key intersections as I would have liked but it performed as advertised all in all.

MotoLocoMom back in Dallas found it interesting as she received the OK's, test HELP's and was able to look at the tracks.

I have not read all of this thread as it is quite lengthy but what I did I see that others have the same concerns as I did about the tracking being only accessible through YOUR LOGIN giving ANYONE access to your account information. An UTTERLY RIDICULOUS SETUP but I have brought this up to SPOT and they assured me that they were in the process of changing this and that within the next couple of months they should have this worked out. They have also had decent customer support and even have had calls returned!

To me they way it should work is if you put people on a distribution list for the tracking and OK features then they should receive an email with a link to a Google map or Google Earth page and it should show them the info.......... there should be no BS of them having to log in and go through the website, which is not all that intuitive, to see the tracks. Hopefully this gets straightened out shortly, if it does not then I will not re-up my subscriptions except the most basic features, it's that simple.

I had planned on putting up a thread here and letting people track us and we wandered around the Andes & Amazon but due to the account info being available to any and all was unable to do this.

It is a pretty neat device though and I have been happy with it and with thier service to date. Hopefully they follow through and get the ISSUES worked out. If they do they will sell a ton of them.
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motolocopat screwed with this post 02-10-2008 at 09:03 PM
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:53 PM   #198
Squeaky
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Well, unfortunately I got to test the help function on the SPOT.

This happened while pulling a trailer.



It was 5am. I was nervous just being out there on the side of the freeway, so I got as far off to the shoulder as I could and stayed in the truck. I had cell phone coverage, but also sent out a distress signal since it seemed fitting.



Before too long, help had arrived. :



The SPOT was dead-on accurate.



I hope to never have to test the 911 feature, but I know it'll work if that time ever comes... :giveup:
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:58 PM   #199
motolocopat
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More Bs Problems With Website

I like the unit so for but their website SUCKS!
I don't know why they have to have such secretive security on EVERYTHING YOU DO. Major flaw on not having accont information segrated from the working part of it. In fact I cannot see why they have to save the account info to begin with......... we are talking about Credit Card information here! Whoever did their website is an idiot... or I am

In no particular order.
1. If you leave the unit on it is recording every 10 minutes whether you move or not. Seems like it would be better to not register duplicate consecutive locations. I ended up with 240 locations of which at least halve are dulpicates....... forgot to turn off or at lunch or some site.
2. When you go through the list selecting in a check box the different locations there software will not allow you to delete them.
3. When you go through a long list of Locations selecting them to down load or to view on a map by the time you are done the FOOKIN SYSTEM HAS LOGED YOU OUT and you loose all of the work you just did!

I was trying to go through and eliminate all the excess locations and then get a map view and post it up for all to see...... fok it not going back at this point....... it's late and I'm tired and frustrated.
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:21 PM   #200
Squeaky
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s
Quote:
Originally Posted by motolocopat
1. If you leave the unit on it is recording every 10 minutes whether you move or not. Seems like it would be better to not register duplicate consecutive locations. I ended up with 240 locations of which at least halve are dulpicates....... forgot to turn off or at lunch or some site.
For what you were doing with it maybe not, but for me, I'd like it to continue to track despite movement. It means that to those looking for me, the unit IS still working, it's just me that hasn't moved - if it didn't report back multiple pinpoints at the same location, the viewer would be stuck wondering if something had happened to me or if I'd turned off the unit.

I've advised my family that if I stop moving for more than 30 or 40 minutes and haven't sent an OK check-in, something could be wrong. It's up to me to remember to check in whenever I stop for fuel, food, etc. but she can check up as needed to keep peace of mind.

It's my understanding that while it's a cool side effect, being able to broadcast for recreational purposes is not what the SPOT was designed for.
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:00 PM   #201
aciurczak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motolocopat
3. When you go through a long list of Locations selecting them to down load or to view on a map by the time you are done the FOOKIN SYSTEM HAS LOGED YOU OUT and you loose all of the work you just did!

I was trying to go through and eliminate all the excess locations and then get a map view and post it up for all to see...... fok it not going back at this point....... it's late and I'm tired and frustrated.
Next time just hit the select all button and download all points as a GPX file. Then you can edit and delete selected points all day long using whatever tools you like, from Garmin's Mapsource to Google Earth to GPS Trackmaker. Much easier than dealing with a web app, no matter how slick or unslick the website is.
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Old 02-11-2008, 05:15 AM   #202
Geezerider
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Signal strength

I've read some concerns about the signal being able to reach through tree canopies and having to have a clear view of the southern sky. Perhaps that's a much larger issue up north and I'm sure its an issue in rock canyons but in SC and NC I get good checks just about anywhere I try. Here is a sample of succesful tests. Surely not statistically relevant but it is indicative of my overall experiences over the past month.

Pic1 -> sitting in my Burgman's glove box inside my garage in central SC. A metal door blocked the southerly view.


Pic2 -> under a car port in eastern NC.


Pic3 -> sitting under a large Live Oak tree in eastern NC (under the north side of tree).
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Old 02-11-2008, 07:25 AM   #203
bananaman
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I just rode from Madison, WI, to Yavisa, Panama. OK messages didn't go through, starting from San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, to Panama City, Panama- so SPOT didn't work in southern Mexico, most of Guatemala, all of El Salvador, all of Honduras, all of Nicaragua, most of Costa Rica. This is a problem.

We also carried a PLB and a Sat phone, so if there'd been an emergency we'd have been able to communicate. I'm not ready to rely on SPOT. The Sat phone worked every time we wanted it (not always easily, but it worked).

ride report here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=302175
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Old 02-11-2008, 07:38 AM   #204
aciurczak
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Interesting - so looking at their latest coverage map, are there areas you're describing that it didn't work at all that this map says it should be 99% successful?
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:15 AM   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aciurczak
Interesting - so looking at their latest coverage map, are there areas you're describing that it didn't work at all that this map says it should be 99% successful?
I pressed OK at least twice daily from San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico (two days); Huehuetanango, Guatemala (one day), Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (one day), Guatemala City (two days), southern El Salvador (two days), Honduras (one day), Grenada, Nicaragua (one day), western Costa Rica (one day). I also pressed it on each side of every border crossing- for example, crossing into Guatemala from Mexico, I pressed OK on the Mexico side, then again on the Guatemala side. The only OK message recieved, from San Cristobal de las Casas, until western Panama, was one sent from Guatemala City.

Luckily I was also occasionally checking in by phone and email, so friends and family weren't freaking out.

I kept the SPOT in the top of my tank-bag when on the bike, and in my backpack or jacket pocket when off the bike. I carried it with me constantly.

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Old 02-11-2008, 09:03 AM   #206
bananaman
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It has taken an awful long time for me to figure out how to use the website. Now that I'm in I can see more clearly the results of the OK messages.

A few messages got through from Guatemala- probably about 1/2.

None got through from El Salvador or Honduras- 0%.

Two got through in Nicaragua, but not the last-of-the-day one from Grenada. I consider the last-of-the-day to be critical- about 50%

Several did get through from Costa Rica- about 50%,

Several got through from Panama, but fewer than I'd thought. The one marking the location of my broken-down bike did not go through. The critical one from Yavisa (Yavisa is the very-last road on the Pan-Am highway, near the border with Colombia) did not go through. - about 50%.
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:39 AM   #207
Squeaky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaman
It has taken an awful long time for me to figure out how to use the website. Now that I'm in I can see more clearly the results of the OK messages.
I'm curious about this. Did you leave the unit alone for the full 20 minutes it needs for the check-in message? The second light will go solid for two or three seconds then stop blinking once it's done attempting to send the signal. Every time I look at it and think it's been 20 minutes, it's still going - so my perception is way off from reality and I have been careful not to "rush" it.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:07 PM   #208
SpotMaker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squeaky
I'm curious about this. Did you leave the unit alone for the full 20 minutes it needs for the check-in message? The second light will go solid for two or three seconds then stop blinking once it's done attempting to send the signal. Every time I look at it and think it's been 20 minutes, it's still going - so my perception is way off from reality and I have been careful not to "rush" it.
Good advice.

There's a ground station in central Mexico. Mexico is well covered. Results of check in messages if you wait until the check-in LED stops blinking should be better than 99%.

I'm personally aware of several users in Baja who get about 80% in "track". This is about as good as track gets, since those messages are not redundant. The triple-redundant check-in message should be 99.9(something) under those same conditions.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:18 PM   #209
aciurczak
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Baja isn't an issue at all for the SPoT. A friend and his son took their dirtbikes down the peninsula a few weeks back, and the gadget kept us in touch with their exact whereabouts the whole time. Here's a trip report with a bunch of screenshots of what their SPoT was telling us along the way.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:56 PM   #210
bananaman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squeaky
I'm curious about this. Did you leave the unit alone for the full 20 minutes it needs for the check-in message? The second light will go solid for two or three seconds then stop blinking once it's done attempting to send the signal. Every time I look at it and think it's been 20 minutes, it's still going - so my perception is way off from reality and I have been careful not to "rush" it.
I left the unit completely alone. I left it on for the entire trip. I know the lithium batteries are supposed to be good for hundreds of OK messages, but I changed them every 10 days, just to be safe. I wanted the batteries to have plenty of life, in case I had to press the 911 button and it would have to transmit continuously for a while.

Every time I pressed the OK button, I'd verify by noting the double-blinking lights. A while after each OK press, the lights would stop. I assumed the messages were going through.

You press the OK button, both lights flash. Operation is pretty fool-proof. I like that feature.

Some examples:

San Cristobal de las Casas is located at about 6000 feet. Much of Guatemala is high and mountainous. But El Salvador isn't so high, and I spent two nights on the coast, basically on a coastal plain. I pressed OK in Grenada, Nicaragua, and the message did not go through.

I pressed the OK button twice from the same location in Panama, on the Atlantic coast near San Blas, each about a day apart. The second day, the transmission went through. I also pressed OK in Puerto Bello, Panama, twice, two days apart, and the message did not get through either time.
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