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Old 11-17-2007, 06:02 PM   #31
TomW
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Well, I'm certain that consumer-grade GPS receivers aren't designed to be immune to overload from an enormous signal so close in frequency, particularly since running across a signal like that is normally extremely rare (CB/ham/2-way radio and cell phone transmitters are far-removed from the GPS band). The greater sensitivity of the new GPS receiver chipsets could make the Spot/GPS problem worse.

Since Spot's GPS receiver is likely interfaced with the unit's controller, the GPS receiver is probably just turned off for the second it takes to transmit data to the GlobalStar satellite, thus avoiding freakish behavior resulting from overload. That's a much, much easier (thus cheaper) solution than providing a bulletproof 1.6gHz GPS receiver inside the same box with a 1.6gHz transmitter.

Cheers.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:38 AM   #32
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Death Valley Test

Just returned and have captured all the data. I had tracking on continuously for more than 500 miles of varied terrain. Will create a GPX and KML file so everyone here can see where the drop outs occured. Should have this up by tomorrow. Gotta catch up on some work first...
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Old 11-19-2007, 02:27 PM   #33
offroute
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SPOT in Death Valley and the White Mountains

http://www.gpxchange.com/fileinfo/in...68&return=home

The link will take you to my site, GPXchange.com, where I have imported a file that shows SPOTs performance over a 4 day riding period. The routes ridden are depicted as red tracks. SPOT was setup to send out "TRACK" messages every ten minutes during the riding. These "TRACK" locations are depicted as blue push pins and I have set up the file to label them with the time stamps when they were successfully relayed out throught he SPOT system. If you view the map and zoom in to a map width of 7.5 miles or less, you can follow these time stamped points around each route and find the gaps where the SPOT "TRACK" locations were not successfully relayed.

The green push-pins are locations where I sent out "OK" messages.

You can also use the Download KML link from the file info page to see this data in Google Earth, or you can download the GPX to view the data in your own local GPX capable application.

I'll try and update this file later and add red push pins to the routes where SPOT should have relayed messages out, but was unsuccessful. I'll do this by using the timestamps on each tracklog and locating the points where 10 minutes had elapsed from the previous points.

Hope this help you all in getting a clearer picture of how SPOT performs in an adventure riding scenario.

Summary: Approx 2/3 of my TRACK messages were successful. 90% of my OK check-ins were successful. I can email a spreadsheet to anyone who wants the data in Excel format.
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offroute screwed with this post 11-19-2007 at 04:16 PM
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:33 PM   #34
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Great work. Thanks.
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Old 11-21-2007, 08:37 AM   #35
Starblazer
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Spot Satellite

I got one a few days ago. I have been using it for a few days just around the local area. Seems to work fine, I just came back from Max BMW in NH round trip 150 miles on two different routes. The unit tracked just fine. I got the unit for a trip to Alaska next May, to give the better half a way to know that I am ok. As for functions, once the unit is activated you can go to the web site and for the HELP and OK check in you can type in your own message. HELP is 90 letters and OK is 100. I have added up to four contacts emails, cellphone numbers for contacts. They all have worked just fine
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Old 11-21-2007, 08:40 AM   #36
Starblazer
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SPOT Satellite

I just got on, I first tried it from in a window in the house sitting about 2 feet back. It sent the message just fine. In using it along the roads today in some good tree cover it seemed to still sent the location out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John E Davies
Cool. Please try it out in a non-911 mode under tree cover where the unit can't get a fix. I am curious about what it will do. Does it report the last known good fix or just stall out?

Thanks.

John
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Old 11-21-2007, 04:57 PM   #37
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WebBikeWorld:

http://www.webbikeworld.com/gps/gps-personal-tracking/


nothing new there, but it seems to be picking up momentum as a product. I see REI and Cabelas are carrying it now.
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Old 11-24-2007, 06:11 PM   #38
klebel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
Yep, based on what I learned he's right about that, and so are you. I learned from my bro that their satellites are not in true polar orbits (where the satellites wouldn't favor a specific location on the earth). They're in orbits inclined at 52 degrees to the equator, meaning they won't go north of 52 degrees north latitude (or 52 degrees south latitude). Also meaning that at any given time, for those of us in the northern mid-latitudes, more satellites are likely to be south of us than north of us. Some may be overhead or north of us (as long as we're south of N52 deg), but it's slightly more likely that they'll be to the south. I don't know how significant the theoretical latitude factor is, but your informal test to date seems to bear out the generalization.

GlobalStar is having some tech issues with their satellites and from what I gather, they're pushing data applications over voice until they get their second generation birds up starting in 2009.

Interesting factoid my brother picked up: the competing sat phone system (Iridium) was planned for a constellation of 66 satellites and 11 orbiting spares for a total of 77 in polar orbits. The atomic number of iridium is 77.

I think GlobalStar looked at population distribution and decided that most people lived between N52 and S52, so a smaller number of satellites (40) could satisfactorily cover that area from inclined orbits. Clever.

Cheers.
Well this blows it for me! I was hoping to pick one up for my trip from Seattle to Prudhoe Bay, AK next August. If it can't go any higher than N52 it is pretty much useless for me. I need it to go up to N70!
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Old 11-24-2007, 06:26 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starblazer
I got one a few days ago. I have been using it for a few days just around the local area. Seems to work fine, I just came back from Max BMW in NH round trip 150 miles on two different routes. The unit tracked just fine. I got the unit for a trip to Alaska next May, to give the better half a way to know that I am ok. As for functions, once the unit is activated you can go to the web site and for the HELP and OK check in you can type in your own message. HELP is 90 letters and OK is 100. I have added up to four contacts emails, cellphone numbers for contacts. They all have worked just fine
If you bought it for Alaska return it. It won't go up to that latitude.
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:21 PM   #40
TomW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klebel
Well this blows it for me! I was hoping to pick one up for my trip from Seattle to Prudhoe Bay, AK next August. If it can't go any higher than N52 it is pretty much useless for me. I need it to go up to N70!
Not necessarily useless. Just because the satellites don't go that far north, they can still 'see' quite a ways north of N52 (the horizon is a long ways off at 1,000 mi up) -- you'll just need a view of the southern sky. And Spot will still cover most of the trip in its primary service area (see the coverage map at: http://www.globalstarusa.com/en/content.php?cid=300).

Cheers.
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Old 11-25-2007, 07:30 AM   #41
KenR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenR
One thing that did happen yesterday has me a bit perplexed.

I have a Garmin 276c mounted on the bike. At two different times yesterday the GPS seemed to lose it's position, presumably after I hit the OK button of the Spot. The speed was still reading correctly in the display, but the map froze up and showed me about 300 miles from my correct position. Both times I simply rebooted the GPS and it went back to working correctly.

So I'm wondering if there's a conflict between the two devices or if this was just a coincidence. I've never had that happen with my 276 before yesterday. The Spot recorded all of my check in's correctly. This obviously calls for more testing before winter arrives here on Monday - at least that's what I'm telling my SO.

Anyone else have this happen?
More testing has indicated that I may have a problem with my GPS. Yesterday on a ride on the 640 without the Spot, my GPS locked up again. Could be vibes or something else but it wouldn't seem to be the Spot causing the lockups.
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Old 11-25-2007, 05:43 PM   #42
jonz
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Total cost

So let me see if I have this correct.
One time cost of the unit $149.99
Yearly subscription $99.99
Tracking per year $49.99
total is about $300 with yearly subscriptios fees of about $150 to include tracking.

Is this correct?
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Old 11-25-2007, 07:15 PM   #43
klebel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
Not necessarily useless. Just because the satellites don't go that far north, they can still 'see' quite a ways north of N52 (the horizon is a long ways off at 1,000 mi up) -- you'll just need a view of the southern sky. And Spot will still cover most of the trip in its primary service area (see the coverage map at: http://www.globalstarusa.com/en/content.php?cid=300).

Cheers.
Tom if offroute is already having issues with southernly LOS in Utah how do you expect it to be reliable as far north as Canada or Alaska? I see what you are saying about their coverage map but that isn't aligning with the real world results we are hearing about.
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:25 PM   #44
TomW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klebel
Tom if offroute is already having issues with southernly LOS in Utah how do you expect it to be reliable as far north as Canada or Alaska? I see what you are saying about their coverage map but that isn't aligning with the real world results we are hearing about.
Point taken; however, we need a real world test to see if there is a correlation between latitude and reliability. Recent testing in Death Valley (see earlier post) indicates it's fairly reliable there. Perhaps someone in the frozen north (Canada, or northernmost tier of states -- hint, hint) will make a similar run (or, better, many runs). Of course there are so many variables other than latitude that might affect success rate getting packets through the satellite(s) that any results will need to be taken with a grain of salt until there's a big enough population of attempts to come to a meaningful conclusion.

Cheers.
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:32 PM   #45
KenR
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From this Northern Utah user, I haven't experienced any issues with coverage. Works as advertised.
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