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Old 12-03-2007, 10:18 AM   #61
John E Davies OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Essjay
2) The additional SAR insurance. Does this insurance only cover the registered owner of the SPOT or will it cover the user of the unit? As mentioned in the other thread - what happens if I'm with a friend who has a bad fall and I use the SPOT for assistance?
I was looking around on the GEOS website and found nothing about providing insurance coverage for non-registered folks in trouble. I don't see why you would expect them to do so, honestly. They are not in the business of giving away free services worth (possibly) $20,000+. (As a side note, I subscribe to NW MedStar, and the average 90 mile medivac flight costs US$12,000, of which health insurance pays perhaps 30% at best. The rest would come out of your paycheck... unless you are a member.)

GEOS does provide full coverage for family members for $US7.95 each annually, and they are covered if they are in possession of a SPOT when they have the emergency. I think that is really affordable coverage - my NW MedStar membership is US$59 annually..

http://www.geosalliance.com/sar_multiple_family.html

I think this is one cool device. I'm holding off on a purchase however until I see more real world reports. I normally ride in deep forested canyons in North Idaho and often have poor or no gps fixes. I'm thinking a PLB might be a better choice....

If you routinely ride with a buddy who doesn't own a SPOT, he should subscribe to a local emergency medivac service so that he will be covered if you have to call him in for rescue. The downside is that the coverage area is FAR more limited than the coverage through GEOS. I'm positive the SPOT system would work to rescue a non-member - it just wouldn't pay the VERY high SAR and transport fees.
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:31 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E Davies
I think this is one cool device. I'm holding off on a purchase however until I see more real world reports. I normally ride in deep forested canyons in North Idaho and often have poor or no gps fixes. I'm thinking a PLB might be a better choice....
Hi John,
I'm really hoping others that own the device will do some of their own testing and report back here. I have not tested SPOT in northern Idaho. My only experience in Idaho is with a GlobalStar satellite phone and, to be honest, it was a real disappointment. While kayaking/rafting there I often had to climb up out of deep canyons. Even then I would sometimes have to wait 10 minutes or so for the thing to work (I guess as a satellite came into view.) SPOT has many advantages over the sat phone - and my guess is it would work much better there than the phones do. However, we will soon launch a rental program for SPOT and I am interested in more user testing. PM me and I will try and arrange for you to use a device free of charge in the next month or so.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:51 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by offroute
...Even then I would sometimes have to wait 10 minutes or so for the thing to work (I guess as a satellite came into view.) SPOT has many advantages over the sat phone - and my guess is it would work much better there than the phones do....
Perhaps the reason for the Ok Check transmissions at 10 minute intervals. And I understand that Globalstar is pushing data services (e.g., SPOT) over voice until their next generation of satellites is in place.

Cheers.
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:31 PM   #64
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Just found this thread and wanted to relay my personal experiences with SPOT. I do quite a bit of solo riding (street and back country) and had been wrestling with the Sat phone/PLB choice for some time; price being the hold back. I ran across a post about SPOT in early November and, after doing a bit of review, purchased a unit for a trip across Southern Utah (the day before I left).

Long story short, I used this device (with the extra "tracking" feature enabled) for this trip and it was almost a perfect experience. Basically, I only had 1 failed OK message and that was while I was in and out of the tunnels just east of Zion - no surprise there. Aside from that, all other OK messages went through and the Track feaute had great success keeping my motion tracked for my wife/family to monitor.

My trip started in Vegas and ran up to, and into, Zion NP. Surprisingly, I had great success being tracked in Zion despite the tall, narrow canyons. After Zion, I ended up outside Bryce Canyon NP for the night and started out again the next morning. Once I got to Boulder I made a command decision to try and catch the ferry departing from Bullfrog Marina and ran down the Burr Trail and through Capital Reef NP. Canyons, switch backs, deserts to mountain passes - no issues with tracking. The rest of the trip was not a challenge for terrain (Mexican Hat, Valley of the Gods, Natural Bridges NP, Mokee digway, Monument Valley, etc) and the device work as expected.

In my view, it's the perfect solution for my needs (and for many people, I suspect). The PLB's are great but the up front cost is steep and it's either "the barns on fire, send help!" or nothing. Sat phones work great but the costs are outside of my pain threshhold. The fact that I can let my wife/family know that I am OK, that I can request non-emergency help if needed and still have 911 assistance available at the push of a button was the feature set that sold me - and it worked great.

Before I left I set my support network up to be notified of my SPOT messages/requests. We agreed that I would submit an OK message everytime I stopped for the night, started travling in the morning or was intentionally stopped for any lengthy period of time (lunch, hiking, etc). Only my wife got the OK messages. We also agreed that if I sent a Help message that would mean a non-emergency, non-medical help request and they would contact AAA and the local LEO community to report a non-emergency request for help. My wife, father and brother-in law got these messages. Any accident, injury that imoblized me or other medial trauma would be a 911 message that that goes directly to the SPOT Operations Center and they manage emercency response to my location.

My only complaint with the product is that there isn't a "guest" login feature that would allow a "read only" look at your map tracking and messages. As it is today, the ID that has access to the maps also has full access to managing the account. For this reason, only my wife has access to the maps.

While I have read about Globestar's problems with Sat voice services I also read several opinions that indicated the data portion of their network was much more reliable. I hope that remains the case. Of course, if/when an Iridium-based solution comes along with similar features I will likely swich to get the (potentially) better coverage. I now carry this device anytime I go off the beaten path and I feel a lot more confident know that if I get into trouble I have a very good chance of getting help.

So far, highly recommended!
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:11 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
Perhaps the reason for the Ok Check transmissions at 10 minute intervals. And I understand that Globalstar is pushing data services (e.g., SPOT) over voice until their next generation of satellites is in place.

Cheers.
Spot uses the low speed data channels (AKA the Simplex channels) on the Globalstar satellites. It does not use the voice channel!

This simplex system has always been part of the Globalstar system, in all generations, present and future.
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Old 12-03-2007, 03:53 PM   #66
TomW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotMaker
Spot uses the low speed data channels (AKA the Simplex channels) on the Globalstar satellites. It does not use the voice channel!

This simplex system has always been part of the Globalstar system, in all generations, present and future.
Yes. I understand the receivers on the data channels are working better than the phone receivers; thus the emphasis on data over voice. (Also explains the bonanza pricing on Globalstar's voice service until the new satellites go up.)

Cheers.
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:38 AM   #67
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The GEOS emergency insurance is US$7.95 per person if you sign up when you register for SPOT service. Normal price is US$150... has anyone seen info about what the renewal rate will be - discounted or full price? The website seems to suggest that the rate is permanent.

http://www.geosalliance.com/sar/

I'm currently paying US$59 for local medivac service (family plan) and would switch to GEOS, but I'd like to know if I am going to get screwed in Dec 2008 when I renewed.....

Thanks.
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:51 AM   #68
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What I'd love to know is how much the SAR cover is if you're not a US resident?

I'm living in Ireland, but was planning on using this for a Pan-Am trip next year.
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:47 PM   #69
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I purchased one this morning. They are in stock at REI locations, at least here in the bay area. I had thought I'd need to find a clever mounting location on the bike, but from reading this thread, it looks like people are just leaving them in tankbags or jackets and they are working fine. The plan was to velcro it to the top of my topcase, but it sounds like that is unnecessary.

aciurczak screwed with this post 12-10-2007 at 03:56 PM
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:53 PM   #70
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Some folks were pondering the GPS equipment itself included in the SPOT, here's a press release describing the chipset:

http://www.gpsbusinessnews.com/index...cle&numero=482

Quote:
“GPS signals are processed by the NemeriX system within the 239 g (7.37 ounce) SPOT Messenger, which takes AA size lithium batteries and, when powered on, has a standby battery life of approximately 12 months. NemeriX's NX2 baseband processor, designed for C/A code L1 GPS low power applications, acts as a flexible GPS enabled micro-controller, with a highly integrated, low noise RF front-end receiver”, explained NemeriX.

Axonn CEO Dave Biggs adds: “NemeriX's ultra low power and highly reliable, high precision location determination technology was crucial to our ability to produce an affordable, personal safety device that can be used outside the coverage areas of cellular phones.”
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:53 PM   #71
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I just ordered one from the SPOT website. I presume you pay for service when you activate?

Cheers.
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:57 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by TomW
I just ordered one from the SPOT website. I presume you pay for service when you activate?
Affirmative.
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:04 AM   #73
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$150 at REI; $170 at SPOT

Yikes! $20 cheaper at REI than at the SPOT site. Guess the difference is less since I'd pay tax here in Houston, or shipping from REI.com (no shipping charges from SPOT at the moment).

Cheers.
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:38 PM   #74
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For emergency help I think it's faster to make a call on an iridium phone and give gps coordinates and medical condition. We tried to follow racers at the Baja 1000 and it was marginal at best. Sometimes it was hours between reports.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:12 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by LKN4DRT
We tried to follow racers at the Baja 1000 and it was marginal at best. Sometimes it was hours between reports.
Is this referring to the TRACK function on SPOT?
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