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Old 12-19-2007, 09:25 PM   #91
TomW
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Ditto request for 'guest' login to view tracking data. I already know where I am and where I've been, and when I'm out and about I have no way of looking at my track data anyway. Making tracking data available to others (without viewing my financial and buddylist info) is where all the utility in the tracking feature lies IMHO.

I just finished an 805 mile, 12.5 hour trip from NE Alabama to Houston with SPOT (in tracking mode) on the dashboard of the car. The system received 65 of 75 messages -- pretty decent performance as a good portion of the sky is obstructed by the roof of the car when it's sitting on the dash.

In addition to a guest feature I'd like to see velocity and track direction reported as well. I know that requires at least two position fixes to compute, but, hey....

On the SPOT v. PLB issue, for me the utility of SPOT is tracking and not so much emergency SAR. At $150 for SPOT hardware and $150 for a year's service I'll get a lot more use out of my investment than the $700 PLB that's Velcro'd to my pannier lid. (At least I hope that's the case.)

Cheers.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:35 AM   #92
apratt
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I bought a SPOT device a little while ago and I've written up a web page about the unit based on my experiences:
http://www.bestbits.org/spot.htm
I'll give away the ending: it works.

I've been burned before by phone-based, satellite-based, and even ham-radio-based systems that had bad coverage and finicky performance, but the SPOT just sits there and does its thing.

I wrote to the company and they said they're working on guest access to your account. I'm not sure they quite "get it" though... They talked about a two-tier login (one for full control and one for limited access to your track data), but I want more: I want a URL that goes straight to a map, no login or extra clicks required, in cases where I want to make my track fully public. I hope they'll continue to improve the web site.
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Old 12-22-2007, 12:05 PM   #93
Lucky_Devil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apratt
I bought a SPOT device a little while ago and I've written up a web page about the unit based on my experiences:
http://www.bestbits.org/spot.htm
Hey apratt, I read your review and had some thoughts about a statement you made:

Quote:
When on a motorcycle trip, I can't see any real use for the "Help" message. If I'm in trouble, what good will a "Help" message to my ground crew be? Most likely, all they could do is call 911 on my behalf, and the SPOT device already has that feature covered.
I can see a use for the "Help" button... what if you have mechanical problems that you're unable to repair yourself roadside, like a severely bent rim... or experience a minor get off that didn't injure you, but left your bike unrideable. Now lets add lack of cell phone coverage into the mix. If you send a Help message to your ground crew, they can call MoTow, AAA, or whoever and tell them where you are and send, well... "Help"

Not every time you may need help will be a 911 emergency... and if you need non-emergency help and can't use your cell phone to call for aid, I think you would be glad to have the Help button on the SPoT.

Lucky_Devil screwed with this post 12-23-2007 at 11:55 AM
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Old 12-22-2007, 05:43 PM   #94
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Yes, I agree. My "help" call will activate my dear wife. She'll call my riding buddies (the ones I'm not with that day) to come get me with a truck or their bikes to tow me out of wherever I am. But I don't want to send an air ambulance if I've only stuffed my transmission.

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Old 12-22-2007, 08:52 PM   #95
John E Davies OP
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Apratt - that was one very well done and compete review. Thank you.

One comment: the emergency response contract will pay US$100K per member, per year (I think) but limits it to $50K "per incident".

What I have not seen specified is if it pays _all_ associated costs (up to the limit) after you have been found, such as helicopter medivac fees, which can be really steep. $50K sounds like a lot but I suspect it would get used up pretty fast in a real world SAR scenario. Have you read an actual contract or description of the terms? Can you summarize the important parts or provide a link?

I expect to have a SPOT under my tree on Christmas day.
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Old 12-22-2007, 11:23 PM   #96
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Mr SpotMaker, did you recover AirBorn_Andy's tracker he used at the Baja 1000?
We know where he lost it and where it went from there...

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Old 12-23-2007, 10:41 AM   #97
jonz
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Tested it today

Did a mountain bike ride in the desert just north of Indio, CA. The ride was in some shallow but narrow canyons and up on ridgelines. I carried Spot in an outside pocket of my Camelbak, just like when I'm riding the m/c in Baja. I tried to position it so the emblem was pointing out but it slipped down to the bottom and the emblem ended up pointing down. But every tracking signal made it out. I'm happy with its performance.

I ended up sending an email to customercare@findmespot.com requesting the guest login feature to view the tracking data only. I didn't understand that something like that wasn't available when I purchased the Spot and that deficency may have been enough to have delayed my purchase or even made me choose to rent instead of buy. Now that I understand the system better, I'll be sending out a lot more "I'm ok" messages.

But it's still a pretty cool toy, er, tool.
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:00 PM   #98
Lucky_Devil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonz
I ended up sending an email to customercare@findmespot.com requesting the guest login feature to view the tracking data only. I didn't understand that something like that wasn't available when I purchased the Spot and that deficency may have been enough to have delayed my purchase or even made me choose to rent instead of buy.
Yeah, this is a MAJOR oversight if you ask me... I've purchased one, but I'll be refraining from buying/adding the tracking service to it until there's guest login capabilities. I have no need to track myself... I already know where I've been
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:29 PM   #99
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Quote:
Lucky_Devil Yeah, this is a MAJOR oversight if you ask me... I've purchased one, but I'll be refraining from buying/adding the tracking service to it until there's guest login capabilities.
I'll still be able to have the wife/son check on my status. Hmmm, although I haven't mentioned to her that I bought one yet.

Quote:
I have no need to track myself... I already know where I've been
Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't.
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Old 12-23-2007, 05:26 PM   #100
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I lost mine today.

I went riding on a fairly small trail system- got to the end of my ride and the spot was missing. I had clipped and taped it to my headlight bracket.

It was in tracking mode, but I didn't have a gps with me, and the site does not work, even if I had wireless service, on my palmtop device. It was kind of frustrating, knowing it was somewhere on the 40 miles of trail I had covered, sending signals as to it's specific location, calling out from the wilderness.

Finally, I retraced my route to a spot where I had fallen, sure enough, it was a few yards up the trail.

Whew.

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Old 12-24-2007, 01:38 PM   #101
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I bought on last week and like Jonz said, it works! I would prefer a guest login or some API so I could integrate it with my site. Its not much use to me to track myself when I'm actually riding :-)
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Old 12-24-2007, 01:39 PM   #102
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Used a SPOT 3 weeks ago on a ride through Mendocina NF in varied tree canopy. About 90% of my tracking messages made it through and 100% of my "I'm OK" messages made it to my wife.

She was able to track us and have a great meal waiting when we arrived.


The only snag was that I bought one on my own and was told that it was one of the X-Mas gifts that she had on her list for me. Glad I had it on that ride.....

She still wanted to wrap the box and put it under the tree.


-Terry
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Old 12-24-2007, 07:33 PM   #103
TomW
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Made the return 800-mile trip from Houston to Fort Payne yesterday with the SPOT in tracking mode on the dash of the car. it missed 5 track points in a 12-1/2 hour trip. What's that -- 75 10-minute track points? About 93% success; not too bad for a partially obstructed view of the sky. Oddly, 4 of the 5 misses were consecutive points in East Texas (either a black hole, or satellite geometry problem??).

Just a little more data for the heap.

Cheers.
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:52 AM   #104
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This is going to revolutionize my off roading in Idaho. I love to ride by myself, this it going to offer me endless opportunities that I could only dream about last year.
As soon as I saw one and heard first hand from our local search and rescue folks how it worked I called and applied to be a dealer and ordered 20 of them to sell at my store.
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Old 12-25-2007, 01:16 PM   #105
John E Davies OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mars
This is going to revolutionize my off roading in Idaho. I love to ride by myself, this it going to offer me endless opportunities that I could only dream about last year.
Too bad it doesn't do anything about those pesky Brown Bears.....

I just received a SPOT for Xmas and am eager to try it out.
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