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Old 10-09-2008, 03:47 PM   #1036
JTO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwgoff
Just want to confirm. Do I understand correctly that I can buy my SPOT anywhere I want (i.e., Ebay) and use the FireEagle code that I just got when I register with SPOT and my 1st year basic plus tracking is free. No catches or anything?

Do I have that right?
That is correct. They are two separate purchases.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:19 PM   #1037
Global Rider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTO
But I also question how they could not find him quicker when they had his exact (initial) coordinates from SPOT?
Exactly!!!

Even if those coordinates were off by a whopping 200 feet, why did they have to "scour the area" for more than 2 days (Saturday morning to Monday afternoon) to find him?

I wonder if it was the 911 feature that sent the coordinates or if it wasn't his wife that provided the last known track point to the rescue center.

He might have been saved if they got to him sooner.

That device isn't very confidence inspiring and certainly not after reading quite a few of the user comments on the REI site.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:57 PM   #1038
DragonBreath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTO
That is correct. They are two separate purchases.
Thanks JTO.
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:32 PM   #1039
KrazyKonrad
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If you think Spot will replace woodcraft or being prepared for what nature will throw at you then there may be a Darwin award nomination in your future.

It is ONE tool in the kit. Nothing is guaranteed to work not even a Sat phone. You need skills, experience and the wisdom to manage risks.

I own one and have tested it it in the mountains and urban areas. I'm happy and it will stay in my tank bag in a small Pelican case with spare lithium AA's.

I'm sorry the hiker died but Spot 911 did exactly what it was supposed to do. If you think getting the rescue squad within 200' for $150 is bad you are living in a fantasy. It is very possible the 200' was traveled after the 911 went out. I'm sorry but I think it's BS to be in the mountains and ask others to put their lives on the line because you were not ready to ride out the storm. I've done the 1,000,000 acre wilderness solo with no electronics. I've come off the mountain in storms so bad they made international news because so many people died. But then I grew up in an age and place when even suburban high schools taught advanced field craft.

Thank You Nessmuk for keeping me alive
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:27 AM   #1040
SpotMaker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTO
Seems that the SPOT "service" worked as it was supposed to, sending in the calvary. Curious why the unit stopped functioning though.
My guess is the batteries were not fresh when he activated 911.

I'm guessing, like most SPoT users, he'd been running in track mode quite a bit before he needed the 911.

You've got about 12 - 24 hours of 911 operation left when the power LED starts blinking red to indicate low battery. Sounds like his sent 911 for more than 48 hours (meaning it was probably still green when he activated 911).

What a sad story that even with SPoT giving his coordinates, rescue couldn't be sent in time because of weather.

Very sad.
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:53 AM   #1041
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotMaker
I'm guessing, like most SPoT users, he'd been running in track mode quite a bit before he needed the 911.
Which is why I have a cell phone that doesn't play MP3s or take pics, etc. I need my cell phone battery at full charge for the times I really need my cell phone, not for chit-chatting or shallow conversation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotMaker
What a sad story that even with SPoT giving his coordinates, rescue couldn't be sent in time because of weather.
Ahhh, the weather only delayed the search to Saturday morning. What isn't clear is if they really did have those coordinates, why did it take till Monday afternoon to find him...more than two days later.

My guess is those GPS coordinates provided by 911 activation (if it was even activated) never really made it out or it wouldn't take that long to locate that hiker. I think they were working on the last known coordinates provided during track points.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:32 AM   #1042
TomW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Global Rider
Exactly!!!

Even if those coordinates were off by a whopping 200 feet, why did they have to "scour the area" for more than 2 days (Saturday morning to Monday afternoon) to find him?

I wonder if it was the 911 feature that sent the coordinates or if it wasn't his wife that provided the last known track point to the rescue center.

He might have been saved if they got to him sooner.

That device isn't very confidence inspiring and certainly not after reading quite a few of the user comments on the REI site.
All speculation. We don't know what happened other than the 911 feature sent out messages for two days after it was activated. We don't know the location, terrain, exact weather conditions or the rescue squad's resources. If you want to draw conclusions, go ahead, but try to keep it all in perspective based on the quality of the data at hand.

SPOT is most often compared with PLBs for performance in these types of situations. SPECULATION: In this case I don't see how a PLB would have outperformed SPOT. Most PLBs are only guaranteed to transmit for 24 hours (although ACR says typical performance is 36 hours -- similar to that achieved by SPOT in this case) and I doubt PLB GPS performance is better than SPOTs.

No device like this should be confidence inspiring. All electronic devices rely on the user to be conscious enough and oriented enough to deploy them correctly whether they be SPOT, PLB, satellite phone and/or GPS. Tragically in this case, solo wilderness hiking in uncertain weather is not without risk no matter what technology you take with you. The best safeguard, in my opinion -- other than never going out -- is to not go solo (and that only reduces risk, it doesn't eliminate it).
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:09 AM   #1043
bananaman
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Post 326, April 9, 2008:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaman
I know SPOT is going to save some lives, but I also wonder, how many lives will be lost because people thought they could rely on it? I suppose that if you put it on Traking mode, it might help rescuers find your body.
My condolences to the hiker's family, and godspeed to the hiker.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:14 AM   #1044
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this one has a bit more info on the conditions. water levels prevented rescue teams from reaching the area the signal was received from on friday evening and saturday.
http://www.ktvu.com/news/17652650/detail.html

much the same info, seems as they had to use a secondary route to reach his location, and were unsuccessful.
http://www.modbee.com/1618/story/454913.html

and another, they couldn't get to his location until a helicopter was able to fly on sunday.
http://www.news10.net/news/local/sto...7&provider=top

looks like a lot of factors contributed to this tragic event. they finally found him because of scattered personal articles in the trees of the ravine that were spotted using binoculars from the air. every story mentions that a 911 signal was received friday night, and the spot stopped signaling on sunday.

google search resulted in 64 news articles on the story.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:20 AM   #1045
PacWestGS
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(I've read all these stories now)

First off - It's still a tragedy for the hiker and his family. RIP. He took the risk to live life, mitigated the hazards, and ultimately insured his return.

Everything worked as it's supposed to, and if the SPOT sent a 911 message from within a granite crevass that's amazing. (A PLB would have done no better - except the 406MHz beacon if still working would have zeroed in the search once within five-miles)

In this instantaneous world we forget how hard it is for humans and machines to overcome nature and the environment. The fact that they found his body within 72-hours (remember 72-hours is well within a search and rescue window) is an extraordinary feat.

Like I said, he insured his own recovery - look no farther than the search for Steve Fosset and that was a plane they were looking for. Bodies are simply too hard to find.
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:08 PM   #1046
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacWestGS
A PLB would have done no better - except the 406MHz beacon if still working would have zeroed in the search once within five-miles.
It is impossible for me to argue seriously with anyone silly enough to quote me.

I don't have time right now to read the stories. Could anyone tell us if he had time, or was able to, write a note?

Dear mods: I'm not trying to push any agenda for PLBs, so can I say that the PLB I carry has a built-in GPS, and is supposed to zero me in to a few feet, and that it also has a 121.5 signal, which can even be picked up by a hand-held radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PacWestGS
In this instantaneous world we forget how hard it is for humans and machines to overcome nature and the environment. The fact that they found his body within 72-hours (remember 72-hours is well within a search and rescue window) is an extraordinary feat.
Well said.
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:45 PM   #1047
Global Rider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
All speculation. We don't know what happened other than the 911 feature sent out messages for two days after it was activated.
The question I've had all along and the point that everyone seems to have missed...was a 911 message sent out and was a 911 message even received by GEOS? Yeah, I know they said it transmitiied till the SPOT died on Sunday...what did it transmit? Track points every 10 minutes?

It was stated that they had the GPS coordinates right from the start. If that is the case, it doesn't take 2.5 days to find someone.

Something very fishy about the whole story.
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:57 PM   #1048
PacWestGS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Global Rider
The question I've had all along and the point that everyone seems to have missed...was a 911 message sent out and was a 911 message even received by GEOS? Yeah, I know they said it transmitiied till the SPOT died on Sunday...what did it transmit? Track points every 10 minutes?

It was stated that they had the GPS coordinates right from the start. If that is the case, it doesn't take 2.5 days to find someone.

Something very fishy about the whole story.
Dunno about the first part - would it matter? However, did you read the stories printed? Snow, bad weather and winds kept the helos from flying until late Sunday. Did you see how far into the backcountry he was? No roads, some impassable by vehicles, bad weather.

Two days, that's nothing. They found a needle in the haystack without having to sit on it.

The guy fell to his death, he was recovered - end of story.

A PLB would have done no better under the circumstances. Sometimes you get a shit sandwich, that's life (or death).
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:20 PM   #1049
Global Rider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacWestGS
Everything worked as it's supposed to, and if the SPOT sent a 911 message from within a granite crevass that's amazing. (A PLB would have done no better - except the 406MHz beacon if still working would have zeroed in the search once within five-miles)
I doubt a 911 message was even sent and certainly not from a granite crevass. Cripes, some owners are having a tough enough time getting a message out on the open road that is tree lined.

5 miles? That is if the PLB doesn't have a built-in GPS (or one patched to it via a cable). In that case it is the LEOSAR satellites that determine the position. Obviously, not with GPS accuracy, but then its a back-up IF GPS coordinates cannot be determined for whatever reason.

Wouldn't it be interesting to do an unbiased SPOT vs PLB tests under varying and difficult conditions at numerous locations on this planet. Although I think I know what the outcome would be.

I think most SPOT owners buy it for the "hey look, this is where I am now" feature, and not for the "911" feature.
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:24 PM   #1050
Global Rider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacWestGS
The guy fell to his death, he was recovered - end of story.
IF he fell to his death, how could he have pushed the 911 button? And IF that is the case, how did they get those coordinates?
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