Spot Satellite Tracker

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by SpecialAgentNancy, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

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    As my ride to Portugal approaches and I've checked my lists a dozen times now and can't think of anything else to do but wait with giddy excitement....I thought I would feed the "adventure monkey" in me by posting about one of the best possible devices you can have and my experience of using one for 4 years now.

    The Spot Tracker can save your life.

    Some basic rules to live by:

    1.Wear it on you.
    Some companies make mounts for them on the bike. What if the bike goes over a precipice and you manage to not go with it. Where is your spot? On the ledge where you can't get to it and it's probably facing down if murphy is sitting next to you in the dirt. There is an armband strap that is functional and allows you to see the flashing red light when the battery is low because eventually it will just stop working and that's no good either.
    Also you don't want some kids to get a hold of it and hit the 911 button....more on that later.

    2. Get the tracker subscription.
    Most of us have someone at home worried about us, or friends we want to boast to later about our ride. Either way get the tracking function. This way someone can see the route you are taking so if something does go wrong they have an idea where to start. (see #1) Plus it's a great way to figure out where the heck you were all day if you don't have GPS like me and love getting lost. It's a hassle to push the OK button and because it doesn't always get a signal through, less reliable.

    3. Carry extra lithium batteries.
    Most countries just don't have these. When I ride my month long trips I bring 2 extra sets and put fresh ones in the unit. I might hit the second set but once when I had to get normal batteries, they were done in about 4 days.

    4. Buy the Medivac and Roadside Assistance insurance that they offer with it. You get it for half off when you have a spot and I sure wish I had this when I crashed in some mountains of Bulgaria where people come to hunt and I dislocated my shoulder and could have never ridden out without help.

    My funny story that will prove how well this works.

    In Turkey I was riding along a dirt road and this was back when I used to mount it to the bike....it fell off and some local kids got a hold of it and of course hit all the buttons. Because I had the tracking on I was able to locate the last signal which was coincidentally close to where they were hanging around so I knew they had it.
    I didn't know if they hit the buttons and had no way to tell in the middle of nowhere so I went on my merry way hoping that everything was ok.
    Within 1 hour, the border patrol, the military police and the local city police of the nearest town all came and found me in Ani separately. Turns out the boys did hit 911 and they took it VERY SERIOUSLY and came to find me and make sure I was OK. I was so impressed with the way they responded. They had my name, a description of me and came right at me like I was in some big trouble. It was kinda scary but I quickly realized why they all knew who I was and I was grateful beyond words.

    I hear about how people are abusing this privilege here in the US but I tell you, I will never travel without it on me ever.
    #1
  2. Tourbus

    Tourbus Been here awhile

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    Which SPOT do you have/recommend, The original SPOT or SPOT 2?

    Thanks

    Butch
    #2
  3. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

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    I have the second gen but don't have the texting option.

    I've ridden with friends that have that and it seems like a cool idea so I've thought about upgrading but I do these rides to get away not to stay connected. :D
    #3
  4. Strega

    Strega Black is a color

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    I'd also HIGHLY recommend you register on my site if you have a SPOT.

    http://www.WhereAmIRiding.com

    Couple reasons why:
    1) It's free
    2) Easy to remember short links so your SPOT. Such as: http://strega.whereamiriding.com
    3) Simple for friends and family to view
    4) Custom overlays like, temps, clouds, auto-refresh, twiiter account overlay (if you use twitter), and much more

    Here's an example of my last trip, HERE
    #4
  5. Capt.saveaho

    Capt.saveaho Been here awhile

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    I have one and I pay for just about everything you can and it has been pretty dodgy. I went on a trip to Idaho and sent a bunch of texts and my family only got one, I couldn't get it to track me, I never tried 911 because I was afraid it might work.:rofl

    maybe I'm messing up somewhere but I definitely didn't feel like I had that extra protection I was paying for.
    #5
  6. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    That pretty cool and a neat alternative to spotwalla.

    It seems though, that whatever twitter has to do with your site, it slows it down horribly, as nothing will load until twitter gets whatever it is that it does loaded. EDIT: much faster when I turn it off.
    #6
  7. RAZR

    RAZR I'll cut ya

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    that's a great story!!!:clap

    i'm a fan of SPOT. i have been looking at the newer ACR 406 with the "OK" button.

    i currently have SPOT 2 and have been looking at the SPOT Connect (links with your iPhone/Android phone) to text. but my friend that has it has to sign out of the app then sign back in to text. where as my SPOT 2 i just hit "OK" and i move on. also, what happens when your iPhone goes dead, your only options on the Connect unit is to send "HELP" or "911".


    but like you said, ALWAYS WEAR IT ON YOU. don't have it on your bike.

    i heard of a guy riding single track and his bike went off the trail and he was still on the trail. there is no way he could hit the "HELP" button. luckily for him, some other riders rode by and he waves them down. but what if there was no one else anywhere.

    i always wear a backpack so i have mine zip tied to the cross strap.
    #7
  8. Just Paul

    Just Paul Pro Cat Herder

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    Great Story Nancy

    I was also tracked down using my spot

    basically reported missing by camp host where we parked our truck (misunderstanding)
    long story short my spot was on and in tracking mode and I was tracked by the sherrif dept and found to be ok..

    it works !

    the sheriff got my spot info from the local cop that went to my house and relayed that info back to the sheriff in the area I was riding..
    #8
  9. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe RN

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    I too have been looking at the Spot and the ACR 406. The cost is a bit more for the ACR over the Spot, but there is no annual fee for service or tracking. I do not think you get the fancy text message feature. I have heard much better things about the ability to get an emergency signal out if you need to with the ACR.

    There is a good video here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=fvwp&v=fTUQOWhyYAs

    There is also a promotion going on now through the end of August with the ACR...

    http://www.acrelectronics.com/landing/summer-promotion/

    JG
    #9
  10. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe RN

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    +1 for wearing it on you.

    Does no good if you are separated from your bike.

    JG
    #10
  11. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    One thing too keep in mind. The SPOT, ACR and any other tracking device is absolutely worthless if you get knocked unconscious.

    Still, a good tool for what it is. If I had the dough, a satellite phone would be a much better choice than any tracking device. I have been looking at the SAT phones. Looks like the basic phone is about 600 bucks with 60.00 per month subscription for 10 minutes usage.

    I am thinking all these electronic options for the SPOT such as messaging, smart phone apps, etc make things way to complicated. It's hard to know your name let alone figuring out what button to push when you ring the clock:puke1:choppa:baldy:confused:thwak
    #11
  12. airborndad

    airborndad Long timer

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    you have that backwards

    a satellite phone would be absolutely worthless if you get knocked unconscious.

    if you get knocked unconscious OR WORSE the SPOT, ACR and any other tracking device
    would show that you have stop moving
    and show those coordinants so who ever is looking out for you can find you and help you,
    or at least they can find your body before the coyotes scatter it

    even if you go down in an area that doesn't send a good signal the last place it sent a signal and the one before it will show the general direction you MAY have been heading and will at least be a better starting point for SAR than your house or wherever you parked your truck
    #12
  13. airborndad

    airborndad Long timer

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    :wave Nancy

    where did you get the armband strap and what brand was the one that you were wearing in Death Valley

    have fun in Portugal :freaky
    #13
  14. Strega

    Strega Black is a color

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    That's why I give the user the option to turn it on/off. Twitter being slow I can't help unfortunately :(
    #14
  15. Strega

    Strega Black is a color

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    Absolutely untrue. If you're unconscious, the only device (that's been mentioned) that's going to help you is your SPOT w/ Tracking. The SPOT will keep pinging in the same location every ten minutes while you're unconscious and would let someone know you weren't moving. A Sat Phone, EPIRB, or ELT will not help you in that case, a SPOT will.
    #15
  16. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

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    Right. So with the tracking function, you can see the last signal and if it's not moving in say 12 hours or a day or whatever parameter you set up with the person watching they know something is wrong.

    My code with my 'watcher' is I send an OK signal at the start and end of each day. Then I turn on the tracking function. No OK and no signal moving=somethings wrong. If I'm unconscious there is a plan to deal with that.

    As for the texting, yes I've heard about the unreliability. Hey, aren't we doing these adventure rides to get away from "life"?
    #16
  17. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

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    You know it came with the unit when I sent it in for testing.
    BTW I do that each year before my big trip, send it back to spot for testing to make sure everything is good.

    I tour foreign countries every year for a month and have toyed with the satellite phone option but after my experience of the spot's reliability in Turkey decided that the signal (and no signal at all) will tell anyone concerned what needs to be communicated. Send help!
    #17
  18. RAZR

    RAZR I'll cut ya

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    what airborndad said is true. an expensive SAT phone won't work if you're unconscious.

    and you say you wouldn't be able to text when you're knocked out loopy??? how are you going to call on the SAT phone???

    and the SPOT Connect also has a SOS button on the unit itself. now that's not that confusing.
    the text function is good for when you're OK and need to text your wife that you're really not at a brothel, just hanging out at a bar for a soda.:lol3

    the SPOT tracking is key. and the fact that there is SPOTWALLA and WHEREAMIRIDING sites is why i'll stay with SPOT.

    i currently have the SPOT 2 and it works perfect. i keep tracking on and hit OK whenever i take a break.
    i haven't taken any long trips, other than local weekend rallys, but if i was to do the TAT or the Continental Divide, SPOT is perfect for that.
    even with another rider and both of us having SPOT's, it's good to have them on at all times. the time it would take your buddy to find cell service or ride to help, you could be done for.
    #18
  19. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    That's how it's done over at our house also. It works well. I've never had an Okay message failure and considering I use a Gen 1 SPOT, the tracking seems to be much better than other people's experiences.
    #19
  20. slidewayes

    slidewayes slidewayes

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    If your out how do you push the button on your spot? Should have a " g " meter like what is used in aircraft or in Dakar.when you get off you haft to push a button to say you are OK I Take my spot all the time street/dirt or just around town
    #20