The Great Big SPOT Thread

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by John E Davies, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. benh

    benh lookin 4 a way outta town

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    262
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I activated my Spot today and tried it out while walking around the neighborhood, and it didn't work.

    I turned it on, then pressed the OK/Check button. The lights began beeping in unision, and eventually a 5 sec or so hold came up and then continued beeping. This happened again about 5 to 10 minutes later, after about 20 minutes I went inside and turned the device off.

    I never recieved any message according to my account or any of the email addresses I had pre-programmed.

    Whats the deal??? Was it because I was walking around while attempting? Or was it because I did not let the 5 sec hold occur the third time before turning it off i.e. canceling the message?

    If this is the case this kind of sucks considering I rarely have a half an hour to kill in the open sky before I get on my bike and go. Plus you look like an idiot if you are just standing there for a half an hour staring at a hunter orange box with blinkie lights. :D
  2. brad21

    brad21 Gunga galunga.

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    I have mine in a mesh pocket on the back of my hydration pack. I've made some mistakes with it by pushing the OK button for too long. Once the unit is on, give it 5-10 secs, then punch the OK button once, don't hold it down. It will have a problem transmitting thru dense trees, but it will keep trying. Mine has worked, overall, pretty well the last month or so I've had it.:thumb
  3. TomW

    TomW Long timer

    Joined:
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    Ft. Payne, AL
    Moving shouldn't affect it much; however, SPoT needs to be positioned horizontally, with the logo facing up to work reliably.

    If I do that, mine works really well.

    Cheers.
  4. benh

    benh lookin 4 a way outta town

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    I tried it again this morning with success....:clap

    You have to keep the unit on while it sends all three OK/Check messages for the message to totally go through.
  5. Corkus

    Corkus Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    Pleasanton California
    I have a new SPoT too. Thanks to everyone here for the information. I felt like I knew the device before I used it. Very cool.

    In about a half dozen attempts the unit is 100% with all OK/Check messages and I only let it transmit once after getting a GPS fix, about 2 minutes in OK/Check mode. After that I move to tracking mode and ride off. I make sure the device sees the sky clearly face up and it's fine so far.

    I ain't waiting 20 minutes for 2 more of the same messages to go out. Not if there's a clear shot of the sky.
  6. benh

    benh lookin 4 a way outta town

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
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    Louisville, KY
    Well the difference between what you and I were doing was that I was turning mine off before it had got all three messages out (i.e. canceling the OK/check) and you are letting it send one, keeping the unit on, and then tracking.

    Bottom line is you have to let it complete the cycle...so what I will try next is to send one and then hop on the bike, start to ride, and see what happens.
  7. Corkus

    Corkus Adventurer

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    OK/Check mode is separate from Tracking mode. In tracking mode SPoT sends no OK/Check messages. Each OK/Check message sent of the 3 is complete. First one is sent as soon as a GPS lock is obtained after about 2 minutes in OK/Check mode, you can watch it transmit if you see the LEDs go solid green for 5 seconds, then I turn my unit to tracking mode.

    The second OK/Check message, which is exactly the same even if you keep moving, goes out about 10 minutes and another at about 20 minutes. If the first message gets through the website discards the 2nd and 3rd identical messages.

    Only one OK/Check gets all the way through the system to email. I am not often going to wait for the second and third messages to transmit.

    I'm not saying the way I turn off OK/Check after one transmission is correct, SPoT says wait 20 minutes to be sure. It is just what I am going to do.
  8. ModemRat

    ModemRat 2 > 4

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I just posted a review of Spot on my blog. Most of the post contains information about the unit that most of you probably already know about, but I post some pics and share how reliable it was on my trip through Mexico a month ago. For anyone interested:

    My Spot Satellite Messenger Review
  9. Smokeman

    Smokeman Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    Medicine Hat, Alberta - no motorcycle heaven here
    I don't know if this has been mentioned in this thread or not but I got a SPoT unit two days ago for an early fathers day present to use on a solo ride scheduled to leave today (postponed - damn rain).

    Anyway on the Canadian SPoT site there is a promotion when you activate your unit you get one years tracking service for free. Thought some of you might be interested.
  10. torags

    torags Long timer

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    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Hmmm.... Just not enough to justify the move... But the health care has me thinking....

    :D
  11. Smokeman

    Smokeman Adventurer

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    Medicine Hat, Alberta - no motorcycle heaven here
    Well how about we throw in 20 pack of Tim Horton's timbits? That ought to seal the deal.:evil
  12. AngryScot

    AngryScot .

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    ☼ Ca ☼
    I got the email, and I already have the tracking option, I asked them what they going to do for all us fathers who already have it...........silence:cry
  13. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
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    Location:
    Alaska
    Since I do quite a bit of solo offroad riding I just ordered up a spot to complement the Iridium phone, just a bit of redundency for safety's sake. One question about the GEOS sar insurance. I emailed them with the questions but did not get a response.

    From the GEOS website, here are a couple of situations where they will not cover the sar costs....

    a) your situation is caused by circumstances such as a forecast change of weather conditions, which could reasonably have been anticipated at the date you started your trip
    b) you have NOT made adequate provision of resources or training or competence needed to complete your planned trip.


    "A" is a bit nebulous. Does that mean the date you start the beginning of the whole trip or is it a day by day thing? Also, deserts are hot and sometimes you cannot carry enough water to surivive days in a remote desert if you are forced to walk out. I assume hot and dry would be an easily anticipated weather condition, hence no sar money for you.:lol3

    "B" is problematic as well. So I am hauling the mail down a sand wash and hit a rock or a washout that launches me from the bike resulting in injury bad enough that I cannot extract myself. So who decides if I had the "proper training" to be doing what I am doing? What if I had no formal dirt bike training at all, or even if I did one could say that I was not formally trained in desert off road riding.

    I'm highly suspect of this insurance for these reasons coupled with the fact that my emails asking about it have not been replied to. Also, the price seems too good to be true, and we all know about stuff that seems too good to be true.

    Anyone know the scoop on this?

    I will continue to use my aeromedevac insurance because I know it works and works well. Just wondering if this would be a good option, but it doesnt sound like it.

    thx.

  14. Smokeman

    Smokeman Adventurer

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    Hmmm....good question crashmaster. You obviously read the thing. :deal I seem to have omitted that part and blindy spent the 8 bucks. Sounds like they have all sorts of outs to me. Oh well...more money down the tube.:cry
  15. Squeaky

    Squeaky A Few Loose Screws...

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    As I see it, it's $8 for the "I never thought I'd ever be in a situation like this" insurance. That's two vente cafe mochas for me. :1drink
  16. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    sure, but given the terms of the policy, they might not pay anyway for an offroad MC mishap, so I would save the 8 bucks a month and buy other insurance until they will verify exactly how they interpert those terms and conditions of payment.........just my two pesos.
  17. Hotspice

    Hotspice Satellites not acquired

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    May 17, 2004
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    5,542
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    Snow-Bound
    The $8 is for a years policy.

    For $8/year I'd rather have something that might cover the charges. If I use it, the situation will be life or death, and used with or without the policy so for the price of a pitcher of beer I increase my chances of having it paid for.
  18. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
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    Oh, I didnt read closely enough. Well, then its for sure sketchy whether they will pay or not. Its an 8 dollar bet per year, which is nothing really. Obviously they have many customers, would be interesting to know their payment history on an 8 dollar a year policy............:rofl
  19. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
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    Location:
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    OK, well just after I wrote the last post, the SPOT came to my door. I activated it, and yes, they got me for the 8 bucks a year GEOS sar insurance.:lol3 :lol3 :lol3 Yeah, laugh it up.

    I tested the unit out and it worked as advertised sending the various messages that I commanded. Pretty f'ing cool if you ax me. Like I mentioned before, its not my only means of comm when I'm riding solo in the MOFN, but I think its a great thing to have. The Iridium could run out of juice or may not be able to get sat coverage of the Iridium constellation when I need it, so the spot is a backup, and an easy way to send an OK msg to mom, dad and the wiff without having to actually talk to them at 3 bucks a minute.:D

    Not to mention, my help message goes to one of my riding buddies and says, "Dude I'm broke down in Baja and need a truck. So get your ass down here pronto to pick me up and bring tiedowns and beers."

    Gotta love that feature.:lol3
  20. jeffmccracken

    jeffmccracken n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6
    I'd like to rig the unit up to run off bike power stepping down the bike voltage to 3V. I'd probably just solder a 2 pin connector to the battery terminals and run the wire out the back through a small hole. I might even put a little RTV to keep moisture out. I'm not all that concerned about absolute waterproofness. I'm sure a little hole won't be a big deal on the bike. Anyway I was wondering if this would work. Maybe SPOTMaker might have a little insight.

    Jeffm