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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:40 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA/Ashland, OR
Wow Jib! That's surprisingly cheap! I guess it's been well over a year since I looked at those things, but I thought it was much more expensive then that. What company do you use? Is it a contract (like a reg. cell phone) or a month to month?

Tks.

Dave,

My impression (and I'm too lazy to actually go back and recreate the research I did before buying) was that it was one particular model (either the first iteration or maybe the first build of the 2nd model?) that had problems and they are no longer on the market. It was the satellite antenna and they replaced it with a chipset that most of the high end handheld units now have. I wouldn't buy one used..you'll probably get a screwy unit.

I also think I remember reading (lol..like how vague I'm being?) that the "message sent" light can be latent even if your message goes through right away, so the only harm is that you send the message multiple times while waiting for the light to come on.

Edit: Also, I do remember reading that their CS is for crap (Spot's CS, nothing to do with the SAR calls). God forbid you want a refund or something on your subscription. I just figured I was rolling the dice that I wouldn't need that. It seems to be working out.

Like any GPS receiver (like I said I've only checked the custom messages to my wife's cell phone) it can take time for this unit to gain a signal, and in thick cover or overcast it may take considerably longer. I don't know that there's much way around that except to have the latest chipset..which seems to be there solution.

I'm not trying to sell the device or anything..just sharing what little I know. In fact if anything I may have to start looking into a used sat phone if I can get the monthly deal that Jib gets!

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:06 pm 
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Location: Howell Mt., Napa Valley
It's month to month. No contract.
Browse this site:
http://www.globalstar.com/en/index.php?cid=1250

I think you can get the service for cheaper, but I wanted the ability to text and receive messages, etc.

You should buy one. Come on, it's only $500. That's around 2 shifts at work.
It's fun to make calls from the backcountry!

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:54 pm 
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Location: Oregon
I'll have to look into that plan (re/Globalstar). My dad and I have an Iridium Sat phone for our extended backcountry hunting trips, but month to month is quite expensive, and minutes are extra (like. $1.49/min). We usually get a 100 minute any card that's good for three consecutive months of the year (cost is around $249). A plan for $37/month w/unlimited minutes sounds too good to be true!

Jibmaster - have you ever had issues w/Globalstar service/reception? I heard they were having issues w/satellite reception and that most people were using Iridium. Either way, I agree that if you can afford it a sat phone is the way to go - if you break a femur, cut yourself badly, or do any other number of unfortunate things in the backcountry, you might need help asap. Also, in my opinion, it's worth looking into Life Flight or something comparable.

Funny thing about the sat phone is I don't use mine much for splitting because I'm usually in or very near cell service here in the Oregon Cascades...

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:27 pm 
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Location: Howell Mt., Napa Valley
It is true that it does not work every minute.
Here are the call times for my address for tomorrow (Friday the 9th) Just set the coordinates for the location of your jib.

For extended trips I will take a copy of this with me.

It depends on where the satellites are.
They are putting up more satellites in 2012.

It wastes the battery to wait for incoming calls, but that's what the voice messages/texting is for.

http://calltimes.globalstar.com/

Start time End time Call duration

12:22:06 AM 12:27:46 AM 05 min 40 sec
12:36:46 AM 12:49:46 AM 13 min 0 sec
01:18:56 AM 01:30:16 AM 11 min 20 sec
01:36:26 AM 01:49:36 AM 13 min 10 sec
01:58:36 AM 02:29:46 AM 31 min 10 sec
02:36:46 AM 02:50:16 AM 13 min 30 sec
03:16:46 AM 03:29:36 AM 12 min 50 sec
03:37:06 AM 03:51:06 AM 14 min 0 sec
03:58:26 AM 04:52:36 AM 54 min 10 sec
05:16:26 AM 05:29:56 AM 13 min 30 sec
05:37:26 AM 05:52:56 AM 15 min 30 sec
05:55:46 AM 06:51:16 AM 55 min 30 sec
07:17:26 AM 07:32:06 AM 14 min 40 sec
07:37:46 AM 07:47:56 AM 10 min 10 sec
07:55:26 AM 08:08:46 AM 13 min 20 sec
08:17:26 AM 08:39:16 AM 21 min 50 sec
09:17:26 AM 09:31:46 AM 14 min 20 sec
09:56:16 AM 10:10:36 AM 14 min 20 sec
10:17:26 AM 10:41:36 AM 24 min 10 sec
10:45:56 AM 10:57:36 AM 11 min 40 sec
11:56:26 AM 12:11:16 PM 14 min 50 sec
12:26:36 PM 12:40:36 PM 14 min 0 sec
12:44:26 PM 01:06:36 PM 22 min 10 sec
01:25:26 PM 01:36:36 PM 11 min 10 sec
01:58:56 PM 02:03:16 PM 04 min 20 sec
02:44:26 PM 03:07:06 PM 22 min 40 sec
03:23:46 PM 03:36:36 PM 12 min 50 sec
04:05:56 PM 04:16:36 PM 10 min 40 sec
04:45:26 PM 05:07:16 PM 21 min 50 sec
05:23:46 PM 05:37:16 PM 13 min 30 sec
06:03:46 PM 06:16:46 PM 13 min 0 sec
06:45:16 PM 07:09:06 PM 23 min 50 sec
07:24:36 PM 07:39:36 PM 15 min 0 sec
08:03:46 PM 08:17:06 PM 13 min 20 sec
08:43:16 PM 09:09:36 PM 26 min 20 sec
09:24:26 PM 09:38:16 PM 13 min 50 sec
10:04:36 PM 10:19:16 PM 14 min 40 sec
10:23:56 PM 10:34:56 PM 11 min 0 sec
10:42:56 PM 11:05:06 PM 22 min 10 sec
11:22:46 PM 11:35:16 PM 12 min 30 sec


You can see the breaks in reception. Some of which are up
to an hour. So if you are bleeding out...
But the same company makes the Spot. Not sure how that works. If you browse this site long enough, I'm sure it's on there somewhere.
Use the search function - fascinating stuff.
http://www.globalstar.com/en/

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:05 am 
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Posts: 344
Location: Stockton, CA
Right now REI is offering a $50 rebate on the Spot messenger
http://www.rei.com/product/784892/spot- ... -messenger

We bought my dad the Spot communicator for his bday, but he didn't like it because he found no way to test to send a message that he was ok, only a SOS message. He got the Spot messenger, and has it email messages to family members to "check-in" while he is out and about. We got his with the rebate too.


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:57 am
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA/Ashland, OR
fitit wrote:
Right now REI is offering a $50 rebate on the Spot messenger
http://www.rei.com/product/784892/spot- ... -messenger

We bought my dad the Spot communicator for his bday, but he didn't like it because he found no way to test to send a message that he was ok, only a SOS message. He got the Spot messenger, and has it email messages to family members to "check-in" while he is out and about. We got his with the rebate too.



I'm not sure why he couldn't test to send an "ok" message. Do you/he know that the communicator is designed to be used with a bluetooth phone? You pair the two devices and use your phone to send txt messages via the satellite system. Maybe that's where he had his problem? There is indeed only one on device message button, and that's SOS. The idea (I guess) is that you don't want to have to take time to pair your phone with it in a true emergency.

It's true though..that the messenger is a simpler device and requires no other devices (smartphone) to send "ok" and "checking in" one-way messages. I tend to carry my phone, but the added level of complexity (pairing txting via phone etc) may be more then some users want.

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 2:23 pm
Posts: 453
Location: Howell Mt., Napa Valley
Here are the service plans.
I have the Emergency Plan with the added voice mail
http://www.globalcomsatphone.com/satell ... lstar.html

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:42 am
Posts: 529
Location: Oakland, CA
I use a PLB rather than a Spot. It won't help russman's situation, but it is a last resort for life threatening situations or where self-evac is impossible - preventing false negatives rather than false positives for potential emergency scenarios.

It also sounds like russman had left enough basic info that SAR was able to come in from the correct trailhead, so he's already done basic preparation. I'm not married nor do I have kids so the "I'm okay" feature isn't so valuable to me that I need a subscription device to do it. Trailhead, general itinerary, and a "call the County Sheriff at this time" instruction works for my needs.

About PLBs (ACR SARLink, McMurdo FastFind) - I wrote up a very detailed post last year on TGR / Tech Talk detailing how PLBs are different than Spots ... you'd have to search for it.

There is no subscription for the PLB - you purchase it, register it with NOAA, and note pertinent information about your mode of travel, medical history, etc. PLBs use a wider coverage, public, satellite network (NOAA low earth orbit weather sats, other international COSPAS network sats) and have a 121 MHz homing beacon for flyover search to help pinpoint your location under cover or if you were forced to relocate your position after the initial GPS coordinate data went out to the Air Force. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center relays your PLB registration file and PLB signal data (GPS, time/date etc) to the local SAR authority.

You can't use PLBs to say "I'm okay" except through a secondary back channel network (ACR makes a product that does this).

jbaysurfer wrote:
If you can contact SAR and carry a 2-way radio, once they're on site you can use your 2way to talk w/ rescuers. That happened in Powerhouse chute this season actually. Spot device triggered a rescue copter and the friends of the injured were able to talk to on ground rescuers via 2-way.


Just to clarify, that group had sent someone in the party down to the TH with a GMRS radio. They were not using radios that SAR would use - for that you need VHF radio, the channel that the responding SAR team or park rangers operate, and an operating license. But having GMRS radios and then sending someone (ideally two people) from the group is effective if you also have (ideally) two people to attend to the patient. So that already puts your party size at minimum of 4.

jibmaster wrote:
So if you are bleeding out...


... you better hope that your partner was paying attention in WFA or WFR class!


Seriously, Spots, PLBs, cell phones, sat phones etc. are great, but they are compliments to, and not substitutes for, great well-trained partners. I'm not referring to anyone in this thread, but considering the general public's lack of appreciation for preparedness and that this is a public Internet forum - I always feel motivated to harp this one point:
Knowledge and training (orienting, first aid, survival basics, avy etc) before gadgets.


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:55 pm 
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I tour with a spot locator and payed a additional fee for the tracking feature. It is a tad bit comforting knowing that you have some sort of communication with the outside world but we are seeing far too many people abuse it. When I was in Bolivia I had my Spot packed away while traveling but somehow it randomly went off saying I had a emergency. Long story short they called my mom, my mom called Eddie Bauer and Eddie Bauer was a few seconds away from calling the Bolivian Military but luckily I was able to get ahold of them before that. I am fortunate that I haven't used my spot and possible it's giving me a false sense of security BUT its well worth it just to let your friends know you are okay and moving.

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:44 am 
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Anyone know if the spot units would interfere with an avy beacon signal?


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:28 pm 
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classicauto wrote:
Anyone know if the spot units would interfere with an avy beacon signal?


I'm not familiar with documented cases of interference but the real question is "when would you be using them at the same time?"

Rescue your victim, assess the situation, and then only use your PLB if you need assistance with evacuation. A successful companion rescue with the only medical condition inflicted being stage 1 hypothermia does not need the cost and endangerment of mobilizing public SAR resources. Perhaps in a multiple burial situation where you've retrieved one victim, definitely identified trauma or another medical condition that requires immediate outside assistance, and are still working on another rescue that could be very time consuming (so you can't wait to fire off your PLB) - that's the only situation I could see you being concerned with this. But honestly, just handle things one at a time. Companion rescue, medical assessment, shelter and/or evacuation plan, trigger the PLB.

So on a more nerdy technical level I don't think you'll have an issue. The technologies all work on completely separate frequencies. As far as I know, avalanche transceivers work in the magnetic domain of 457 KHz (near field as opposed to far-field, which means a different antenna design), PLBs use 406 MHz and 121 MHz, SPOTs use 1.6 and 2.5 GHz, and GPS receivers in the PLB or SPOT use 1.6 GHz.

Now here is the HOWEVER.

Common wisdom is to keep all portable electronics, even those that do not have an RF antenna such as an iPod, when powered, at least 2-3 feet away from an operating avalanche transceiver because intermediate processing frequencies and other spurious emissions can generate signals that trip up the DSP in the avalanche transceiver. There were numerous documented cases in 2008 or 2009 of the PIEPS DSP, even in transmit mode, rebooting itself when placed adjacent to an iPod (not an iPhone!) playing music. The RF interference falls off exponentially with distance, so you could easily fire off your PLB 10 or more yards downhill from the toe of the debris field and I don't think you'll have issues if you really couldn't wait the 10 more minutes to initiate an emergency signal.


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:07 pm 
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Location: Canada
Thanks!

I understand that in a burial situation I'm going to be focused on rescue long before I'm fumblign with the spot. My concern lies in the tracking mode of the spot2, if I were to have it on my pack while touring through sketchy terrain.

I suppose however the main points being that the spot won't be against or right beside the beacon and that they're pretty vastly different frequencies I shouldn't worry...

I'll bring it with me for on an avy course in a few weeks (jan 13/14), I'll play around with it during a mock burial and see if it mucks with the signal at all during "track" mode - I'll report back after the 16th of jan.


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Sounds like a great test when you do your Avy course: just hand your SPOT to your instructor to put in the dummy pack (usually they bury a pack with a beacon in transmit mode for training rescue scenarios) and see if it interferes with the signal! Most likely the instructor will not want to fudge around with that during actual class instruction, but if you have time before or after to futz around with an actual buried pack with beacon and SPOT then you will know the worst case scenario. I doubt you have any issues if they are not stashed right next to each other in the pack. But do remember that each type of beacon has a totally different electronics design and DSP, so test out with the transceivers you are likely to use.


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