Spot Messenger units - Page 3 - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
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post #21 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-09-2011, 05:58 AM
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Re: Spot Messenger units

Have any of you experienced reliability problems with the spot hw? I'm reading reviews on REI from customers complaining about their spot breaking, not transmitting (though the red light indicates message sent), and poor support from the spot service people.

I can't tell if it's a disgruntled person(s) all attacking the product on one website or if there's truly a problem greater than "sporadic" registering of locations on a google map.

This looks like a great product, if the claim for service and reliability is genuine, and would serve a real purpose for me. I want to buy one.

Granted, following guidelines for usage is necessary if wanting the system to work, so no need for comments about obscured sky. However, if you have experienced a hw failure I want to know.

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post #22 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2012, 09:02 AM
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Re: Spot Messenger units

I have a spot unit that I use with my delorme.
My unit does not work very well.
On my GPS it shows my foot prints, and (for example) it will indiacate that it has sent... 30 tracks.. but, when I get home, I can see that it actually only sent 3 tracks.
Now, I am not sure if it is not sending the tracks properly or of if the application is not receiving the tracks.
Basically I have a web link, that friends/family can click and track me... it is a spot service, through spot - and that is were the problem is... so it leaves me to wonder....
if I ever need that SOS button, will it work? or will my signal not be recieved like over 1/2 of my tracks...
I have not contacted spot about my concerns yet..
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post #23 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2012, 09:21 AM
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Re: Spot Messenger units

Also, Delorme now uses the inreach product - they no longer sell SPOT with their GPS units. Maybe the Inreach Products work better?
I paid good money for that spot, I am a little annoyed that it does not transmit or w/e properly. Mostly just concerned if the SOS will work if I ever need it... Plus it is like $100 per year for the service...
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post #24 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2012, 09:28 AM
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Re: Spot Messenger units

seeing this post made me think about it... So I went ahead and visited the spot website - they offer some trouble shooting steps and common issues.
Going to try their resolutions then repost my findings.
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post #25 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2012, 09:50 AM
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Re: Spot Messenger units

Yes, I've had similar experience with my Spot Messenger. There was a review on ExPo forum that was well done. On my recent trip to Death Valley, the tracking feature only worked sporadically. I wonder if I really needed help, if the unit would be working. I'd like to have a bit more confidence in it.

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post #26 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2012, 11:48 AM
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Re: Spot Messenger units

I have been considering this for my Alaska trip, further research and SPOT may not be the way to go. I don't like the additional fees that SPOT charges. This site has some useful information. Personal Locator Beacons, PLB's, How to Choose One

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post #27 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 08:24 PM
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Re: Spot Messenger units

I don't use the tracking feature, but I have sent the "ok" message and it's worked more often than not. Of course, I expect it to work every time otherwise how can I have confidence Spot will do it's job when I need it to most. I did notice when sending my messages that I had to hold the face flat to the sky to get the satellite link so maybe that's why the tracking feature is only sporadically working for some of you. Just a thought.

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post #28 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 02:57 PM
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Re: Spot Messenger units

One important thing to understand about the locations given by SPOT, they are all listed in WGS84 Datum using Decimal Degrees format. WGS84 is the most recent survey of the earth and is the gold standard used by all rescuers. Decimal Degrees is one way of expressing a given location and there are two others. There are several formats for writing degrees, all of them appearing in the same Lat, Long order:

* DMS Degrees:Minutes:Seconds (4930'00"N, 12330'00"W)
* DM Degrees: Decimal Minutes (4930.0', -12330.0'), (49d30.0m,-123d30.0')
* DD Decimal Degrees (49.5000,-123.5000), generally with 4-6 decimal numbers.

Some first responders use one of the other two systems and NOT DD. Here is a link to a site that will allow you to convert from one format to another:
Convert Latitude / Longitude in Degrees/Minutes/Seconds to/from Decimal (FCC) USA


You can also use Tatkut GIS Calculator utility installed on a local machine to do the conversion.
TatukGIS - Coordinate Calculator (GIS Coordinate Converter)

This wont help the 1st responders directly BUT if your SPOT 911 emergency contact has the ability to convert the SPOT data then it should speed help get the proper co-ords to the 1st responders.
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post #29 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 10:35 PM
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I've used my spot all over Europe, the US, and a little in Canada. Have never had a check in not go through. That's hundreds with no problems. Very confident in SPOT

sent from my Droid....using the paid auto guide app that rarely works properly

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post #30 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-11-2012, 09:35 AM
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Re: Spot Messenger units

I have owned a Spot Messenger 2 since they were introduced and think it is a great product.

Using it on a couple of long trips from Ontario to the Atlantic provinces, the tracking seemed to work quite well.

Although I have never needed the 911 function I did have an experience that makes me confident that the unit will work when needed.

The first year I had it, I took it out while hunting. I hiked several kms in dense woods off trail and somewhere along the way, it fell off.

The tracking feature was on so when I got out to where there was an internet connection, I went to the Spot tracking page and downloaded all the tracking signals and then converted the last bunch, which were clustered in a small area, into waypoints and loaded into my Garmin Colorado.

A day later I went back and after a few minutes of searching the average of the various positions, found the unit antenna down in a deep pile of leaves under heavy tree cover.

Although the batteries had died, despite the fact it was face down, it transmitted a clear position that allowed me to track back and find it.

Therefore I would say with confidence that I beleive it would bring rescue were I to use it. I always carry a spare set of batteries with me.

PLBs are good and for some purposes like travel deep in the wilds are a better choice, but the Spot is a great all around product that works as advertised. A PLB does not allow tracking or OK messages and if you pull the trigger, you had better have a good reason or the boys in the chopper are going to be p*ssed!

At this time, I carry both a Spot and a satellite phone giving me back up redundancy in communication, but I do believe the Spot works well.
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