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Old 05-25-2012, 04:20 PM   #3106
Alleycatdad
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I'm not entirely sure about that, since the GPS-side needs to see the sats, but the true PLBs transmit 5 watts while spot uses ~.4 according to reports I've seen on the net.

That's gotta help. Even if it's a general fix by GPS, once they're close, the PLB transmits a homer which the SPOT does not.

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Old 05-25-2012, 04:51 PM   #3107
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As I nunderstand it, PLBs use a more comprehensive satelitte network and should have a faster lock and transmit than a SPOT, or at least more reliable.

In addition, PLBs tend to (maybe all do) have a radio transmitter that broadcasts a signal that allows responders to locate the device once they are on the ground in the vicinity that they known you to be in.

Check this out:

http://www.energyindustryphotos.com/...cator_beac.htm
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:27 PM   #3108
Pete O Static
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RexBuck View Post
Talking about the PLBs. Looking at the ACR site, it says when you activate the distress signal, you have to have a clear view of the sky. So, do the PLBs suffer the same problems as the SPOT and GPSs where anything organic will block its view and render it useless unless moved? Anybody with experience with PLBs in heavily overgrown conditions?
A PLB will typically broadcast a distress signal on the 406 MHz band and "supplement" it with a GPS fix coded within the distress signal. The GPS is used to provide those coordinates. So if you don't have a clear view of the sky, your distress signal will still go out but will not have your Lat and Long. The rescue center, upon receiving the signal, will typically look at your profile and contact your listed " responsible person" to get an idea of your whereabouts. ( all 406 PLB's must be registered with the authorities. always leave an itinerary with the responsible person you have listed in the registration ) Most PLBs will also broadcast a distress signal on 121.50 MHz which is a VHF based aviation distress signal. Any airliner overhead or within line of sight will hear it along with most Air Traffic Centers. ( as an airline pilot, I can tell you that our #2 radio is always monitoring 121.50 mhz and whenever an ELT is heard, it is reported immediately. ) This is the same frequency used in an aircraft's ELT and can be homed in on. A friend of mine removed his from his airplane for annual servicing and the kids set it off in the garage. Within hours he had a search and rescue helicopter hovering over his house and a knock at the front door.

So the short answer is yes, the PLB uses GPS to send a distress signal but unlike the SPOT messenger, that is not all it uses and you won't be left wondering, "Gee did the message get out this time? "
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Pete O Static screwed with this post 05-26-2012 at 02:38 PM
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:29 PM   #3109
RZRob
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ResQLink+ PLB

I didn't want to read all 200+ threads, but am glad it's discussing more than the Spot. I just received my ResQLink+ from GPS City that I think for the next few days has a $50 off making it just $209.

The ResQLink+ is a 406MHz PLB registered with NOAA (registering it is the activation process) and offers worldwide support. It's about the size of a cellphone and floats. I carried mine on my person during my last Mohave to Yosemite 1,200 mile XR trip. Tomorrow I'm taking it to Lytle Creek. It gives you good piece of mind when riding alone. BTW, these are sealed units with 5 year life on the battery.

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Old 05-28-2012, 03:31 AM   #3110
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Thank-you gentlemen/inmates. Very good food for thought. The bread crumb argument is a very persuasive argument for the Spot V2.

One last question: I'm loathe to add anything to my bars, and would greatly prefer to carry such a device in my CamelBak. No doubt the canvas cover reduces the tracking function somewhat, but to what extent, reckon?
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:08 AM   #3111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halmc View Post
Thank-you gentlemen/inmates. Very good food for thought. The bread crumb argument is a very persuasive argument for the Spot V2.

One last question: I'm loathe to add anything to my bars, and would greatly prefer to carry such a device in my CamelBak. No doubt the canvas cover reduces the tracking function somewhat, but to what extent, reckon?
Spot V1 does the bread crumb thing too.

And it's not the canvas that's the problem, it's the fact that the Spot is likely not being held horizontal, and your body is blocking some of the signals from the sky to the Spot.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:15 AM   #3112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halmc View Post
I'm loathe to add anything to my bars, and would greatly prefer to carry such a device in my CamelBak. No doubt the canvas cover reduces the tracking function somewhat, but to what extent, reckon?
That's what I do; never had a missed message in just about 1 year of use. I keep it clipped to the cord loop in the top of my camelbak backpack. I don't use tracking, but whenever I stop--gas, lunch, view break--I'll open the backpack, hit the OK button, zip it back in and get back riding.

I've also kept a gps inside my backpack clipped to that same loop when I'm riding an enduro race so I'll have a track of the course (the Spot stays home for races) and it works just fine, although I don't know if that's a fair comparison.
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:10 PM   #3113
halmc
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Originally Posted by HardWorkingDog View Post
That's what I do; never had a missed message in just about 1 year of use. I keep it clipped to the cord loop in the top of my camelbak backpack. I don't use tracking, but whenever I stop--gas, lunch, view break--I'll open the backpack, hit the OK button, zip it back in and get back riding.

I've also kept a gps inside my backpack clipped to that same loop when I'm riding an enduro race so I'll have a track of the course (the Spot stays home for races) and it works just fine, although I don't know if that's a fair comparison.
I too put a cheap gps in that top pocket and it very rarely misses its occasional 'fix'. I would assume the same results for the spot . . . ?

I've not found the subscription rates. Do they vary depending on whether you use the tracking function?
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:15 PM   #3114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halmc View Post
I too put a cheap gps in that top pocket and it very rarely misses its occasional 'fix'. I would assume the same results for the spot . . . ?

I've not found the subscription rates. Do they vary depending on whether you use the tracking function?
The tracking is an extra $50/yr. IMOP, pretty well worth it. As has been mentioned, even if you have a crash that leaves you unable to push for help, there is at least a bread crumb trail that gets help close as long as someone knows you are missing.
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Old 05-31-2012, 05:58 PM   #3115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halmc View Post
I too put a cheap gps in that top pocket and it very rarely misses its occasional 'fix'. I would assume the same results for the spot . . . ?
That's not correct. Remember, a GPS only RECEIVES signals from the satellites. The SPOT has to do that as well as TRANSMIT your position and messages up to other satellites. Given that the SPOT internal antenna is so small and the transmit power is super small due to runnning on little batteries, all kinds of things make it hard for that tiny signal to get from the SPOT in your pocket to the satellites hundreds of miles up. And the SPOT antenna is directional. That means it works best when the antenna is pointing towards the satellite. When it's in your pocket, the antenna is probably pointing parallel to the ground rather than up into the sky. And if the receiving satellite is behind you then the antenna may be pointing almost directly AWAY from where it should be, and your body is blocking the signal as well. So, putting the SPOT in your pocket is not going to give it the best chance to get the messages out. Amazingly, it still often works, but you're pushing your luck if it's in your pocket.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:34 AM   #3116
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Quote:
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That's not correct. Remember, a GPS only RECEIVES signals from the satellites. The SPOT has to do that as well as TRANSMIT your position and messages up to other satellites. Given that the SPOT internal antenna is so small and the transmit power is super small due to runnning on little batteries, all kinds of things make it hard for that tiny signal to get from the SPOT in your pocket to the satellites hundreds of miles up. And the SPOT antenna is directional. That means it works best when the antenna is pointing towards the satellite. When it's in your pocket, the antenna is probably pointing parallel to the ground rather than up into the sky. And if the receiving satellite is behind you then the antenna may be pointing almost directly AWAY from where it should be, and your body is blocking the signal as well. So, putting the SPOT in your pocket is not going to give it the best chance to get the messages out. Amazingly, it still often works, but you're pushing your luck if it's in your pocket.
I recently spent some time in Tennessee on a rented Kawasaki Concours 1400. I threw my Spot in the little "glove box" at the front of the tank, where it promptly slid down into a little crevice. It was more of an experiment - I wanted to see how well it'd track in there, blocked by glove box cover, the bars and occasionally my body. It was definitely not an ideal place to keep it.

It missed more points than usual - I think I was getting 2 or 3 points per hour, about half of what it should in better circumstances. But that was actually better than I expected in those circumstances.

For reference, I keep mine mounted on my bars on my own bike.
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Old 06-03-2012, 06:56 AM   #3117
flyhyguy
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Question

Morning oh wise ones of the forum.... I am on a trip with my wife from Vancouver to Alaska. Shes on the 800, 990 for me. I had hoped to experiment with spot adventures prior to the trip but ran out of time. It took half a day in Williams Lake before I figured out how to upload the track from the GPS 60CSx and geotag photos. It all went well for a couple of days. Internet has been a bit unreliable but I was taking the time to try and update the track and photos every other day. I entered the info for May 29, 30 and 31 on the 31st, taking the time to peck out a long description of the 3 days of riding on my tiny netbook. When I went to update on the 1st, the spot adventure layout had changed and my info for three days was gone and the photos I had uploaded were not showing (.jpg files direct from the camera usb card to spot adventures). I have become obsessed with trying to fix this thing and I have allowed the frustration with spot adventures to affect my enjoyment of the ride and to be no fun for my wife to be around. Spot is closed for the weekend but I plan on calling tomorrow am to find out what gives. The email I sent to complain says it cant be sent due to a server error */"!$&?##
Is anyone else experiencing any issues with the spot adventures or is it only my stupidity with computers the problem
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:10 AM   #3118
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Just ride!!
Make your notes on your netbook each evening while the day is fresh in your mind.
Other than that just ride safely. You won't need the Spot.
Your internet access will only get worse.
RIDE and have a great trip. Don't let malfunctioning technology ruin the trip of a lifetime.
Also the pictures right out of the camera might be too large a file size.

PS: anyone run across a discount code for Spot recently?
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:49 AM   #3119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 250senuf View Post
Just ride!!
Make your notes on your netbook each evening while the day is fresh in your mind.
Other than that just ride safely. You won't need the Spot.
Your internet access will only get worse.
RIDE and have a great trip. Don't let malfunctioning technology ruin the trip of a lifetime.
Also the pictures right out of the camera might be too large a file size.

PS: anyone run across a discount code for Spot recently?
DITTIO dont let this ruin a trip... even if it is a once in a liftime trip and you want to document it...

i have been on the fence about getting a spot.. and with an upcoming two week ride i guess i better go ahead and buy it , figure it out, so i can enjoy the ride..
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:52 AM   #3120
RexBuck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyhyguy View Post
Morning oh wise ones of the forum.... I am on a trip with my wife from Vancouver to Alaska. Shes on the 800, 990 for me. I had hoped to experiment with spot adventures prior to the trip but ran out of time. It took half a day in Williams Lake before I figured out how to upload the track from the GPS 60CSx and geotag photos. It all went well for a couple of days. Internet has been a bit unreliable but I was taking the time to try and update the track and photos every other day. I entered the info for May 29, 30 and 31 on the 31st, taking the time to peck out a long description of the 3 days of riding on my tiny netbook. When I went to update on the 1st, the spot adventure layout had changed and my info for three days was gone and the photos I had uploaded were not showing (.jpg files direct from the camera usb card to spot adventures). I have become obsessed with trying to fix this thing and I have allowed the frustration with spot adventures to affect my enjoyment of the ride and to be no fun for my wife to be around. Spot is closed for the weekend but I plan on calling tomorrow am to find out what gives. The email I sent to complain says it cant be sent due to a server error */"!$&?##
Is anyone else experiencing any issues with the spot adventures or is it only my stupidity with computers the problem
As others have said, just ride, take lots of pics and enjoy. I've never tried to GeoTag my pics - uploading pics on the road is sometimes difficult with dodgey internet connections.

Every trip will have its disappointments and keeping a positive attitude to work around those disappointments is part of the adventure.

Failing your GeoTagging, since your photos will be numbered and likely dated, it's pretty easy to approximate where they were taken. If it is really important, to determine the exact location, make a quick waypoint on your GPS - more accurate than the SPOT. Closest SPOT track may be a long ways away anyhow.

I like the SPOT for its main purpose: Let the world know where I am, let my family know I am ok and to summon Florence Nightingale if I get in trouble. However for tracking, I much prefer to use Spotwalla rather than SPOT Adventure - no loss of data, will track for as long as you want and you can upload photos, which I think is the GeoTagging you are talking about. Price is right . . . free.
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