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Old 11-28-2013, 01:27 PM   #1
lacofdfireman OP
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Gen 3 Spot and Extreme Tracking. Is it worth the money?

Currently ride with a Gen 2 spot and love it. I like having the peace of mind knowing my family can no my general vicinity if I am out somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Also the added security of knowing that if something goes wrong and I don't have cell coverage I can call for help through the Spot. Now with the Gen 3 I would have the ability with Extreme tracking to have it update every 2.5 minutes. That could be every mile in some technical areas. But at $149 it's a pricey extra. Especially considering if you ad some of the other features you could be well into the $250 range per year for service only. Do any of you use it and if so what do you think?

On a side note I was wondering with your current Spot service whom do you put on your contact lists for messages Emergencies? I put my wife, parents and all my kids with cell phones and even a few relatives. When I push the OK button my Message of "Just Checking in. All is well. Call you when I can. Love ya." That message will go to everyone on my Ok Message button. Then on my
My Help button will send this message to the same people "Broke Down and need Help. Trying to contact you but may be out of cell range."

Haven't decided what to put on my Custom Message. Or on my SOS information. Any suggestions.

Just curious who you are sending your messages to and what your messages say. My wife didn't want me to have my kids on the message list cause she didn't want them to be worried. I have sat down and explained to my kids that the only time they call 911 is if I activate my SOS button. If I push help or something else they need to get ahold of a relative or my parents and go from there. I have also let my parents and relatives know I have them in the system and what each type of activation means..
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Old 11-28-2013, 01:48 PM   #2
lacofdfireman OP
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Just Updated my "SOS" button to say the following:
Motorcyclist
42 Year old Male
No Medical History
No Allergies or Medications
Blood Type O+
If you are receiving this message I have been involved in an accident or may be lost and cannot get to help. Please send Paramedics and Search and Rescue.
Career Fireman with Los Angeles County Fire Department. Please Notify the Following family members along with the others on my contact list.
John Doe 456-665-ssss
Jane Soe 456*589-ssss

lacofdfireman screwed with this post 11-28-2013 at 03:11 PM
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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When you hit the SOS button it will send the latest location. Even if SAR only had 10 minutes, that is a very small radius for them compared to "he went out that trail yesterday and never came back" kind of thing. I imagine it would mean the batteries last that much longer as well. For the price I don't think extreme tracking is worth it anyways. Worst case if you're unconscious the device will track your last position anyways. I think the extreme tracking was added for bush pilots and ice pilots etc. For the custom message I put something like "Have a problem but don't need help yet. Might be late." Then I either send a Help msg if required or cancel it with Check-In/OK message.
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:24 PM   #4
lacofdfireman OP
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Thanks for the info. Been reading for the past 2hrs on Spot tips and tricks. I also found out something I didn't know. If you activate the Help or SOS button then decide you don't need it you can send a cancellation message buy holding down same button for greater than 5 seconds until button turns red. This will send the cancellation message to those that received the Help or SOS activation in the first place. That way you can free up your OK button or Custom message if you have a Cancel last request in that message..
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:30 PM   #5
lacofdfireman OP
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As a Career Fireman I can tell you that doing a 10 mile radius search is no easy task. Yes it's better than not knowing at all but 10 miles is still a pretty large area. If you are looking for someone on a motorcycle it's probably not as bad but if you are looking for someone hiking, exploring that's a lot of real estate. Especially by ground. Helicopter is a different animal. They could grid that out and make short work of a 10 mile search but a ground search could take awhile. Long enough to be the difference between life and death.. And I know without a doubt that a lot of the areas we ride wouldn't have a helicopter for hours possibly. But so far I have had great luck with my Gen 2. And not sure I want to pay the extra for the 3 even though I really like some of the newer features. External charging, Bigger buttons that actually click when you push them On the 2 sometimes I feel like I am pushing the button to the other side of the case.
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Old 11-29-2013, 12:29 PM   #6
squawk77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lacofdfireman View Post
As a Career Fireman I can tell you that doing a 10 mile radius search is no easy task.
I've done a lot of training and also tracking people as well. With the SPOT, it's not really a 10 mile radius because it has a time stamp and you can extrapolate, follow both gps and physical tracks etc etc. Also when you push the SOS it sends the present location, and again if you were unconscious it would still track to your present location... I don't think it's a lot of real estate for a hike because how far does a hiker hike in 10 minutes in technical terrain? Maybe 1 km max but they also leave footprint/scent/marks along the way etc. As someone who has been on the other end, my biggest concern is everyone mounting these things on their bikes. If you're separated from the bike or wrapped around a tree etc it's no good to you (see it happen often with snowmobiles) I carry a first aid kit in my backpack for the same reason and that's the best prep really. Some small planes are using SPOT and they had concerns about 10 mins, but they are moving much faster in remote areas (and no trace left on the ground etc)
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Old 11-29-2013, 01:07 PM   #7
lacofdfireman OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squawk77 View Post
I've done a lot of training and also tracking people as well. With the SPOT, it's not really a 10 mile radius because it has a time stamp and you can extrapolate, follow both gps and physical tracks etc etc. Also when you push the SOS it sends the present location, and again if you were unconscious it would still track to your present location... I don't think it's a lot of real estate for a hike because how far does a hiker hike in 10 minutes in technical terrain? Maybe 1 km max but they also leave footprint/scent/marks along the way etc. As someone who has been on the other end, my biggest concern is everyone mounting these things on their bikes. If you're separated from the bike or wrapped around a tree etc it's no good to you (see it happen often with snowmobiles) I carry a first aid kit in my backpack for the same reason and that's the best prep really. Some small planes are using SPOT and they had concerns about 10 mins, but they are moving much faster in remote areas (and no trace left on the ground etc)

Thanks for the clarafication. I thought the Gen 2 tracked by 10 miles not minutes. Yes 10 minutes is much better. So my message above was wrong. My bad.
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Old 11-29-2013, 02:32 PM   #8
TRZ Charlie
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If you add $50 to your spot fee you can drop a breadcrumb as often as 2.5 minutes.
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Old 11-29-2013, 02:53 PM   #9
BigDogAdventures
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lacofdfireman View Post
Haven't decided what to put on my Custom Message. Or on my SOS information. Any suggestions.
.
I think this is very good for a Custom Message----it's what I've been using for years.

"I've stopped riding for the day and am either in a motel or camped----I'm OK"

Me and my buddy Dingweeds send that message as soon as we pull into camp---then turn the thing off.
With this message-----you loved ones can relax knowing your OK till the next days riding.

The one time I was on a ride "Mobius11" and I witnessed someone using the SOS------Dr. Rock had his cell number in the message and his cellphone rang in a bout 2 minutes and he gave out some very pertinent info------since he was a doctor this helped out a lot. Granted------when you need the thing you'll most likely not have cell service---we were just lucky-------the helicopter would have come anyway even if no one answered.

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Old 12-01-2013, 02:16 PM   #10
lacofdfireman OP
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Thanks Big Dog. Gonna use that as my Custom message. Also I bought the Spot 3 last night. Not going to do the Extreme tracking but will put it down to 5 minutes and see what I think.
I wasn't impressed with a few things. The covers on the Help and SOS are flimsy and open way to easy. I could see that being an issue. Also the rubber piece covering the charge port is really flimsy also. That could be an issue if it tears off and becomes wet inside allowing corrosion, rust etc... But really like the bigger buttons and how they click when pressed. A lot better than he Gen 2 buttons..
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:59 PM   #11
TRZ Charlie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lacofdfireman View Post
Thanks Big Dog. Gonna use that as my Custom message. Also I bought the Spot 3 last night. Not going to do the Extreme tracking but will put it down to 5 minutes and see what I think.
I wasn't impressed with a few things. The covers on the Help and SOS are flimsy and open way to easy. I could see that being an issue. Also the rubber piece covering the charge port is really flimsy also. That could be an issue if it tears off and becomes wet inside allowing corrosion, rust etc... But really like the bigger buttons and how they click when pressed. A lot better than he Gen 2 buttons..

I can tell you that the Gen 3 is a vast improvement over the Gen 1. At least there are covers on those buttons where there weren't before. I find them useful but hopefully you will not need to find out.

Regarding the charge port. This comes from the manual:

There are three ways you can power your SPOT: 4 AAA Energizer Ultimate Lithium 8x batteries (included), 4 AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries, or with line power through a 5v USB connection. Keep your batteries installed, even when using line power, to ensure proper system performance in the event line power should fail. Please note: NiMH batteries cannot be charged within the SPOT unit using line power, and SPOT Gen3 is not waterproof while being line powered.
TO TURN SPOT ON: Simply locate the Power button on the upper left corner of the device, press and hold the button; lights will illuminate.
TO TURN SPOT OFF: Press and hold the Power button until the Power light blinks rapidly.
TO CONSERVE POWER: Your SPOT unit will automatically turn off after one hour of inactivity unless the unit is being line powered.

I have run the Gen1 for two weeks without shutting it off. Never once. My port likely will not be used and the unit would be on battery power if it was raining anyway. I think for me the charge port is a non-issue.
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:50 PM   #12
One Less Harley
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I still have the Spot 1, and found the AA batteries to last a long time. Used continuous tracking for 5 weeks on one set of batteries. Not sure if latter models will get that kind of usage without a recharge. Don't need all the bells and whistles which just cost more money anyway.

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Old 12-01-2013, 08:04 PM   #13
acejones
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OP,
Why did you list your blood type ? When you show up in an ER, you are going to be typed and cross-,matched anyway. They are not going to trust info on your Spot.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:13 PM   #14
_cy_
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AAA batteries are a real negative .. they tend to leak and don't contain much wattage.
AA enloops are da bomb...with li-on option are better yet. Garmin Montana uses an excellent battery form factor
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:40 PM   #15
ZEmann
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I just bought the spot 3 and did enhanced tracking it was $215 for the service including the bs tax

still fiddling with it but the message sent with the link to the map and location is very cool if I brake down and send a message for My son to come help He can open the link with his phone


try to find a discount code for the service I know there out there I just didn't spend the time to find an active one

I don't understand why they wont sell the real durable blue and white unit to the general public and reserve it's distribution ?

I have had more AA batteries chit themselves than AAA not to mention the ultimate lithium AA that lasted a few hours LOL scam
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