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Anyone use the new SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger

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Anyone use the new SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger

Postby Pyroman9 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:56 pm

Hey guys!

So I see the new SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger just came out recently. Does anyone have any experience with this one? I know the personal tracker was the first generation and it was just alright.. so I am curious with this new one.

Let me know if anyone has used it.

Thanks guys
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Postby Dan Shorb » Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:50 pm

I'd like to know if this SPOT tracker can take the place of an avalanche beacon.

Anybody know what up?

Here's a link to one of their pages:

http://www.findmespot.com/en/spotemergency/
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Postby MoapaPk » Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:17 pm

d_shorb wrote:I'd like to know if this SPOT tracker can take the place of an avalanche beacon.

Anybody know what up?

Here's a link to one of their pages:

http://www.findmespot.com/en/spotemergency/


The SPOT transmission is in the L-band -- won't go far through most solids. Avy Beacons have a fairly standard transmission frequency, like 457 kHz .
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Postby nhluhr » Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:29 pm

d_shorb wrote:I'd like to know if this SPOT tracker can take the place of an avalanche beacon.

Anybody know what up?

Here's a link to one of their pages:

http://www.findmespot.com/en/spotemergency/
DEFINITELY NOT. An avalanche beacon provides instantaneous locating and searching ability to the folks who are on-site. By the time the SPOT sent a signal via satellite to SAR, and those SAR folks arrived onsite, you'd be long since asphyxiated. Yes, you could use the SPOT to guide SAR to your location once you have already been extracted from the snow, but as far as actually falling prey to an avalanche, you must have an avy beacon.
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Postby Grampahawk » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:39 pm

We were hanging at the base camp on Pico de Orizaba last January and a climber from another party came down with HAPE so bad he was coughing up blood. His friend used the SPOT to get aid to him once he got down far enough to get a ride. He recovered. So I guess it worked.
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Postby MoapaPk » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:36 pm

Just to make the point clearer:

The SPOT transmission wavelength is such that the signal is greatly attenuated through consolidated snow, especially wet snow. A modern avy beacon transmits at a substantially different wavelength, and has a better chance of geting through solids.
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Postby Wastral » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:15 am

SPOT, works in a very small band. Near the equator, or out in the open where there are no trees. Good luck getting it to find satellites if you have tree cover over you. It sometimes works

SPOT DOES NOT work on cliffs with northern exposure, in deep valleys, or in a crevasse and weights in at a lb and does almost nothing for you. It is slightly cheeper than buying/renting a sat phone and they both weigh about the same. The difference is that the sat phone will actually do something for you.

In short, SPOT works when you are NOT in an emergency as it takes forever for it to synch to satellites assuming it can even see them. Just about anything on a northern steep exposure above the 45 lattitude will be next to impossible for SPOT to find sufficient satellites.

Sorry to disabuse you. I bought one and was horribly dissapointed. Yes, we took it to canada with us anyways and managed to get it to work with southern exposure and NO TREES in the way.

Brian

MoapaPk wrote:Just to make the point clearer:

The SPOT transmission wavelength is such that the signal is greatly attenuated through consolidated snow, especially wet snow. A modern avy beacon transmits at a substantially different wavelength, and has a better chance of geting through solids.
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Postby MoapaPk » Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:39 am

Wastral wrote: and weights in at a lb and does almost nothing for you.


The old model weighs 7.3 ounces with batteries (just weighed it on a postal scale); the new unit is 4-5 ounces.

I'd be curious to hear opinions from other people about SPOT use at higher latitudes. I've used mine with great success up to ~40 degrees N. I seem to recall that one person had used a SPOT on the Wonderland Trail, and every message got through.
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Postby Wastral » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:22 am

Yup, you are right about the weight. Guess I was so disgusted with its performance up near Waddington that I basically considered it junk and increased its weight in my mind.

If you are out on the open glaciers, meadows then it works just fine. Under trees? Ugg. It would eventually go through, sometimes. When we were on the northern side of steep mountains/cliffs it would not even budge off its blinking searching for satellites LED's mode.

Anything with southern exposure is fine as well. If you need help and are on a steep northern slope and you have an emergency just be aware that you Must take the SPOT up to a ridge to get connected to the satellites. Then of course the "rescuers" look for you on the ridge instead of where you actually are.................... OOPS.

Why if I take anything again it will be a Satellite PHONE. More expensive? Yes, but you can tell someone where you are if you need assistance if you have to go climb to a ridgetop to get a connection.

Don't know about northern slopes below 40 degrees N.

Brian
MoapaPk wrote:
Wastral wrote: and weights in at a lb and does almost nothing for you.


The old model weighs 7.3 ounces with batteries (just weighed it on a postal scale); the new unit is 4-5 ounces.

I'd be curious to hear opinions from other people about SPOT use at higher latitudes. I've used mine with great success up to ~40 degrees N. I seem to recall that one person had used a SPOT on the Wonderland Trail, and every message got through.
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:48 am

Wastral wrote:
Anything with southern exposure is fine as well. If you need help and are on a steep northern slope and you have an emergency just be aware that you Must take the SPOT up to a ridge to get connected to the satellites. Then of course the "rescuers" look for you on the ridge instead of where you actually are.................... OOPS.


I've gotten many (read: all) signals through with northern exposures. I still don't know what problems you were seeing. It's not that I don't believe you; I just know that your experiences are not representative.
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Postby Wastral » Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:35 pm

Note: I said STEEP/cliffy northern exposure in my original post. Not just northern exposure. Just because you are on a north slope does not mean northern exposure.

Say you are climbing a north face up north around 50 degrees north like my bro and I were doing. We were at a belay and figured what the heck may as well send an all is well signal. It never found the satellites. Thus, if you are on a steep northern wall. Good luck on getting an emergency signal out. We discussed this while on route and what we would have to do if we got injured. Tie the injured climber off go to a ridge and "send the calvergy button on SPOT" Although honestly, at that far from civilization, its self rescue or nothing really only took it cuz our parents bought it and said here, use it. I personally would not have bought it but rather a satellite phone.

Everywhere else it worked at that latitude. Just not on the north face. Its not like we were in a cave hollow either.

Brian
MoapaPk wrote:
Wastral wrote:
Anything with southern exposure is fine as well. If you need help and are on a steep northern slope and you have an emergency just be aware that you Must take the SPOT up to a ridge to get connected to the satellites. Then of course the "rescuers" look for you on the ridge instead of where you actually are.................... OOPS.


I've gotten many (read: all) signals through with northern exposures. I still don't know what problems you were seeing. It's not that I don't believe you; I just know that your experiences are not representative.
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:12 pm

Wastral wrote:Note: I said STEEP/cliffy northern exposure in my original post. Not just northern exposure. Just because you are on a north slope does not mean northern exposure.


This is one of the places I got a signal through:

http://hwstock.org/monument/monu40.jpg
Image

This is the north side of Monument Peak in Red Rock, NV. The cliffs continue another 400' vertical above. I did have to wait 7 minutes for the signal to go through.

(This is an older picture; the day I used SPOT here was an exploratory for a new route, and I never posted the pics on the web.)
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Postby Wastral » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:54 am

Difference between Nevada and the Waddington range in British Columbia would be my guess.

Nevada is at 25 degrees North? verses 50+ for Waddington?

Wastral
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MoapaPk wrote:
Wastral wrote:Note: I said STEEP/cliffy northern exposure in my original post. Not just northern exposure. Just because you are on a north slope does not mean northern exposure.


This is one of the places I got a signal through:

http://hwstock.org/monument/monu40.jpg
Image

This is the north side of Monument Peak in Red Rock, NV. The cliffs continue another 400' vertical above. I did have to wait 7 minutes for the signal to go through.

(This is an older picture; the day I used SPOT here was an exploratory for a new route, and I never posted the pics on the web.)
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Postby MoapaPk » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:03 am

Wastral wrote:Difference between Nevada and the Waddington range in British Columbia would be my guess.

Nevada is at 25 degrees North? verses 50+ for Waddington?


The very southern part of NV is 36 degrees north.
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Postby peakhugger » Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:06 am

MoapaPk and Wastral:

Are y'all referring to your experience with the new SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger? It's only been out a few weeks or so....
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