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SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

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SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby MoapaPk » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:46 am

I have been a SPOT (satellite messenger) user for 5 years. For me, the service has gotten incredibly unreliable lately.

Today I sent 10 messages that were confirmed as sent. TWO got through.

Has anyone else seen a similar deterioration?

I've inquired on their facebook troubleshooting page; any message with the least negative content is immediately deleted. I've tried to contact them through the findmespot.com setrup, and the messages seem to be immediately deleted, complaining that I didn't supply enough information (even when every field was filled).

I've heard that globalstar is going out of business.

Any insights?
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby sharperblue » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:17 am

oh that sucks! testing mine in 3..2..1..
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby sharperblue » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:30 am

sharperblue wrote:oh that sucks! testing mine in 3..2..1..


hmmm...cannot even get a satellite uplink from downtown SF right now....
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby SeanReedy » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:08 am

I sent several OK messages several different days last week without any problems. I just tested mine again now and it worked fine. Good luck.

Edit: I'm using a first generation purchased 4-5 years ago.
Last edited by SeanReedy on Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby Teresa Gergen » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:31 pm

I am on my 3rd Spot II Messenger. They work well for 10-14 months (with significant weekly to daily use), and then fail just like this. The first time around my warranty had just expired, and customer service would not help, other than to point me to a website where the units were currently selling at a good discount. The second time around I made sure to contact customer service before the warranty was up, and they were quite helpful in sending me a replacement unit free. (Yes, I did try changing the batteries first.)

My Spot unit (and the excellent, competent team I was with) saved my life in 2010 when a boulder fell and shattered my leg deep in the Winds. I'd just gotten my first one a couple months before the accident. I feel some amount of loyalty, but keep thinking the significantly higher cost of an InReach might be worth it next time around.
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby peninsula » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:40 pm

Teresa Gergen wrote: I feel some amount of loyalty, but keep thinking the significantly higher cost of an InReach might be worth it next time around.


You paid for the service, they owe you their loyalty and not the other way around. I was on my second SPOT device when I switched to InReach and it is definitely worth the extra expense IMO. The option for two-way texting was the main incentive, but their "Seasonal" plan is a better plan and more for your money than anything SPOT offers (although SPOT may have offered something new in the last year since I had anything to do with it). The mapping software that comes with Delorme is superior, too. As goes overall cost, I think it is fair to say you will get what you pay for with either service, and when it comes to surviving a backcountry accident, I'm not cutting any corners. That said, for all the years I had used a SPOT device, I never had any problems with messages getting through as others have reported. Best of luck!
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby jfrishmanIII » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:16 pm

I got my SPOT for Christmas, and it's worked perfectly so far, including on a Grand Canyon backpack two weeks ago. But I must say, the more research I did on consumer beacons, the less confidence I felt in the whole industry, particularly on the customer service/admin side. The registration process and options undermined my confidence even further. I wish some large organization (NOLS/WMI comes to mind) would do some large scale testing and investigation of these devices and their support networks. I ultimately chose the SPOT because it was the smallest hardware investment in a field that (I hope) will change and improve rapidly over the next decade. But for now, I'm regarding it as just a fun gadget that might, if I'm lucky, offer me an extra chance at survival.
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby mattyj » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:52 pm

jfrishmanIII wrote:But for now, I'm regarding it as just a fun gadget that might, if I'm lucky, offer me an extra chance at survival.


Dead on. I don't understand how SPOT has done such effective job displacing traditional PLBs, but they're based on totally different technologies. If you primarily care about getting help in an emergency, ditch the SPOT and InReach for a dedicated PLB. These things are built like tanks, have a battery that lasts 5 years, require no annual subscription and are far, far more likely to actually reach a satellite when it counts.

If you primarily want the check in and tracking features, then at least buy your SPOT at REI so you can return the piece of junk for a new one when it goes bad, which by all accounts a good percentage of them do within a year or two. Globalstar's quality control and product support have been a mess for years, and they clearly have no intention of fixing it.
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby sharperblue » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:38 pm

worked fine this am - finally...last night is actually one of the very few times it failed on me. I really appreciate the stories of poor customer treatment though - my renewal is coming up, and i'd be happy to send them a message of my own
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby MoapaPk » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:45 am

That's what I get for posting after two glasses of wine.

Today I sent 20 messages, and 20 went through. SPOT didn't delete my complaints. Still, I like emergency services to work all the time.
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby Burchey » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:26 pm

Chief, what was the response time when you sent out the distress signal?

My brother/stepdad chipped in and bought me this - we'd read that connectivity on the SPOTs was sometimes not the best.

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Emergency-Electronics-Reviews/ACR-ResQlink-406-Personal-Locator-Beacon

You can't check in really, but it's supposedly nails when you're in trouble.
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Re: SPOT service rapidly deteriorating

Postby winmag4582001 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:58 pm

This time of year my spot isnt the most accurate and missed a "OK" signal last week. Mostly due to the possition of the satelites during the winter. So far, knock on wood, I've had zero problems in the summer.
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