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What is your opinion about SPOT 1 Personal Trecker???

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Postby BigMitch » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:17 am

I have had SPOT 1 since December 2008.

It has worked well for me in mountain environments, flatland environments, at high altitudes, and in extreme cold (-25F).

I read all of the negative reviews about it before I bought it, including Backpacking Light and the rants on this forum.

Like any product, some consumers want it to work perfectly under all condtions (e.g., inside a deep slot canyon) and want it for free.

IMHO, it is a good product at a decent price.

But, the rebate process was really bad.
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Postby MoapaPk » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:49 pm

thedrifter wrote:DO NOT PURCHASE OR USE THE SPOT. It uses a dying technology and just recently another satelite went out of service. Additionally, this unit has a success rate of about 65% of the time. The means there is a 35% chance it will fail.


I sent 12 messages yesterday. Every single one got through. Place it in a top pocket of the pack, facing up, hit the send button, and you have an extremely good probability of getting the message out. But I have the advantage of using the unit correctly.
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Postby BigMitch » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:20 am

Moapapk:

Maybe we need to be in a deep slot canyon or in a very heavy forest for our SPOTS not to work?

A friend of mine just trekked across Northern Minnesota in a woodland environment and his unit worked just fine, sending out signals every few minutes.

(http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?
glId=0qfez6uF3PEiRgWxfjmGEgOqL6o8Tj2Yg)

I sent a signal from the south side of the stone hut at Camp Muir on Saturday afternoon, 20 February 2010, and it worked just fine. A lot of the sky is blocked off at that exact location. The big stone wall to the east and bulk of Mt. Rainer to the west and north.
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Postby MoapaPk » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:41 am

Yep, like all GPS/sat phones that receive or transmit near microwave frequencies, they don't do well in slot canyons or under very heavy tree cover. They also don't do well when not given enough time to achieve a satellite lock and send a signal.
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Mmm

Postby zeroforhire » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:10 pm

I wonder if the guy who warned people against buying the spot, works for ACR?
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Postby MoapaPk » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:50 pm

I use mine a lot in southern California. On this trek:
http://hwstock.org/sp9/
I sent about 15 messages, and just one did not get through; and that one was when I gave the unit just 5 minutes before I pressed "check" again (and I was descending a steep slope with the unit partly blocked the slope and my head).

If you get indications that a message was not sent -- the wig-wag signal for no GPS lock, etc. --- wait a bit and send again. The best trick is to leave it on in a top pocket of the pack, facing up, no objects on top of it, hit check, and forget about it.

No safety device is perfect. I'd bet that people fail to self-arrest with an ice axe at least 35% of the time (in real falls); that doesn't mean I'll stop carrying an axe.
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Postby mcdbrendan » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:11 am

thedrifter wrote:And a side note... ACR is now has a feature of sending OKAY messages. I plan to subscribe to this service. It should be interesting!

Joel


Hey Joel,

Just wondering if you ever subscribed to 406link. I'm in the market for a PLB and am thinking the ACR is the way to go (over the spot), but would like to hear your impressions of the "I'm OK" function.
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Postby jeep1212 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:02 am

http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=25206

"When i got to him he was breathing heavily and both him arms looked broken, both of our spot trackers malfunctioned at a terrible time. I waited 30 minutes by chance that the distress signal did go out, tried to comfort Kevin, and after no response from either Kevin or SaR. I made the hardest decision of my life and had to hike out, leaving my partner behind."

No personal experience, but this makes me think their not worth it...
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:22 am

jeep1212 wrote:http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=25206

"When i got to him he was breathing heavily and both him arms looked broken, both of our spot trackers malfunctioned at a terrible time. I waited 30 minutes by chance that the distress signal did go out, tried to comfort Kevin, and after no response from either Kevin or SaR. I made the hardest decision of my life and had to hike out, leaving my partner behind."

No personal experience, but this makes me think their not worth it...


From reading the rest of the thread, the guy seemed a little unclear on how to use the SPOT. He doesn't say if it was a SPOT 1 or 2. It seems like a lot of things "failed" that day, including the helicopter.
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Postby dakotaconcrete » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:56 am

I bought SPOT 1 shortly after its release and I'm yet to regret it. I've used it from the depths of many a canyon to the tippy tops of many a mountain and it performed very well. With that said, it does have its limits, but the benefit outweighs them from my personal experiences.
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Postby ScottyP » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:45 pm

We had one on Denali. It was fun for those back home to follow us, even though it was a bit gimmicky! You can have it if you want it. Although, it is somewhere on the Peters Glacier after falling off the pack after a self-arrest on the ridge! :shock:
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:50 pm

Two very common, counter-productive traits that I've noticed for SPOT users:
1) the keep the unit vertical (spot symbol facing horizontally), contrary to instructions, when sending a signal;
2) they shield the unit with their bodies, waiting to see the transmit signal.
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