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Old 23-07-2012, 09:13   #1
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Best Method for Tracking a Passage; St Martin to Australia

Looking at the best options to track the progress of a yacht during this passage to keep family & friends informed.

Have been looking at the Spot Messenger which sounds good and the cost is reasonable but from what I've read it may not have full coverage for the whole trip.

Would be interested to hear from anyone who has used one during a trip across the Pacific & I'd be interested to see what information it produced during your track on the online map.

Any other options maybe Yellow Brick? The features of Spot sound good like the I'm OK SMS to up to 10 cellphone numbers as long as coverage is reliable.
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Old 23-07-2012, 09:28   #2
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

friend of mine in so pacific said there is a lack of service somewhere past hawaii---dont know for certain exactly where this gap is. he is in so pacific now and isnt using his anymore.
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Old 23-07-2012, 10:15   #3
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

I think SPOT runs on the globalstar system - which has lousy coverage (huge gaps).

There is another network that runs on the iridium system. I believe there are different ways to access it. One of the coolest is the new Iridium Sat phone the Extreme (9575?) which has a built in tracker. I think delorme or one of the other trackers may also offer an iridium based option.

What are you planing to use for long range coms? There is also shiptrak.org - I think you update your position through HF transmissions (check the website).

Good question. Keep us posted.
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Old 23-07-2012, 10:34   #4
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

See the online examples on this post (SPOT) pretty nice!
Route planning for Key West - Andros - Exumas
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Old 23-07-2012, 10:38   #5
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No South Pacific / Trans Pacific Coverage

Here's a Spot Coverage map. The edges don't generally get covered (and some of the covered doesn't get covered either - for instance BVI trips often have large gaps).

Google Image Result for http://www.gpscity.com/g/gps/s/s/spot_coveragemap.jpg
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Old 23-07-2012, 10:47   #6
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mambo View Post
I think SPOT runs on the globalstar system which has lousy coverage (huge gaps).
from Coverage Map




Yep, specifically the Pacific and the Indian Ocean

Quote:
....
What are you planing to use for long range coms? There is also shiptrak.org - I think you update your position through HF transmissions (check the website).

Good question. Keep us posted.
shiptrack gets the positions from the winlink database:
http://www.winlink.org/userPositions

You would have to be a HAM, plus have the equipment to update your position via an email (can be done with a satellite phone + modem or a SSB transceiver plus modem)

Dirk
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Old 23-07-2012, 17:50   #7
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

Ozbullwinkle..

I would definitely bring the SPOT Messenger along as another way to transmit your position to family and friends. Low price and usage giving added security.

A world passage across the oceans depends one many separate elements to establish your ītriangle of errorī,and the more help,the smaller the triangle.

Although Globalstar does not show coverage across the Indian Ocean,a sailor I knew,told me he had daily cover most of the way,although not every 15 minutes,sometimes once per day. Still,thatīs better than no advice!

If you also connect up your SPOT to SpotWalla (free) your SPOT transmitted positions will be displayed on the SpotWalla map screen over the internet. You can also make it private if you wish.

See some previous trips made by SPOT owners: MENU-1

Fair Winds!!

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Old 23-07-2012, 19:09   #8
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mambo View Post
I think SPOT runs on the globalstar system - which has lousy coverage (huge gaps).....

Ditto. Globalstar sux. Used to have one of their phones. Have a SPOT now and it is a fine little toy when you have coverage, but don't mistake it for a real safety device like an EPIRB or expect global coverage.
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Old 23-07-2012, 19:37   #9
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

Thereis another option: Spidertracks. It was originally designed for the aviation industry, but we use it on our boat which we are currently sailing to NZ, and have just used it on an Atlantic crossing. It never went down, our family and friends just had to go to a webpage to view the track and current position. They have followed us all the way from England to the Caribbean so far. You have to buy the box, and it just plugs in via a 12V socket, or you could hardwire it if you felt so inclined. We don't, so we can unplug it when in port. Costs are the box itself, and then you pay for each "pip" or transmitted position. This is user-specified, when we are coastal sailing, or as we are now island hopping in the Grenadines, we set it to a pip every 1-2 hours, when we were crossing the Atlantic we set it to every 12 hours, the choice is yours. It has some great features:

It uses the Iridium network so has true global coverage

Can be used in emergency circumstances if configured correctly - i.e. you can send an alarm a bit like an EPIRB, the advantage is it uses different satellites to an EPIRB and depending on location may well be picked up sooner than an EPIRB transmission. Note it is not an alternative to carrying an EPIRB which we also carry, but it is an addition.

4 preset messages you can send e.g. "Becalmed, but all good" or "Nearly there" or "Make mine a tea" or whatever you like - but these do have to be preset (although I believe they are working on a model that you can essentially text with).

Each "pip", or spot on the attached image shows time, lat & long, speed and direction. Oh, and altitude which freaked out my family when we were crossing Biscay as they thought the waves were horrendous but it's really irrelevant to sailing but crucial for avaition.

Anyway, my family love it, as do I. Just another option.

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Old 23-07-2012, 19:57   #10
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

Yeah the gaps in coverage are a real concern and the huge "hole" in the South Pacific is a big issue & if it is as bad as this then this would cause unneccessary concern for family and friends if there was no transmission for potentially long periods.

The sample link posted by Cheechako looked good but was in a "good coverage" area. An interesting thing I noticed was the individual messages for each position. I suspect that they must have edited this when back on land as you cannot do this while out at sea on the Spot.

I am definitely not considering the Spoit as an alternative to an EPIRB, the boat has one and I have a personal one that I wear on my belt at all times when on a passsage.

In reply to the question about long range communication capabilities, the boat does not have HF but will have a satphone on board but not the model mentioned with the tracker included.

Still would like to hear from anyone who has tried Spot across the Pacific to see how bad the coverage really was.

But, at this stage Yellowbrick seems like it is superior & reliable as it runs on the Iridium network. I really like the long battery life on the Yellowbrick 3 which gives over 2000 transmissions on a single charge which is over 80 days of hourly transmissions. The downside is that they are expensive. I know that they can be hired as well which may be an option to weigh up.

See this link:-

Yellowbrick Tracking - truly global satellite tracking beacons for yacht racing, adventures, treks, expeditions and challenges

So, hoping to hear from anyone who has used either Spot or Yellowbrick or something else on the passage mentioned to track progress.
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Old 23-07-2012, 20:07   #11
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

PS - while we haven't yet used the Spider in the Pacific, we definitely will be during the first quarter next year, and we are assured we will be covered all the way. Not sure when you are planning your passage for, but if it's for after that I will be able to tell you for certain how it worked!
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Old 23-07-2012, 20:16   #12
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

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Originally Posted by vcsmithuk View Post
PS - while we haven't yet used the Spider in the Pacific, we definitely will be during the first quarter next year, and we are assured we will be covered all the way. Not sure when you are planning your passage for, but if it's for after that I will be able to tell you for certain how it worked!
The Spider - I haven't heard of this one. Looked it up on Google is this the one which appears to be designed for pilots? Live flight tracking | Spidertracks
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Old 23-07-2012, 20:26   #13
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

Hi Vicki, I just saw your earlier post about the Spider which I had not noticed which answered my questions. It sounds like it gives the same sort of performance that the Yellowbrick does so I'll investigate further, thanks for the info.
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Old 23-07-2012, 20:28   #14
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

Hi Ozbullwinkle - you have found the right one, it is the live flight tracker, but it works a treat on a boat. Ours is secured under the deckhead inside the cabin. It works independently of anything else but it needs to be connected to the power source (12V). It's not currently marketed as a marine widget, but there's no reason why it can't be. The altitude info is not exactly relevant but the rest is. It was designed by a Kiwi, and the company is based in NZ. We've been using it for the last year without a hitch, and *relatively* cheaply, after you have bought the box of course. If you are interested in it, then I can give you contact details for the guy I know in NZ. We also looked at various options, and this one was the winner for us by a long chalk.
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Old 23-07-2012, 21:48   #15
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Re: SPOT Messenger for passage St Martin to Australia

The InReach is worldwide and can do text messaging with a cell phone.

InReach
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