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Old 10-10-2008, 12:06   #16
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Don--

The LED above the on/off button is always blinking when the unit is powered up. The LED's above the message buttons are only on and blinking when a message is cued up for transmittal. I'm sure the idea of having the message light illuminated for 5 seconds (and then going out) was concieved of when the unit designers thought it would only take a no more than a minute or two before and message was up-loaded and that a user would likely be holding the unit waiting for confirmation that the message had been sent. In real life it takes too long to get a message out for that. Once the lights above the message buttons are out, however, supposedly the message has been sent.

s/v HyLyte
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Old 13-10-2008, 13:10   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte
Once the lights above the message buttons are out, however, supposedly the message has been sent.
No, I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. I have one of these, I have used it, I have seen exactly how it works. It does not work this way.

The light blinks and the unit attempts to send the message for a set period of time. If it makes contact with a satellite and sends the message then the light is steady for five seconds. After that it goes back to blinking and will continue to attempt to send the message again. If it is able to then it will send the message several times during the amount of time that it allots for sending. Each time it sends the message it goes back to blinking afterwards. The light does NOT go out until after the allotted has expired, and then the light ALWAYS goes out regardless of whether or not it ever made contact with a satellite.

The only way that you have to know if it has actually made contact with the satellite and sent the signal is to continuously watch the light for that five seconds when the light is steady. Other than that there is NO positive feedback that tells you that the message has been sent.

Personally, I consider this a serious design flaw! If it worked the way that you have described that would be much better. But it absolutely does not!
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Old 13-10-2008, 13:58   #18
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I was looking at it before our trip but the coverae area isnt large enough yet:

http://findmespot.com/ExploreSPOT/Coverage.aspx


But I think its an excellent idea!! IN 5 years all this stuff will be on board!


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Old 17-11-2008, 16:11   #19
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Reserection

For those of you that may not have have felt particularly well served by the discourse in this thread heretofore, I am reserecting it as our old pal "Hud", who also serves as a moderator on this site from time-to-time, has been on passage from the USVI to the Tampa Bay area since last Tuesday and has been using our SPOT, in Tracking mode, to keep friends and family aware of his progress (and, frankly as a test of the device after its aledgedly poor performance during my daughter's passage from St. Martin to Trinadad last summer).

Since Hud's departure, our little SPOT has been pumping out tracking notices at roughly 10 minute intervals--now nearly 500 of them--and we have been following him and his crew, mile-by-mile, for 6 daze. Although his original float plan called for a passage up the Old Bahama Channel and thence around Cay Sal Bank to Marathon, upon reaching the northeast side of DR, he made an abrupt turn northwesterly to pass east of the Turks and Caico's, obviously choosing to avoid taking a beating by the cold front pushing through or having to deal with a relatively wide reach across the Gulf Stream in a strong northerly. While we have not spoken with him, I suspect he will reach the Ft. Lauderdale side of the Stream by mid-day tomorrow or so and turn south in Hawk Channel. Somewhat round about but much safer and a more comfortable route. I don't believe he would mind if I post his (or, actually our) web-page link so those that are interested can follow his progress:

SPOT Shared Page

It seems that, contrary to my original understanding, the SPOT has worked very well.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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Old 19-11-2008, 03:24   #20
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Is Hud still intending to go to Bradenton?

He seems to be staying outside (not Hawk Chanel) as he recovers his southing.

Great tracking !!!
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Old 19-11-2008, 05:38   #21
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Edited my last post as I hadn't read all the way to the bottom. (Shame on me)

I didn't know about the shared SPOT pages. I'll have to set one up.
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Old 19-11-2008, 06:19   #22
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Gordo--

For whatever reason, Hud chose to stay outside the Reef. I suspect that may have to do with lack of familiarity but also because they are, unfortunately, sailing to a schedule and needed to travel through the night and that can be problemsome in Hawk Channel. I suspect that with the northerlys, once they "turned the corner" at Key Largo, the key's and the reef may have offered some protection; and, fwiw, the west wall of the Stream seems to be 9-10 miles off-shore for the moment so they shouldn't have had too much adverse current. As I type they are approaching the Bridge at Moser Channel and I hope they do not have too much adverse wind for crossing Florida Bay. The sun will be behind them which will be an advantage and, once they turn borthwest, they'll be on a reach, so they should be okay for the run to deep water.

As for the SPOT, it has been working very well all the way from Nevis. Some friends of ours, with a sister ship to ours, raced to Isla Mujeres during the Regata del Sol al Sol last April. For that they rented a "transponder" for tracking. In a word it didn't work very well. The SPOT would have done the job easily and they could have purchased one for the cost of their rental.

While I continue to believe that relying on the SPOT as an alternative to a GPIRB would be unwise in the extreme, for the purposes of "check in" and "where are you now", it works very well where there is coverage.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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Old 19-11-2008, 15:09   #23
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Looks like HUD is making a good run today. I wonder how rough it is out there.
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Old 19-11-2008, 16:09   #24
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Wind: N to NE 13 Knts, Gusting to 16; Seas 0; Period 0; Air Temp 62*F (i.e. good wind and flat as a pancake). I'm sure the boys are having drinks before dinner at this point with the prospect of arriving by sunset tomorrow assuming the wind holds. It will be very chilly on the Gulf tonight (prospect of low 40's before sunrise). Good Hot Chocolate'n Biscuits weather.

s/v HyLyte
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Old 21-11-2008, 09:16   #25
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Arrived

Hud and the crew of Belle of Virginia made their arrival at the Twin Dolphins Marina in down-town Bradenton, Fla, last night at roughly 22:30. With the SPOT in tracking mode we were able to follow their progress from the Tampa Southwest Channel Sea Buoy into the Bay and thence threading through the shoals into the mouth of the Manatee River in near real time—every 10 minutes or so—from our boat as our YC has a wireless internet service. As they passed the Club I got into the car and drove down to meet them as getting into TD for the 1st time, at night and with all the background lighting, can be problem-some; but, with a little coaching, they did quite well. Once secured, the boys split a bottle of Champaign we had brought along for their arrival and a clutch of cigars they had saved for the occasion. I’m sure Hud will eventually post notes about his trip once he’s got Belle cleaned up and in good order, but all-in-all, the boys were in good spirits and seemed to have had a good trip.

As for the SPOT, if you have viewed our Shared Page, posted earlier, you can see that it certainly does the job of allowing friends and family to keep track of ones progress. Again, I don’t think it’s a substitute for an EPIRB but it does seem to have a lot of merit; and, in an emergency situation, could provide good tracking data to SAR personnel as an adjunct to the EPIRB. On the recently abandoned Panache, for example, the tracking function would have allowed the owners/searchers to track the yacht’s position, set and drift, at least for the first 24 hours, increasing the odds that the yacht might be recovered.

FWIW…

s/v HyLyte
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