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Old 05-05-2014, 08:23   #1
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Spot! and Other Friends.

I am occasionally delighted with a new product (to me) that reaches the market. Recently, I followed Boatman61 on his delivery from USA to Spain via Spot.

Given that Boatie is yer typical Able Seaman, the last thing he wants to do is waste valuable drinking time in contacting a million people telling them he is fine at stops along the way. Using the spot system when on board, it kept everyone in touch with accurate position and time via a google type map. I see messages can be programed in which can be displayed as well.

Is this the best system available for price and ease of use or does anyone else have a preference over this?
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:45   #2
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pirate Re: Spot! and other friends.

Yellow Brick is a better system.. though more expensive.. however given the purchase price of Spot.. and the unexpected 'Activation Fee' another 1/3rd of what I paid would have bought me a system which I could use for e-mails to people as well..
Not just a pre-programed message service.. but.. I will continue to use it for the rest of the 'year' as it keeps owners updated as to my progress with their boat.. also the SOS/Pan Pan feature is an asset and reassurance to crew.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:16   #3
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Re: Spot! and other friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Yellow Brick is a better system.. though more expensive.. however given the purchase price of Spot.. and the unexpected 'Activation Fee' another 1/3rd of what I paid would have bought me a system which I could use for e-mails to people as well..
Not just a pre-programed message service.. but.. I will continue to use it for the rest of the 'year' as it keeps owners updated as to my progress with their boat.. also the SOS/Pan Pan feature is an asset and reassurance to crew.
Thanks Phil
Looking now at yellow Brick.......
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:41   #4
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Re: Spot! and other friends.

Yellow Brick

Unit costs 450 Sterling and up
Monthly line rental charge 8 Sterling

Bundle per Credit Bundle Price
  • 50 Credits 0.12 6.00
  • 100 Credits 0.11 11.00
  • 200 Credits 0.10 20.00
  • 500 Credits 0.09 45.00
  • 1000 Credits 0.08 80.00
  • 2000 Credits 0.07 150.00
  • 5000 Credits 0.06 300.00

One credit per position plus one credit per message. Ouch! Wonder if you can select a position send to like every 6 hours?
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:59   #5
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Re: Spot! and Other Friends.

Take a look also at Delorme In Reach.


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Old 05-05-2014, 10:45   #6
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Re: Spot! and Other Friends.

we've been using spot for four years. works great in our area because of good globalstar satellite coverage. cost $100 to buy and $100 per year for unlimited service.

we bought it after our #1 daughter called the coast guard when she hadn't heard from us for two days. she was born and raised in the 'first' world and didn't know that cell phone service wasn't available in the gulf stream or large parts of the bahamas.

great for keeping worried family and friends informed that you're still alive and where you are. we usually send one or two messages a day. but you can't easily change the messages. we'll keep using it until something incredibly better/cheaper comes along...
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:04   #7
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Re: Spot! and Other Friends.

Can you download gribs and receive emails with yellow brick?


It only says..
Quote:
Other Data

Via Bluetooth or USB the Yellowbrick 3 can also accept and send custom data back from a number of devices.
If you have a specific requirement for getting remote data back, get in touch.
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Old 30-12-2015, 19:51   #8
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Re: Spot! and Other Friends.

Just made a Gulf of Mexico crossing from Port St Joe to Ft Myers, Florida.

The spot did a great job showing my track the whole way with very few gaps.

It sent all of my test messages before the voyage. It sent all of my messages after I was within cell range.

It sent NONE of my OK/check in messages while I was far offshore. Not one.

If it didn't send my OK messages, there is no reason to believe it would have sent an SOS message. It is cool for people to track you for fun, but as safety equipment, it is useless.

I sent OK messages every few hours, assuming that those ashore knew I was safe in heavy weather. They received no messages, and worried that the boat was sailing on without me aboard to send messages. It actually made the situation worse rather than better.

Don't waste your money unless it's just for fun, as this device is unreliable.





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Old 30-12-2015, 21:16   #9
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Re: Spot! and Other Friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
Take a look also at Delorme In Reach.
Yeah, I'm going with this. It allows tracking as well as messaging/emails, and now has a flexible monthly payment plan so if you're not planning to use it much, you can downgrade. It certainly is more expensive to buy and maintain the service, but after the Aegean tragedy where they ran into Coronado Island at night, I would not depend on SPOT for SOS. Unless they've changed the system, there's just too high a failure rate on SPOT transmissions for it to be used for more than than fun tracking purposes. I think you can also use the DeLorme for speech communications, but don't know anything about this feature if one is way off shore. Whether it can be used for GRIB files would also be good to know...
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Old 30-12-2015, 21:39   #10
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Re: Spot! and Other Friends.

I recently used the InReach when sailing across the Tasman Sea.
1. It worked flawlessly for tracking as displayed on the share.delorme site
2. It's SMS text function also worked flawlessly for both incoming and outgoing messages.
3. I have no working experience with the SOS function, but given the above, I would expect it to operate appropriately.
4. It has no voice function
5. It does not receive data beyond SMS so don't expect it to receive GRIB files
6. It did everything it was advertised to do including delivery of it's preset messages. Take note that these will not work until the device has been synchronized post any change to the stored data so do this before departure.

If you are looking for GRIB files, you'll need a separate satellite service like offered with the Iridium Go and Predict Wind.

Personally, the SOS function is a "secondary". I'd be seeing the EPIRB as the primary, a satellite phone as the secondary and the InReach SOS as a second backup.
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