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Old 08-04-2012, 16:27   #1
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Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

Hello All,

Tell me about Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect. Do they work? I've read many negative reviews about them, and many good reviews. I have an iphone so I would like the Spot Connect but it seems the blu tooth connection is iffy. What are your opinions on all units?

Thanks,
John B.
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Old 08-04-2012, 18:41   #2
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

Many of my clients use Spot, Yellow Brick, and some other tracking devices. We never had any issues with any of the solutions.

Google as there are now alternatives for Spot Connect too. Have a look at de Lorme inReach, you might like one. Then there are other similar toys around too.

b.
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Old 08-04-2012, 18:48   #3
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

FWIW,

Just used a SPOT II on a delivery I made from Clearwater FL to Cartagena Columbia. Coverage was good, and only experienced an outtage of 7 hours in the 2 weeks of the trip.

Of course it was not 2 way comms, but for the price it was worth it for the folks back home (and the owner).

I am looking at a Magellan GSC 100 communicator now, would be nice to have 2 way comms without paying for a sat phone.
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Old 08-04-2012, 18:54   #4
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

Well, personally I am 'sold' on them.

Last year I took a spot1 with me on a motorcycle/camping trip way WAY out in the boonies.

I was on a narrow dirt road on a STEEP mountain hit a rock weird and the bike went off the side, and I could not get it back up no matter what I tried. It was just too steep and soft dirt to get a footing. I set off the non-emergency "help" feature and then camped for the night.

A friend got the message, went to a forum of other motorcyclists and four hours later two complete strangers showed up in a jeep to help me get the bike back on the road. (The Sheriff also showed up about an hour later, on the wrong side of the mountain)

So there's a few things I learned.
1) it's no excuse to not be prepared. I had food and camping gear, etc.
2) it's nice being able to say "I need assistance" rather than "EMERGENCY!!!!" In fact I had formulated a plan to extract the bike myself: I was going to take it apart and reassemble it on the road. I was also uninjured and could have walked out. So I really didn't "need" help but it was sure nice to have the option.
3) you can get complete service with tracking for like $149 and then for another $12 you can get worldwide medivac, so I choose to look at it as: $160 for world-wide careflight insurance. That's a pretty good deal I think.

And lastly, I am still going to get a PLB.
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Old 08-04-2012, 19:15   #5
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

We love our spot. We have used it for a couple of years now. The best part is that our family and friends can track our trips. We do not use it for safety. That is for the vhf and epirp.

Ken
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Old 08-04-2012, 19:16   #6
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

yup works well.

I like the spot-1 over the 2, longer battery life, floats

here are our spot adventures
SPOT Adventures by phantomracer - page 1 - order: trip date | SpotAdventures

good price. good service. hope i never need to use their emergency service!
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:47   #7
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

I've had a SPOT for several years now. Yes, they work. I have the "original" version and I will say that it needs a fairly clear view of the sky, and a bit of time, to lock onto the satellites. I understand the newer ones are better in that regard.

In any case, it does a good job of giving the folks back home a "warm and fuzzy feeling" that everything is OK when they get those messages regularly. That's the big advantage of the SPOT. If I didn't have any desire for the periodic "I'm OK" message, and only wanted something for distress signalling in an emergency, I'd stick with an EPIRB and/or PLB. In fact, I do not consider the SPOT a substitute for these things, but merely a complementary device in addition to them.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:07   #8
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

I have had Spot I, used it from FL to Bermuda and back. Simple to use and worked great. I then got Spot Connect, a much smaller unit. Sometimes it does not connect with my Touch and I then switch to an Ipad. I have never not been able to connect, but it is frustrating. If you have another method of getting a message out SSB, sat phone, etc. I would not recommend the Connect, get the normal Spot. One major shortcoming of the Connect is not having a track button on the unit. You must link to a device in order to turn tracking on. Once on the link can be shut down.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:18   #9
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
.............wanted something for distress signalling in an emergency, I'd stick with an EPIRB and/or PLB. In fact, I do not consider the SPOT a substitute for these things, but merely a complementary device in addition to them.
X2

I like being able to keep a record of our trips using the tracking feature. I would not 100% rely on it as the sole emergency distress feature on your boat.

I lost my first spot-1 - it decided to commmit suicide by falling off the boat while heeled. The moment it hit the water, although floating, never transmitted another track point. I could see it floating, but was not able to recover it due to very bad sea conditions. I just saw it floating away. Fired up the laptop to try and follow it..but never transmitted again. Not sure why.

At least the spot-1 floats (a lot it did me), spot-2 doesn't

So I wouldn't, from my experience, soley rely on it for emergency. It probably WOULD work well, but there are other more appropriate choices for that. Yes, the spot would be a good augment to a proper epirb, etc.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:22   #10
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soiree View Post
I have had Spot I, used it from FL to Bermuda and back. Simple to use and worked great. I then got Spot Connect, a much smaller unit. Sometimes it does not connect with my Touch and I then switch to an Ipad. I have never not been able to connect, but it is frustrating. If you have another method of getting a message out SSB, sat phone, etc. I would not recommend the Connect, get the normal Spot. One major shortcoming of the Connect is not having a track button on the unit. You must link to a device in order to turn tracking on. Once on the link can be shut down.

Hope this helps.
I like the idea of the connect in theory, but as you point out, the 2 piece system, relying on bluetooth, and lack of track button, etc, make a poor emergency device,

I get gas pains trying to bluetooth my phone to my car.. dont want to deal with that with the connect!!
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Old 13-04-2012, 14:25   #11
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

An EPIRB floats, automatically activates when wet, has a strobe to help the rescue assets locate you at night, has almost instant notification to the nearest command center world wide, and more than anything, the U.S. Coast Guard has recently started installing new direction finders that have the ability to home in on the 406 MHz 1/2 second burst that is over 100 times stronger than the 121.5 transmission. When you are in the water, or really need help, having a helo or fixed wing aircraft home directly in on you is very important. I also love the SPOT because it has great additional features that keep people at home happy, reducing Coast Guard searches for overdue vessels.. If you want to know more about this new direction finder with 406 MHz DF capability, google Greg Johnson EPIRB. I wish all the cruisers could have EPIRBs and a SPOT.
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Old 13-04-2012, 16:09   #12
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

Quote:
Originally Posted by RUSTYNAIL View Post
An EPIRB floats, automatically activates when wet, has a strobe to help the rescue assets locate you at night, has almost instant notification to the nearest command center world wide, and more than anything, the U.S. Coast Guard has recently started installing new direction finders that have the ability to home in on the 406 MHz 1/2 second burst that is over 100 times stronger than the 121.5 transmission. When you are in the water, or really need help, having a helo or fixed wing aircraft home directly in on you is very important. I also love the SPOT because it has great additional features that keep people at home happy, reducing Coast Guard searches for overdue vessels.. If you want to know more about this new direction finder with 406 MHz DF capability, google Greg Johnson EPIRB. I wish all the cruisers could have EPIRBs and a SPOT.
I would doublecheck the 'activate when wet' - check your EPIRB. some activate only when under water a few feet (ie sinking, and not wet) NOAA - Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking - Emergency Beacons This was an issue with the Rambler sinking
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Old 13-04-2012, 16:42   #13
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

I have a spot for sale $30 its yours works perfect!
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Old 13-04-2012, 16:55   #14
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I just realized my ditch bag does not have reading glasses in it.my epirb has 2 buttons that need to be pushed. I should remember which 2. The buttons have very small writing next to them.those are the ones I push. I hold them for 3 seconds or maybe 5. Fortunately there is a card attached to the thing that explains how to do this. Im putting reading glasses in my ditch bag
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Old 13-04-2012, 18:23   #15
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Re: Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

Although I also carry an Iridium satphone, I carry a SPOT on the two-week sea kayak expeditions I lead in Baja. Whenever I send an okay signal, I've got the system programmed to send an email back to the university and to Wonderblond, letting them know where we are and that we're okay. Most of my students send the link for my website to their parents/boyfriends/parole officers so that they can track our progress should they care to. It makes a nice keepsake for the students once we get back home, because they can see on Google Earth exactly what island, and even what beach we camped on every night.

It's the TA's job, before she even thinks about setting up her tent, to remind me to send the okay signal once we're on the beach.
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