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Old 12-01-2011, 21:06   #1
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Spot 2 and Service Opinions

Hey there,

I have been looking at the Spot 2 device online - Not as an EPIRB replacement- rather to use as a family pacifier. The ability to send a short message with GPS fix to family to make them feel safe sounds really good.

I have seen the thread related to the Recall early last year but can't find anything after that. Does anyone use one and what is your opinion of the device and probably more importantly, the service from the website? I don't expect or need it to be deadly accurate as I plan to have a GPS EPIRB for the boat and a Perosnal GPS EPRIB as well.

Thank you,
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Old 12-01-2011, 21:22   #2
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works great. at least along the florida east coast and the bahamas. we used it last year to let family and friends know we're alive and well. will use it again this year.
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Old 13-01-2011, 00:33   #3
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For a review of the Spot 2 take a look here: http://www.gpscentral.ca/pdf/SPOT%20...ng%20Light.pdf
I'm also considering to get one of these devices for my Atlantic crossing in May - July to keep my family at home informed about my whereabouts.

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Old 13-01-2011, 01:23   #4
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I have been using SPOT for the past 2 years the SPOT 2 is just a smaller version of the original SPOT, same service for both. I love my SPOT and use it all the time, up till now I have been using it whilst 4 wheeling in remote regions of Australia. I will be using it when I bring my cruiser down from the Gold Coast to Port Stephens in a few weeks time.
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Old 13-01-2011, 04:32   #5
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We used our SPOT2 last winter in the Bahamas to send a daily "OK" to family and friends. Really a fantastic little device.

We did have 2 days where the OK message didn't go through to our recipients -- and we realized it was when we had set the SPOT unit out and hit OK and left it there for only a couple of minutes. Even though the SPOT unit indicates it has sent a message, it might not have been received by the satellite. So the unit actually sends each message 3 times automatically (though your e-mail recipients only see it once.) So to be sure it gets through, leave the SPOT out for 10-15 minutes. And make sure it has a nice clear view of the sky.

You can see why this isn't quite up to EPIRB standards for real emergencies -- you don't want to have to wonder if the message got through. But still, having that SOS button there was a comfort. Certainly better than nothing.

We have the basic service plan, plus the "Help" link to TowBoatUS. Don't bother with real-time tracking, as it sends a location update every 10 minutes and will drain your batteries in a day or two. If they made the location interval user-changeable it would be an interesting option. Maybe that or a way to power the unit via plug-in to your boat's 12V system. . . .
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Old 13-01-2011, 04:55   #6
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I have the tracking service and it works really well, the batteries last a very long time and I have left the unit in tracking mode for a few days at a time. One set of batteries will last for around 6 to 8 months with intermitant use of a few days at a time. The best part with the tracking option is your loved ones can follow where you are through the use of google maps. It gives them a warm fuzzy feeling to check on your progress and know you are still moving or if you are moored up somwhere they can see where you are.
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Old 13-01-2011, 06:07   #7
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Sorry -- my mistake about the "drain your batteries in a day or two." That was hazily recollected anecdote. . . .

This gear review mentions 7 days battery life when in Tracking Mode with full view of the sky, and half that when view of sky is obscured (more a worry for hikers than for sailors).

SPOT 1 and SPOT 2 Basic Differences | geartrail.com

[Not sure, but I think these specs might be straight from the Spot website]

SPOT 1
Battery Type: AA Lithium
Power ON, unused: Approx. I year*
Tracking mode: Approx. 14 days*
S.O.S./911 mode: up to 7 consecutive days
Check / OK: 1900 messages*
*Under normal usage a full battery charge should
meet or exceed these amounts

SPOT 2 100% Clear View of Sky
Battery Type:3 AAA lithium batteries
Power ON: ~ 3 months
Tracking Mode: ~ 7 days
S.O.S./911 Mode: ~ 6 days
Check-in/Custom Message: ~ 700 messages


SPOT 2 50% Clear View of Sky
Battery Type:3 AAA lithium batteries
Power ON: ~ 3 months
Tracking Mode: ~ 3 days
S.O.S./911 Mode: ~ 3.5 days
Check-in/Custom Message: ~ 350 messages
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Old 13-01-2011, 06:30   #8
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Not a problem, I have a SPOT1 which is what I based my comments on. I love it, especially the tracking function. It would seem the SPOT 2 has few advantages over the original except it is smaller and made more for carrying on the person.
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Old 13-01-2011, 07:14   #9
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We have used the SPOT for a couple of years with the Google maps option. It's great when you take someone sailing with you and their family can view your route in real time. It's also a great way to recap trips and have a geographic illustration of where you went and what you did. We usually download the waypoints and map it as seen below..

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Old 13-01-2011, 10:02   #10
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Spot uses the Globalstar data system for its communication which means it won't work in the middle of the Atlantic. The data system is not the same as their voice system and is much more reliable. The Caribbean 1500 has used a similar trcking system on the Globalstar network for a number of years. Globalstar has a launch scedule for new satellites this year; the first group should have gone active by now.
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Old 13-01-2011, 18:43   #11
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I used the original Spot for a 911 last year off the east coast north island new zealand and it worked. Both the coastguard and the police were on my case. Also use it to send I'm ok messages to wife and friends. I think every one should have one!
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Old 13-01-2011, 21:02   #12
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I did a TransPac with the Spot 1 to Hawaii. Had coverage till my last day out of Hilo. From their coverage map, thought I'd lose transmit ability about 3 days out. Appears their coverage maps are pretty conservative. Did not use it in tracking mode, just position reporting. Gave my wife a bit of comfort on the solo passage but made her real nervous when I had to turn back the third day out on my first attempt because of Self Steering problems. Got orders to get an HF radio and Pactor modem for two way communication after that.
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Old 14-01-2011, 06:29   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speciald@ocens.
Spot uses the Globalstar data system for its communication which means it won't work in the middle of the Atlantic. The data system is not the same as their voice system and is much more reliable. The Caribbean 1500 has used a similar trcking system on the Globalstar network for a number of years. Globalstar has a launch scedule for new satellites this year; the first group should have gone active by now.
I thought that SPOT uses orbcomm satellites

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Old 14-01-2011, 07:02   #14
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I thought that SPOT uses orbcomm satellites
Dave
SPOT is Globalstar....Has kept them alive during their satellite outages as voice calling became difficult/impossible. AIS system is Orbcomm I think.
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Old 14-01-2011, 07:04   #15
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Originally Posted by PamlicoTraveler

SPOT is Globalstar....Has kept them alive during their satellite outages as voice calling became difficult/impossible. AIS system is Orbcomm I think.
Of course what was I thinking , globalstar owns Spot LLC

They really need to fix the reliability and coverage issues. Right now I think I'd go with iridium modem systems
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