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Old 10-01-2011, 02:53   #1
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New GPS / Globalstar Puck

Seen at the CES in Las Vegas a new GPS and Globalstar puck for about $170 and a yearly fee of about $100 for use with smartphones:
http://www.findmespot.com/en/

This device might be of some interest.
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:20   #2
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If there is already somebody who has bought this device, a short report may be useful. It seems to be a cheap solution to turn a smarthone into a satellitephone. An application for Android smartphones seems to be avaible and an application for the Apple iPhone is announced. However I could not find a solution to contract Globalstar in european countries.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:00   #3
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CarCode,

I'm since almost two months official Globalstar dealer and talked to them in November. Due to the holidays and the CES we weren't unable to continue talks and discussion of use, also of their Spot product (already a long time on the market). We agreed to continue talks later this week after return of the CES.

I can keep you posted next week if you wish

Bart
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:08   #4
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Bart,

I guess it is an interesting product for all of us. So please write your informations here in the forum if possible.

Gerhard
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Old 18-01-2011, 10:14   #5
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Hi Gerhard,

Iíve researched the Spot product you saw at the last CES a few weeks ago. Spot is a product from the satellite company Globalstar. Spot is for many years on the market and has seen some developments over years. The new innovative design and development is looking good and promising.

However, Spot relies on availability of the satellites from Globalstar. You can find a lot of posts on the availability of Globalstarís Satellites for the voice system, the same will apply for the one way data system, Globalstar calls this their simplex solution.

The Globastar satellites are for many years in space and losing their strengths. Since last October Globastar is replacing their constellation (a set of satellites) with a new one.

To get a good overview of this new constellation at the moment, one need several sources to generate a story of the current situation. Some of the sources are rumors, some is inside information. But at the end, quality of service is crucial. With Globalstar, ďQoSĒ is questionable. The BIG question with Globalstar is not when a message will be delivered but if itís being delivered at all!

Besides the delivery of messages, problems are also a question of coverage. The reason why you see a new (renewed) introduction of an old system in place is that somehow Globalstar is focusing more on the USA mainland because, big(ger) market or coverage is more reliable compared to for instance Europe. If Iím looking at such a system, Iím not looking at one continent but a World Wide service.

If you are thinking about Spot as a product you could use, I would think twice. It might be useless in a couple of monthís time and you might think your message is delivered where the message is lost in space.

There are more reliable satellite operators in space at the moment but more expensive as well.

The reason why Iím investigating messaging over satellite is for a special application and I will continue my research, Globalstar will not be part of it.

I will keep you posted.

Bart
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Old 18-01-2011, 10:23   #6
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Bart,
many thanks for your informations.
When I first saw this product I guessed: Whow, what a break-through. Cheap satellite communications is what we need.
But we will still have to wait further on ...

Gerhard
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Old 18-01-2011, 10:40   #7
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Quote:
Cheap satellite communications is what we need
Gerhard (and others),

Just for my further investigations and feasibility study, what's cheep for you? Initial purchase and price per message?

Is there functionality you are looking for?

Bart
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Old 18-01-2011, 11:04   #8
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Bart,

prices are going down already for satellite communication, a sat phone for about $500 seems to be available already. But the fees are still high with some strange annual charges for different packages as far as I know.

Gerhard
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Old 30-01-2011, 04:48   #9
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If these GPS devices uses the Globalstar sat's I have a hard time believing that they are reliable. Globalstar had a sat phone system, but the sat's fell from the sky one by one and they had a huge problem maintaining the sat's. I would never consider a product from Globalstar again.
It costed the pro mariners a fortune and they did not get any compensation for their equipment nor the subscription...
Just a heads up sailors...
A GPS with a subscription... what an idea.... NOT!

PS! We were a dealer for Globalstar in Norway, but had to stop selling their products due to this sat phone flop. I have never had so many angry customers as with the Globalstar.
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Old 30-01-2011, 04:55   #10
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Thank you Frode, that are the informations we all need.
So better keep the hands off from Globalstar.
Waiting for a better solution...
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Old 30-01-2011, 08:04   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by champ8242 View Post
However, Spot relies on availability of the satellites from Globalstar. You can find a lot of posts on the availability of Globalstarís Satellites for the voice system, the same will apply for the one way data system, Globalstar calls this their simplex solution.
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If these GPS devices uses the Globalstar sat's I have a hard time believing that they are reliable.
I have had a lot of quite unfortunate experience with Globalstar, and expected the performance of SPOT to mirror that of the Globalstar sat phone. I have a quite good understanding of how the Globalstar architecture works (it's a bent-pipe system, so the same satellite that has you in its footprint must also be able to see a ground station).

On an offshore trip from Chesapeake Bay to BVI on which a crew member carried a SPOT I it was clear that the performance was quite good. I was surprised. Eventually I bought a SPOT II myself. I've made a number of passages on boats that also happened to have Globalstar handsets. Although Globalstar voice and data continues (as recently as three weeks ago) to be an exercise in extreme frustration, the SPOT quite simply works. I continue to be impressed and pleased with my purchase.

I certainly do not claim to understand why the connections are so reliable. I can only state that in my experience over the last six or eight passages well offshore the US East Coast that it has been reliable.
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Old 30-01-2011, 08:23   #12
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I like our Spot II. It would certainly be nice if they could produce a Spot III that integrates the texting ability with the SOS, Help, and OK features, all in one unit. This add-on puck for smart phones is nice, but the phone is not waterproof, so the utility of the two together is diminished.

Also, I wonder why only 41-character texts? Better than nothing, but awfully short.
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Old 30-01-2011, 11:14   #13
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It is a better idea to use a personal EPIRB for emergency. McMurdo has a nice portable personal EPIRB.
Pros: A well built system, reliable rescue teams all over the world. Uses the same service as marine EPIRB's. Use it both on land and at sea/water/rivers... All over the place... And it's a cheap life insurance.

Link: Get found with Fast Find - The 406 MHz Personal Location Beacon (PLB)
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