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Old 07-11-2009, 08:51   #1
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SPOT Messenger Operation?

NOTE: THESE POSTS WERE MOVED TO A THREAD OF THEIR OWN FROM JENNYBUG'S THREAD Please Help Me with Spot GPS Tracker SINCE THEY TOOK THAT THREAD OFF IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION --- HUD


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
The reset for the tracking function is to hit the "OK" button. So there's hope they may just do that soon. Then you'll get a double benefit -- you'll know they're okay, and you'll get tracking data for 24 hours.
WOW - I missed that feature in all the reading and searching I did to try to make the very stupid design work reliably for us.

If I understand you correctly, we're under way, and the tracking feature is engaged (more on my problems with, and the simplistic solution to, the really stupid on/off design below), sometime in the 24-hour period, or, better, while it's still doing its twin-light blink after that if we forget:

Push the OK button at any point and it starts another 24-hour tracking period. Is that correct??

If so, hallelujah.

Now, to my problems and my solution...

In addition to the stupid requires-reset every 24 hours, the modus for turning it on, as well as sending an OK message (up to 10 email locations you specify), are confusing. Worse, at least as I understood it, they're entirely separate. To my mind, it would have been entirely appropriate to turn the thing on, and, if you wanted to, engage a button which would (only) send an OK message, without interfering with the tracking.

Instead, they're two separate functions, and which one's which has always been a confusion to me. Typically, I'd try to get the OK to go out, and it would be "on", or vice-versa.

My solution was to sharpie a piece of painter's tape with the ON and OK steps and put it on the face of the unit.

Push the "on" button until it blinks in both cases. You have to turn it off if you want to send an OK AND track...

"OK" is on-button engaged, short (just enough to get the light lit) "OK" button. It will then commence double blinking.

"Track" is on-button engaged, long (enough so that the solid light above the OK blinks) OK button. Double blinking commences.

If you want to stick around long enough to confirm that the OK went out, you watch the double-blink lights for as long as it takes to acquire whatever satellite it uploads to. At that point the OK button light will go solid, and then revert to two-lights-blinking. That IS NOT tracking! You have to turn it off, and then do the tracking sequence separately, again.

Now, I get it right every time :{)) - but only because I have the cue in front of me. It's exactly opposite of what I'd intuit: Long makes an OK, short turns it on...

So, back to the question: Once in track mode, pushing the OK button (for how long and with what light activity?) restarts the track time??

Thanks.

L8R

Skip and crew, currently off-line SPOT having been in the same place for more than a week (we turn it off at anchor)
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Old 07-11-2009, 13:22   #2
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Skip--

Your making the use of the SPOT too complicated.

From the user manual:


Quote:
To turn SPOT on, press the ON/OFF button. You must then wait an additional 2 seconds before activating any SPOT function. When power is on, the indicator light will blink once every 3 seconds. This is also helpful for making SPOT more visible in the dark. To turn SPOT off, press and hold the ON/OFF button for 3 seconds.
Quote:
To send an I'm Okay Check-in Message, press the OK button. The SPOTteam members you have specified in your online account will receive a pre-programmed SPOTcheck message via text and/or email with a link to Google Maps™ with your exact location. Once activated, the indicator light will blink green every 3 seconds, and turn solid green for 5 seconds when a SPOTchecking message is being sent. In the SPOTchecking mode, your SPOT messenger sends your message three times for maximum reliability. The SPOT network will deliver the first message received to your SPOTteam and discard the remaining identical messages. To make sure SPOT has enough time to repeat your messages, leave the SPOT messenger on and with a clear view of the sky for 20 minutes.
Quote:
To Activate SPOT casting SM Mode (i.e. tracking) Press and hold the OKbutton for more than 5 seconds. The green indicator will begin blinking every 3 seconds, and the SPOTteam members you have given access to your online account can view your progress. Your exact location is updated every 10 minutes for 24 hours. To continue tracking after 24 hours, you must activate the unit again. Once activated the OKindicator light will blink green every 3 seconds, and turn solid green for 5 seconds when a SPOTcasting message is being sent. SPOTcheck must be inactive for SPOTcasting to be activated. To Cancel, turn unit off by pressing and holding the ON/OFF button for 3 seconds, or press and hold the OKbutton for 5 seconds to terminate SPOTcasting. SPOTcasting is automatically disabled when you activate either 9-1-1 or HELP.
Quote:
To Activate 9-1-1 Mode: In an emergency, press and hold the 9-1-1 button for at least 2 seconds. A distress signal and your exact location will be sent to an Emergency Response Center every 5 minutes until cancelled. Once activated, the indicator light will blink green every 3 seconds, and turn solid green for 5 seconds when a message is being sent.

To Cancel:
Press and hold the 9-1-1 button for at least 3 seconds. The blinking green light will blink red to indicate that it is preparing to send a “Cancel” message, and will then turn solid red for 5 seconds to indicate that the message has been sent.

To Activate HELP Mode:
Press and hold the HELP button for 2 seconds. The SPOTteam members you have specified in your online account will receive your pre-programmed HELP message via text message and/or email with a link to Google Maps™ with your exact location. Once activated, the indicator light will blink green every 3 seconds, and turn solid green for 5 seconds when a message is being sent. SPOT will automatically determine your coordinates and send your message every 5 minutes for 1 hour in this mode.

To Cancel: Press and hold the HELP button for 3 seconds. The indicator light will change from green to red to indicate that it is preparing to send a “Cancel” message, and will then turn solid red for 5 seconds to indicate that the message has been sent.
Based upon the foregoing, to send a I'm Okay Check-In Message while the unit's in Tracking Mode, simply press and hold the OK/Check-In button for 5 Seconds, release for a moment, and then press the OK/Check-In Button again. The LED above the check-in button will blink every 3 seconds until the check-in message is up-loaded (duribng which process the LED will remain illumiated green for 5 seconds). You can then resume the tracking function by pressing and holding the OK/Check-in button for 3 seconds after whch the unit will send tracking messages for 24 hours.

Note that Tracking is an additional service charges at $49.99/year in addition to the basic subscription fee of $99.00 (in the USA).

We have and have used a Spot for 20 months and have found it very easy and useful. Our pal Hud used it to keep us advised of his progress on his trip back to West Florida from Nevis.

FWIW...
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Old 08-11-2009, 13:57   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Skip--

Your making the use of the SPOT too complicated.
From the user manual (deleted for bandwidth):

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Based upon the foregoing, to send a I'm Okay Check-In Message while the unit's in Tracking Mode, simply press and hold the OK/Check-In button for 5 Seconds, release for a moment, and then press the OK/Check-In Button again. The LED above the check-in button will blink every 3 seconds until the check-in message is up-loaded (duribng which process the LED will remain illumiated green for 5 seconds). You can then resume the tracking function by pressing and holding the OK/Check-in button for 3 seconds after whch the unit will send tracking messages for 24 hours.

Note that Tracking is an additional service charges at $49.99/year in addition to the basic subscription fee of $99.00 (in the USA).



FWIW...
Thanks for the tutorial. Because we have been at anchor, our SPOT was off. I turned it on, and got tracking. I then tried the "OK" message within the tracking function. That worked. However, that second step (doing an OK in tracking mode) turned off the tracking (based on checking my "share" page, which no longer was tracking me), despite my having the two-blink constant sequence return. Returning to the SPOT unit after checking my share page showed that it no longer had the double blink (it had a single blink), so I again gave it the long-push "OK" button which returned it to double-blinks. That reactivated my tracking. I don't know whether single blinks mean that the unit's powered up, but not transmitting, or that the share page won't show something of where we are, both, or something else.

Still very confusing, as I've again introduced conflicting variables. The short-push "OK" (send message), turn it off, long-push "OK" (activate), regardless of how complicated that may seem to those who apparently are more adept at it than I, at least works reliably for me, whereas the above does not.

Also, I believe I understand from your tutorial (omitted here for bandwidth's sake) that the earlier assertion that hitting the OK again DOES NOT restart the tracking...

OTOH, the (my added) italicized section (I presume from you and not the owner's manual) says it does. I'll have to leave ours on for a day to check that out. HOWEVER...

The instructions you give are perhaps one of the sources of my challenges before, as "long" vs "short" pushes do just the opposite in that section as in the other instructions.

In any event, I'd love to have the means to send OK's and reactivate tracking without having to go through the shutdown/restart process. The sequence I just did turned it off - but perhaps, if the 24 hours has elapsed, the long-push would turn it on again. Again, more fog.

BTW, I don't really remember if there's a separate charge for it, but anyone can follow our SPOT tracking by clicking Please wait for redirect which is a very short version (love tinyurl.com - you can now customize the link with your own labels) of the 'shareme' page it takes you to. If you're going to do this often and want folks to be easily able to find you, you might want to do something similar so they don't have to memorize some complicated URL.

L8R

Skip, who will have to wait until tomorrow to see about restarting the unit just by pushing the OK again...
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Old 08-11-2009, 15:59   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
Skip, who will have to wait until tomorrow to see about restarting the unit just by pushing the OK again...
I can see the planes and helicopters warming up right now...
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Old 08-11-2009, 17:36   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian Van H View Post
I can see the planes and helicopters warming up right now...
<VBG>

Nah... It's still on, and it won't be off for more than a few minutes, if the "reset/keep-alive" doesn't work

However, I'll report the results here tomorrow...

Crossing my fingers - but if I'm in the middle of a passage (vs here in the Bahamas, where I seem to be able to get great signals within, say, 8 miles of land), I can't verify. I KNOW how to turn it on and send an OK without worrying about it. I have yet to prove that it can STAY on by some keystroke...

L8R

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Old 08-11-2009, 18:50   #6
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I think it's pretty clear now why the SPOT-2 has separate buttons!
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:22   #7
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Oy Veh! Skip—Your elevator seems to be stuck between floors!

You can’t send an I’m-Okay/Check-In when your SPOT’s in Tracking Mode (and it shouldn’t be necessary then as anyone that would be on your email list would, presumably, have access to you shared page as well.).

Assuming you have paid for the tracking option, to activate Tracking (aka “SPOT Casting”) simply hold down the I’m-Okay/Check-In Button for 5 seconds—i.e. hold the button down while you count “One hippopotamus, two hippopotamus, etc., etc., five hippopotamus” and then release. With that the LED above the I’m-Okay/Check-In Button will flash green every 3 seconds to let you know that the SPOT will up-load positional data every 10 minutes which will be transferred to your shared page/Google maps as it is received for 24 hours.

If for some odd reason you also wanted to send an I’m Okay/Check-In message during the subsequent 24 hour tracking interval, you must cancel Tracking Mode. To do so, hold down the I’m-Okay/Check-In Button for 5 seconds—i.e. hold the button down while you count “One hippopotamus, two hippopotamus, etc, etc., five hippopotamus” and then release. Then count to 3 under your breath and then press the I’m-Okay/Check-In button again, just once ("one hippopotamus"). With that, the LED above the I’m-Okay/Check-In button will flash every 3 seconds until the device can up-load your check-in message. While up-loading, the LED is illuminated Green for 5 seconds. (Your SPOT will resend this message 3 times to ensure its received although a received message is only forwarded to your email recipients once).

Once the LED above the I’m-Okay/Check-In Button goes out, you can resume tracking mode for another 24 hours by…. holding down the I’m-Okay/Check-In Button for 5 seconds—i.e. hold the button down while you count “One hippopotamus, two hippopotamus…five hippopotamus” .

In the event you are in Tracking mode, pushing the Help or 9-1-1 button automatically cancels the Tracking mode function and up-loads either a Help Message (which is forwarded to your email recipients) or a 9-1-1 call, upon which your listed emergency contacts are called and the Rescue Coordination Center nearest to your location is alerted with your last GPS Coordinates.

Turing the SPOT off rather than canceling the Tracking Mode is contra-productive as by doing so your positional data is lost and after re-starting the unit it has to re-initialize itself, go through its self-check routine and re-acquire the GPS satellites, which can take up to 20 minutes…

Here Homer Nods…

Jennybug---if your still tracking this thread, let us know what time the boys arrived and how they did...
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Old 09-11-2009, 15:16   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
(from the last post):
Skip, who will have to wait until tomorrow to see about restarting the unit just by pushing the OK again...
Well, that time has come - I'm back on the boat, and the SPOT was single-blinking. I did what would otherwise be an "on" - long hold on the OK until it started blinking - and we're transmitting, after an hour or two lapse.

So, apparently, at least in my unit, the way I know that 24 hours has elapsed is the thing goes to single blink - the same as I'd see in the turn-on, or "ok" sequence (hold the ON until it blinks, then do either the OK or the ON sequence; you still apparently have to turn it off after sending an "OK" and can't send an OK from within a tracking session).

More when I read the next message trying to give me clue :{))

L8R

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Old 09-11-2009, 15:23   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Oy Veh! Skip—Your elevator seems to be stuck between floors!

(buncha stuff deleted)

(begin very useful section)

Turing the SPOT off rather than canceling the Tracking Mode is contra-productive as by doing so your positional data is lost and after re-starting the unit it has to re-initialize itself, go through its self-check routine and re-acquire the GPS satellites, which can take up to 20 minutes…

Here Homer Nods…
Aha. Now that's useful. So, if I understand you correctly, despite having gone to the single-blink mode, it still has the satellites (acquired) and personal data ready to go the next time a satellite goes over?

I finally get the "OK" and "ON" (well, initiate tracking) sequences (by doing the sticker on the front bit mentioned earlier), so can do that reliably. I just have to NOT turn it off by holding the "ON" button until it goes dark, but instead just do the short-hold for "OK" and long hold for "ON" - 'zat right?

Thanks.

L8R

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Old 16-11-2009, 17:37   #10
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I found using Spot really very straight forward & I'm not techy savvy. We used it sailing up the gulf stream this past summer.and all my land contacts received coordinate locations with just a push of the button on the unit. It was up to them to go on google earth to see where we at each message received. I did my part..
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