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hoot72
11-10-2008, 03:25
Has anyone actually used one of these SPOT MESSENGERS (Link: http://international.findmespot.com/) or know of anyone who has bought one of these and actually experinced using them out in the bush?

Was contemplating investing in a couple given the ability to track us trekkers in the bush from HQ or home and being able to send a flash HELP signal from the device...

Anyways, comments most welcome please...

SF_BHT
11-10-2008, 06:41
I talked to my HQ today and also a few months past ref these. The tested them and were happy with them. The only down side is that the MSG can be a little slow but it gets out. Coverage is the only issue for them in some regions.

Not much more I can say. If I needed something for Private sector work I think this may fit the bill.

hoot72
11-10-2008, 23:37
I talked to my HQ today and also a few months past ref these. The tested them and were happy with them. The only down side is that the MSG can be a little slow but it gets out. Coverage is the only issue for them in some regions.

Not much more I can say. If I needed something for Private sector work I think this may fit the bill.

Thats great to hear SF BHT; I was hoping that some friends might have already been using them before I went out and bought them, especially in thick jungle or forest where sat signals can from time to time have some interference.

The other issue with this device (my own from what I notice) is the inability to know if a mayday/help has actually been recieved or gone through...anyways, will give it a go non the less.

cheers

SF_BHT
11-11-2008, 10:13
Just remember that it is Sat Based and GPS. Just like if you are taking a fix with your GPS if the canopy is too thick you will not get a fix. What I would do is check with my gps for a fix, if you get one the SPOT should work. No other way to see if the device will work. Remember emergencies never happen in a good site.

Dub
11-11-2008, 11:36
On a kayak SPOT has worked flawlessly for me, however if you read reviews online there seem to be alot of folks that have problems getting messages out. A very very clear view of the sky seems to be very very necessary.

I have the SPOT mainly for its tracking feature, and the slow pace of a kayak on open water is probably the most ideal environment you could use this thing in.

I definitely would not think of SPOT to replace a more dedicated PLB, albeit they are a whole lot cheaper.

Sinister
11-11-2008, 11:40
One of my colleagues has contracted Parkinson's Disease. Because he fly-fishes in some pretty remote country here in New Mexico he invested in one and is very happy with it.

While it doesn't do the same thing as an Emergency Location Transmitter (with an "SOS" or 911 call) it does have messaging, so if he's conscious he can send a message out, and if not his family knows his location.

He says location is transmitted and then transposed onto a Google Earth or Falcon View map.

It will have the same problems with triple canopy masking as any GPS or satellite phone.

chipw
11-11-2008, 14:02
I have used a Spot device a lot in adventure races. They use them to track teams on an online leader board as well as for safety.
As others have pointed out, they work well in open areas. In Moab Utah and places like that the track is very good but can still get lost when down in some of the narrow canyons. Its pretty good in places like Western Montana where you have some overhead coverage but not alot. In the southeast it doesnt work nearly as well but is better than nothing. It helps to carry it on the top of the pack or shoulder strap to make sure the signal has the best chance of clearing the overhead cover.

I can say first hand that it is invaluable as a safety device if you travel alone in the wilderness. A friend of mine fell to his death on a solo hiking trip in Colorado earlier this year. Its unlikely anyone would have found his body without the Spot. Also, during the Great Divide mountain bike race this year, some competitors witnessed an auto accident on a remote mountain road. They used the Spot distress button to get help.
You can have it send email alerts to friends who want to follow your progress or just make sure your safe.

Chip

hoot72
11-11-2008, 23:34
Cheers for the comments guys; I have given the reviews on rei a lot of time and read both the positive and negative comments left behind by end users over the last two day's and I can see a general consensus in that yes, it works well in open terrain but poorly in thick jungle.

I think a number of people are blaming the gps unit installed in the device and the other major complaint was the amount of time it took for emergency 911 messages to get through. Some were saying 20 minutes, others almost immediately.

I just ordered 2 from singapore and will write up a review once I have a chance to test them out here in the jungles nearby....