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Old 04-15-2008   #1
Badazws6's Avatar
The Road, Colorado
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Spot Personal Tracker

Anyone ever seen/had/used one of the satellite tracking/notification devices? Spot Messenger > Home Seems like a great thing to have in a pinch, expecially if your traveling over seas.


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Old 04-15-2008   #2
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
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Posts: 887
Used to work at REI when they started carrying them, I think they are really cool for the right situation which includes travel. I believe most sattelites are govt controlled and can be "innaccessible" for periods as the rep told us and this model seems to be limited beyond that:
  • Provides virtually full coverage in North America, Europe and Australia
  • Also covers portions of South America, northern Africa and northeastern Asia, along with thousands of miles of offshore areas
The ACR's use a little different technology and the ones I have had the most positive comments about:

ACR Electronics, Inc.

But they are also 550+ instead of 150 so......

I like some of the additional communication features of the Spot, so its not only a locator beacon, but would make sure to do a lot of research to see if it will really work where your going.

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Old 04-15-2008   #3
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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I have a SPOT tracker. My girlfriend's parents got it for me, with a years subscription.

It is nice for checking in with loved ones...the 'Check-In' feature is nice and easy, I leave it on for four minutes and it does the trick. It sends a text message to pre-determined numbers, along with an e-mail including googlemaps coordinates to check progress. for $50 additional you can have a live-tracker feature (seems stupid to me) that lets someone watch where you go.

The 911 feature seems like it would work fine. Being in a canyon may impede that but I haven't tried (the check-in feature) in a tight canyon.

I don't understand the Help from Family! feature. I guess if you have a pre-arranged plan it would make sense on a per-trip basis.

Overall, it has been great to ease the mind of my worried girlfriend, and let me not worry about trying to find cell service. The initial cost and $99 sub. were paid for already, and it is waterproof and durable. Seems like it could save an emergency, give peace of mind to worried loved ones, but is not an essential.
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Old 04-16-2008   #4
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Spot Tracker

I've been researching this thing pretty heavily and decided its well worth the money. I fly a small plane and also have an emergency beacon. Trouble with those is that there is no non-emergency help option, you hit the button and the cavalry comes, and its in the Denver Post the next day. If you've got a non-emergent medical situation (broken arm, or shoulder injury) or a holed boat that just keeps you from paddling out the spot allows you to hit a button and folks who you've linked to your account will get a message that you need assistance. Also the OK button helps prevent folks sending out help if you are overdue on a trip 'cause of logistics and need no help

It seems to get good reception, better if it has view of southern sky, should work in the canyon. Mine just sent a message from inside my house. The only issue is that it uses Globalstar's satellite system, which has had some issues recently. Most of their working satellites are in the southern sky. Their system sucks for sat phone service right now, but seems to support Spot fine. I'm on a bush pilots chat room as well and its pretty popular with pilots in Alaska who are using it to send messages daily.

I bought one, I like it. I think its worth the money.
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Old 04-16-2008   #5
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Maybe I'm just looking in the places but I can't seem to find if it is water resistant or not, so I'm assuming it isn't. Anyway input?
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Old 04-16-2008   #6
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Water Proof

The claim is water proof, non-submersible.

Also, if Globalstar goes out of business, these things could be worthless. ACR beacon works off of govt. satellites. I don't think glabalstar's going anywhere though.
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Old 04-16-2008   #7
Join Date: Apr 2006
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This time I read the manual. Floats, waterproof to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.
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Old 04-16-2008   #8
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there was a thread about this over on
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Old 04-16-2008   #9
I'm right 50% of the time
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The guys at have a great online api for spot. If you own one, go here SPOT API. Help these guys test out full fuctionality and get the best for your $$$.

You can see more info at and Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Blogs, Snow Reports & Conditions, Colorado Ski Resort & Mountain Webcams, Avalanche Information, Backcountry Snowmobiling, Road Conditions, Interactive Maps, Technology, Sleds, Powder, Skiing and Snowboard

Don't have one yet, but its on the list with a garmin Rhino530.
Claimer: Someone that makes a claim that they have been there and done that, can do anything you can do better than you. I hate "claimers"
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Old 06-01-2008   #10
Victoria, BC, BC
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1
SPOT Tech Service deficient

Just noticed mention of the SPOT personal tracker.

We got one about 4 months ago, and still have not been able to track on the net as they claim. We've asked them and after their responses come back 3 weeks later, they seem to be confused. I said, "its simple, it doesn't show up the locations on the SPOT map on the SPOT web site". They then send a message back 3-4 weeks later, "your unit is working fine, what was the question?".

Just gives me a sense that maybe they are a little overwhelmed right now, bad sign, especially when you may be depending on that thing for your life. There's no other choice out there right now I guess, so I'll have to "live with it"...but to this day, I really don't know if it is working or not. I've not sent an emergency message to test of course, but even the "OK" messages don't register.

I am working this unit down just south of the equator in south america so that could be a factor.


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