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  #1  
Old 06-10-2008
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The "Spot" Messenger

There is another thread on Globalstar and their problems that I have been following. The company's stock is down over 70% and is indicative of their problems with deteriorating satellites.

I have never used the phones, but I recently got a SPOT messenger and I don't know why, but it works pretty well around here. It operates on the Globalstar Satellite system to relay your GPS position but apparently doesn't need much to get the signal through.

If I leave it on the "track-progress mode" it will update a position about every 10 minutes. It misses a few reports, but more or less it tracks your progress. It is a cheap way for friends and family to go to your "findmespot" page and see where you have been. You can let people know you are safe without having to deal with their annoying phone calls.

The "track-progress" has to be reset every 24 hours, which you have to remember to do. There is also a "check-in" mode and it also works pretty much as advertised. If you push the OK button it will send a single email to your list of contacts that says you are OK and they can view it on Google Maps.

It's a pretty cool little gadget and for me is like an extra EPIRB - not a substitute for one, but another safety option. There is a 911 button that sends a call for help to a GEOS center.

I recently told my 17 year old son that I had put it in the trunk of his car and would be watching to see if he veered from his innocent sounding travel plans. He looked for it and couldn't find it, so he assumed it was hidden in there somewhere. I'm not sure if it would work in a trunk, but the threat seems fairly effective.

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Old 06-10-2008
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It's a neat little gadget. They have a shared page that lets anyone track your progress, mapped onto google maps. The only problem with that page is that it only shows last 24 hours - so I can't use it as a "travel album" of sorts, unfortunately.
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There's an interesting thread on the SSCA Board re: the SPOT messenger: SSCA Discussion Board :: View topic - Opinions on SPOT personal satelite device

It gets pretty good marks from those who have tried it. It works on a different channel of the Globalstar satellites, and it's success rate is said to be above 99%. Pretty neat, and cheap.

Bill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brak View Post
They have a shared page that lets anyone track your progress, mapped onto google maps. The only problem with that page is that it only shows last 24 hours - so I can't use it as a "travel album" of sorts, unfortunately.
You can select 7-days for your "shared page," but you are right, it doesn't stay there forever. It would be kind of nice to have a permanent record-I haven't figured out how do a screen save, but I am sure something would work.

There is a lot that could be improved on. But it works and it's cheap and maybe will keep GSAT out of bankruptcy until their new sattellites come on line.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pamlicotraveler View Post
You can select 7-days for your "shared page," but you are right, it doesn't stay there forever. It would be kind of nice to have a permanent record-I haven't figured out how do a screen save, but I am sure something would work.

There is a lot that could be improved on. But it works and it's cheap and maybe will keep GSAT out of bankruptcy until their new sattellites come on line.
Where is the "7 day" setting? I can't seem to find it on shared page controls.
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Old 06-10-2008
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Just tracked my buddies on a 7 day sail of 350nm's. Worked as advertised and I enjoyed using it on the tracking end.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brak View Post
Where is the "7 day" setting? I can't seem to find it on shared page controls.
I was thinking the share page is based on the choice you choose from the "messages" tab/section which gives you choices of "Last 24 hours", "Last 7 days", and "Last 30 days". I need to go and check that to make sure -
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Old 06-11-2008
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The technical issues at GlobalStar affect their duplex communication channels (telephony) and not their simplex ones (like the SPOT). It was surprising to see how many tracking applications run off those channels and how much bandwidth goes through.
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There is already a sailing blog community that supports SPOT: TripSailor Logbook: supporting SPOT. the worlds first satellite messenger

This enables you to track your sailing trips with SPOT and to keep your tracks forever. Just use the SPOT device for tracking but keep your tripjournal and photoalbum a the sailing-blog community website.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pamlicotraveler View Post
I was thinking the share page is based on the choice you choose from the "messages" tab/section which gives you choices of "Last 24 hours", "Last 7 days", and "Last 30 days". I need to go and check that to make sure -
That's the page you can see when logged in. They have a separate page that you can set up to show others - "shared" page or whatever. That one seems to nly hold 24 hours of data.
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