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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 10-20-2009
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I have one and use it. Like it very much. Got it originally, and have used it mostly, for hiking and hunting in the Colorado mountains. Now that I live in Tampa I will use it when sailing. You just have to be aware of its limitations.

For one thing, it does need a clear view of the sky. I suspect that even using it from under a bimini would be an issue. It can also sometimes take several minutes to successfully send a message, especially if you simply turn it on and hit the OK button without giving it time to "find" itself. Finally, since the older units provide no positive indication that a message has been sent, you have to keep an eye on it to see the indication while the message is BEING sent. Otherwise you just press the button and hope.

But with these limitations it is very useful. When I went hunting by myself my wife was very comforted by the nightly "I'm OK" message. When she went to Spain to visit our daughter it was neat to get an e-mail and see where they were in Madrid, Salamanca, Barcelona.
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  #12  
Old 10-20-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
You just have to be aware of its limitations.

For one thing, it does need a clear view of the sky. I suspect that even using it from under a bimini would be an issue.
We put ours on the binnacle under the bimini and it sent every time we pressed OK. It also was in its neoprene case - so, in a neoprene case and under the bimini was ok for ours.

Rik
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  #13  
Old 10-20-2009
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Mine was in the cabin the whole trip, and it worked just fine... sitting in a basket on top of the refrigerator.
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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  #14  
Old 10-21-2009
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One problem I see is it uses the GlobalStar satelites, and they are experiencing financial difficulties for some years now. The satelite constelation has moved a significant amount out of its orbits and just land correction is not enough to fix it anymore, so a more expensive maintenance is needed, including the launch of new satelites to replace some already dead. Until GS can't find a suitable mean to overcome the financials necessary to recover the system, SPOT will suffer the same braks all GlobalStar telephony is expereincing for a while now. But you won't find anything cheaper ....
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  #15  
Old 10-22-2009
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Well... I have one and it works fine for what we did this (non) summer. Up to Killbear. I have the "tracking" option but it's only a power hog if you use it. You can still operate the unit in "check in" mode.
I think it's essential if you're on your own.

Tom

P.S. The boat is now on the hard at bayport on Midland.
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  #16  
Old 10-23-2009
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We have been using a SPOT Messenger for a bit over 1-1/2 years. We originally purchased the device for our daughter to keep track of her travels while she and some other teens were sailing a Beneteau 50 from St. Martin to Trinadad during the summer of 2008. We then loaned the device to a friend to keep track of his travel from Nevis to Bradenton Florida in November of '08 for which it worked very well--well enough that I could time my drive up to the marina to meet him when he arrived in the middle of the night.

Since then we've been using the device to keep track of our own travels. Lately we implemented a SPOT Adventures page that keeps track of all of our travels (when the tracking mode is activated). For one thing, our yacht club has a rule about active verses inactive boats and there has been a bit of debate about whether one's log is sufficienbt evidence that one has an "active" boat and is not just using the marina for in the water storage. Our Spot Adventures page is pretty irrefutable evidence (so long as we remember to turn the thing on). Our SPOT lives in a mesh bag suspended from the stern pulpit and seem to work without difficulty. A representitive SPOT Adventures page is shown here: Daysail to Egmont Key - Sailing - Spot .

We have purchased the full service package with Tracking and GEOS SAR service (which must be purchased separately). The device has proven very reliable although I do not consider it a replacement for and EPIRB.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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  #17  
Old 12-14-2009
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The thing I don't like about spot is that it doesn't go directly SARS unit but through a private company and they contact the nearest SARS Unit. The Coverage is really spotty to. That's why I'm not using one during my Expedition. I'm going to get one this along with carrying a sat Phone.

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Last edited by freediverGA; 12-14-2009 at 11:34 AM.
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  #18  
Old 12-14-2009
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I used one this november when moving my boat from Virginia to Puerto Rico.
loved it. The only time I had coverage problems were in severe storms, where only 1 out of 2 or 3 msgs got out. once it cleared up, all went out fine.

It really kept friends and family back home in touch with my progress, which really kept the concern down in their minds. I also bought the Search and Rescue package for the 911 button. Glad I didn't need it.

I set my messages up with my "Standard" message that all was well - my help message was that we were having problems but ok (just in case the next one was 911 and the Coasties contacted my primary contacts - they could inform them of the amount of time we were broadcasting issues prior to calling for them, just in case.

In talking with the Coast Guard in PR, they also told me they recommended the system to boaters as it really increased the ability to track and connect when needed. This, coupled with a Sat phone for downloading weather maps and making calls when necessary completed our ability to effectively communicate. Also had a 406 epirb on board.
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  #19  
Old 12-16-2009
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I use the SPOT on deliveries as a service to owners who like to see where their boat is. *grin* I generally use blue painter's tape to tape it to the inside of a hatch. Generally works fine but there are occasional gaps. As noted, it is NOT a life-safety device. It's a convenience item. Be sure to educate family and friends that if you "drop off the map" it is most likely due to 1. forgetting to reset the tracker, 2. Globalstar pooping out for a while, or 3. the display web-server getting the hiccups.

Please tell them NOT to call the USCG (as an uneducated friend of a Bahamas cruiser recently did) and launch a SAR effort just because the SPOT stopped posting.
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  #20  
Old 12-28-2009
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I bought and used one on a a trip in Dec from Destin Fl to the Keys and loved it. It was the ONLY communications for days with family. It worked great and was appreciated by those at home.

Just set it up right from computer.
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