SPOT 50% off sale, MESSENGER & all others - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 26 Old 11-17-2016 Thread Starter
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SPOT 50% off sale, MESSENGER & all others

I have no affiliation with SPOT, but saw they are now having a 50% OFF SALE on all devices. That makes the Messenger 3 only $75 now. Of course you still need subscription plans for service and they haven't discounted those, but still...50% off the MESSENGER or TRACE or PHONE is worth thinking about.

http://www.findmespot.com/holidayhalf/lander.php
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post #2 of 26 Old 11-17-2016
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This is fantastic, I hope the deal applies in Canada, I need one for a race I'm entering.
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post #3 of 26 Old 11-17-2016
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Re: SPOT 50% off sale, MESSENGER & all others

For what it's worth, if one is looking for a tracking/communicator device, I am a bigger fan of my DeLorme. It can do full two way text messaging from my iPhone, along with website tracking capability, which you can password protect to limit. Pretty sure Spot is coverage limited, while DeLorme is global. That may have changed some, since I bought mine.


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post #4 of 26 Old 11-17-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
For what it's worth, if one is looking for a tracking/communicator device, I am a bigger fan of my DeLorme. It can do full two way text messaging from my iPhone, along with website tracking capability, which you can password protect to limit. Pretty sure Spot is coverage limited, while DeLorme is global. That may have changed some, since I bought mine.
This is the first level Delorme inreach that can pair to Android or iPhone? I was looking at this unit at Mountain Equipment Co-op.

If I understand correctly it works just like a SPOT, but it will connect over Bluetooth to my cell phone and my phone becomes a chart plotter and satellite communications device?

Have you had much of an opportunity to play around with that functionality outside of cell range?

It sounds really fantastic being able to send complete text messages, but it is a lot more money, so I'm curious how well the text messaging works.

I already have a chart plotter app on my phone, but the text messaging sounds interesting.
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post #5 of 26 Old 11-17-2016
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Re: SPOT 50% off sale, MESSENGER & all others

I have owned a Spot for the past five years, and I absolutely love it. No matter where I am in the world, with a single push of a button, I can let my wife and family know exactly where I am and that I'm OK. The annual cost of service for my device is $105, but that will likely increase upon the next renewal.

All the best,

Gary
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post #6 of 26 Old 11-17-2016
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I have been comparing the Delorme Inreach SE to the SPOT for the last hour or so. The SPOT looks to be a much more capable machine to me.

SPOT: 114 grams, battery life 144 hours, minimum operating temperature -30, maximum altitude 8500 meters.

Inreach SE: 200 Grams, battery life 100 hours, minimum operating temperature -20, maximum altitude- unlisted, so not very high.

I think what I am seeing is the LCD screen on the Delorme is hurting it on every front; heavier, more expensive, takes more juice to operate and I am sure that screen would be susceptible to freezing in the cold and bursting/cracking at high altitude.

Seems like you get more for less with the SPOT.

Edit: I just figured out Delorme offers month to month programs, where as SPOT only offers annual plans. I am thinking, given my intended occasional usage, the Delorme might be cheaper or at least comparable over the long run.

Last edited by Arcb; 11-17-2016 at 08:17 PM.
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post #7 of 26 Old 11-17-2016
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Re: SPOT 50% off sale, MESSENGER & all others

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Edit: I just figured out Delorme offers month to month programs, where as SPOT only offers annual plans. I am thinking, given my intended occasional usage, the Delorme might be cheaper or at least comparable over the long run.
I have looked at the SPOTs in the past which is fairly often. I think the sale of the product is a loss leader. They may lose some money on the sale of the product but they are looking for the annual income from the service to make their money.
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post #8 of 26 Old 11-18-2016
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Re: SPOT 50% off sale, MESSENGER & all others

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Pretty sure Spot is coverage limited, while DeLorme is global. That may have changed some, since I bought mine.
SPOT uses the Globalstar satellite network data channel (equivalent to SMS (text) on cell phones). The Globalstar constellation is high inclination low earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. That means at high latitudes (above about 65) you won't have coverage. For most cruisers that isn't a factor. Globalstar has some coverage gaps for phones but they don't effect SPOT.

InReach uses Iridium. Iridium satellites have lower inclination LEO birds which makes them truly global for those with visions of sailing the Barents Sea or visiting Antarctica.

The battery life estimates for both products are very optimistic. If you run in tracking mode (automatic position sending on regular intervals) they both eat batteries.

Ultimately you can choose based on cost and features and not worry about coverage. Buy batteries. Lots of batteries.
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post #9 of 26 Old 11-18-2016
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Quote:
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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Pretty sure Spot is coverage limited, while DeLorme is global. That may have changed some, since I bought mine.
SPOT uses the Globalstar satellite network data channel (equivalent to SMS (text) on cell phones). The Globalstar constellation is high inclination low earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. That means at high latitudes (above about 65) you won't have coverage. For most cruisers that isn't a factor. Globalstar has some coverage gaps for phones but they don't effect SPOT.

InReach uses Iridium. Iridium satellites have lower inclination LEO birds which makes them truly global for those with visions of sailing the Barents Sea or visiting Antarctica.

The battery life estimates for both products are very optimistic. If you run in tracking mode (automatic position sending on regular intervals) they both eat batteries.

Ultimately you can choose based on cost and features and not worry about coverage. Buy batteries. Lots of batteries.
Do you have an opinion on durability? When I was on Manaslu and Annapurna (around 18000 ft, -15 celcius- ish) in 2013, my group had a high failure rate with our personal electronics, especially LCD screens. Edit: my brothers and I decided to hike from, a jungle valley at the base of the Himalayas and then non stop over the Larkya La and Thourong La passes, about a 300 km stroll, much of it high altitude and much of it chilly. The only piece of electronics still working at the end of our walk was my point and shoot camera.

Have you heard of Delorme's failing due to harsh environmental conditions? At a greater rate than SPOTs?

Edit 2: I have found some good stuff about durability. It seems they both have pretty good durability. I read a review by a guy who handles a lot of comms from Everest camp (21500 ft, which is really high) that seems to have no durability issues with either machine, although he personally uses a SPOT for climbing. The other was a review by a couple of yahoos whose hobby is apparently jumping out of airplanes with skis on then skiing down glaciers, they have both previously owned SPOTS but now use Delorme Inreach explorers. The only big reliability gripe I have found has been with SPOT customer service.

Last edited by Arcb; 11-18-2016 at 10:32 AM.
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post #10 of 26 Old 11-18-2016
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Re: SPOT 50% off sale, MESSENGER & all others

I spent a night watch, crossing the Gulf of Maine, far outside cell coverage (50-60ish miles), texting friends and kids on my DeLorme. It works great. You have to wait several seconds for your message to upload and longer for the device to interrogate for incoming messages, so it's not instantaneous, like a cell network. Still, it was great. I also sent a log entry to a group of folks, every 6 hours, on our 26 hr passage. Location was automatically included in every text. I added speed, COG, general conditions and crew report. Way better than a long float plan.

Speaking of floating, I bought the lifejacket for mine, so it would float. Not sure of the Spot buoyancy. I would much rather have a DeLorme with me in a liferaft than a vhf radio. Even an EPIRB signal is going to take many hours, before SAR decides to come look for you. With a text message, I can confirm I need help immediately. That kind of confirmation is all the Coasties need.

I used my iPhone for comm, which was bluetooth connected to the DeLorme. Therefore, I left the DeLorme tethered to the cockpit table and plugged into the cig lighter most of the time. I don't think the house bank even knows its there. It did work from down below as well, but not as reliably. The bluetooth signal was fine, but satellite upload/download was longer and failed occasionally, from the nav station. There were times, I would tether it under the dodger, just above the nav station and text from down below. That worked very well.

You can manage battery life to a degree, with user settings for how often it uploads position data and interrogates for messages. Both can be manually triggered, if you set them to extended periods for battery life, but want to check for a reply sooner. I left it on 24/7 for an entire two week trip. Battery life was never an issue. Easily got 2-3 days before needing recharging, but never really tested the limits. If one was backpacking, perhaps this is an issue, but I can't see it aboard a sailboat, with a power system.

As someone pointed out, DeLorme does allow for monthly plans, which is what I use. They pop you for a first time set up fee of something like $25 for this, but then it's just on/off, as needed. You can choose from several plans, depending on how many texts you expect. Personally, I buy unlimited, but usually for only a couple of months per year. It also allows the office to reach me, in an emergency. In coastal Maine, even some southern New England anchorages, cell coverage can be difficult. It's not just an offshore advantage.

For $1 per request, you can get a weather forecast on the DeLorme. Not awesome weather capability, but a neat backup idea. I expect this will improve over time. What I really want is a grib file, which is bandwidth limited right now. Still, it could be several messages stitched together.

As I expected, Spot coverage seems to have improved. Here is their map. Nevertheless, it has some limits, such as a Pacific crossing. Admittedly, that not very limiting for most. DeLorme is indeed full global.

Network / Satellite

Both are pretty useful devices. Fielder's choice, depending on needs.
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