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ramblinboy

Rescue Where There Is No Cellular Service

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We have had two traveling families disappear in Western Canada within the last year. Our kids suggested we get one while on the road. We purchased one for $149CAD with a $50 rebate. There are two versions one for sending out your current location via satellite to your list of people - Spot GPS Messenger. The other allows GPS, plus short text messages where no cellular service exists and is connected through Bluetooth to your smartphone - Spot Connect.

The Spot GPS we bought allows 3 types of message to be sent out to your personal contact list. One is a GPS coordinate just letting your people know where you are, the second is more urgent perhaps a mechanical breakdown, and the third is an SOS to your people and to a private rescue service - not 911 - but to the GEOS International Emergency Response Center. Its cheap insurance we believe in case of emergency or to just let people know where on earth you are! There is a yearly activation fee of $100USD that, unless you stop payment ahead of time, bills automatically yearly! It works worldwide too with very few exceptions.

Here's the link:

http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=102

FAQ for the GEOS group:

http://www.geosalliance.com/faqs.html

Safe travels! rB

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The "Spot" satellite GPS unit works very well. We use them in our helicopters and they send a "burst" of info every 10 minutes or so. If you give access to someone via password to the on-line site they can actually follow your progress on a map at the website. Each morning our pilots push the notification button and it sends a "Morning Departure" message. You can customize this message as you wish-example "We are on the Road!". At night when they are done they send a "Landed safe for the night" or you could send- "Enjoying a cold one at the resort". The messages include the Latitude and Longitude. These numbers can be plugged into Google Maps and it will show exactly where the location is. The messages can be sent to email locations and also sent as a text message. I get them on my cell phone as a text so I know where my aircraft are. We are thinking of getting one for ourselves, you can use it in the coach or anywhere, boating, kayaking, hiking etc. The transmitter is very small, it can be worn on a belt or on your arm....The one drawback to them is the need for AA Lithium batteries, somewhat pricey.

Great device.

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Posted:

"The other allows GPS, plus short text messages where no cellular service exists and is connected through Bluetooth to your smartphone..."

Rescue with no cellular service but it uses your smartphone. I think I'm missing some data here.

Mike,

"...they send a "burst" of info every 10 minutes or so."and "The transmitter is very small, it can be worn on a belt or on your arm..."

I understand the device knows it's location via the GPS system, but are you and RB saying it transmits it's location from your belt or arm to a separate satellite that forwards the data to a ground station that send out emails or other services? Or is it transmitting it's location via cell service?

Please clarify.

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Posted: "The other allows GPS, plus short text messages where no cellular service exists and is connected through Bluetooth to your smartphone..."

Rescue with no cellular service but it uses your smartphone. I think I'm missing some data here.

Mike,

"...they send a "burst" of info every 10 minutes or so."and "The transmitter is very small, it can be worn on a belt or on your arm..."

I understand the device knows it's location via the GPS system, but are you and RB saying it transmits it's location from your belt or arm to a separate satellite that forwards the data to a ground station that send out emails or other services? Or is it transmitting it's location via cell service?

Please clarify.

Chuck, the unit sends it's location via satellite to the ground station which in turn sends out messages via email or the cell phone networks. Spot is satellite based which is why it will work almost anywhere. Have a look at the website, most answers are found there.

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As a retired communications engineer I find most marketing literature regarding high tech communications services is very long on hype, and very short on real (as apposed to ozone based) specifications. And when calling their sales staff, the same reality comes to light.

But I will check their site. Thanks guys.

Chuck

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We have had SPOT for years and it works as advertised. Mine is the original model and it required a clear view of the sky to obtain GPS position and to transmit to the SPOT satellite. The front of the unit had to be aimed toward the sky. It uses Lithium batteries and works on standby for an extended time. It will transmit your location for days and I carry a spare set of batteries with it so I could extend that. Since it gives you location to rescue personnel, a specific latitude and longitude location, search and rescue people don't have to search. They simply need to get to your location, they should be within shouting distance at the most. There is even a rescue policy you can purchase for a nominal fee (I believe it is about $6 per year) that will cover the cost of your rescue.

There is a backlash to this technology. Some people have used the system to request aid when they really weren't facing a life threatening situation. There have been several stories in the last few years. One hiking party set off the alarm because they were running out of drinking water. When rescue arrived, they took the water and refused rescue. They did this a second time according to the account. If enough idiots use SPOT this way, it will lose its value. The Emergency button is strictly for life threatening emergencies. For other requests, you can program the device to send a message to several friends or relatives who could come bring you water or give you some other kind of assistance.

I wrote up this device on the Forum in April 2009. Here is a link to my article: Taking the Search out of Search and Rescue.

The SPOT Communicator that works with a smartphone is a recent development, I don't have any experience with it.

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Great initial story from a while back Tom. Sorry I missed it on my search. Could be a real lifesaver for those who use it responsibly. Maybe we could get a discount in a bulk buy through FMCA!!

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