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  #11  
Old 08-02-2019, 10:58 AM
flyboy1963's Avatar
flyboy1963 flyboy1963 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lake Country, B.C. Canada
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Default reviving this topic

I'm sure more has been said on this, but I want to expand on the comments made;
now in 2019, after I hoped Garmin's InReach would be a viable alternative to SPOT, I'm crushed!

I had to do a little pencil tabulation....looks like this;

Inreach mini $350 US $450 cdn tax in $504
Inreach explorer $450 US $590 cdn tax in $660
All this with no accessories

Annual plan with 10 minute tracking, almost useless $13/month,
a couple weather updates per flight = $5 one hr flight average $250
50 flight hours per year $13/month $156
Total about $430 US
Two minute tracking option, annual plan $80/month= $960 us $1300 cdn
Monthly plan & fees for 6 months @ $125/mo = $750 $1010 cdn

SPOT X purchase $350 cdn
Annual plan ‘basic’ haha $200 $300cdn tax incl
2.5 min tracking, when it works $99 $140 cdn
Total $440

So it looks like the options are:
InReach – a $500 or $700 gadget, will last a couple years, annual fee $1000 (min)
SPOT - $350 gadget, with performance issues……… annual fees of $400+ a year,

Am I missing something, or has this just become total BS?
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  #12  
Old 08-03-2019, 08:45 AM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
 
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Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
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I'd really love to know why some people have performance issues with their Spot, and I and others I know have had none. The only time i've had trouble with my Spot is when I forget and turn it on after i've started moving. It has a harder time locking in when it's not sitting still. And yet, even then, it's always locked in after a couple of minutes, and the tracks I get back after a flight look great to me (5 minute tracking - more than adequate).

I do concede that the original Spot was really bad with the initial lock problem... It had to sit for 5 minutes or more in a clear area to get a lock before you moved it, or you'd probably never get a lock at all. I think that alone was responsible for 90% of the Spot complaints, and maybe still a high percentage of complaints people find today if they google for "spot problems". The Gen3 model uses a much improved GPS chip that locks in much faster in my experience.
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1996 RV-6 "Tweety" C-FRBP (formerly N196RV)
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  #13  
Old 08-03-2019, 08:51 AM
SPX SPX is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: San Diego
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowflake View Post
I'd really love to know why some people have performance issues with their Spot, and I and others I know have had none.
SPOT lists alkaline batteries as a requirement. I used to think that requirement was BS until I started having performance issues. Just for kicks, I changed the installed non-alkaline batteries with alkaline batteries. My issues went away, and have stayed away. Probably not the cause of all of the reported issues, but likely some of them...
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  #14  
Old 08-05-2019, 06:32 PM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is online now
 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPX View Post
SPOT lists alkaline batteries as a requirement. I used to think that requirement was BS until I started having performance issues. Just for kicks, I changed the installed non-alkaline batteries with alkaline batteries. My issues went away, and have stayed away. Probably not the cause of all of the reported issues, but likely some of them...
Ummm... I don't wish to be argumentative however it might be helpful to point out that this statement may not apply to all SPOT devices. There's maybe a small chance that you got mixed up with respect to which batteries are recommended for your unit. I just opened up a friend's SPOT 3 this afternoon. Inside the battery compartment is a note that says Lithium or NiMH batteries ONLY, NO ALKALINES.

As for performance, both the Garmin/DeLorme and SPOT devices are satellite-based thus are line-of-sight for communications. The Garmin/DeLorme seems to have a bit more transmit power, thus is more likely to overcome local signal attenuation by things like vegetation but the link margins are still fairly small if one wants to operate in difficult terrain or in the forest.

As for GPS - the earlier comment about the generational improvement of GPS chipsets is bang on the money. We're now picking up GPS signals inside buildings and in other locations that would not have been possible a decade ago, thanks to incredible improvements in GPS signal processing in the newer chipsets. It really is amazing to see how far GPS has come since the 80's when I first started working on airborne GPS receivers.

Last edited by Canadian_JOY : 08-05-2019 at 06:32 PM. Reason: Gee I wish I could spell things right the first time!
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  #15  
Old 08-05-2019, 08:04 PM
SPX SPX is offline
 
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Location: San Diego
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian_JOY View Post
Ummm... I don't wish to be argumentative however it might be helpful to point out that this statement may not apply to all SPOT devices. There's maybe a small chance that you got mixed up with respect to which batteries are recommended for your unit.
You’re absolutely correct. My recollection wasn’t correct on the type of battery suggested by Spot. The message stays the same though, in that using a battery other than that which is suggested by Spot has caused me to see poor performance from my unit. If I had further performance issues, that’s where I’d start.

Thanks for the correction!
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  #16  
Old 08-05-2019, 10:53 PM
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BJohnson BJohnson is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Federal Way, Wa
Posts: 251
Default Interesting video of a Cirrus crash and Inreach tracker

I use the basic Spot3, but the look on this guys face when the text came in that search and rescue was on its way has me rethinking the texting options.

https://youtu.be/pSiTpHNq-IA
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  #17  
Old 08-06-2019, 08:57 AM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian_JOY View Post
Ummm... I don't wish to be argumentative however it might be helpful to point out that this statement may not apply to all SPOT devices. There's maybe a small chance that you got mixed up with respect to which batteries are recommended for your unit. I just opened up a friend's SPOT 3 this afternoon. Inside the battery compartment is a note that says Lithium or NiMH batteries ONLY, NO ALKALINES.
My recollection is that my First-gen SPOT said it could use Alkalines, but they recommended Lithiums. I only tried Alkalines once, and the battery life was poor. The Lithiums last an entire flying season for me.

My SPOT 3 has lithiums in it (as you point out, SPOT says *only* lithiums), but it is also plugged into ship's power via the micro-USB port on the back. So the batteries are only ever used when I unplug it to take in the car or on the bicycle.
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1996 RV-6 "Tweety" C-FRBP (formerly N196RV)
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  #18  
Old 08-08-2019, 08:39 PM
RV-4 RV-4 is offline
 
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Location: St-Jerome,Quebec,Canada
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Default SPOT vs Tracking time

Rob (Snowflake)

''the tracks I get back after a flight look great to me (5 minute tracking - more than adequate).''

You gotta remember than you are moving at about 2.5NM/ Min in an RV X 5 = 12.5 NM...

It is a huge distance as far as SAR goes....

As a former SAR crew in the Air Force I can tell you this create a fairly large search area every minute reducing your chance of been find...

I believe the Spot 2 had a 2 min tracking time and the SPOT 3 is probably better..

But it is better than nothing..

Bruno
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  #19  
Old 08-09-2019, 07:50 AM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
 
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Bruno, keep in mind that when i'm moving that fast i'm also generally following a track, and won't be 180 degrees behind the last waypoint. If I go missing, i'm most likely going to be in a 5 degree triangle with its apex at that last point. And if I have an emergency in flight (like an engine failure), the SOS button will bump the tracking speed up to 2 or 1 minute, I forget what the highest rate is.

If the reason I go lost is that I haven't seen what i'm running into (VFR into IMC into towering cumulogranite), they don't need to find me anyway. I won't survive it.
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  #20  
Old 08-09-2019, 12:35 PM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is online now
 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Also, keep in mind that you have an ELT on board the aircraft. Spend the $$ and update it to a 406MHz unit and register it properly. Doing so considerably shrinks the size of the search area.

The breadcrumb trail from SPOT or InReach just tells SAR where to start looking after somebody has reported you missing. Doing the best you possibly can to ensure your ELT is installed for maximum survivability and optimal signal transmission will help ensure SAR is notified of the crash quickly. At that point the breadcrumb trail becomes a very good backup to the ELT.
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