View Full Version here: : I've got a SPOT

13-03-2012, 09:31 PM
I've lashed out on a new toy... a SPOT II Satellite GPS Messenger. I used to have an EPIRB (they weren't called PLBs when I bought it:P) but it was one of the old ones that isn't on the right frequency anymore and was past its 7 year battery life (and never been activated...)

I haven't been doing nearly as much adventurous stuff over the last few years, so I haven't been keen to lash out $400 or more for an up to date PLB, but after reading about a motorcyclist that went missing 4 years ago, I thought I might get some use out of a SPOT. This poor fellow went for a ride by himself on the Putty Rd and went missing... until he was found, 3 years later, not far off the road:sadeyes:. Now I don't consider the Putty Rd remote, so it just makes you aware of how easily things can go badly wrong.

I do a fair bit of touring on the bike lately, often by myself, so a SPOT will provide a bit of security. With tracking on, even if I can't set the thing off, at least there's a place to start looking.


13-03-2012, 09:48 PM
Sorry Al, but you've lost me somewhere in the translation.

What is a SPOT? Is it some sort of Tracking Device or a Homing Beacon? :shrug:

14-03-2012, 06:55 AM
Good idea Al, I am considering something like that myself as we travel through some really remote places.


14-03-2012, 06:59 AM
Sorry Ken, one of these thingies...



14-03-2012, 08:48 AM
$200 for a device that can save your life. Bargain. :thumbsup:

14-03-2012, 09:13 AM
great idea !!!!!money well spent al..

14-03-2012, 10:19 AM
Some argue that the cost over the 7 year life span of a PLB is higher, which it is of course, but in 7 years I didn't activate my EPIRB/PLB... but I'm sure I'll use the SPOT (hopefully not in a full blown emergency, that's all):thumbsup:.


14-03-2012, 10:38 AM
I reckon pilots and boaties would love these. Very portable and a must have for those that go to out of the way places.:thumbsup:

14-03-2012, 03:03 PM
Nope, they're a toy. A nice toy, but a toy nonetheless.

Out on yachts at sea, we use EPIRB's with built-in GPS. They are very accurate, and are linked directly to the sea safety authorities around the world. They don't rely on your wife getting a text message over an unreliable telephone network, on a phone that may be out of range or have a flat battery, who then has to call 000 and try to convince them that you are 54 miles offshore and she'd like them to go rescue you.

My last one cost me $1600, and I hope I never have to use it.


14-03-2012, 04:34 PM
Yes Al they a great, Some can call them toys but they work I am in charge of 10 of these units and they tell me were all my work crews are.
Spot is in my favorites at home and I have one dedicated computer at work solely for spot.
P.s I have a huge supply of AAA alkaline batteries on hand.

Great thread.

14-03-2012, 06:02 PM
I would want to know what satellite system it uses, it may say somewhere on their website but I couldnt be bothered looking that hard. If it uses Thuraya, then forget it, they will find your rotting carcas in a few months, it it uses Iridium (works like a cell phone using a network of moving satellites) that would be better but depending on geography you may still be food for the crows, if it uses something a little more geostationary like the Inmarsat's then you would have almost guaranteed coverage. I work in the aircraft industry and use sats for all kinds of comms, phones especially, this information you will never get from the dealers, they just want your money, and remember, sat signals are extremely weak, a rocky overhang will render any device useless. Good luck.


14-03-2012, 06:05 PM
They look useful Al but I have to say when I first read the thread title I was going to offer my sympathy for you having some sort of spotty problem on your skin:P

14-03-2012, 07:06 PM
If you havent used them then you will never know.

Here is a operating screen pic.

14-03-2012, 07:18 PM
Well... no... you can do it that way but you certainly don't have to. In a life threatening situation the SPOT has an "SOS" button which goes through the GEOS emergency contraol centre in Texas and they pass the GPS position on to the SAR authority for the conutry where the SPOT was activated. Not exactly the same as an EPIRB but not too different... When you register your SPOT you nominate a primary and secondary emergency contact as well and this is passed direct to the SAR authority on activation of an SOS, so they get a little head start there on the intelligence gathering side.:) But the SPOT is a commercial system, not legislated as is the EPIRB/PLB system.

In the meantime you can use it to let your contact know you are OK as often as you like, send them a custom message, or let them know you need help without activating national search and rescue organisations when it isn't life threatening.

It uses the underutilised slow data band on the Globalstar satellites. Globalstar invented the SPOT system to make better use of this band on their satellites.


14-03-2012, 07:43 PM
Nice example pof the tracking function Kev. Had old mate that disappeared on the Putty road had that on, it wouldn't have taken 3 years to find him. If he wasn't in a state to activate a PLB, it wouldn't help...


15-03-2012, 07:05 AM
Hey Kev...

Is there any trick to setting up mobile phones on the SPOT? I followed the directions and entered the full mobile number as well as country code in the separate field, but nothing happened. I'm just trying it with the leading zero dropped.

It's hard when there's no phone service at home... I'll have to see if I get the message today at work:rolleyes:.


15-03-2012, 07:25 AM
Hey Al,

I use one of these as well, there is a way to send to mobiles I just can not remember how I did it as I set mine up 8 months ago, however the info was on one of the FAQ screens on the site, had something to do with dropping a number. I work alone in the bush prospecting a lot and use it all the time for sending messages out, never once had it fail to connect.
A great many of the mining companies use them now too, that said I probably would not use it for marine applications.


15-03-2012, 04:29 PM
Al I have tried to get this happening on my blackberry but I seem to think there is a problem with the java side of it.


15-03-2012, 05:07 PM
I had some success with SMS to phone. I dropped the leading zeroes of the phone numbers (as you would normally, despite the SPOT page saying enter the full number!) and it worked on my phone.

It doesn't appear to have worked on Lyn's phone though:rolleyes: and I can't see why...:shrug:


17-03-2012, 10:30 PM
The Spot's are becoming more popular with fisho's that go bush - the ability to be able to send a few non-emergency messages when "off-the-grid" is very handy - "Yes dear, back at the car now..."

I think the new Spot Connect versions will link with your smart phone so you can send whatever - sms, email, facebook, twitter updates :lol: - through the sat network, when you are out woop woop.

Al, other than adding the 61 and dropping the leading zero, not sure what else - assume your wife is on the same mobile carrier?

17-03-2012, 11:28 PM
I seem to recall you need an annual subscription to the network as well,
how much if so?
I also do a bit of motorcycle touring solo in remote areas, I switched phone carrier to Terrorstra again as I was sick of three's roaming/non existent signal outside the metropolitan area.
It would probably be a good idea...

18-03-2012, 12:09 AM
The basic plan is 115USD, if you want the tracking function its another 50USD I think

18-03-2012, 09:04 AM
I read somewhere while I was setting it up that some phones may weed out the SPOT messages. I guess it would be a setting of some sort (acting like a spam filter I guess), so I need to do a bit more research on that.

We're both on Telstra.