Concours Owners Group (COG) Forum

Concours 14 Discussion (C14 / ZG1400 / 1400GTR) => Accessories C14 => Topic started by: wayne_jenkins_CT on April 17, 2011, 02:48:18 pm

Title: Spot tracking
Post by: wayne_jenkins_CT on April 17, 2011, 02:48:18 pm
Don't know a thing about Spot. I followed a trip on the web and though that;s nice. I do a lot of traveling alone anymore and it seems like a good thing to have. BUT I don't know what to purchase, there s more than one Spot device and lots of programs to purchase, all I want is to track me on a map and an OK message once in a while. I need some advice on this.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Cap'n Bob on April 17, 2011, 05:01:41 pm
I rode around Virgina in December with a COG member with a Spot device. It worked quite well that I also consider getting one. I know Fred Harmon has used his quite a bit. Maybe he will chime in on this or try sending him a PM. I'm sure Fred can tell you all that you want to know about the spot locator's!
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: smithr1 on April 18, 2011, 05:23:10 pm
I have been using the original since the year it came out.  I am not up really on all the new and latest.  Sometimes you just have to take the time to research what you want.  I like the feeling of having some possibility of getting help.  I ride quite a bit out of cell phone range.  My family enjoy knowing I am alright when I send a OK spot.  I paid maybe $100 for the unit and maybe $100 a year for the service.  I do not care about showing others my track so I didn't get that.  I might turn it on someday if I go somewhere worth tracking.  Let me know if you have any more questions.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Fred_Harmon_TX on April 18, 2011, 08:44:45 pm
I got one of the original Spot One units on closeout for $50 with a $50 additional rebate, but still had to pay $100 for the first year of service. The unit worked ok most of the time except when in the mountain, coast, or on a twisty road or one with lots of foilage. Another words, about 30% of the time it actually tracked properly. I'm told the new Spot II works better than the Spot 1 I have does.

This year they increase my yearly subscription fee to $200 a year, and so I cancelled my subscription.

Its a good idea and I like being able to be tracked when I travel alone, but the unit was unreliable for me, and the subscription was just too costly. I think many new smart phones could work nearly as good and don't cost any additional money. That is probably the way I will go next time. For now, I'm back to being untrackable when I travel, just like I have been for the last 50 years. So far I haven't disappeared yet.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: BJ_CT on April 19, 2011, 01:00:34 am
I just got a Spot II used and got the subscription.  I paid $90 for the unit and $150 for the subscription.  I think maybe I shoulda only paid $100 for the subscription 'cause I think $50 is so folks could see my 'track' on the 'findmespot' web site.  I yet to figure how all this works but suspect I'll use Spotwalla for my 'public' track.  So I don't have this all figured out yet but I agree with Wayne.  Good to let folks that worry be able to see you're still moving.  There's the added benefit of the the SOS and Help signals should I really screw up big.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Cap'n Bob on April 19, 2011, 07:47:41 am
I just got a Spot II used and got the subscription.  I paid $90 for the unit and $150 for the subscription.  I think maybe I shoulda only paid $100 for the subscription 'cause I think $50 is so folks could see my 'track' on the 'findmespot' web site.  I yet to figure how all this works but suspect I'll use Spotwalla for my 'public' track.  So I don't have this all figured out yet but I agree with Wayne.  Good to let folks that worry be able to see you're still moving.  There's the added benefit of the the SOS and Help signals should I really screw up big.


Man Bruce, you have all the toys!    :))
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: wayne_jenkins_CT on April 20, 2011, 09:37:44 am
Thanks to all for your help I think I will Pass on the Spot. I too have traveled many years and not disappeared . My wife though it might be a good idea so I told her she could buy it for me then. She said "$250.00, I don't care were you are at that much" She would be happy with a post card I guess and a one year payment in advance for the program turns me  off some. A life time warranty, at my age does not mean that much any more aether!! No, the Spot does not have a life time Warranty, just through that in. Thanks again for the info.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: S Smith on April 20, 2011, 11:57:18 am
Considering Fred's comment that it only tracked for him ~30% of the time, probably would not consider this product either.  I have no desire to use the route tracking feature, and I bet I can get similar operational messaging statistics using text messages from my cell phone to check in.

Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: smithr1 on April 20, 2011, 03:36:15 pm
I think many of you are missing the point of Spot.

IF you ride in areas with no cell phone service then how are you going to get help when the bike breaks down in the middle of no where?  If you wreck and don't feel like waiting for an hour for someone to drive by?  It is not for letting your wife know your fine.  It is a way to get help when no help is coming without it. 
What Fred said is correct.  You have to have a fair view of the sky to get a good gps fix so there may be a time that you have to get to a clearing to get a good spot.  That might be tough if you are busted up but as far as it dropping out while tracking, sure it will under the trees bridges and such.  So does your GPS sometimes.  What else gives you any chance of getting help when riding in bfe?
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: kv5e on April 20, 2011, 03:55:21 pm
There's mitigation techniques that will enhance SPOT coverage, particularly if you are using the 911/Help mode.

I bought one and used it for Big Bend this year in the breadcrumb/OK modes and had good results.

It's a matter of presentation geometry to the GlobalSat LEO SVs as to where they are when the SPOT transmission occurs. If you are in an area that is hemmed in with buildings and foilage, the message success rate definitely drops.

911 transmissions get a higher priority as to assertion tries and if you get it to an open area to send these it will work at a decent  metric.

For a drop dead must alert, this is not the technology. For a hedge against a possible event in rural non-cellular covered areas it works well if you understand its limitations.




Craig

Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: 2linby on April 20, 2011, 04:20:23 pm
Most folks generally tell me to "get lost". I figure using a spot tracker would defeat the spirit of their intention. 

I have followed IBR folks who use the spot tracker and it seems to work out fine. But unless I was involved in that type of activity I don't think they are worth the expense. 
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: smithr1 on April 21, 2011, 06:05:50 pm
I am not trying to sell these things or even care if you get one or not.  Just picture yourself in a ditch bleeding out and broke leg.  You are just out of sight of traffic and in an area that if you could just get to the top of the rise you would have cell phone service but down here in the ditch nada.  Your life is not worth $100 a year?    :-[

I bet you I can come up with a dozen scenarios that this thing could save your life.  A dozen more where it could save you money, keep you from having to hike miles for service or spending hours trying to fix a dead bike to no avail.   

If you think well I live in a populated area so I have service on my cell phone.  Test that out.  Even in the best covered areas look for service on the twisty back roads you enjoy most.  Do you really have service on these roads?  I bet more times then you think you don't.  I can go just 3 miles from the house to a favorite road.  This road is only a few more miles from an interstate and big town.  No service on the road due to hills, trees and low areas.  This is just where you might have a problem.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Rev Ryder on April 21, 2011, 06:37:07 pm
Dear Anne Landers Bob,

I  inadvertently left a pen in the breast pocket of my favorite shirt - which then made it into the laundry hamper and consequently the rest of the laundering machinery aparatus around here setting the stain.  After numerous attempts at removal, it now appears the spot may be permanent.  My question is.... Can this spot be tracked from space by government agencies?  I saw something like that in a movie last week and now I am concerned.

signed Not Wanting to be Spotted
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Rev Ryder on April 21, 2011, 06:41:39 pm
In all fairness to such tracking devices.  last week I DID have a conversation with someone (maybe it was Roger or maybe I read it somewhere) who was telling me he had been on a ride and the folks had found the remains of someone that had disappeared on the same ride the previous year.  A biker missing for a year because folks can't find him in a mountainous stretch may seem hard to believe in this day and age, but there it is.  If he'd had a spot...   I'm just sayin'.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: smithr1 on April 21, 2011, 06:43:08 pm
Chuck,
I am sorry to say that even without a spot you can be tracked from space by the goobermint. 

My guess in reality is that unless you hit a button to send your location or have tracking turned on that the unit is no different then any other gps and is not outputting anything that can be tracked unlike a powered up cell/smart phone.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: BJ_CT on April 21, 2011, 07:33:59 pm
No affiliation but SpotWalla has a lotta information on tracking.  Looks like you gotta use Spot if you want to save your meaningless 1%er life but if you only want to be tracked by folks (in addition to the govmint) apparently you can hook up your cell phone through Google something or other and your various SOs and/or wives will be able to tell which one you're lying to now. :rotflmao:

Bbar, still collecting.  The latest was finally subscribing to the NavTraffic and NavWeather for my Zumo.  Pretty neat. :great:
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: wayne_jenkins_CT on April 21, 2011, 08:53:40 pm
Is this forum great or not!! I would not show up at a COG fuction with a 'Spot messinger" for fear that every one would point their finger and laugh at me! Life is tough sometimes.Come to think about it they do that anyway.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Cap'n Bob on April 21, 2011, 11:13:05 pm
 Having had a bad accident on my C10 a few years back, I can see the merits of using the device. And riding with a person using one throughout Virginia last year and seeing how well it did work for us those couple of days, again I can see the merit of the device. But for the price, it would have to work most to all of the time. Besides, big brother is watching us at every move anymore anyway!  :))
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: 2linby on April 21, 2011, 11:51:13 pm
Dear Anne Landers Bob,

I  inadvertently left a pen in the breast pocket of my favorite shirt - which then made it into the laundry hamper and consequently the rest of the laundering machinery aparatus around here setting the stain.  After numerous attempts at removal, it now appears the spot may be permanent.  My question is.... Can this spot be tracked from space by government agencies?  I saw something like that in a movie last week and now I am concerned.

signed Not Wanting to be Spotted

Hey now!  This is serious!!  I mean a pack of hungry wolves could show up under your chair lift and, and...........well???  :P
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: RR on April 22, 2011, 11:36:42 am
 Don't know your travel plans, but if you only need it for one or two long trips, google "spot rental gps" and see if one of the rentals units fits your needs.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: MizzouMike on April 22, 2011, 01:25:31 pm
I am not trying to sell these things or even care if you get one or not.  Just picture yourself in a ditch bleeding out and broke leg.  You are just out of sight of traffic and in an area that if you could just get to the top of the rise you would have cell phone service but down here in the ditch nada.  Your life is not worth $100 a year?    :-[

I used to sail with my father, and whenever they would go out in what he refered to as the 'blue water' they would take an EPIRB (or a device that would call for help if you needed it, don't really know how it works, as they never needed it, but it would not track either).   I also know that they make PLB (Personal Locator Beacons) for hiking.

Both of these options appear much more expensive that the SPOT.   If someone is concerned, I bet this would work great.

I personally think it would be neat, but not $$$$ that neat....   
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Rev Ryder on April 22, 2011, 03:11:56 pm
If I were a dual sport rider I wouldn't leave the road without one I think. 
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Rob on April 22, 2011, 05:53:40 pm
I got one last summer, prior to a week long trip on Vancouver Island with my son.  Paid $60 for a used unit, then $100 for the basic service plus tracking (found an online coupon that saved me $50 on that combo).  Set it up to send an email to the home front with the Okay button, and with the link established she could check and see where we were during the week.  Cell coverage was spotty at best on the north part of the island, and we were wandering around on many forest service roads besides, certainly helped with peace of mind for all concerned, travelers as well as observers.  I'll be carrying it with me to Alaska for sure.  It will be well worth the cost when/if I ever have to use it to call for help.

Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: wayne_jenkins_CT on April 22, 2011, 07:35:41 pm
I guess I could see the need for a Spot if my cell did not work. Like areas in some of our fine states out West or Alaska. But I don't do those trips very often anymore and here in the East I'm in Cell range most of the time. I have enough trouble keeping the GPS and  the Sat. radio working.Besides my wife found out about all the stuff I have purchased for the bike and was not all that happy.  " that's more junk than you purchased all the rest of the bikes put to gather" And when is George coming to pick up that old Yahammy you have been working on?  Geo ant coming. It ant his any more.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: kv5e on April 25, 2011, 01:19:10 pm
I guess I could see the need for a Spot if my cell did not work. Like areas in some of our fine states out West or Alaska. But I don't do those trips very often anymore and here in the East I'm in Cell range most of the time.

Here in Texas there's very sparse cellular coverage in the Big Bend region. Unfortunately. there's been fatality motorcycle accidents in areas of no cellular coverage and while it is hard to know that a SPOT or other SAT technology might have made a difference, one can only hedge bets.

I also like the fact that my mother can follow along as we travel so if it's additional piece of mind for her and my family, then the price is OK for me.

YMMV and you pays yo money and takes yo chances.


Craig
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Rev Ryder on April 25, 2011, 05:40:56 pm
I live on the Coastal Plains (read that as FLAT) southwest of Houston a little ways (read that as lots of cell phones in the area).  10 miles from home I can lose service for 20 miles or more.  You'd think it couldn't happen, but it does.  A cell phon eis iffy, a tracking device, even if it should somehow lose triangulation, will show the last "visible" place you were and what direction you were heading.  I see it as a real good thing.  Now, do I have one.... No, I do not.  Perhaps someday I will though.  It seems like a good thing if it were just a little less expensive.
Title: Re: Spot tracking
Post by: Slybones on April 25, 2011, 05:48:07 pm
Even the inital price would not be so bad, if the service was a little cheaper for the basic service. I probably not use the tracking but would go for the 911 and basic service if it was a little lower.