Best emergency satellite location device?

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Jim Wallace, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    I've heard and read about SPOT.
    Recently, i've also read about the DeLorme inReach, which seems to have more and better features, and is partnered with Iridium Communications, which reportedly has a better satellite network thant the one that SPOT uses.
    Yesterday, Iridium issued a news release about its latest development in this area, called "Iridium GO!"
    Iridium GO! creates a satellite "hotspot" for smart phones. Goes beyond the capabilities of the currently available Delorme inReach. Its a no-brainer that DeLorme will incorporate this into their new models.
    Sounds interesting, but maybe a bit expensive.
    This is just an interesting little thing i ran into while perusing yesterday's news, and I thought I'd share it here.

    I re-read the article (just search for "Iridium GO!" and you will link to it), and it appears that GO! will enable your smart phone itself to be the satellite communications device. So, does this obliviate the need for the SPOT or DeLorme inReach?
     
  2. Kcahill

    Kcahill Active Member

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    When i work in the far reaches of the universe and even the not so far reaches if the work is high altitude and particularly dangerous we carry 3-4 devices. We each carry a spot, theres an ELT in the aircraft, and also an EPIRB if we are going to be doing any work over water. Work in northern canada or reaches up by the polar region there are also a couple of other satellite beacons we carry of which I dont remember the brand name.

    Spot has been pretty good but there are regions it works better than others. I imagine now that they are selling sat phones the network will improve. The thing I dont like about the Iridium go is its emergency feature you have to push an SOS button to communicate with a first responder and the article I read didnt really state if a relative calls in saying you are missing if they can track you without your input on the button.

    IMO the best thing to do is carry multiple devices and make sure somebody knows where you are going and what time you will be checking in, the satellite location device should be a backup. Last year after a bird strike forced us down I called in and they pulled up my track right off the SPOT with my last report in and it was like 5 or 6 miles from our actual location. Pretty nifty devices.
     
  3. Jmills81

    Jmills81 The Dude Abides

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    love my Spot sat phone
     
  4. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Thanks for sharing your experience, Kcahill.
     
  5. Lugan

    Lugan Joe Streamer

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    My first SPOT Messenger was great. After I lost it, I purchased one of the 2013 model and it didn't work. I got that replaced, and the replacement didn't work. Reading online reviews on Amazon and REI, it seems my experience was not unique. Right now, I'm also looking for a new SAT device, but it won't be a SPOT. I've lost confidence in that company's device reliability.
     
  6. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    I was actually just thinking about this issue myself. Being a dad with a full time job, my fishing time is random and thus I tend to fish alone. I'm not a big risk taker these days and I always leave detailed instructions for my wife about where to find me. But still, a few years back I tripped over a log up high in the nooksack drainage and dislocated my index finger. I popped it back in and stuck it in the river for 20 minutes. But it was hard not to wonder what would have happened if it had been a fractured leg bone or something.

    So any advice people have about the location devices, I'm all ears.
     
  7. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    If one can afford to own multiple devices, and has the ability to carry all of them along on the trek, Im sure that would be the best.
    But for just having/carrying one such device, which one would be the better of them all?
    SPOT is lighter and smaller than Delorme inReach, so easier to carry.
    Delorme inReach works on the Iridium Satellite Communications network, which might just be the best one flying. The company seems to be on a roll, upgrading their systems and scope.

    I still don't know.
     
  8. Kcahill

    Kcahill Active Member

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    Jim I think it really depends where you are using them and what the coverage is in that area so maybe if you know someone in the local area. I carry my spot because it is what work provides me but I have had issues with it in certain regions and it sounds like Lugan has had problems also. You could also try contacting the local distributor and see what they say...but then you are dealing with sales people.
     
  9. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Lugan, My research has discovered that SPOT is the spottiest of 'em all. Lots of folks have complained that SPOT doesn't work when they test them. The satellite network they run on has only a few birds up there.
    One of the best is the ACR ResQLink. The Delorme inReach is also much more reliable than SPOT. It may be comparable to the ACR ResQLink. Of course the ones that are reliable cost a little more, but it seems "wrong already" to save just a few bucks on something that you will need to work when you really need it to work.



     
  10. Stan Wright

    Stan Wright Member

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    I wonder… if a person had an EPIRB or Spot or something… and they were on that airline that disappeared… if the plane was hijacked, if they reached into their carry on and activated it…. would it have attracted someones attention?
     
  11. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    In theory, I think so.
     
  12. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    A SPOT user informed me that you might have to wait up to 15 minutes for a satellite that it works with, to orbit into range above your position. So if it doesn't work first try, wait a few minutes and try again.

    Delorme inReach runs on Iridium satellites that are in a fixed orbit They stay in one place above. One of them expired recently, and Iridium moved one of its dormant spares (that it already had in orbit) to the location and turned it on.

    ACR ResQLink is a favorite of the local mariners. The US Coast Guard uses it. It broadcasts a unique registered distress signal with a GPS fix on your location. The ResQLink also emits a separate homing signal for the rescuers to reach your location. I'm pretty sure that the satellite network they run on are in fixed orbit and that they have your arse covered.
     
  13. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    Working offshore, pushing the boat as fast as she'd go, we always had an EPIRB near at hand, but on land, nope. Her Ladyship gets really worried if I don't check in frequently (ask Jason!), so I've been thinking about getting something so she'll be able to see I'm still kicking. I wouldn't get one, but for her. After all, if Hugh Glass could survive a griz mauling, so can I...:D
     

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