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SAFETY in the FIELD - SATELLITE MESSENGER


DOC

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So I have been a big fan of the SPOT SAT tracker since 2010 when I went to Sudan.  Back then it was a real basic unit.

I have had a Global Star SAT phone.  It was expensive, $449 a year for like 400 minutes of which I used maybe 15 minutes a year.  And that was only good in North America.  Call to my wife.  I got here OK there isn't any cell service.  I'll call you tonight.  CLICK.

So this year Global Star says we are changing the plan.  Minimum 1200 minutes for $895.  Ah NO!

So the sales person says have you heard about our new SPOT X?  No I say.  A 2 way SAT Text messenger. A GPS, a tracker a SOS alert system.

So the unit costs $249.  They have several annual plans.  Text anyone or email anyone via SAT.  They can also text back because the SPOT X has it's own MOBILE DEVICE NUMBER (a telephone number essentially.)  The plan includes almost anywhere in the world there is SAT coverage.

They have a $144 annual plan that includes 240 custom text messages, .25 cents for over 240.  But it has Unlimited CHECK IN.  So if all you are interested in doing is letting your Spouse or significant other know you got somewhere OK and your GPS location, you can do that as many times as you want.  It sends a predefined message that you set up on your computer before hand.  "I'm good everything going fine, I'll check in tomorrow." 

The old SPOT I had only had this CHECK IN feature, and Tracking and SOS.  When I was in Sudan I had arranged with my wife that I would CHECK IN in the morning and in the evening.  All she needed to know was that I was OK.

The 2 way text messaging SPOT X with this basic plan has 10 30 or 60 minute tracking.  You can turn tracking on.  Give your family a web address to your tracker and it will show where you are, on Google Map with GPS location every 10, 30, or 60 minutes.

Serious emergency?  You broke your leg, got bit by a rattler.  Flip the door open on the SOS button and push it, and a helicopter will be dispatched to save your ass.  You can also text back and forth to advise the rescue team what the emergency is.  Now it will cost you dearly to be rescued, unless you buy the additional rescue insurance.

For me, going off the beaten path by myself, where there is no cell coverage, this could be a life saver.

So let's take this scenario.  I am down at an outing in Morristown. At camp we have cell coverage.  Down in LSD there is no cell coverage.  So before I leave I get Bill's cell phone number, and three or four other people at the outing.  I program them into my SPOT X.

I get my rear end way out in the boonies, maybe way up into one of the washes and my ATV goes dead.  I'm screwed.  Nope.  Get yourself to the top of a hill where you have a clear view of the sky.  Text a message saying "Can someone come get me, ATV broke down."  Push a button that includes the GPS coordinates, and send that to all the contacts.  They can text you back.  "No worries Doc, we'll leave now be there ASAP, we will bring a tow strap."

I think this is an investment in safety that could be the difference between life and death.  After the $249 to buy the unit, $144 a year for SAT communication is a steal.

Doc

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So here is a list of GPS locations where I was on 08/01/18, just around town in Las Vegas, but if you were trying to find me you would know where I had been and where the last place I was.
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Then it provides a map via Google Map.


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I for one am a big fan of SPOT and use it all the time. Message my wife when I get out to the locations saying Having a Great Time! Then another when I'm heading back to the truck. Been looking at upgrading to the SPOT X and think I will. I have paid the extra insurance in case the SOS button has to be pushed. But have always wondered if it would work.

 

 

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Well one thing we know for sure, not having anything does not work at all.  They have a lot of saves to their credit.

I like the idea of being able to text because the SOS service can try to text you and find out the extent of your emergency.  And I like the idea of personal texting because the fact is, all my wife needs to know is that I am OK.

On the other hand if there is an emergency at home, or a question she has, she can initiate contact with me.

Doc

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Sounds like a great new device Doc. Like you I hunt alone much of the time. Have not invested in SPOT before but the new unit will finally twist my arm I think! Thanks for the info!

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Great info, Doc.  Is this something you can put in your backpack and use with the GPZ?  Just curious as I know cell phones can mess things up.   And I am usually over a mile from my truck.  Thanks for the info!

 

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10 hours ago, Andyy said:

Great info, Doc.  Is this something you can put in your backpack and use with the GPZ?  Just curious as I know cell phones can mess things up.   And I am usually over a mile from my truck.  Thanks for the info!

 

I wore my Spot, the old one, on an elastic band on my arm, when I was in Sudan detecting.  I never noticed any issues.  And I had tracking on all the time and I think I had it set to send a track location like every 30 minutes.

With the old one you had to select your tracking time on your computer at home before you went into the field.  So you could set it for every 5 minutes, every 10 minutes, every 30 minute or every hour.  The nice thing about the SPOT X is you can change the tracking time on your SPOTX while you are in the field.  So if you are just walking, once every 30 minutes is probably fine because you aren't going to travel far.  If you hop on your ATV, then you may want to set it for every 5 minutes because you can travel a pretty good distance in 30 minutes.

Let's assume you crashed your ATV and you are laying unconscious somewhere in a ditch.  If your friends, spouse, have your shared tracking page, and you were supposed to be home at 5 pm, and now it's 9 pm and you have not checked in.  They go to your tracking page and they can see the last place your SPOT X sent out a tracking alert.  it's really a pretty darn neat device.

The thing will send out tracking for days without a recharge.

I feel safer with it, but I also feel more comfortable knowing my wife can reach me if she needs to.

You know we really could form a safety network.  If 5 or 10 of us have these we could have each other's cell numbers programmed in. You can actually take people in your contact list and combine them into a contact group.  So when you send a text it sends the text to everyone's phone in the contact group that you created simultaneously.  So you have 10 numbers in there, all of them other prospectors, and you have named the group SAFETY.

You could send a text out to the SAFETY group.  "Hey guys I am broke down out in the boonies in Prescott, see the GPS data.  Can you check and see if someone can come give me a hand."

OK, So I'm in Las Vegas, but I get the text on my phone.  I get on the forum and say, "Hey anyone in Prescott that can help Goldminer Joe, he is broke down in Prescott at this GPS location.  Anyone in that area?"  Slim Pickens answers and says, "I live in Prescott I know right where he is.  Give me 40 minutes."  Now I can give Slim, Goldminer's Mobile Device Number on his SPOT and he can text him directly from his phone while he still has cell coverage in town.  I can text Goldminer Joe and tell him Slim is on the way.

I'm just thinking if I texted my wife, heck she doesn't know the first thing about a GPS or how to find me, and she sure couldn't get there in her Rav 4. But another prospector type would be equipped with a 4 wheel drive and know how to get to me using a GPS.

It would be a good system for less than life threatening situations.

Doc

 

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On ‎8‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 11:29 PM, DOC said:

I wore my Spot, the old one, on an elastic band on my arm, when I was in Sudan detecting.  I never noticed any issues.  And I had tracking on all the time and I think I had it set to send a track location like every 30 minutes.

With the old one you had to select your tracking time on your computer at home before you went into the field.  So you could set it for every 5 minutes, every 10 minutes, every 30 minute or every hour.  The nice thing about the SPOT X is you can change the tracking time on your SPOTX while you are in the field.  So if you are just walking, once every 30 minutes is probably fine because you aren't going to travel far.  If you hop on your ATV, then you may want to set it for every 5 minutes because you can travel a pretty good distance in 30 minutes.
 


 

 

I think another good use for this would be texting your partner if you were on to a good find and wanted to share.  (preferably if they had a spot-x, also)  A lot of times I've found areas and yelled out for my partner so they could check out the area and they are just too far away to hear me.  This is one thing that has almost pushed me to the Rhino GPS.  But they are still a little too pricey.

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