William Munney wrote:
I had a SPOT, the bluetooth model for messages over the phone and it was a piece of junk. I'm glad I never had to rely on it in an emergency situation. You can find my rants on iwindsurf about it. The frequency and satellites it uses are not as good as a regular PLB. I switched to the ACR ResQLink which has no yearly fee. But this is for safety, not board tracking.
I agree, it is not a good solution as a real PLB, there was a previous thread on this, there are a lot of limitations. Did you use the locating feature and find that it didn't work?
No, I didn't use the location feature. I did the stuff below if you're interested.
When I first got the SPOT and registered it, I decided to do a TEST emergency broadcast. I went to my back yard. I have a tree there but the southern sky is clear. Definitely not a forest, not a bushy tree , looks mostly dead. I started the test and waited a few minutes. I went to check if I received a confirmation email and I had not. I did this again a few times and it finally arrived. It took a while though, I would guess I messed with it for 15-20 minutes before I received it. I then tried to send a message using BT over my cell phone. That was worse and took even more attempts to get it working. It sent only ONE message after probably five or more attempts and the previous messages never got through. These were all tests just playing with the unit. At that time I wasn't too concerned as I figured it's better to have something than nothing in case of emergency.
So then a few months later I'm on a kayaking trip and I decide to send an "hey i'm here" message to the family. I pull out my phone and load up the application. The SPOT application says "Sorry, you've logged out and need to connect to the internet in order to log in." WHAT? SERIOUSLY!? I was pissed to say the least! I'm in the middle of nowhere and because I logged out I need internet to log back into the application to send a message to a device next to me to contact the satellite. If I had internet, I wouldn't need you! This was two years ago, maybe they fixed that issue now. When my year contract ran out I sold the SPOT and never looked back.
I picked up the ACR ResQlink. It has an option to send OK messages but it's really not designed for that as the battery is "technically" not user replaceable and only one time use. Though one still can do both. The messaging on the PLB isn't free. When you register the ResQlink you get one FREE satellite test email verification. I went outside to the exact same spot where I was with the SPOT and did the test. Took about 15 seconds to run the test. By the time I got back inside I already had the email that the test was received.
A PLB is much more powerful and is designed to save lives. I see SPOT a a toy that you pay for yearly. There's also the DeLorme two way satellite messaging system out now. I'd love to try that but I just don't need it that bad. My primary concern is getting a message out when I really need help and I want the best option available.
Getting the thread back on track:
None of this stuff will work very well in water or high waves on top of a board. It's all RF and water is too good of an insulator.
Here are some links I was researching when I was planning on making a beacon for the board:http://www.instructables.com/id/433-MHz-UHF-lost-model-radio-beacon/all/?lang=es
Tiny beacon http://fmtv.us/rf_beacon.html
I was actually hoping to put one of these into a handle with the battery. Maybe with a GoJoe it would work by flipping it up. But with the GoJoe you dont need the radio. GoJoes are just a bit annoying to ride with.