Why a PLB video from ACR...
These 4 videos from ACR answer just about all questions. I especially liked the Science and Why PLB? videos.
I still say you should carry one of each device in truly remote areas. They are all low power weaklings in real world conditions.
And what is it about companies that trash other systems just to tout their own? This video is just as much a sales pitch as the services and devices they and you are disparaging.
5 watt UHF beacons do not penetrate tree canopy as easily as the video would lead you to believe. Ask any ham radio operator who commonly uses a 5 watt handi-talkie on the 70 centimeter ham bands (420 - 450Mhz) and they'll tell you that UHF propagation is "line of sight". The video goes on to explain that 1.2Ghz GPS signals get absorbed by tree cover, snow, etc. Yep, they do, just like 406 Mhz. Both are UHF frequencies.
The GPS L5 "Safety of Life" signal is intended to improve the GPS reception part of the problem. The L5 signal has a 3db improvement in transmitter power, but it still operates in the UHF frequency spectrum. It's a planned launch for 2008. I don't know if it's gone up yet.
Here's some info on GPS frequencies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L2C
Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012
Well I guess one of the two companies isn't providing all the facts or at least pretending to be more than it is.
Well if I can pick up a weak GPS signal under extremely heavy tree cover (I pick up 6+ sats in my closed garage or basement), then I'm sure the lower frequency/higher power of the PLB will make it through under those same tree cover conditions. If you are worried about the PLB not cutting it power-wise, then the SPOT won't have a snowball's chance in hell.
And thats why I'd sooner have 5W than 400 milliwatts of power. We all know what sat TV looks like during a snowstorm. All things being equal, more power is better.
And in the end, you have to wonder why aviation/shipping and the military aren't installing a SPOT if they are better than a PLB...remember I'm only discussing the SAR aspects. You want family & friends to see your track points move along a-la James Bond, fill your boots and enjoy!
Carry both, Alex. When your family doesn't see your track move after days or weeks of following you, they'll make the 911 call for you....if you're worried about emergency response.
In the areas I ride in, New England and Atlantic Canada, Spot works.
Hams use satellites too, btw. You need a high gain antenna.
Last edited by tommcgee; 09-13-2008 at 09:11 PM. Reason: speling and grandma
Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012
I have used SPOT since June without any problems, I don't use the tracking because a friend created a map with my locations in trip form.
While I didn't use the 911 feature in this trip, I have learned that SPOT has a "Good Smartian" clause, if you happen upon an emergency (in a area without cell service) you can use the 911 for that emergency, even if you are not a part of the emergency. (please confirm with SPOT, with you concerns about this)
Spot placement is important as stated...you need a clear view of sky, but the signal is repeated as well.
Then the question would arise....do you need SPOT attached to your person if you are thrown from the bike?
Would depend on your needs and uses, but for the price and I can't yell very loud, I think it's a good deal and great piece of mind for family and friends.
Another use for SPOT would be this week, if you are located or live in the path of IKE, you could signal to family that you are OK or you need Help by creating a psuedo trip for a few days.
I have used SPOT for about 12,000 miles thus far and don't have any issues...I have used the HELP one time.
Here is link to my SPOT trip to Nova Scotia, a flower sniffn adventure with some friends during July.... zoom in and check out the ferry rides and bridges on the outer banks.
BTW, have friends that use SPOT in Australia, Europe, China and South America, and it's been to Prudhoe Bay as well...no problems.
May be a group buy going on at this site as well with another motorcycle forum.
http://www.mylivetracks.com/ contact them to find out.
2011 R1200 GSA (My Radio Flyer)
75 R90/6 with Velorex sidecar
" Oh Lord I pray, Let me live long enough to do everything they say I've done"
I have used it for several trips, and my wife loves it !!
Actually, I called the Cospas-Sarsat Canadian Mission Control Center earlier today and asked some questions. Like the Maytag repairman, they have lots of time on their hands to talk. They are the first to receive your distress call from the 406 SARSAT system. From there is goes to the RCC nearest you who then determines what needs to be done and who needs to be called. A minimum of time. From what I've read, GEOS spends too much time calling kin and embassies.
BTW, the PLBs are country coded. So when one goes off, both the country where it has gone off as well as the country code of the PLB will have bells ringing at the MCCs.
Thats not to say I can't buy a PLB in the US where they are cheaper (what isn't) and own it up here, but I would have to register it with NOAA and not the Canadian authorities. The PLB can be re-coded by the way at a cost.
I just wanted to add my recent service experience with the company. I was carrying the unit on the day I hit a deer and crashed. The unit's case was damaged in the crash, the top corner of the case was gouged out. I fortunately did not need to utilize the service, but the unit was still working fine despite the abuse had I needed it.
I contacted the company and explained the situation and that I wanted to have the unit checked out and repaired. They gave me the address to ship it too and off it went. I got a call from them less than two weeks later, they told me they had replaced the case and wanted me to set up an profile with their e-mail so they could test the unit before shipping it back to me. The next morning it was on my doorstep via UPS, no charge for the repair in spite of it clearly being a non-warranty fix.
Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.
For more detailsThe Wall Street Journal recently announced that SPOT Satellite Messenger has received the prestigious 2008 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award in the Consumer Electronics category. This marks the sixth industry award for SPOT since being introduced in November of 2007.
High & Dry
I was going to pick up one of these units until I read all the reviews on the REI website. People here seem to have had pretty good luck. Sounds like a great idea with possibly some bugs to work out or user error could be a factor.
'05 R 1200 ST
'01 900 SS (sold) - '00 750 SS (sold)
'02 325 xit (sold)
'08 128i CV