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Thread: Important information concerning depending on SPOT for rescue

  1. #16
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beemer Bob View Post
    Lets start with something simple and build on it.

    The SPOT help message space is very limited. We need to be able to tell folks to use datum WGS84 and to set their GPS to decimal format. It would also be good to tell them the phone number of your roadside assitance, policy number, etc.
    There is all kind of information that we want those on our distribution list to know, but not enough space.

    On another fourm, someone showed me an example of what they do. This is his help message.

    "This is 'your name', I need some help. It's not an emergency. See http://ridetoeat.com/helpexample for more info."

    If you 'click' on that website, that would give the us the ability to provide lots of information. If we could get MOA to put te anomous
    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I clicked on your link and that is very impressive.

    Great idea. Useful information. Direct and to the point.
    I used to post here, but now I don't.

  2. #17
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Very nice, I had a feeling this post was going to be real helpful. Gary
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
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  3. #18
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_F View Post
    It is for this reason that I carry an inexpensive American cell phone when travelling in the U.S. It is also an inexpensive means for calling home.
    I've done that too, but there was no cell signal in much of the country I covered on the OBDR this summer. Same goes out in the mountains of Alberta and BC.

    Always had SPOT signals.
    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.

  4. #19
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beemer Bob View Post
    Not at all. The purpose of my post was twofold. One to inform folks that SPOT may not be the magic button their advertising promotes.

    Second, it to try to find a way to solve some of these problems.
    I think there's a third issue that this should be in everyone's mind as they read this thread, that has yet to be mentioned.

    Folks, there IS NO MAGIC BUTTON. We all seem to be on board with that.

    There is no circumstance that tackling something as aggressive as the back country Continental Divide ALONE is either safe or smart. Regardless of your skills and knowledge, there are things that happen outside your span of control - in some of the most inhospitable country in the U.S. You KNOW there are places where your electronics goodies/protections won't work. That's even true if you were carrying a satellite phone.

    I think everyone needs to take a breath and reflect on what would have happened if Bob were not able to get out from under the bike.

    In my opinion, what Bob challenged himself to do was a super challenge. However, attempting it alone was foolish.
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  5. #20
    uvejuxeq
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveAikens View Post
    However, attempting it alone was foolish.
    Point taken.

    But also consider,

    To ride a motorcycle in the first place, according to a lot of folks, is not all that bright.

    We all choose to accept our own level of risks for the adventure, thrill and enjoyment it provides. I cringe at the speed at which some of you will negotiate twisties. Some skydive, some spelunk into places I would never think about going. So we all foolish in different ways.

    Unless you ALWAYS ride with someone else, there remain 100 ways to become injured and stranded. One could fail to negotiate a turn and go off the side of a hill where they cant be seen. Hit a deer on a remote highway, etc.
    Last edited by Beemer Bob; 09-06-2010 at 11:53 AM.

  6. #21
    uvejuxeq
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    Some folks feel that a PLB is a better solution.

    Tons of info on PLB's here The Ultimate Personal Locator Beacon FAQ most notably is: http://www.equipped.com/faq_plb/default.asp

    Q: Who will respond when I turn on my PLB?
    A: That will depend upon your location.

    Typically, the Coast Guard responds to marine distress, but they may also utilize appropriate local or state assets if available and closer.

    Inland distress is generally the responsibility of local law enforcement, typically a county sheriff in much of the U.S. often with the assistance of local volunteer search and rescue teams. These may call upon federal or state assets if available.

    The Civil Air Patrol generally responds to an aviation distress signal in most states in the U.S., and historically this has been primarily because generally extensive air search is necessary to locate the inaccurate 121.5 MHz beacon. In most cases of a 406 MHz PLB alert they will not be activated unless indications are that it comes from a downed aircraft and that local SAR resources cannot locate and take care of it in short order. That downed aircraft indication will come from providing that data in the Additional Data section, or from the Emergency Contacts listed on the registration form.

    In most cases these days where the PLB alert is a remote location, the first assets to arrive will be airborne, typically a helicopter from the closest SAR resource, regardless of who operates it.
    ---------------------------------------------------

    So regardless of whether itÔÇÖs a SPOT or a PLB, if you have to use it, you're still at the mercy of the same authorities/responders. In my situation a PLB would not have been any better, perhaps worse because would they have realized the locals were incompetent and raise it to state police?

    So, as stated before - there is no magic button.

    I am however thinking about satellite phone. They rent for about $60 a week. In hindsight, that would have been very helpful (I think ÔÇô I have no first hand knowledge of satellite phone)

  7. #22
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beemer Bob View Post
    I am however thinking about satellite phone. They rent for about $60 a week. In hindsight, that would have been very helpful.
    A satellite phone would have been helpful in these circumstances, I agree.

    But none of these would have been of any assistance if a) you were riding alone, and b) you were injured and could not send an alarm. At least in small aircraft, ELTs are triggered if the plane impacts or turns over.

    Riding alone is per se a risk. Don't get me wrong: I ride alone sometimes. But I am aware that not all risks can be eliminated.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  8. #23
    Registered User widebmw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    A satellite phone would have been helpful in these circumstances, I agree.

    But none of these would have been of any assistance if a) you were riding alone, and b) you were injured and could not send an alarm. At least in small aircraft, ELTs are triggered if the plane impacts or turns over.
    Yes all of the above require a massage to be sent except the SPOT if it is on tracking.
    If someone is checking on you they can see your last location and how long you have been there.
    There are problems with SPOT in canyons and forests.

    I watched a friends tracking on CA-36 from I-5 to US-101 it is about 140 miles, very twisty and in forest. There was one location east of I-5 and the next one was on the coast several hours later.

    That would have been a problem if he needed help and could not hit a button on a PLB or a SPOT. The tracking has its limitations.

  9. #24
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    But none of these would have been of any assistance if a) you were riding alone, and b) you were injured and could not send an alarm.

    Riding alone is per se a risk. Don't get me wrong: I ride alone sometimes. But I am aware that not all risks can be eliminated.
    Just to clarify. My comments refer to riding alone in uninhabited, off-road riding in treacherous areas that are inhospitable - at best - and most remote with no expected human contact. Extreme conditions. In those conditions, no one should attempt to ride alone - no one. There is a huge difference in not being able to mitigate some risks and flirting with disaster.

    Personally, I ride alone almost all the time. However, I am now relegated to the highways and byways of America. I wish I could still ride off-road but at my age and with some problems I have, it's no longer possible. I used to ride off-road a lot and loved it. However, there has never been a time I rode off-road alone, even in populated areas.

    BTW - Hello David. Long time no hear from. Hope all is well.
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  10. #25
    uvejuxeq
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    Steve,

    As I had edited previously,

    To ride a motorcycle in the first place, according to a lot of folks, is not all that bright.

    We all choose to accept our own level of risks for the adventure, thrill and enjoyment it provides. I cringe at the speed at which some of you will negotiate twisties. Some skydive, some spelunk into places I would never think about going. So we all foolish in different ways.

    Unless you ALWAYS ride with someone else, there remain 100 ways to become injured and stranded. One could fail to negotiate a turn and go off the side of a hill where they cant be seen. Hit a deer on a remote highway, etc. If you choose not to solo ride off-road, I understand. But you are still not immune to being injured in a remote area.

    Because I would never try to scale a mountain because of the risk involved, I donÔÇÖt tell mountain climbers they are fools. To bash someone because of the risk they take has noting to do with the topic. The point of my post was to alert those that use a SPOT that it may not provide the level of protection that some us us thought. It was just information.

    We do however strive to find ways to minimize the risks that we take through better training, protective gear, electronic gadgets, etc.

  11. #26
    From MARS
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    [QUOTE=SteveAikens;613772]Just to clarify. My comments refer to riding alone in uninhabited, off-road riding in treacherous areas that are inhospitable - at best - and most remote with no expected human contact. Extreme conditions. In those conditions, no one should attempt to ride alone - no one. There is a huge difference in not being able to mitigate some risks and flirting with disaster.

    I guess we have a different definition of "adventure". For me, it is not knowing I will be returning, but going anyway. It is the uncertainty that heightens the senses and raises awareness of the pitfalls. Failure to heed our "gut feelings" can lead to extreme distress from which we may not survive.

    If we, as adventure seekers, call upon publicly funded rescue organizations to come and get us when we get ourselves into a difficult situation, then we should be prepared to have someone tell us when and where we can go.

    Tom

  12. #27
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    I'm sorry you feel I was bashing you Bob. That is not/was not the intent.

    You're an educated man and from your writing, are very articulate. I have no problem whatsoever with someone making a conscious decision regarding risky behavior to themselves.

    What I have an issue with is someone doing so, running into life-threatening situations and blaming the performance of a tool and rescue services for not meeting your expectations to help you. I fully realize that mindset wasn't your intent when you posted your experience. However, as I noted, you're very articulate, you lived through the experience, you have all the details we don't have in your head. No one is able to exclude all those details you can't write down, from impacting your writing style. Unless someone reads the entire thread, they're not going to see your edits.

    The bottom line, IMO, is we should make certain that we accept responsibility for our actions and disclaim up front that inevitably, it's up to us to ride smart and safely. If we choose to take a risk, it's on us to insure we limit that risk the best we can.

    Once we accept that responsibility, there's nothing wrong with reporting our experience with the tools we chose. I know that's probably what you thought you were doing when you wrote of your experience. Unfortunately, it comes off as blaming the tool and the rescue folks for failing to get to you.

    I apologize if my posts seem to be bashing you. That was not the intent. The intent was to make others aware that doing this alone and relying on electronics to take care of you is simply a very bad idea.
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  13. #28
    uvejuxeq
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    [QUOTE=From MARS;613777]
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveAikens View Post
    ..we should be prepared to have someone tell us when and where we can go.
    Then PM me with your comments or start a new thread.

    My intent (see title) was to pass information about SPOT and SAR in remote areas.

    Yes I had expected police dispatches to have basic knowledge about GPS, and that I feel, remains an issue.

    It was not about if I took acceptable risks, and I had not made mention of that. It was information about SPOT and how, because of the human factors may not perform as expected. It was a shock to me and I bet to others as well.

    There was a good dialog going about how to minimize some of these risks until it was hijacked. There are other, not mentioned, factors behind the scene that will give me pause about if I will do another such solo ride. But that is irrelevant, and not germane to this topic.

  14. #29
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    I didn't post that Bob. Mars did.
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  15. #30
    Curmudgeon in training
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    Seems like when you get past the personal stuff in the thread, there are three important takeaways for me.

    1) The SPOT worked. Bob hit the 911 button and people came. Not as quick as he would have liked, but they came.

    2) I need to do some more checking on the response times of PLB's vs SPOT. Everything I've seen in the past indicates with the PLB, they would have sent the State Patrol helicopter right out of the gate, but maybe not.

    3) Most important, if you're solo in the middle of nowhere (hiking/biking/motorcycling), and even if you are able to send for help with your satellite device, you could still die from injuries that normally wouldn't be considered life threatening before a rescue team can get to you.

    Just thinking out loud I guess.

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