Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 35

Thread: SPOT vs. 406 EPIRB/PLB

  1. #16
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Canada and the Alps
    Posts
    3,596
    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyVarmit View Post
    I have brought this up with a few sheriffs, fire chiefs, etc in rural locations and they are not even aware that LAT-LONG can be expressed in different formats.
    Good point, I never thought of that. Maybe because I've worked with maps a lot and converting from one to the other is a no-brainer.

  2. #17
    Clay
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Kimberton,Pa.
    Posts
    497
    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyVarmit View Post
    The thinking goes like this: IF USAF responds to an ELT/PLB they have some experience and expertise available to understand the format of the received GPS location. They also have access to RDF's to pinpoint the secondary signal. I can 100% guarantee that local authorities DO NOT understand the possibilities of 'scrambling' a LAT-LONG set of numbers. I have brought this up with a few sheriffs, fire chiefs, etc in rural locations and they are not even aware that LAT-LONG can be expressed in different formats. Sorry, but I don't really want to be laying there leaking bodily fluids while Bubba searches 20 miles away because the person answering the emergency phone number in that county wrote down a period instead of a colon. Or can't use the internet well enough to go to my SPOT page.
    The problem lies in the conversion from the GPS's decimal to the chart's deg./min./sec. format to include which datum the charts are in. I believe for example: the N/W Territories are still charted in the old British Admiralty datum and where not recently updated to the current WGS84 datum.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WGS84

  3. #18
    HuskyVarmit
    Guest
    It's kinda hard for me to keep this from turning into a 'soapbox' on this subject. With the increasing popularity of SPOT, cell phone apps, PLB's, handheld GPS, etc,etc - there is getting to be definable portion of the population that relies on them while pursuing their leisure time activities. Hunters, riders, hikers, etc are relying on what they think the 'be all - end all' of rescue initiators. The problem with that is there has been no education/training of a very large segement of the First Responder community.

    Clay and Alex touched on just 2 of the problems with location of an electronic signal when the person responding isn't knowledgable in the vagaries of nav notations. And it is illogical to think that every person, in every agency SHOULD have this knowledge.

    So, back to the OP's original concerns - what to do?

    First - there is no guarantee (ever heard that before?).

    Next, cover as many of your own bases as possible. If you use a SPOT or other app that periodically updates a web service - be sure that you give the web address to a few people who can track your position. Personally, I like for that person to be an obnoxious, hard headed type that has no problem calling the local Sheriff and telling them "NO! I am showing him about 50 yards south of county road xxx, a half mile west of where it crosses Muddy Creek. I don't care what they told you, send somebody to take a look right there!" Show one of your contacts how to enter LAT-LONG into Google maps. Why Google? It is almost impossible to enter the data in a format that it will not convert to a physical location. Be suspect of ANY device. Obviously if you are seeing a location in Zimbabwe when you know the lost person was in Wyoming 2 hours ago, there will be some question about the accuracy of the data, but be just as suspicious of ANY data unless it is coming from the middle of the Great Plains on a clear, sunny day. Trees, gulleys, weather and a hundred other things can cause errors.

    I'm gonna stop here cause I just realized how much I am turning this into a boring, repetitous diatribe. There are some very knowledgable people who can say a lot more than me, and probably better - so if the OP and others want to start a discussion of devices and how they can be EFFECTIVELY used I would be happy to join in.

    Just remember - there is a reason it is called SEARCH and Rescue instead of just Rescue.

  4. #19
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Central WA
    Posts
    520
    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyVarmit View Post
    I carry both.

    The thinking goes like this: IF USAF responds to an ELT/PLB they have some experience and expertise available to understand the format of the received GPS location. They also have access to RDF's to pinpoint the secondary signal. I can 100% guarantee that local authorities DO NOT understand the possibilities of 'scrambling' a LAT-LONG set of numbers. I have brought this up with a few sheriffs, fire chiefs, etc in rural locations and they are not even aware that LAT-LONG can be expressed in different formats. Sorry, but I don't really want to be laying there leaking bodily fluids while Bubba searches 20 miles away because the person answering the emergency phone number in that county wrote down a period instead of a colon. Or can't use the internet well enough to go to my SPOT page.
    Exactly. I work in a 911 center, and it never ceases to amaze me how many of my co-workers are clueless about the different formats. Our CAD computers use one, the GPS's use something different. And trying to find a program on the internet to translate into something usable? LOL. Most of the sites are 'Net Nannied' by our Admin.

    Its getting better, but still not perfect.

    I keep an aviation sectional chart in my locker, just in case the computers take a dump and we need to get a general idea of where someone is at. Sad thing is, there are only two or three dispatchers that can figure out how to find a lat long on a map. ~sigh~

    On the bright side, the five times I've gotten calls from the SPOT people, the users are found pretty much where the SPOT says they were. Sadly, two of them were recoveries instead of rescues. But at least SPOT got the signal out. No cell phone coverage in the middle of the Cascade Range.
    Too damn many bikes to list

  5. #20
    Clay
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Kimberton,Pa.
    Posts
    497
    PLB users I assume carry their units on their person? SPOT users I assume have their units mounted to their bike?

  6. #21
    Curmudgeon in training
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Omaha
    Posts
    354
    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    If I'm going to the true boonies, I'll be taking one of each, otherwise, Spot works fine for my purposes now.
    Same here.

    PLB only will work if you're conscious and able to press both buttons. With the PLB, I like the idea of the Calvary riding over the hill to the rescue. SPOT works well for family tracking and sending a non-emergency trouble message. If I'm out of cell range and I don't send an I'm OK, they have an idea of where I'm at.

    I got the PLB first. I decided to get a SPOT for the tracking feature after I read the threads on various m/c boards about the search for Donald Masters. Went missing August 31st 2009 on a road trip heading back home to Denver. Was found three weeks later by some hunters. Covered by brush and not visible from the road. They had his last credit card gas purchase and had him on a traffic cam, but after that nothing. The tracking feature of SPOT may not have saved his life, but it would have allowed narrowing the search. Might have been a lot less grief for his family. That's what swayed me.

  7. #22
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Canada and the Alps
    Posts
    3,596
    Quote Originally Posted by alzyck View Post
    Covered by brush and not visible from the road. The tracking feature of SPOT may not have saved his life.
    Three have been too many reports by owners that their signal never made it through when under tree cover. That is pretty bad and not a chance I'd be willing to take.

    Sure, you have to be able to activate a PLB. If I can't activate it because I am down and out, chances are I'll be dead long before help arrives. I'd sooner reply on a unit with better coverage and signal strength for the signal to actually make it through to a monitoring station not monitored by Ma and Pa Kettle.

  8. #23
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Canada and the Alps
    Posts
    3,596
    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyVarmit View Post
    Obviously if you are seeing a location in Zimbabwe when you know the lost person was in Wyoming 2 hours ago, there will be some question about the accuracy of the data.
    When I said I did my homework, I actually spoke with both SPOT and SARSAT people, the latter with a guy at the monitoring station.

    I wasn't in the least impressed with the SPOT conversation I had when asking for some hard numbers (specifications) and how the system works.

    The guy at the SARSAT monitoring station was as bored as a Maytag repairman and was happy to chat with someone...for 40 minutes.

    With a PLB, your personal data is entered in the system and kept on file with numbers to contact as well. They also insist that you call in and update information as often as possible, for example, if you are heading to Iceland for a month, call that in and they will note it on file.

  9. #24
    Curmudgeon in training
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Omaha
    Posts
    354
    Quote Originally Posted by GlobalRider View Post
    Three have been too many reports by owners that their signal never made it through when under tree cover. That is pretty bad and not a chance I'd be willing to take.

    Sure, you have to be able to activate a PLB. If I can't activate it because I am down and out, chances are I'll be dead long before help arrives. I'd sooner reply on a unit with better coverage and signal strength for the signal to actually make it through to a monitoring station not monitored by Ma and Pa Kettle.
    Good points. I'm only depending on SPOT to post the tracks to the website every 10 minutes. I'm depending on my family to let the authorities know where my last track was. A 10 minute or 20 minute travel area should be easier to search than an 8 or 10 hour travel area.

  10. #25
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Canada and the Alps
    Posts
    3,596
    Quote Originally Posted by alzyck View Post
    I'm only depending on SPOT to post the tracks to the website every 10 minutes.
    I would have bought one if I got that Island Packet 380 I was thinking about. Plans have changed.

  11. #26
    Clay
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Kimberton,Pa.
    Posts
    497
    Quote Originally Posted by GlobalRider View Post
    I would have bought one if I got that Island Packet 380 I was thinking about. Plans have changed.
    AIS Class B is the latest rage for the non-commercial..though it's been mandatory Class A for the 300 ton and up for a number of years...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automat...ication_System

    I would prefer that freighter be watch'n as well as your friends and family on that IP 380 then relying on SPOT..

    http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/
    Last edited by Clay; 04-18-2011 at 12:53 PM.

  12. #27
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Canada and the Alps
    Posts
    3,596
    Quote Originally Posted by Clay View Post
    I would prefer that freighter be watch'n as well as your friends and family on that IP 380 then relying on SPOT.
    Oh, it was only going to come along as a toy. Besides, there is very limited coverage at sea.

    Seriously, I'd have a ship mounted EPIRB, a PLB on my jacket as well as a sat phone on board. I'd be solo...and on a harness.

  13. #28
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bristol, Rhode Island
    Posts
    2,939
    Quote Originally Posted by Clay View Post
    AIS Class B is the latest rage for the non-commercial..though it's been mandatory Class A for the 300 ton and up for a number of years...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automat...ication_System

    I would prefer that freighter be watch'n as well as your friends and family on that IP 380 then relying on SPOT..

    http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/
    AIS only works when both vessels have it.

    It is very handy to have as it give you the heading, speed and CPA (closest point of approach) of the other vessel.

    In the 08 Bermuda Race I contacted a container ship over 30 miles away as AIS indicated our CPA was inside .5 miles. He was aware of us, we were of him and after a quick chat on the radio he was kind enough to cross our stern rather than ahead which if you're on a sailboat race is a nice favor, plus he opened up the CPA a bit as neither of us was comfortable with the spread.


  14. #29
    Clay
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Kimberton,Pa.
    Posts
    497
    Quote Originally Posted by alzyck View Post
    Same here.

    PLB only will work if you're conscious and able to press both buttons. With the PLB, I like the idea of the Calvary riding over the hill to the rescue. SPOT works well for family tracking and sending a non-emergency trouble message. If I'm out of cell range and I don't send an I'm OK, they have an idea of where I'm at.

    I got the PLB first. I decided to get a SPOT for the tracking feature after I read the threads on various m/c boards about the search for Donald Masters. Went missing August 31st 2009 on a road trip heading back home to Denver. Was found three weeks later by some hunters. Covered by brush and not visible from the road. They had his last credit card gas purchase and had him on a traffic cam, but after that nothing. The tracking feature of SPOT may not have saved his life, but it would have allowed narrowing the search. Might have been a lot less grief for his family. That's what swayed me.
    Another option that has appeared in this month's Motorcycle Consumer News..

    www.gpso.us

    ..automatic activation of 911 with lat./lon. coordinates after a bike goes down and when the rider's cell phone is not answered

  15. #30
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bristol, Rhode Island
    Posts
    2,939
    Quote Originally Posted by Clay View Post
    Another option that has appeared in this month's Motorcycle Consumer News..

    www.gpso.us

    ..automatic activation of 911 with lat./lon. coordinates after a bike goes down and when the rider's cell phone is not answered
    What a bunch of steaming poo.

    First the main number on their website is disconnected.
    Second, on their contact me page the key folks (CEO, COO, CIO, CTO etc) all have different area codes...

    And the deal breaker...

    It appears to use cellular to call in the "event", then someone from the service provider (yup the ones with a disconnected main number) calls you, if no answer they call 911.

    I bet that will bring help "real quick".

    Bottom line if you want SAR to come you need a 406 eprib or PLB (in my book they are the same, they transmit on 406) and the 125 for close in SAR.

    Nothing else short of calling 911 yourself will get EMS dispatched faster.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •