Sat Phone/GPS/SPOT

Brandon Pattison

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What do you all prefer, the Sat Phone or a GPS with built-in SPOT Locator Beacon with text messaging capability? I know nothing about the service rates for either and if anyone has either please let me know your thoughts.
 

Matt Cashell

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I have been using a SPOT for years. It has been really reliable for me, and pretty inexpensive to boot. I am currently using the SPOT 2, which has three programmable messages. This is all I really need to keep my family from worrying. I am waiting for the technology to improve before upgrading to a text-capable version. I have heard the smartphone-compatible version isn't super reliable ... yet.
 

RosinBag

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I use a SPOT and it has been very reliable. I also rented a sat phone and that was good as we split it 2 ways. They rent for about $100 a week in CA.
 
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david long

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SPOT is reliable only when you have clear skies. Both times I have attempted to send messages with crappy weather, overcast skies, messages never sent.
 

Matt Cashell

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SPOT is reliable only when you have clear skies. Both times I have attempted to send messages with crappy weather, overcast skies, messages never sent.

I have sent quite a few late season messages in all-out blizzards without trouble. That was with the SPOT2. I did have a couple of no-goes with the SPOT1, though. The SPOT1 also took FOREVER to send a message, while the SPOT2 gets it done in a couple minutes.
 

Aron Snyder

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I purchased a SAT phone last year (wife was about to kill me) and it has been well worth the investment.

In years past I had been using the SPOT (1 and 2), but the 2 performed far better than the 1.

You can rent SAT phones as well and that is a great option as well.
 
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david long

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The one I used was the SPOT 1......very disappointing during inclement weather! Haven't tried the SPOT 2.
 

Matt Cashell

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The one I used was the SPOT 1......very disappointing during inclimate weather! Haven't tried the SPOT 2.

Night and day difference, David. I HATED waiting for that SPOT1 to send a stinkin' message. Not so bad with the SPOT2. It is a lot smaller, too.
 
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david long

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Glad to hear that. I may dive in and actually try a sat phone this year......something I have never done before.
 

littlebuf

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i have a spot2 for the first time this year.never used one before. im interested to see how it works
 

cmeier117

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I think they are $10 a day and $1.39 per minute...texting is free!

I will call tomorrow and get exact #'s.

You pay that same rate if you buy one? My dad, me and father in-law were talking about getting one and splitting cost. I told my wife that you got a phone and it made your wife worry less and she basically said, ya how will I know you are alive? Or what if you break your leg? Haha crap one more thing to worry about. I tell her too much!!
 

Yukondog

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Parker, CO
Can you receive text messages too or simply send them out? I have no idea how the technology works but I would think a sat device that only does text messages would be a hot ticket for hunters with worried family members. In the past I have not gone solo for that reason alone. That dang conscience thing gets in the way when you have a wife and small kiddos at home. Mayne I'm soft...
 

luke moffat

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Another thing to consider is at northern latitudes phones and devices working on the Globostar system (like SPOT) struggle at times due to the satelites being so low on the horizon at that there are a lot of times it doesn't work a lot of the time. We were hoping the Globostar phone would work as its like the difference of a $600 phone vs. a $1200 phone for an Iridium. Fact is thooug that Iridium always works and when picking up something for communications that might save your life $700 is a small price to pay.

I split the cost with a buddy and we pay $200 every 6 months for 200 minutes and the minutes roll over. At the latitudes of the lower 48 globostar might work better, but for up here, its worth the extra coin.
 

Becca

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In an emergency, there is something about actually being able to talk to someone, as opposed to pushing the button and hoping your message went thru. A call for help, whether to professionals or to a friend is more efficient when you can communicate details about the situation and the folks coming to help you know what to bring and what they are in for. On the other side of things, when I am the wife at home (as opposed to being along in the field) it is so great to get that quick call and now everything is alright, or even those calls where I find out Luke is weathered in or otherwise delayed someplace provide me peace of mind in knowing he is safe and I don't have to worry. Also, plans can change, and on fly out hunts its really handy to be able to talk to your transporter about early pick ups if we tag out early, or flight delays if the weather gets ugly.

The SPOTs do have a lot of potential, we carried a borrowed one (in addition to the iridium) on our 100+ mile backpacking and pack rafting trip and left it on each day to post our "tracks" to a website for family and friends to follow while we were out. Our folks reqlly enjoyed being able to track our progress each day of our 8 day trip. It transmitted every day of the trip except for one, a day in which we had pretty low ceilings and bad weather. Would have hated to rely on it for a real emergency though, as there are no guarantees and little confirmation.

To date our iridium phone has had to call the medevac chopper in twice (once when I fractured my leg on Kodiak, and once when Our bro-in-law's dad who borrowed it had a heart attack on a remote snowmachine trip) For us the sat phone has been money very well spent.
 
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Mike7

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Feb 28, 2012
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I am very interested to hear anyone's experiences with the SPOT Connect that allows texting ability with Smart Phones?? It sounds like if it works as well as the SPOT 2, then that would be perfect for me to stay in touch nightly with family when going around solo in N. Idaho for extended weekend hikes/hunts. In these instances, it doesn't really make sense to rent a satellite phone.

There is no cell service over much of Northern Idaho, even atop the peaks. I've heard (not firsthand) that the DeLorme/SPOT combination works well, but I don't think that I'll be getting the DeLorme any time soon, since I already have a Garmin GPS, and like that pretty well.
 
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