Spot, another tracker/beacon

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

8 Responses

  1. Pbot says:

    I checked out the website and you’re right. Talk about scare tactics.

  2. Dan Gingras says:

    Given my poor service this summer with Globalstar (you’ve already written about the satellite problems) I think it would be better to buy a “real” PLB. Until Globalstar gets new satellites launched I wouldn’t want to count on making contact through their service.

  3. Seajet says:

    I can echo Dan’s remarks above about Globalstar. I had signed-up for their unlimited minutes plan when I heard about it a couple of months ago, before I had reasons to use my Globalstar phone. Now I know what they meant by unlimited minutes. You will spend unlimited minutes searching for service! Thus, this “Spot” product must be viewed with extreme caution. Even now, when the boat is tied to the dock in Maine, the Globalstar phone does mostly display “looking for service”. Not what you would want to see, when you need your “Spot”.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I’m thinking that Spot’s Nov. 1 launch is timed such that the four new Globalstar satellites will be fully operational. What’s unclear so far is if the device will tell you if it succeeds in sending a message. Hope so.

  5. SPOT, Inc. says:

    Full Disclosure: I am with SPOT, Inc.
    I saw the commentary here and thought it would be worth clearing up how SPOT works. SPOT gets a GPS fix using an onboard GPS chip. SPOT sends the coordinates and a status indicator (911, Help, or OK) to the right destination. Communications are outbound only — using the highly reliable and robust Globalstar Simplex data network. (For the more technical – this is the L-band, not S-band portion of the Globalstar Network)
    The Globalstar constellation of 40 satellites is fully operational and stable in supporting the Globalstar Simplex data network. The Globalstar Simplex data network has a proven 99.4% reliability while processing over 6 million messages a month – the equivalent of 2.3 messages per second. It has been operational for several years sending messages for industrial and governmental customers.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Globalstar sucks. We have had it for five years on our yacht.I am finally getting the owners to come around, and they want to change to iridium. we have a qualcom/globalstar box connected to pbx. constant busy signals and dropped calls, what a waste. the service has never been good. the owners had a hard time letting go of the $3500+ worth of equipment. i told them to write it off, its not worth it. Capt.J

  7. satellite says:

    Easy people, calm down.
    Indeed, the Globalstar network is currently not offering reliable voice and data (duplex-) connections, as most of the satellites are already spoiled. This is why globalstar phones are looking for a signal most of the time – as the signal can just not get through TO the phone. However, the signals originating FROM the phone – or tracking device – are still beeing forwared to the gateway. Therefore the simplex service, which is used for tracking units, but also for the new Spot service, is not affected.
    I guess this beacon will offer a reliable securtiy backup, and due to the comphrehensive pricing, draw a lot of attention!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Get an Iridium SAT phone instead. I had SPOT and my friend had the aforementioned phone this summer on a 3 week canoe trip in Labrador. Friends and family were worried after they hadn’t received my signal for a week – which we discovered after phoning. The SAT phone worked flawlessly every time. I imagine that before too long small, durable, cheap and reliable SAT phones with more features like GPS etc will make SPOT outdated; and a phone allows precise communication, not just 1 of 3 levels of messages.

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