More SPOT, & a Globalstar class action suit
The photo, bigger here , shows what a real winter we’re having on the coast of Maine, and it was taken before yesterday’s blizzard-rain-freeze event! The dashboard GPS tableau was because a motorcycle rider reported that sending a message from his SPOT may have caused his Garmin 276c to freeze up. But I drove around like this without problems (aside from getting laughed at); SPOT transmitted “OK” and “Help” messages fairly consistently, as seen earlier, and none of the plotters blinked.
It’s interesting to see SPOT testing bubble up on the Web. More bikers are discussing it at Two Wheeled Texans and some back-country skiers are on it at WildSnow.com. And I’m glad to see DanielB’s smart review arrive on the Amazon SPOT page. Unlike the first reviewer, he correctly understands that SPOT uses Globalstar’s L band simplex comms system, and thus not the faulty S Band amplifiers causing so much trouble for its voice/data service.
On that front, I learned from a Big Game Fishing Journal editorial that a class action suit has been filed alleging that Globalstar failed to properly notify subscribers of its problems. Referenced is a Feb. 2007 Frost & Sullivan test that put Globalstar’s call success rate at about 50% (the results PDF is…ahem…available for download from Iridium, which did much better). I know a lot of users are furious at Globalstar over this, but it doesn’t mean that SPOT isn’t a neat gadget/service.
SPOT is good. I picked one up and have been using in in various places, as has everyone else I suppose. It seems very accurate:
This is not my boat, the Google Maps pic is old, but I hit the OK button from sitting in the cabin at the nav station and that’s pretty much exactly where it is in relation to the slip.
My near-term plans are for coastal cruising and I will probably still get a “real” EPIRB though I may talk myself out of it.