SPOT Failure

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Mtns2Skies, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Taken from facebook with permission, Due to the facebook formatting it's a little odd so I've done my best to correct this.

    "SPOT LLC spotsaveslives did NOT save my life. It in fact it failed me at the most critical moment. U.S. Navy did however come to the rescue. Here’s a little update to the story that KIRO 7 News ran on my Mt Baker rescue. I had just suffered a horrendous compound fracture of the lower leg way out in the Mt Baker Wilderness. In a location and terrain that necessitated a quick rescue to save my leg and my life. I hit the SOS button on my SPOT. To my horror the button did nothing after repeated attempts. Then even crazier my friends spotgen3 wouldn’t activate the SOS either. Both units were blinking green, were blinking all the correct lights in the start up self test. I have been running SPOT devices in my airplane and all my backcountry, floatplane, and snowmobile adventures for at least a decade.

    I have persuaded many friends to buy the device over the years. This however was the first time I needed it. Part of me is glad it happened. Because during all those preflight and pre-ride discussion where I’ve looked people straight in the eye and said this is your best way to rescue. I’m out of the hospital and well enough now to call SPOT and get their take on it. Tech support had me go through various tests. Then had me test the “help/sos” functions. NOPE. Still doesn’t work. Nothing lights up. Just the blinking green light at the power icon. So they have me try the “ok” button. Yep. Still works normally. Now here’s my biggest concern. How many units are like mine and my friend’s? How many still work in track and ok lulling you into a false sense that the unit will work when you need the SOS or HELP function? Scary to say the least. So if you have one of these devices I suggest you call SPOT LLC and have them test your unit. I requested a credit towards spotx in lieu of a new #spotgen3 because I don’t trust the hardware. He told me to sell it on ebay. Ok right... I’ve given you my trust and money all these years and I finally need your services. The least you could do is upgrade credit me to a two way comm unit so that I know it’s working. At least I’m told my GEOS rescue insurance should still apply. What would you do?"
     
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  2. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I personally have heard that Spot has poor coverage, so for that reason I would purchase an inReach if I were in the market for a subscription-based locator. I personally don't like to have too many subscription services in my life so I own a 406MhZ PLB to supplement my 406ELT and bring that along with me on these types of adventures, I couldn't imagine the horror in trying one of these and having it not work.
     
  3. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is surprising to me. I have used ours in some of the most remote places in north america to send the "all's well" message and never had a problem.
     
  4. chartbundle

    chartbundle Line Up and Wait

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    Hmm, thanks for reminding me, need to get the battery in my PLB replaced before it's flying season again.

    I have the Delorme inReach but that's mostly for fun post-flight tracks and if anyone wants to watch my 'adventures'.
     
  5. Steven Untet

    Steven Untet Pre-Flight

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    I carry a small EPERB and a sat phone. Plus the ELT in the plane and a couple hand held radios.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. idahoflier

    idahoflier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wow! Debated about purchasing a SPOT or a PLB. Glad I went with the PLB...
     
  7. IK04

    IK04 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    We used ACR EPIRBs when flying in the Gulf Of Mexico, so I would say their PLB products are good... We paid over $1,000 for them a few years ago, but now they are $300 to $500-ish, so I'd say they are well worth the money...
     
  8. OneCharlieTango

    OneCharlieTango Filing Flight Plan

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    According to the article, this guy's SPOT sent the "OK" message just fine but not the SOS. Presumably, it has nothing to do with coverage.
     
  9. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Years ago I considered one for paragliding. After reading reviews I changed my mind. There are an alarming number of reviews saying it failed them when they needed it most.
     
  10. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Get an ACR ResQlink+ PLB

    About $300. They are much tougher than a spot... and certified.
     
  11. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    Friends glider accident last summer, semi remote area about 10 miles off the main road. Delorme InReach SOS function worked, his ACR PLB did not.
     
  12. brcase

    brcase Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks for the post. This is only the 3rd Spot failure I have heard about and the 1st to occur in the continental US. It is also the the 1st electro/Mechanical failure I have heard about.
    I have used spot for quite a few years, but with price increases and more capability of competitive products (inreach) I almost switched this years. Actually discontinued service for a few months, only renewed last week so will use the Spot for another year.

    The two other failures were.SOS failed to send location after a boat hit a reef. Was almost 24hrs before Spot figured out they could look at the tracking to figure out where it was.

    2nd was more of an emergency services failure in Mexico, Spot didn’t really know or have anyone to contact for the area were it was set off. There may just not have been much available for emergency services in that area.

    I am aware of a number of saves and a number of 1st hand accounts of Spot working well in an emergency.

    Brian
     
  13. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Get one at REI for the annual rebate. Downside - every 5 years the battery must be replaced at $150 or so. I don't want to depend on a commercial company to save my life...

    Keep an eye on the ACR website - it offers a deal a couple times a year on the unit. I've seen them at OSH in the past with a discount, too.
     
  14. chartbundle

    chartbundle Line Up and Wait

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    Quote I just got from my local marine shop was $85 when I dropped mine off for its battery today. We'll see when it comes back if they were correct.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  15. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Read some reviews on the devices they made.

    If it were me I'd go ResQ, Sat Phone and maybe a SPOT. Between the three of them I'd expect something to happen.
     
  16. Steven8385

    Steven8385 Pre-Flight

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    If you use a Spot x with Garmin navigators on board, whenever the spot x pushes data in or out it causes the Garmin's to lose satellite signal and go into dead reckoning mode. Just an FYI
     
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  17. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Before buying a PLB, I illuminated SPOT from consideration rather quickly.
     
  18. Todd82

    Todd82 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This! Jams up high end GPS for aerial mapping data too.
     
  19. Joe Christian

    Joe Christian Filing Flight Plan

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    I just had my SOS function tested by the data center that monitors SPOT. I contacted SPOT help and told them I wanted to test SOS. They sent me a form to fill out and send in. Took a couple of weeks but I got a call back from a nice lady who walked me through the test.

    Mine passed!

    I've been using SPOT since the first generation unit and haven't ever had a problem with tracking, OK, etc.

    Joe
     
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  20. chartbundle

    chartbundle Line Up and Wait

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    Just got it back, under 10 days, and $85 for the PLB battery as promised. Seemed far faster and cheaper than the ones advertised on the internet.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 11:02 AM
  21. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The one thing I hated about spot was the evergreen contract that you could only terminate within a ten day window. I replaced the credit card with a empty gift card and set 'cancel spot' on the calendar.

    It did work for tracking and 'ok' messages.
     
  22. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Thanks for the information.