+Searching_ut Posted September 29, 2009 Share Posted September 29, 2009 As mentioned briefly in in another post, the topic of the soon to be released SPOT II, GPS, personal tracking device was of interest to me, or more importantly my wife because of some of my recreational behavior. My local REI just received a few, and I picked one up. Here are my first impressions of this device, which although not really a geocaching device, may be of interest to those who’s caching activities take them far from the beaten path, often times alone. SPOT for those unfamiliar with the device is a GPS receiver that doesn't provide navigational information, but instead uses a satellite phone network to send all is well signals, position data for tracking at 10 minute intervals you contacts can access through google maps, or that will send a 911 signal to the companies call center where they are supposed to notify authorities that you're in trouble. I find it of interest for use in areas where cell phones don't work. First, the new device is quite a bit smaller than the older SPOT. It’s about the length and thickness of an etrex, but a little wider. The unit takes 3 AAA batteries, under a O-ring sealed door that uses two screw type fasteners to secure. The screws are a little awkward to use on my unit sometimes trying to come out of the lid as well as the thread inserts, and aren’t the easiest to use, but you don’t change batteries that much so it shouldn’t be a problem. Well have to see what I think of this over time. The buttons on the unit flash with different lights, so you know when the unit is turned on or if it‘s sending messages, receiving GPS signals etc.. I’ve only observed the original spot in use, having never owned one, but from what I did see, the new unit gives much easier to decipher status information.. Most important though, the GPS receiver on the old type spot receiver was fairly low sensitivity and slow to lock. The new unit seems to have a competent modern receiver that locks on quite quickly, and the unit so far has been very reliable at sending my signals out. Having let the unit get a good GPS lock yesterday, I find today it will power up, lock on, and send an all is well message in under 4 minutes from inside my house. It will be a few days before I can play with the tracking feature in hiking type conditions, but so far the unit seems fairly impressive. Quote Link to comment
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