Apr 21 2008

SPOT Personal Tracker: Part 2

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I finally had a chance to run my latest gadget through it’s paces this weekend. My brother and I hiked the 8.8 mile [Gahuti Trail Loop] on Saturday so it was a perfect opportunity to test the GPS receiver / Satellite transmitter part of the [SPOTâ„¢]. The trail had a good mix of ravine, ridge, saddle, etc. hiking and looped around the entire compass. I had it attached to the outside of my backpack – clipped to the top lip of a pocket with the receiver tilted upwards at about a 60 degree slant.

With the “track progress” feature enabled, the product specs claim the device will send a location message out every 10 minutes or so when it has a clear LOS with the satellite network. You can tell when the device is sync’d properly because a pair of LEDs blink in unison but since I had it attached to the back of my pack, I couldn’t monitor when and where it was sync’d – I just trusted it to send out a location track whenever it could. I’ve uploaded the 4 tracking messages my web site account shows as being received for the entire 4 hour hike – I have a feeling the GPS portion of the device is much more tolerant than the satellite simplex link because my handheld GPS never skipped once during the entire 4 hours.

My “check in” message at the end of the day went through just fine but I was hanging out along a ridgeline with almost 100% horizon visability so it’s not surprising. I’ll still carry it as part of my safety kit and it’ll be nice to keep my family informed during our hikes but I’ll stick to my handheld GPS for accurate tracking and waypoint marking.

Gahuti SPOT Tracks

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