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#168331 - 03/01/09 10:28 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4458
Loc: SOCAL
Excellent point and another reason SPOT is not on my short list.

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#168334 - 03/01/09 10:46 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Russ]
Andrew_S Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 59
One of the irritating aspects of the news coverage on this has been all the free advertising for SPOT. Not one mention of the subscription cost, not one mention of alternatives. Most of the news reports that have mentioned SPOT have understated the purchase price, as well.

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#168337 - 03/02/09 12:30 AM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Andrew_S]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1930
Originally Posted By: Andrew_S
One of the irritating aspects of the news coverage on this has been all the free advertising for SPOT. Not one mention of the subscription cost, not one mention of alternatives. Most of the news reports that have mentioned SPOT have understated the purchase price, as well.

That's what happens when you have a robust advertising and promotion campaign and budget and a generally uninformed media and, for that matter, many in SAR and elsewhere. Fact is, SPOT would likely have saved them.

I don't mind if folks want to buy SPOT, for whatever reasons, but it really irks me that they generally are doing so without being fully informed. Bottom line is there's no practical solution to that. Plenty of history to show that "best" is not necessarily the winner in a technology battle... <~> The odds are not in COSPAS-SARSAT/406 MHz beacons' favor in this battle, long term, they don't have the resources or the attitude. <shrug>
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#168341 - 03/02/09 12:46 AM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4458
Loc: SOCAL
Originally Posted By: Doug_Ritter
. . . The odds are not in COSPAS-SARSAT/406 MHz beacons' favor in this battle, long term, they don't have the resources or the attitude. <shrug>
Why would the 406 MHz beacons lose this battle? What resources are they lacking? Attitude?

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#168343 - 03/02/09 01:17 AM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Russ]
Andrew_S Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 59
Originally Posted By: Russ
Originally Posted By: Doug_Ritter
. . . The odds are not in COSPAS-SARSAT/406 MHz beacons' favor in this battle, long term, they don't have the resources or the attitude. <shrug>


Why would the 406 MHz beacons lose this battle? What resources are they lacking? Attitude?


Promotional budget and profit motive.

I think you can bet that SPOT's marketing people made a lot of phone calls over the past week, with this being one of the top news stories in Canada.

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#168344 - 03/02/09 01:38 AM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Russ]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1930
Originally Posted By: Russ
Originally Posted By: Doug_Ritter
. . . The odds are not in COSPAS-SARSAT/406 MHz beacons' favor in this battle, long term, they don't have the resources or the attitude. <shrug>
Why would the 406 MHz beacons lose this battle? What resources are they lacking? Attitude?


What Andrew said, to a great degree. The PLB market is relatively small, promotion of any sort is fragmented by the multiple players, none of which are very large, nor have they proven all that capable or fast on their feet. COSPAS-SARSAT secretariat isn't a player in promotion, it's just an international agency that oversees the various national partners. The U.S. or Canadian govt. hasn't the promotional means, flexibility or anything to compete against private industry in this regard. Many there don't even see it as a problem, for a variety of reasons.

Then add in the value added capabilities of SPOT vs a PLB. PLBs are limited in this regard as a result of the standards to which they are built. Nothing stops a PLB manufacturer from adding in capability, but it has to be in addition to the basic PLB capability and at that point cost and size/weight kill it. If there are changes in the standards, perhaps they will have a better chance in this regard, and that is under discussion. However, they represent fairly radical changes to accepted practices and that's hard to make happen. Will it come at all or come soon enough? Who knows?
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#168348 - 03/02/09 02:22 AM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Andrew_S]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4458
Loc: SOCAL
Wouldn't that be an issue for ACR and McMurdo? They make and market PLB's and EPIRB's. Seems to me that SPOT needs to catch up and they're being a bit opportunistic with this incident -- ACR and McMurdo could have done the same but apparently chose not to do so.

Of the two systems though, isn't the communications satellite system used by SPOT less robust/reliable? It definitely has less geo coverage and that alone sold me on a real PLB.

Full size map at globalcomsatphone.com spot_map
Note that according to this map there is no (zip, zero, nada) coverage in Hawaii. That's the deal breaker for me. Also, no coverage in Africa south of the equator nor much of India (not a big deal for me, but for others it could be critical).

Les Stroud is a good pitchman though.


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#168540 - 03/03/09 06:26 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Russ]
Colourful Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 86
Loc: Yukon
SPOT coverage in US looks good, except for Alaska. Unfortunate.

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#168541 - 03/03/09 06:30 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Russ]
Colourful Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 86
Loc: Yukon
To Red etc...
Wolves attack on humans are extremely rare. Only a few recorded.

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#168545 - 03/03/09 06:49 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.
Originally Posted By: Doug_Ritter
Originally Posted By: Russ
Second lesson learned -- Do not count on SAR when you get really lost unless you have a direct line into the system such as a PLB or SPOT (in those areas that SPOT works).


SPOT DOES NOT have a direct line to SAR. That is one of the problems and a potentially serious one. Numerous examples of their GEOS call center making calls to the wrong people trying to figure out who should be contacted. Moreover, at times they have been less than fully cooperative, simply providing a location with no added information that they do have at their fingertips, according to my SAR sources. So far, nobody has died as a result, but their are definite issues.

Again, while a PLB alert goes directly to SAR, SPOT does not. SPOT is better about this in the marine environment, because USCG has made it a point to hit them over the head with a virtual 2 x 4 and get them in the loop, so to speak, but not for normal terrestrial SAR. They may get it right, depending upon where you are, but they also may not. This was a major topic of conversation at the RTCM SC-128 initial meeting last week that I attended where all the parties were present. SAR wants a better process and interface. How we get there is a question.



That's an easy one. Read them the riot act. If you or I picked up a distress signal and failed to pass on evey bit of infomation we had, we would quite rightly face criminal charges. So have the SAR make it very clear that if by their act or ommision someone dies or suffers injury, the operator(s) on duty, C.E.O. and board will face charges for murder, manslaughter, endangering life or whatever.

Being "less than cooperative" when lives are at risk is a criminal act by any reasonable measure.


Edited by Leigh_Ratcliffe (03/03/09 07:00 PM)
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