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Old 01-17-2020, 01:12 PM   #1
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Spot or in-reach

Looking at these satellite communicators... Which one? and why.... Thanks
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:39 PM   #2
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All depends what you want to do. I have an "old" Spot that just shows my position on a shared page. Thant;s it! We send out a "We are OK" message every time we move. No texting, phone etc. Just nice and quiet. We like it as it keeps down the traffic from family and friends.

All depends on what you want to do.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:03 PM   #3
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or imarsat go with predict wind?
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:21 PM   #4
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We have two older version Spot Messengers. One stays on the boat and one goes ashore. We need two because if I’m hiking alone and don’t come back, my wife can still send for help...lots of places up here at the ends of inlets where the radio doesn’t work.

My sister and her husband have the Delorme that can send messages between devices or with family back home. That can be a lifesaver, and handy for when plans get changed enroute.

Another huge plus for the Delorme is that you can “park it” when you aren’t using it, which costs a bit less...you have to pay full price on the Spot all the time.
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:21 PM   #5
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I have the InReach, cheaper, because of the ability to go dormant in off season.

I've found the texting feature to be very useful in the wilds of BC and Alaska beyond phone service for spouse-reassurance or arranging logistics or rendezvous.

I have a cell plan which covers Canada and Mexico, but if you don't, you can save on roaming charges, at least for basic messages.
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:08 PM   #6
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I have always had the InReach. You can’t go wrong with it. I have been told by the offshore sailors that there is a big dead zone South of Hawaii were the Spot won’t work. Now I realize that means little to most of us. The obvious differences are the Spot appears cheaper to buy but the InReach can be cheaper if you park it for the winter.
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:14 PM   #7
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I have the InReach, cheaper, because of the ability to go dormant in off season.

I've found the texting feature to be very useful in the wilds of BC and Alaska beyond phone service for spouse-reassurance or arranging logistics or rendezvous.

I have a cell plan which covers Canada and Mexico, but if you don't, you can save on roaming charges, at least for basic messages.
What Bill said. We've been using Inreach since it came out, in BC and Alaska. Low cost and effective for text messaging and tracking. We also have Iridium sat phone but hardly use it, since we have Inreach.
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Old 01-18-2020, 07:03 AM   #8
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Last year upgraded my Spot to a SpotX which has messaging. Worked great on an RV trip to Alaska. And you can start/stop the service in 1 month increments whenever you want to.
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Old 01-18-2020, 07:10 AM   #9
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I have the Inreach and have been very happy with it. The satellite texting fills the cellular gaps very nicely. As a solo cruiser, I'm required to call the wife every night. For those rare times without cellular coverage, texting is an acceptable alternative. In the total cost of boating, the plan difference between Spot and Inreach is nothing.

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Old 01-18-2020, 07:44 AM   #10
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I had an Inreach. The bluetooth circuit didn't work, and it would not transfer text from my phone. I had to use the very convoluted and difficult proceedure to enter text. Tech support was useless and would only repeat the instructions on how to pair the device to a smartphone. I was never able to get them to repair or replace my unit.

So I sold it for half what I paid for it, and bought a SPOTX.

If you are thinking of buying an Inreach, make sure you can return it to the place of purchase if it doesn't work.
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Old 01-18-2020, 08:42 AM   #11
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For the InReach guys, is there a specific model you would recommend?
Annual subscription or monthly?
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Old 01-18-2020, 09:25 AM   #12
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For the InReach guys, is there a specific model you would recommend?
Annual subscription or monthly?
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I'm very happy with this model. It has a good basic map package included which includes many of the trails and topography when I'm hiking in the state park. This is also very good when kayaking or exploring with the dinghy. The EPIRB / PLB feature is also very reassuring.

Plans are really based on expected use. Because I use it away from the boat, I felt the ability to plot my location every 10 minutes was important if someone needed to search for me.

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Old 01-18-2020, 10:37 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone, we have always carried a sat phone with us... but I found the plans pretty expensive and the usage of the phone very minimal. In most cases we were just checking in with family or arranging to meet friends, so text messaging was adequate for our needs. So when I saw this on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Handhe...82MZ177QA&th=1

It seemed to be another boat toy that may actually get used on occasion.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:04 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone, we have always carried a sat phone with us... but I found the plans pretty expensive and the usage of the phone very minimal. In most cases we were just checking in with family or arranging to meet friends, so text messaging was adequate for our needs. So when I saw this on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Handhe...82MZ177QA&th=1

It seemed to be another boat toy that may actually get used on occasion.
That may very well be a good choice. Keep in mind, you will likely exceed the cost of the unit with the service plan in the first or second year. So, don't skimp on features you want as the long term cost is service and model is relatively small.

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Old 01-18-2020, 11:35 AM   #15
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The original Spot was one way communication only, to an unreliable satellite constellation. Inreach is and has always been 2-way, to a reliable constellation (Iridium). The new Spot is 2-way, and their satellites have gotten a little better, but still not up to Iridium which is basically maintained by the US DOD.

There are two important reasons to go with a 2-way system: first, you do not know that your position report has been received by the satellite without confirmation, and as a result the 1-way Spot has frequent dropped position reports. The Inreach will continue to retry sending the report until receipt is confirmed. Second, it you send an SOS, it is much better for SAS personnel to have some basic communication about the nature of your emergency.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:39 AM   #16
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The original Spot was one way communication only, to an unreliable satellite constellation.
I have an original SPOT and have used it for about 5 years with no issues at all.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:50 PM   #17
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The original Spot was and is far better than the older Epirbs, I'll give a copy and paste from Wiki, notice the coverage of one satellite - 20 km.

"The first form of these beacons was the 121.500 MHz ELT, which was designed as an automatic locator beacon for crashed military aircraft. These beacons were first used in the 1950s by the U.S. military and were mandated for use on many types of commercial and general aviation aircraft beginning in the early 1970s.[3] The frequency and signal format used by the ELT beacons was not designed for satellite detection, which resulted in a system with poor location detection abilities and with long delays in detection of activated beacons. The satellite detection network was built after the ELT beacons were already in general use, with the first satellite not being launched until 1982, and even then, the satellites only provided detection, with location accuracy being roughly 20 km.[3] The technology was later expanded to cover use on vessels at sea (EPIRB), individual persons (PLB and, starting in 2016, MSLD).[citation needed] All have migrated from using 121.500 MHz as their primary frequency to using 406 MHz, which was designed for satellite detection and location."
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Old 01-18-2020, 02:01 PM   #18
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The original Spot was and is far better than the older Epirbs, I'll give a copy and paste from Wiki, notice the coverage of one satellite - 20 km.

"The first form of these beacons was the 121.500 MHz ELT, which was designed as an automatic locator beacon for crashed military aircraft. These beacons were first used in the 1950s by the U.S. military and were mandated for use on many types of commercial and general aviation aircraft beginning in the early 1970s.[3] The frequency and signal format used by the ELT beacons was not designed for satellite detection, which resulted in a system with poor location detection abilities and with long delays in detection of activated beacons. The satellite detection network was built after the ELT beacons were already in general use, with the first satellite not being launched until 1982, and even then, the satellites only provided detection, with location accuracy being roughly 20 km.[3] The technology was later expanded to cover use on vessels at sea (EPIRB), individual persons (PLB and, starting in 2016, MSLD).[citation needed] All have migrated from using 121.500 MHz as their primary frequency to using 406 MHz, which was designed for satellite detection and location."
I don't see how this is relevant

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Old 01-18-2020, 03:46 PM   #19
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I have multiple models of both the Spot and inReach, and started with Spot years ago when they first came out. I now prefer inReach because of their features, specifically the app you can pair with the device and use to see maps and send messages.

An inReach saved me from a bad situation in the mountains 3 years ago, and I appreciated the ability to send text messages back and forth in an easy manner.

Since Garmin bought them a couple of years ago, I have liked where they were going with some of the additional features.

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I have a review I need to finish on the new GPSMAP 86sci model (the one on the right above - the one on the left is the Explorer SE+) which is the first true marine version of the inReach. I actually purchased this one myself because I wanted a handheld GPS with good marine charts. It has a better radio as well for the satellite side, plus a ton of other features.

Using it with their apps and syncing is a hot mess, but that usually happens with new products and integrations. So far I really like it for the maps and the much faster and more functionality around the inReach side.

We use our inReach for two main reasons - tracking us 100% of the time when we're on the water so others can follow, and for sending messages where there isn't any cell coverage. Works great for both, can be mounted at the helm, sync with phones, etc.
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Old 01-18-2020, 04:05 PM   #20
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We had the original SPOT and used it for several years to populate a position page on our blog. Was super easy to just push the button once we were anchored each day, and our position would show up on the map on our blog with no further actions on our part.
Bringing our boat north from Seattle in November, the person accompanying me had an In-Reach, and I liked the ability to text my wife every couple days to say we were OK.
Anyone using an In-Reach to populate a position page on line? Just wondering if it is as easy to send the info using it, as it was for the SPOT?
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