Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby GregMiller » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:14 pm

Delorme inReach FTW: 7.5 W
http://www.delorme.com/media/Product_Information/inReach_Background_Information.pdf

(Note - power is relatively meaningless unless you're doing in-depth link budget analysis - a lot depends on the orbit of the satellite system (altitude and inclination), size/orientation of the receiver on the satellite, type/orientation of the antenna on the spot/inreach/plb, etc.)
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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby Rarefied » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:19 pm

globreal wrote:It sounded like some of the satellites are not in a locked orbit but traveling around the earth ...

Yes, this is the main issue I was referring to above.

globreal wrote:If you are in trees, in a couloir, or up next to a rock wall, the transmission may be blocked. So, it could be wise to move to an area where you have a totally clear view of the sky.

This refers to what's called terrain shielding and is very good advice as doing so will strongly increase the odds of the unit being able to communicate with one of the "birds". Hopefully the injured party or someone with him can make that move if necessary.

Dex wrote:You have 10-15x the transmission power with an actual PLB. (i.e. enough to power through cloud cover or foliage or out of a canyon)"

The impact of changes in power levels in communication systems is a logarithmic function so the effective ratio is not as steep as the simple division makes it appear. Nonetheless, you've got the right idea -- the greater the power, the greater the chances of the signal overcoming various attenuation factors and ultimately making the trip.

GregMiller wrote:(Note - power is relatively meaningless unless you're doing in-depth link budget analysis - a lot depends on the orbit of the satellite system (altitude and inclination), size/orientation of the receiver on the satellite, type/orientation of the antenna on the spot/inreach/plb, etc.)

In the end, it's a fairly complex system governed by power, all the aspects you mention and some others you didn't. While link analysis models how the system should perform, a user in the field is strictly dependent upon the real-world status of the system at the instant he "keys up". And ensuring he has a solid, clear view of the sky is about all he can contribute to the process. Fortunately, this is often all that is required of him in order to realize success.


globreal wrote:Hope this helps. (Again, I apologize for the premature post.)

Hardly necessary to apologize -- your heart was/is definitely in the right place. I strongly suspect you've helped several SPOT users more than you know.


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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby shearmodulus » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:29 pm

Comparing the relative power of the transmitters can be a deceptive metric - it usually has more to do with the size of the receiver antenna.

Case in point - remember the first commercially available satellite dishes that used to grace homes that didn't get cable TV (like mine on the farm)? 18 feet diameter or so? Yeah... that's because the TV signals they pushed were much weaker, and therefore required a larger antenna to pick up the signal and reflect it to the LNB for decoding. Today you can get hundreds of channels of HD TV on a dish that is about 1/20th the size of the old ones because the signals the new satellites push is much, much stronger. (I used to sell the new style dishes when they first started coming out in 1994).

So comparing transmitter power levels is irrelevant unless you know the size of the receiver dishes. If the dishes are all the same size, then the power of the beacon matters. If not, the power to dish-size ratio is the more important factor.

Sorry - geeked out there for a minute.
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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby MountainHiker » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:03 pm

Last year on North Maroon when I activated my SPOT, it hadn’t been on. The people at SPOT called all the phone numbers associated with my account. My cell phone was with me and not getting a signal. Dorthe was at a function and separated from her phone when the call came in. That left Dorthe’s sister, who didn’t know where I was that weekend. The SPOT apparently got out the SOS ahead of having coordinates. When Dorthe’s sister was still on the phone with SPOT they told her the “search had been called off.” Dorthe’s sister (not a climber) took that to be a good thing, when in fact it was because SAR knew it was now a body recovery.

So the advice for turning on the SPOT beforehand is really big for SPOT knowing what SAR unit to call. In our case a cell phone higher on the mountain was critical for communication. There are a lot of places, like where I was when I activated the SPOT that don’t get cell phone signals. So the SPOT coordinates might be the only location clue available for SAR.
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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby MountainSlayer » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:26 pm

MountainHiker wrote:Last year on North Maroon when I activated my SPOT, it hadn’t been on. The people at SPOT called all the phone numbers associated with my account. My cell phone was with me and not getting a signal. Dorthe was at a function and separated from her phone when the call came in. That left Dorthe’s sister, who didn’t know where I was that weekend. The SPOT apparently got out the SOS ahead of having coordinates. When Dorthe’s sister was still on the phone with SPOT they told her the “search had been called off.” Dorthe’s sister (not a climber) took that to be a good thing, when in fact it was because SAR knew it was now a body recovery.

So the advice for turning on the SPOT beforehand is really big for SPOT knowing what SAR unit to call. In our case a cell phone higher on the mountain was critical for communication. There are a lot of places, like where I was when I activated the SPOT that don’t get cell phone signals. So the SPOT coordinates might be the only location clue available for SAR.



MountainHiker,

Can you clarify what you mean? I am especially confused when you mention SPOT stating the "search had been called off" and that they "knew it was now a body recovery," but it has been a long day so I am probably just slow.

Many thanks - Kris Venema
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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby MountainHiker » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:18 pm

MountainSlayer wrote:
MountainHiker wrote:Last year on North Maroon when I activated my SPOT, it hadn’t been on. The people at SPOT called all the phone numbers associated with my account. My cell phone was with me and not getting a signal. Dorthe was at a function and separated from her phone when the call came in. That left Dorthe’s sister, who didn’t know where I was that weekend. The SPOT apparently got out the SOS ahead of having coordinates. When Dorthe’s sister was still on the phone with SPOT they told her the “search had been called off.” Dorthe’s sister (not a climber) took that to be a good thing, when in fact it was because SAR knew it was now a body recovery.

So the advice for turning on the SPOT beforehand is really big for SPOT knowing what SAR unit to call. In our case a cell phone higher on the mountain was critical for communication. There are a lot of places, like where I was when I activated the SPOT that don’t get cell phone signals. So the SPOT coordinates might be the only location clue available for SAR.



MountainHiker,

Can you clarify what you mean? I am especially confused when you mention SPOT stating the "search had been called off" and that they "knew it was now a body recovery," but it has been a long day so I am probably just slow.

Many thanks - Kris Venema


Sorry, here is the thread from that incident. My description is on page 3 of the thread.

https://14ers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=37597
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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby bob863 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:08 am

I concur with globreal's latest post....

the only thing that I would add.....after you press the "911" button, STAY PUT.....the SPOT continues updating/sending it's position periodically
until the unit is turned off or the batteries die....wandering around will only confuse the SAR team
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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby Rarefied » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:08 am

Dex wrote:I can't take credit for jsdratm's post who didn't take credit for jakdak's post.

Let the record show that full credit for citation of it is, indeed, more accurate. :-D

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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby MountainSlayer » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:35 am

MountainHiker,

Many thanks, good sir. That is very helpful information.

Kris
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Re: Sending a SPOT "911" PLEASE READ

Postby Rock-a-Fella » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:13 pm

Nice discussion topic. Thanks Britt!

I guess it all comes down to "Expectations". What is your vision of "how" the "Emergent Notification System / Process" is to work for you. To begin at the end, I have had 3 different generations of SPOT units, a Sat Phone and an InReach. InReach is my "Go to" everyday use communicator. It uses a different orbiting satellite system that SPOT.

I guess there is no "bad unit" and it comes down to understanding how each of them works or doesn't work and making sure of you own the one that best fits your goals.

Specific to rescue or rescue prep. I turn ALL units on at the car so the they can acquire a signal, location and be primed for activation if needed. What I like best about in reach in the two way text function and the message "delivery" notification. This forum is riddled with members who didn't know if their spots were working or not. "Did a signal go out?" When you activate the SOS of and InReach after Geos establishes where you are by jurisdiction they notify the sheriff's office of the rescue area. They then send a text message to the InReach asking "What is the nature of your emergency" In the absence of a reply SAR team respond with rescue gear for the location. There was a fatality at Windom where the activated InReach was able to reply (at 11pm at night) that the subject had not made it allowing them to respond at first light.

One of the "BEST" things ALL PLB owners can do is to set up your profiles (this is the information as to who the owner of the unit is) with who your are, skill levels, risk tolerances, experience level, allergies, blood type etc. My profile includes all of my outdoor affiliations with the hopes that when Geos, the sheriff and the SAR team leader done reading that the notion is: "that I have exhausted all self evac option or the the situation is emergent."

Please do not falsify your background. That said this information is important is trying to figure out who is out there and what might be going on. There was a SPOT activation
at 2am. The owner profile was a "Solid, Experienced, BC Traveler", we sent a hasty team to the location within an hour and the activation was for another party that was gravely ill. The members stabilized the subject and the team came is at first light for the extrication.

Before I forget please don't forget the "TEXT Message". It takes 1/6th the signal strength to send a text as a voice call. Generation 4 enhanced 911 will soon have a data option. To "TEXT" to 911. Stay tuned.

Gen 1 SPOT units: please replace them! We replace ropes, cams, ice axes, crampons and other safety related equipment due to age, wear and tear, effectiveness.

These units require too many modification to use IMHO. Removing batteries, storage in boxes, duct tape....
Ask yourself "What are the consequences of failure?" Gen 2 or SPOT Connect do not seem to have the same problems. Just sayin'
As stated earlier, if you activate your PLB and you are moving, one of the first considerations is "accidental activation" the party is still hiking.

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