Personal GPS or SAT Trackers (or APRS options) talk

Herzog

somewhat damaged
Admin
Location
Kamas, UT
This has been on my list of things to get as I often go out on my own into the mountains to explore and I'd especially want to have something in case of emergency when I have one or both of my kids with me.

I've searched the RME archives and there's been some good discussion but this tech evolves so I wanted to see if there's any new takes on some of the SAT stuff... or should I spend the time to setup an APRS setup? Will it even work good in the mountains / trees where I like to go?

This thread had some good info but I didn't want to derail it further since it's original topic was on a specific unit.

Is there any huge differences between SPOT and Garmin in this area?
Ultimately I just want to be able to have family see where I'm at if I'm late or off-schedule, but maybe there's some other tricks I'm missing out on.
 

DAA

Well-Known Member
APRS keeps my wife happy. And got easy budget approval for a nice dual band ham.

I kinda can't stand sat nannies. The APRS is my compromise to make my wife happy. And, she is. She loves being able to see if I'm still moving or not on her phone. And that's her warning indicator - if I don't move for a day, she knows things have probably got western.

- DAA
 

gijohn40

too poor to wheel... :(
Location
Layton, Utah
Aprs is a good thing but the fact that allot of places in the back country your ham radio isn't going to be able to reach a repeater. I'm working on one for Medicine butte up in Evanston that should be able to reach south into the mirror lake highway area and help fill in for the one up by bear lake area. if you go to aprs.fi you can see the dead spots and decide if the area you go into has coverage.
 

DesertRam

Active Member
I have been using a Garmin inReach mini for about four years now. Depending on how you set it up, it will send waypoints to your contacts and they can track you. You set the interval. I don't usually do that, just use it to check in a couple times a day so Mama knows all is well. It's connected to my phone via Bluetooth, so all I do is open the app and text on the phone. Easy as pie.
 

Herzog

somewhat damaged
Admin
Location
Kamas, UT
I have been using a Garmin inReach mini for about four years now. Depending on how you set it up, it will send waypoints to your contacts and they can track you. You set the interval. I don't usually do that, just use it to check in a couple times a day so Mama knows all is well. It's connected to my phone via Bluetooth, so all I do is open the app and text on the phone. Easy as pie.
That’s kinda exactly what I’m looking for. Thank you for the info
 

ChestonScout

opinions are like Jeeps..
Location
Clinton, Ut
Dirtbikechannel guy (ya I know)

just did a review of this one. It’s very affordable and seems to do everything I would want. You use it with your phone.
I am ordering it up

 

boogie_4wheel

Active Member
I have a Spot Gen3. The Garmin 2 Way wasn't a thing yet, or I would have gotten that instead.

I've had it for years, slam new batteries in it every spring. It updates my location every 10 minutes, and I can set up the 4 different buttons with a message that I want (via their website prior to hitting the road). It has allowed me to check in when things were good, or when things went bad.

A few years ago I had a dirt bike engine lock up on me between Fredonia and Page. I mashed an alternate button (not the SOS) that I had set with a message to come get me, then waited for 2hrs while my wife dispatched a truck to my coordinates that were sent via text and email.
 

moab_cj5

Premium Member
Supporting Member
I use a Garmin inReach. On all of their plans you get unlimited preset messages, so I set those up with easy messages and check in with the wife at least twice a day. Then if anything goes sideways I can use it to text her or call for SOS help.

I've liked having the security of having it. APRS is great too, but like was mentioned there are still holes where it won't always work.
 

DAA

Well-Known Member
With the proliferation of these devices and increasingly universal cell coverage, no place is wussie proof anymore. People that wouldn't (dare) be places (because they are wussies), without that perceived safety net of the sat nanny/medic alert device, are in those places in large numbers now. I hate those things, honestly.

- DAA
 

OCNORB

Premium Member
Supporting Member
Location
Alpine
We have used the Inreach for about 8 years now. Mostly for our backcountry trips in BFE Idaho. Tried the Spot, but it really lacks in several departments. The satellite coverage just works with the Inreach. The mapping is much better for anyone “watching" you from home.
You also get the "Earthmate" app, which connects the Inreach to your phone via Bluetooth; makes texting over satelite super easy. Earthmate allows you to upload any maps you'd like for there area you are going to be in. It's really been helpful to pull up a USGS and know exactly where I am and which way I need to go.

My riding buddy used the Spot up until last year; he finally switched to the Inreach too. The service (lack of) is what made him switch.

I watched the Dirtbike channel video on the new unit. I liked the smaller form factor. Not sure which satellite network it uses. But I'm not that curious as Garmin has been good to me.

P.S. The search and rescue insurance packages are worth it to me. Look into these just in case your ever in a situation that requires helicoptered rescues.
 
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Greg

Starting Over
Admin
My wife bought me a SPOT several years ago, after a 4 day motorcycle ride into Utah's remote desert and zero contact. She kinda freaked out. I had it linked to my FB account and would check in when on solo rides by myself. I'm sure these PLB/Emergency location devices have come a long way, but the SPOT could only report that you were safe and share your location, or call EMS to your location. I know a few different motorcycle guys that have had their asses saved after breaking a leg in the middle of nowhere.

The ability to send a detailed message if your in trouble would be high priority for me. Say if you got stuck somehow, ran out of gas, had 2 flat tires, etc... being able to convey and communicate details is huge.

Funny enough, I thought I lost my SPOT on a motorcycle ride around Moab about 5-6 years ago.... I was selling all my motorcycle gear this Spring and a guy that bought one of my jackets found it in one of the pockets. He returned it! So now I have my SPOT back... X-D
 

DesertRam

Active Member
Good point Dave, and I agree. They make people more comfortable, and open up places to the less adventurous they wouldn't normally go. Mine hasn't changed where or when I go, it just puts the wife at ease. There is something to be said for that. It typically sits in the pack until dark, and then I send a quick note to let her know I'm alive. If I didn't perceive the need to do that, I wouldn't have it. In fact she bought it for me when my oldest kid, 15 at the time, drew a sheep tag way up in the mountains. Mama said I wasn't taking her baby up there without an emergency contact. What's a guy to do?
 

DAA

Well-Known Member
Agreed. I'm glad APRS was enough to make my wife happy. You do what you gotta do.

And I know quite a few people that own and use these devices that were out there before they existed, and would still be out there if they didn't exist now. But they like having them and using the features - even just to get a weather report. And then I know a few folks that are out there a LOT, that have businesses to run, have logistics to coordinate, need the privacy, etc. that really use the heck out of them and are served a real purpose by using them.

So, clearly, not everyone that uses them is automatically a wussie.

Wussies sure are attracted to them though. And I liked it better when I wasn't seeing any of them out there. But, can't stop progress...

- DAA
 

Herzog

somewhat damaged
Admin
Location
Kamas, UT
Agreed. I'm glad APRS was enough to make my wife happy. You do what you gotta do.

And I know quite a few people that own and use these devices that were out there before they existed, and would still be out there if they didn't exist now. But they like having them and using the features - even just to get a weather report. And then I know a few folks that are out there a LOT, that have businesses to run, have logistics to coordinate, need the privacy, etc. that really use the heck out of them and are served a real purpose by using them.

So, clearly, not everyone that uses them is automatically a wussie.

Wussies sure are attracted to them though. And I liked it better when I wasn't seeing any of them out there. But, can't stop progress...

- DAA
Oh yea I agree, I'm still going out there often alone with or without it. Most of the time I probably wouldn't even turn the thing on unless I was late and needed to ease minds at home. I'm married to a worst case scenario over thinker.
 

DAA

Well-Known Member
After I had been declared missing with a SAR and the whole rigamarol just once, and had to call in a helicopter rescue for injured buddies once or twice, and was a a day or two late getting home a few times, Cindy got pretty uptight about it all too. Big life insurance policy and APRS puts her mind at ease.

- DAA
 

gijohn40

too poor to wheel... :(
Location
Layton, Utah
if you want to try aprs you can get the aprs-droid app and it can be used by itself to send packets out thru the cell phone. so if you have cell coverage it will show where you are.
 
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