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Old 09-17-2018, 02:28 PM   #1
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SPOT Trace alternatives.. ?

We have a SPOT Trace hardwired to the trailer currently, works great and does what we need - when we are out and about family can see where we are. As a hardware device I have nothing bad to say about it.



The thing I don't like is their business practice, they are now charging $149.99/yr (stated on their website) plus a $24.99 "network maintenance fee" which I can't seem to find any info on, and customer service just kept telling me they've sent me an email about it already. Is it really that hard to attach the email again? Looking thru the information available on the internet it appears the initial network maintenance fee was added, then increased again, within a year after I paid for the annual service last August.



I think I'm going to look into Garmin InReach, has anyone used this or similar technology (satellite GPS) device in their trailer and if so what is it? How do you like it?
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:36 PM   #2
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I agree Spot sneaks some things by. I use a Spot2 (Buzzards in the Sky) when I ride solo on my dirt bike so I can be tracked on findmespot.com every 10 minutes in or out of cell phone coverage.

Looks like Garmin is $144/yr plus text charges plus device purchase.

Would Google location services work well enough for you?
https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pb
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:39 PM   #3
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I am curious as to the reasoning behind wanting people to track where you are. I prefer to be incognito unless I want folks to know where I am. This was different when I spent a lot of time in the backcountry, and it was a safety measure, kinda like Rob riding his bike off by himself.
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:50 PM   #4
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A lot of our travels are done in areas without cell phone coverage, and we'd like some family members to know where we were in case we were overdue. The battery in Trace lasted about 1 week so we have the option of pulling it off the trailer and pop it inside the vehicle too. The added bonus is we can track the trailer location in case it got stolen...
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caddoster View Post
A lot of our travels are done in areas without cell phone coverage, and we'd like some family members to know where we were in case we were overdue. The battery in Trace lasted about 1 week so we have the option of pulling it off the trailer and pop it inside the vehicle too. The added bonus is we can track the trailer location in case it got stolen...
That makes sense. I never really considered that before, as we are often out of cell range when camping. Might be useful in an emergency. Can you sent a text like you can with Spot devices used in the backcountry? Not too worried about my trailer going missing though, that is a rare thing.
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I am curious as to the reasoning behind wanting people to track where you are. I prefer to be incognito unless I want folks to know where I am. This was different when I spent a lot of time in the backcountry, and it was a safety measure, kinda like Rob riding his bike off by himself.
Being almost 70 years old , as Jim stated prefer to be incognito . Cell phones are about as much technology , loss of privacy and cost as we are willing to accept .
Maybe we’re old school but we go camping to get away and not be connected .
Hope you find a good solution to your question
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caddoster View Post
A lot of our travels are done in areas without cell phone coverage, and we'd like some family members to know where we were in case we were overdue. .
And you're certainly not the only folks who feel that way. We've talked to several people who do the same thing. And, having the family be able to see where you are is very important and gives a level of comfort to them.

Heck, if we'd have had one in the Med. my mother-in-law wouldn't have had to call out the Tunisian Coast Guard to search for us because she hadn't heard from us for 10 days.

Ron
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:49 PM   #8
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We have a spot device and the most basic subscription which allows for emergency communication and a standard "I am OK" message to pre identified folks.(2) Basic emergency communication for when we are out of cell phone communication in the back country. The "i am ok" feature is fine and I haven't had occasion to check the 911 function. Better than Garmin? Who knows. I can say Garmin customer service for my GPS has been first rate.
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:37 PM   #9
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I have had a SPOT for about 10 yrs. Was mostly used as an emergency device for backcountry paddling trips, but have in the past couple of years let my subscription lapse. Don't think that I would bother using a satellite tracker for my Escape, since my replacement insurance is not much more than the cost of the satellite tracker subscription service.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:02 PM   #10
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I have had an inReach for about 4 years and have been happy with it. I have the basic subscription which is around $12/month. The unit has increased in price since Garmin bought them out so you may want to look for a used one. Also, one reason that I went with inReach is because the satilite consilation that they use has better coverage than the one used by SPOT.
When we get to a spot without cell coverage, I send a message to my daughter and son so they know where we are. I also have enabled them to ping our location if they want.
Both my and my wife's parents are getting older and we want to be able to stay in touch with them if an emergency comes up. Also, on a trip into the backcountry of the Sierra (California) a few years ago, when we woke a few days into our trip, we could smell smoke. We had no way of telling where it was coming from so I messaged my kids and they search and told us we were safe from it. It was nice not to cancel our trip and have the peace of mind about the fire.

Ben
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