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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 27 Feb 2011
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Using SPOT Tracker in the Sahara

I tested one of these on the recent trip in Algeria after participating in a discussion on GPS tracking devices elsewhere on the HUBB.
My conclusions here:
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...9-2#post326054

Short version: not as reliable as a phone call, (notice the big gaps on the map below) but less bother spreading the word back home when it works.

Ch
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  #2  
Old 27 Feb 2011
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I'm off to Morocco in a few weeks time with mine, so will report back on how it performed there on return or maybe during the trip if a get any internet access.
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Old 27 Feb 2011
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One thing I see now re-reading the manual is that one should leave it transmitting for 20 mins after the 'flying envelope' flashes and the GPS light goes out. I never left mine on for more than a minute (assuming it had gone off) which might explain why some did not register. But those that did register were also on for only a minute.

I just lent mine to a bloke going back to Alg. Will see how he gets on doing the full 20.

Ch
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Old 27 Feb 2011
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Hi Chis,

I was wondering if that could be the reason for the problems you experienced on your trip, and now we know. It does take time to beam up your location, but once it's done, according to my findings during three trips, it was pretty accurate and the sms messages arrived on cue. Tracking is very crude, but after all it's just for entertaining folks at home, and in case of trouble the last know location is always more useful than none
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Old 27 Feb 2011
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Good to know the exact location where u disappeared
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Old 27 Feb 2011
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LOL!

Just got a Spot2, purely to keep track for myself and others back home of my progress/safety, yes it's not an PLB, or as puposeful as a Sat Phone, but is cheaper than either of those and does allow custom msgs to be sent and keeps track easy enough.

We'll see in Morocco in April (UK no problem) how good it is, also added my own mob no as a contact, so I'll know if msgs are getting through, assuming I have a mob ph signal.

There's been a few Spots taken ther already looking at the world map link;

EveryTrail World Map

I sure in the not too distant future there may well be a Spot3 which may have a sat ph/gps/spot combo.

Seemily already people in the US are pressing SOS for all sorts of stupid reasons, mainly because they haven't properly prepared themselves or are pressing the panic button to early, just because they have one.

Just my thoughts, safe travels. Cheers Mark
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  #7  
Old 28 Feb 2011
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I used a Spot 2 in October for a 2 week Tunisia trip.
The tracking function worked exceptionally well down through France, throughout Tunisa (including several days 'off piste' between Douz and Ksar Ghilane) and all the way home and never missed a beat.
All the messages I sent were received, I even sent an 'OK' message from the ferry, mid-med. You can even update your facebook page with it if you so desire.
The folks at home were very impressed and some people were tracking us 'live' during the day.
They probably knew where we were better than we did!
We will us it again in Morocco next year.
As I have said in another thread it's an excellent tool to keep the folks at home entertained/informed and a reasonable safety device (if used properly) in a safe-ish contry (e.g. Morocco or Tunisia).
For somewhere further from the beaten track I would go for some additional emergency cover, such as a sat phone.

In summary, be aware of its limitations and its a great bit of kit
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Old 1 Mar 2011
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I rode with a 11 bike group through
Portugal-Spain-Morocco-Mauritania-Senegal-Gambia-Senegal-Guiné Bissau
in 16 days from the 5th to the 20th of February

The company organising the trip - MotoXplorers - used a Spot which we regularly checked on the internet. I don't recall having any problem being located.

Two guys are now returning by land, you can still check their path through Western Sahara. But as I mentioned all the trip was recorded.
Viagens Moto Aventura Motoxplorers

The claimed coverage map can be seen here:
SPOT Satellite Messenger Coverage Map - Globalcom

BR,
Luis Cabrita
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Old 2 Mar 2011
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cute gadget for folks back home wanting to see where you're at and blogs.
Almost useless to you on the ground-

Imagine the panic of wifey seing an 'sos' and a coord ... what is she going to do over 4000 miles away? anyone got 'A' Team's fone # ?
IMHO, A sat phone with local numbers much more useful - I just buy local sims in my unlocked dog 'n bone and plan a few numbers (embassy mainly, etc)
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Old 2 Mar 2011
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Yes but... it can save huge amount of € in roaming. For a group it can make sense, as was the case. And it is usable almost everywhere.

Safe travels!

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Luis Cabrita
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