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GPS Locators?

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CRF230F owner and trail rider.

I'm probably going to be riding alone a lot... maybe some longer rides... and my wife really wants me to ride with a GPS locator.

Did a search here, but couldn't find much for make/model as suggestions.

Can anybody recommend a good & inexpensive system?

Also... for those who do carry these gadgets... how do you carry them?

Thanks in advance for any input!! 👍

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Stop by Big 5 (or your local outfitter). They're not exactly cheap, but if you're lost (or hurt) and can trigger it, they can be well worth the money when it's your life vs. the cost of the unit and rescue (which can be major $$s).

Cabela's has one here:

http://www.cabelas.com/p-0070662519308a.shtml

Fwiw, it's not a trivial thing to trigger a PLB. People have been fined a fair chunk of change for being thirsty or tired and then refusing rescue after the S&R team shows up. PLBs have become a bit of a scourge from the few folks that have used them inappropriately.

Imo, it's still best to ride with a buddy for safety's sake. (I ride a fair amount of solo, so just sayin'...) 👍

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There's the SPOT generation 1 that is pretty popular. Allows your wife to monitor your location and progress on your own SPOT webpage.

The SPOT generation 2 is still working the bugs out of it.

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I have the SPOT 1st generation. It is okay. It doesn't work that well on overcast days or in dense woods. On a clear day in the open it rocks. In addition to the purchase price, you also purchase a service contract. There are different levels of service contract available. Check out the SPOT web site for details.

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I have the SPOT 1st generation. It is okay. It doesn't work that well on overcast days or in dense woods. On a clear day in the open it rocks. In addition to the purchase price, you also purchase a service contract. There are different levels of service contract available. Check out the SPOT web site for details.

I have a Gen 1 SPOT www.findmespot.com I have found it to work very well. I have had it for a little over 3 years now. Has never failed me. Longest it has taken it to ever sync with the Globalstar satilites (the ones it uses to communicate the message with) has been 2 minutes and that was in white out conditions on a mountain pass. Otherwise within 20 seconds of activation it gets its lock and sends the "SPOT". When me and my wife were living separated (geographically because of work and school) it was nice to use so she or I could see where we were on the road or trail and when to expect each other at our destinations.

Here is what the page would look like when you send a SPOT

SPOT_hot_cPanbo_small.jpg

Here is what the Gen 1 SPOT looks like, the Gen 2 has a few more features check the website for more details.

spot.jpg

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Oh yeah, as mentioned there is big difference between a GPS locator and a PLB. Here's a link for a the PLB http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distress_radiobeacon

Seems to me that they're about the same price once you add in the $100 service fee (+ $50 for the tracking feature). The thing I like about the PLB is that it has the 406 MHz beacon that the GPS satellites will catch about once an hour and a 121.5 MHz beacon that (even though that's been slated for sattelite alert phaseout in 2009) aircraft pilots can receive.

Since a GPS PLB is registered (if the owner is smart... imo), S&R activation can be quicker than the second satellite pass that's indicated for unregistered beacons or those that use 406MHz on weather satellites.

GPS locators that use GSM/GPRS (2G/3G cell bands) like the S-911 are worthless IMO - especially in back country where coverage is questionable.

http://www.gpsconnect.ca/catalog/product/S911-RED.aspx

Momma probably would like the tracking feature, but what good is that when there's no coverage where you go and if you get in a jam? 👍

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You want the Fast Find PLD , one time cost, about 299.00 & it works in all locations . Thats the most important part.

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Bumping this thread up as it is quite dated and didn't want to start a new one so please help a guy out here. I'm not venturing far - maybe 10 KM's or so into the trails from the hut but do like to ride by myself and find this 350 to be rather gnarly once "in the zone".  

Not looking for something expensive as that means less money for new bikes mods... right? Any suggestions on a product out there that is somewhat easy to use with a smart phone. Even a tracker for those spouses looking to see where their s/o is off to at wee hours of the night. What are you using these days? Drop a story if you want too. 

Thanks in advance! 

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I use Viewranger.  Great trail maps (I think it's $5/year for premium version).  Buddy beacon function allows others to track your location.  Has a cool 3D viewing feature to watch your ride in 3 dimensions after-the-fact (and you can manipulate the perspective and viewing angle).  I've found this to be the best all-around mapping app for hiking, mountain biking, dirt biking, etc.  It works via GPS, however, you need cell coverage for the buddy beacon to work.  If you ride in areas without cell coverage, then I'd get a Garmin InReach mini and pair it with your cell phone.  

Edited by ninjabones
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Right on guys thank you for the replies. I'm going to try both of those recommendations out.

2 hours ago, ninjabones said:

I use Viewranger.  Great trail maps (I think it's $5/year for premium version).  Buddy beacon function allows others to track your location.  Has a cool 3D viewing feature to watch your ride in 3 dimensions after-the-fact (and you can manipulate the perspective and viewing angle).  I've found this to be the best all-around mapping app for hiking, mountain biking, dirt biking, etc.  It works via GPS, however, you need cell coverage for the buddy beacon to work.  If you ride in areas without cell coverage, then I'd get a Garmin InReach mini and pair it with your cell phone.  

So you can record your path similar to how you would follow directions on Google maps??? Thats sweet! 

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You need a Garmin InReach or InReach Mini.  The phone based solutions all require cell signal and don't work well.  I use an InReach when I am on backcountry hunting trips and it has been bombproof and helps the wife sleep at night.  Let me know if you have any technical questions on it.

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1 hour ago, SkinnySarge said:

You need a Garmin InReach or InReach Mini.  The phone based solutions all require cell signal and don't work well.  I use an InReach when I am on backcountry hunting trips and it has been bombproof and helps the wife sleep at night.  Let me know if you have any technical questions on it.

Thank you! That is our worry about the cell phone apps is you need cell coverage and murphy's law will come into play when something actually happens. Pricey little buggers those Garmins ($450 CAN on Amazon) but you can't put a price on safety right 😉 

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4 hours ago, SkinnySarge said:

You need a Garmin InReach or InReach Mini.  The phone based solutions all require cell signal and don't work well.  I use an InReach when I am on backcountry hunting trips and it has been bombproof and helps the wife sleep at night.  Let me know if you have any technical questions on it.

Not entirely correct because if the map is downloaded to the phone a cell signal is not required.  I ride in areas with very spotty, or no, cell coverage and use my smart phone as a GPS unit, and it works great. And the display is much higher resolution than my Garmin GPS.  When I go into the mountains I pack my smart phone, a Garmin GPS, paper maps, spare batteries for the GPS, and a USB battery for the smart phone. That may sound redundant and it is to some extend but it insures I will have navigation even if I spend a night or need to walk out. 

Technology marches on and IMO the Garmin In Reach is today's best option.

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17 hours ago, SkinnySarge said:

You need a Garmin InReach or InReach Mini.  The phone based solutions all require cell signal and don't work well.  I use an InReach when I am on backcountry hunting trips and it has been bombproof and helps the wife sleep at night.  Let me know if you have any technical questions on it.

Are we talking about recording/editing/sharing tracks and maps ... or satellite communication ? 

 

Because they're totally different topics and devices. The satellite communication units are TERRIBLE when used as GPS navigation units, and of course phones don't have the antennas for satellite communication. 

 

As is, phones work BETTER than stand alone GPS units, with higher memory, higher resolution screens, and a plethora of better sharing/database options for maps, tracks, waypoints, kmz overlays, and yes, even online tracking. The ONLY time a phone needs cellular service is if the user wants online live tracking reported to other users. Otherwise, cellular signal is never needed, and maps/tracking work GREAT while offline. 

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3 hours ago, ohgood said:

Are we talking about recording/editing/sharing tracks and maps ... or satellite communication ? 

 

Because they're totally different topics and devices. The satellite communication units are TERRIBLE when used as GPS navigation units, and of course phones don't have the antennas for satellite communication. 

 

As is, phones work BETTER than stand alone GPS units, with higher memory, higher resolution screens, and a plethora of better sharing/database options for maps, tracks, waypoints, kmz overlays, and yes, even online tracking. The ONLY time a phone needs cellular service is if the user wants online live tracking reported to other users. Otherwise, cellular signal is never needed, and maps/tracking work GREAT while offline. 

The OP specifically mentions wanting a GPS locator for his wife's peace of mind...so we are talking satellite communicator here.  A phone without cell signal does exactly jack squat for helping him let his wife know he is ok.  

I still use a phone with downloaded maps for navigation, plus an old InReach (DeLorme) for satellite comms when I'm on overnight hunting trips.  However, the new InReach devices have pretty decent mapping abilities, so I will switch to one of those if my old one ever dies.

I'll also say this, a satellite communicator is a must-have item if you are riding alone...too many people have died by going out alone without a means of communication or telling anyone where they will be. 

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16 hours ago, Chuck. said:

Not entirely correct because if the map is downloaded to the phone a cell signal is not required.  I ride in areas with very spotty, or no, cell coverage and use my smart phone as a GPS unit, and it works great. And the display is much higher resolution than my Garmin GPS.  When I go into the mountains I pack my smart phone, a Garmin GPS, paper maps, spare batteries for the GPS, and a USB battery for the smart phone. That may sound redundant and it is to some extend but it insures I will have navigation even if I spend a night or need to walk out. 

Technology marches on and IMO the Garmin In Reach is today's best option.

Then how would he let his wife know he is ok?  That is literally his main question in the original post.

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