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Doug Ritter Clarifies The SPOT Satellite Messenger Check-In Procedure

Recently I wrote a brief rant regarding the checkin behavior of the SPOT Satellite Messenger. I’m a bit confused and dissapointed that the device would give a green “checkin confrirmation indicator” when in fact it has not confirmed the checkin was successfull. To get a little perspective on the story, I wrote to survival expert and blogger Doug Ritter. Doug runs the survival equipment website Equipped.org, and is a major authority on survival gear and operations. He has also written his own series or articles on the evolution of the SPOT Satellite Messenger.

Doug’s response to my initial blog post “SPOT Satellite Messenger Giving False Checkin Confirmations”:

Doug Ritter:

I think there is some misunderstanding going on and unreasonable expectations. You can assign the blame however you want.

SPOT is a one way device. It transmits to the satellite. That’s it. There’s no possible way it can know if the transmission was successfully received. All the LED indicates is that it was successfully transmitted and with a GPS location if appropriate. I certainly wouldn’t ever expect it to work in reduced coverage areas, that’s why the publish that coverage map. Sometimes it does, but it is more likely it won’t.

While this issue is still frustrating to me, I understand the technical limitations of the system. Hopefully in the future, they’ll be able to evolve the satellite network to provide some sort receive and send capability. Thanks very much for the clarification, Doug.


Also on a side note, I just bought one of Adventure Medical Kits’ “Pocket Survival Packs”, designed by Doug Ritter. It’s great!

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