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SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh

Postby jgaffney » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:13 pm

I'm sorry if this has already been posted. I did a search first.

SPOT emailed me back in June, but I didn't really pay attention to it until it hit my MaserCard bill yesterday. The SPOT annual fee went from $150/yr to $400/yr, plus a $30 "network access fee." So, basically, a 186% fee increase all at once.

I hike solo in the Sierras 3-4 times per year, for 3-4 nights each trip. At $150/yr, it was worth it to give my wife some peace of mind. I'd ping her when I got up, a couple of times during the day, when I got to my next destination, and before I went to bed - 4-5 times per day. It was reassuring to her to know that I wasn't dead, or gravely injured somewhere by myself.

I called SPOT Customer Service this morning, and got no help at all. I'm already on the Basic plan, so the only way to go is up.

Now that SPOT has gotten more expensive, I am considering alternatives. Since I only go out a couple of times per year for basically extended weekends, is a SatPhone cost competitive? Is there a Sat device where I can just text? What are other people using?
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Re: SPOT Fee Increase - Aarghh

Postby Phil » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:05 pm

Junk that SPOT and buy an ACR ResQlink +. No annual fees, just register it with the NOAA once every couple years by email at no cost. Gets the signal out, the real deal, floats, battery is good for about 5+ years, but no texting or pinging though. It's purely an emergency rescue device, but you deploy it, and the signal will go out and you will get a response. Just tell your wife that if she doesn't hear from you or from the COPAS/SARsat monitoring center, you're fine, and that you'll call when you get a cell signal.

https://www.acrartex.com/products/catal ... qlinkplus/

Sat phones are cool and all, but it's a real luxury item if you don't need it for emergency or mission-critical comms. Plans vary slightly in cost and best coverage regions (global/US), but you can rent them and buy minutes, but those minutes run about $4 or so per and texting is extra. Buying a good Iridium is going to run you about $1200-1500, last time I checked.
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