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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Recently acquired a SPOT emergency locator device and had some practical questions their website and manual do not address.
Having noticed several keep their SPOT gimbaled horizontally on their handlebars I looked for similar mounts. Not readily finding any for sale, and not really wanting that seemingly fragile mount anyways I researched necessity of keeping the device horizontal for optimal antennae orientation.
Here are some results from the Forest Service tests plotting percentage of success for varying tree cover vs. SPOT orientation:

Well, that chart didn't copy. Here is link for entire 12 page Forest Service Review; chart is on page 9. Whole article is unbiased and informative.
Evaluation of the SPOT Satellite Messenger - US Forest Service

Basically a horizontal orientation is increasingly helpfull as tree cover overhead increases so maybe vertical in my pack will be OK in open desert;) For my time in the forest fortunately my tail bag has several suitable horizontal pockets. For others though where does one find the gimbaled handlebar mount?
 

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Fred, this is the mount that I used on my old bike. Made a similar one for my XT. Think the bag I modified was purchased at Walmart in the camera department for around $5. The 'hangers' are the ends of the belt loop that was cut. Used a soldering iron to make the holes. When I fell on our last ride and broke my front brake lever, the Spot was fine and pointing upward. Likely one of the 75 Spot tracs logged on that ride was during that fall.
 

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Acknowledging the cost of the spot, I bought a RAM holder (clamps to handlebars) and it has performed well. I can grab a photo if desired.
 

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I believe mine is a ram mount Fred. Has served me well so far. It fits really tight and I don't think it would ever fall out. Don't know of any place it can be carried without possibly being damaged in a bad crash. The Ram setup will swivel in all directions so hopefully it would just be pushed out of the way instead of being crushed. If it were to be disabled in a crash and you were injured at least someone should know your general area by checking your tracks. I had a Gen 1 and then bought a Gen III which is much better. Thanks for the link. Keep in mind the Forest Service appears to be for the Gen I. My Gen III percentage of succesfully sent messages is much higher than the GenI was. For anyone considering buying one they usually go on sale for half price (normally around $150 full price) before Christmas and then right around Christmas at times I've seen them for FREE. Subscriptions for service run around $150 annually and you can get insurance to cover some rescue costs for another $20 or so. Very happy with mine.
 

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I don't often use the tracking feature and keep the SPOT in one of my saddle tank bag pockets. When I take a break (scooby snack) I'll turn in on for a while and then send an "I'm OK" message. I do have an outside pocket on the saddle tank bag I have put it into when I don't think the "I'm OK" message has been sent if I leave before scooby snack time is over.

I like the idea's the other guys have mentioned above but I'm trying to not clutter up my handle bar so I may in the future modify some kind of case like Gerry and strap it somewhere.

Main reason I don't use the tracking feature much is I'm usually riding with the person who would be tracking me otherwise (Mrs. Admiral)!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks folks. Have seen lots of fixed position mounts like the RAM line of products, plus $40 pouches that prominently display the SPOT so it is readily seen by some stranger stumbling upon my carcass. Guess the gimble mounts are most likely home made like Gerry's and possibly over-kill. I believe I shall carry it horizontally in tank or tail bag so is secure from theft, loss or damage and trigger "OK" messages like Admiral periodically.
So how does one turn device "on" or "off"?
 

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I too often leave mine off until I get to a stop place. It does have an on/off switch. I turn on the track function when I'm on my less than normal path, when I'm hiking away from the bike, and when I'm in tricky riding (did I say mud in New Mexico?). The ram is probably the most secure mount system for motorcycles and can be adapted to car, bicycle, and other situation with accessory mounts.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So how does one turn device "on" or "off"?:p
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Joe.
However I should have posted photo of my device which is a different model, thus no prominent "On/Off" button. The letter "I" with the circle around it will turn on the device if held until yellow/green light flashes, but holding down same button again to turn device "Off" does not generate any red light as a confirmation of device being powered down.
Can anyone with a similar device indicate any way to get feedback from device as to whether it is "ON" or "Off"? I would like to extend battery life as much as possible for use when needed. 51zk401AsGL._SY300_-2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Joe.
Despite device's placarding indicating a red light should appear indicating the power down command was acknowledged my device never shows the red light. However flashing light ceases so I will operate on assumption that "off" command was successful.
I asked you folks here because internet complaints about horrible customer support and confusing manuals from SPOT are legion.
Thanks again.
 

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Fred, I am pretty tired from a long ride so I may have missed something. . My Social Security check is very modest, but still, I am ok about turning my Spot on in my driveway and leaving it on for the entire adventure. There is often a lag getting your last Spot messages posted to your account. If you turn off your unit before they get posted, they are lost. I have been using a Spot (1,2 & 3) since 2008. If I have opted for tracking (now mandatory) it makes sense to use it, and as well, when you are stopped in a really open area, hedge your bets and send an (I'm OK) message. Geeez, another one of mrgizmow's 'opinions'.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Gerry.
Plan to leave it on while riding for very reasons I understand that you identified so well. Just didn't want batteries to go dead while device sits with the bike parked awaiting the next ride. A three day camp-n-ride is not unusual so wish to turn it off after uploading all the "I'm OKs" daily. It is not cost of batteries but the need for functioning batteries through out the rides since there is no battery strength indicator.
 

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Got ya Fred. Have found even my led flashlights have gone to AAA batteries. Have always carried a half dozen spares. Maybe that's why I could not pick up the bike anymore. Wonder how the poor bugger that I sold that rig to is doing? :confused:
 
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