Wednesday, 13 January 2016

SPOT Trackers

For those unfamiliar with the SPOT Gen3 Satellite Tracker this is what it looks like. It is about the size of a deck of cards.

Your backup for the week!

A few things to note:

  1. It takes 4 x AAA batteries. Lithium are recommended. A new set of lithium batteries should last you the whole ride. If you really want to save a few dollars carry a set of akalines for the spares. It is recommended to always have a spare set of batteries! 
  2. To turn the tracker ON, the button on the upper left pushes INWARD! not down. Hold it in for 3 seconds. The lights should light up in the startup pattern. You can then let go.
  3. The other buttons similarly take 3 seconds held down to activate.
  4. The footprint symbol is the tracking button. It must be pushed to activate tracking each day. It will flash green in unison with the power light if it is active.
  5. The other two buttons of concern are the emergency buttons. They are under protective covers to prevent accidental pushing on. Again they must be held for 3 seconds to activate. 
  6. The pair of hands (left button under cover) is when you are in trouble and need help. This would be a major equipment failure or non life threatening injury but your progress will be slowed significantly. Use it wisely.
  7. The SOS button is the biggy! Use if only if you really need urgent help and your life is at risk. It will notify the Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand and the New Zealand Police.
  8. The SPOT unit must have clear view of the sky so it should be on top of your pack and not buried beneath stuff which could block the signal. Many use cable ties to attach it to their helmet so they always check it is on when putting on their helmet and it has the best possible signal.
Hire SPOT Trackers will come with a new set of batteries but you will need to buy spares for backup.

Cheapest source of AAA Lithiums would be Bunnings for the Varta Lithium 4 pack for ~$17. They have the Energizer Lithiums at ~$22. Supermarkets and the Warehouse occasionally have them on special as well.

Akaline batteries do not last long in a SPOT Tracker! They should only be relied on for short term emergency use to get you to the next set of shops to purchase Lithiums.
IMPORTANT: For those using their own SPOT Trackers please make sure you update your HELP and SOS notifications to include the GSB. The mobile is (+64) 27 223 4488 and email is This is important as we know the course very well and can assist in determining the best approach for a rescue if needed.

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