Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I’ve always been “blessed” to be able to reach into a pile of assorted fruits completely blindfolded and pull out the only lemon in the bunch. This skill has kept me entertained, flummoxed, and busy through the years. Apparently, I haven’t lost my touch!

On Sunday, I made the trip to my local REI to finally purchase a SPOT 2 GPS locater. I’ve been intrigued with the concept since watching the 2009 Tour of Discovery in which Rafael Geraldo made his way cross country and allowed observers to join him through the use of technology.

Arriving at the store just before closing, my Sales Associate reached into the proverbial “bunch of fruit”, except this time it was the stock of SPOT 2’s on hand. Drawing back his hand, he gives to me a nicely wrapped brand new SPOT 2 in black and orange dressing. He assured me that REI had returned all of their stock of the original SPOT 2 after so much negative press highlighted problems with that version.


With lots of duties to take care of for our long planned vacation beginning at the end of this week, I didn’t get to do the initialization until lunch time on Monday.  Everything went smoothly. All of the lights blinked green just as the manual indicated they would. A GPS location was locked in quickly and the send message cycle started properly.

I eagerly looked forward to getting emails from those individuals that I had already listed as being the recipients of my hopefully “all is well” message. I eagerly looked forward to receiving one for an hour. Then, I began to look forward with some trepidation to finally getting acknowledgement that the messages had been received. Finally, when no message arrived from anyone, I gave a short “thanks” that I wasn’t critically wounded and in need of the SPOT service.

Following work, I tried to send the “track progress” messages. Upon arriving home some 1.5 hours after initiating the latest message, I logged in to my SPOT account only to be informed that I had zero, the big 0, in GPS locations.  Fortunately, I recognized my deck and knew where I was currently located even if my SPOT somehow didn’t process that information.

So, a quick call to SPOT tech support and an approximate 10 minute wait resulted in a pleasant conversation with the SPOT personnel, who had me retry everything making sure I had a clear view of the sky. We had a nice conversation for about 15 minutes and the SPOT tech dude properly announced, “Yep, you’ve got a defective unit there. Take it back to the store where you bought it and they’ll replace it.”

Yet another quick call to REI and the Sales Associate assured me that they had more lemons, err SPOTS in stock and that they would be happy to replace my 1 day old unit. So, I’m heading out shortly to Asheville to replace the busted one. I’m testing the replacement BEFORE I leave the store!

In a related matter…


I ordered from Amazon a RAM mount for the SPOT so that it can sit nicely on my truck’s dashboard or windshield as we travel. I paid extra for 1 to 3 day business shipping so that the unit would arrive before our departure date this weekend. If my math is correct, I ordered on Monday and 1 to 3 working days should end by this Thursday giving Tuesday as the first working day following the order. Imagine my surprise when I received an acknowledgment from Amazon that my unit was shipping and would arrive by May 17th. Hmmm, that seems to be the week AFTER we depart… I guess that, as in all things, time will tell!

Until later,

- Zeke

(Update to this story 12:30 p.m. 05/11/2010)  I am back from the REI store where I swapped out the faulty SPOT 2 for one that works. I had a very easy swap out with REI and then a quick response from SPOT to get the ESN switched over to the new unit. I was able to quickly initialize the new unit and started receiving messages, as did my intended recipients, within 10 minutes. All in all, things are working nicely at the moment!)


Jim Artis said...

I'm surprised [I should not be] to see this article. I just published a short piece [ http://tinyurl.com/2wos58d ]on you and your SPOT II. It ties in well with your article. Thanks for sharing. --jim

Unknown said...

I'm currently sitting in Town Square Biltmore Park just outside the REI store. The swap is complete and I've just gotten off the phone with SPOT. The ESN is swapped adn now I need to step outside and initialize the new unit.

- Zeke