Spot Setup and Use
You need to buy a Spot device, configure it right, and use it right if you are going to enter either the Yukon 1000 or the Yukon 360. When you buy the device, I seriously recommend you purchase the cheap (less than $10 per year) rescue insurance. If you get rescued off the river in a helicopter, and do not have this rescue insurance, you will get a BIG bill. The insurance does not cover everything - for instance recovery of your boat will still be at your expense.
Once you have your Spot device, you need to register it on the Spot web site. The Spot web site is not difficult to drive, but it is often very slow. You must also set up a "shared page" for the race software to get its data. Set up the shared page to share Track, OK and HELP messages. Email the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org, or better, enter the URL in the field provided when you register for the race.
While you are on the Spot web site you might also want to change your profile to add your emergency contact's email and cell phone to the list of people who get the OK and HELP messages. You probably also want to set your OK and HELP messages to something witty and informative. A good help message might be "We are not in trouble, but are withdrawing from the race and making our way to the next road access point, Fred and Joe". Do NOT send your Spot messages to yukon1000.com: we are not interested in receiving those emails as we collect the Spot data through an XML web feed.
For step by step instructions for the spot setup, with screen images, look here.
Once you have the device set up, the next thing to do is to test it. Send an OK message, and verify that your position appears on the results page ( http://yukon1000.com/new/11y1k/results.php for the Yukon 1000, and http://yukon1000.com/new/11y360/results.php for the Yukon 360). Your position should appear within 45 minutes of the message being sent.&nbps; If it does not, email me at email@example.com, and I'll look into it at this end.
You are REQUIRED to do a Spot "dress rehearsal" well before race day. This involves sending track messages for a couple of days, and simulating the 6 or 8 hour rest stop.
That is not the end of testing. You will also be asked to send an OK message during the gear check before the race: we do not want the technology to let us down.
During the race, you should send OK messages at the start and end of each day, and after Five Finger Rapids on the 1000 or after Granite Canyon on the 360. The rest of the time you should have your Spot device in Tack mode, or be prepared to send an OK message every half hour. This allows "spectators" to see what is going on.
There is a long piece on using the Spot device in the FAQ here.