Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 10, 2017

Satellite Tracking anyone?

spot trace

Here is a great article Frank McCarthy wrote about a satellite tracking device that he will be testing. It is a good follow-up to what we posted last week.  I’m thinking some of you will find it interesting.

From: Frank McCarthy

Security Series #2 – Satellite Tracking 

In keeping with my off-the-shelf & affordable security technology theme one of the concepts I have been exploring is the notion of augmentation of game cameras for security purposes. Cameras are not totally full proof, if found, they can be stolen or destroyed if someone is well equipped.  Standard cameras are part of the answer because generally they can be hidden well enough to avoid detection. Especially if you are using a number of them.  The new wireless game cameras can be useful for alerting you when you have “movement” on your property, animal or human, as long as you have three bars of cell service. My property has pretty good service for Palomar Mountain but most of the time, I’m at one or two bars of cellular service with Verizon™.   I’ve been thinking that satellite tracking might be the answer.  The big knock against satellite phones and tracking has been the affordability issue.  When I’ve been on Long Range fishing boats you can rent a satellite phone or use the captain’s but it costs you three dollars a minute. Yikes!

However, there is a Louisiana company called SPOT™®, which many hunters and adventurers are familiar with, that makes satellite devices that are reasonably affordable (including service).  One of the things they have introduced is the SPOT TRACE® tracking device. The unit itself costs about $99.  The monthly data plan runs at $9.99 monthly or $99.00 a year.  So it is reasonably affordable. They claim that you can track movement at various intervals.  My thoughts are; could this be put on a swinging gate and would it pick up movement and then alert you?  I talked to a company representative and they are unsure of this idea.  They said it will definitely track a stolen high value item like a car, boat or motorcycle leaving your property and alert you via email, text or GOOGLE MAPS™.   It is supposedly water-resistant for 30 minutes in one meter of water so it should withstand our deluges.  Never the less, it would also work in a waterproof case.

Now there are other personal tracking devices available so why would I tend to trust this company? The main reason is that they have a good track record with satellite tracking in very extreme outdoor environments.  Palomar Mountain is probably not an extreme environment but it is pretty harsh and most homes are off-the-grid. So if it works in Antarctica it will likely work well here.

I’ve purchased one of the units and will be testing it out on my property. I’ll do the gate first, the possibly staging a few “break-ins” where something valuable of mine grows a pair of legs. Since the device can also track the item via GOOGLE MAPS™, it can be tracked. I’d like to see how that works. There are some other good features like:

  • Movement alerts
  • Power off message
  • Low battery message
  • Status messages

So, after a month or so I will report back some real world experience and we’ll see how well it fits with the mountain security needs.

As I mentioned last time, I’m gathering a list of people on the mountain who might be interested in a security service. I got a couple of responses last week and I welcome more. It’s a pilot program for now but my hope is well get enough folks to support a small business.

Please contact me at 619-993-5237

See also


  1. the satellite tracking for hunters and sonar for fishing, just killed the last bit of sportsmanship involved.

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