Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gear Review: SPOT Satellite Messenger

Beth (wife) has finally had enough of my extended trail runs where I get lost and show up hours later than planned.  I can't blame her.  It's only fair that she knows I'm safe.  I found this little GPS beacon device called SPOT Messenger that should take care of the problem and provide me some extra safety.

SPOT is on it's 2nd generation and currently priced at $149.00 (Best Buy). It is 3.7" tall and 2.6" Wide.  It weighs 5 ounces.  SPOT operates off of satelites so it works virtually anywhere on the planet.  A one year service plan is required to use most of it's features at $99.00.

As you can see it has six buttons.  The red S.O.S button activates emergency services when pressed.  This will send the calvary to rescue you at your exactly location.  SPOT offers $100,000 of search & rescue insurance (including helicopter) for an extra $6.00 / year.  Hopefully, I will never use that button!

The button on the far left will ask a list of family or friends for help via email or text message.  You enter this information into your account on the SPOT website.

The top button is the power button.

The OK button sends the same contact list a "I'm OK" message with your exact location on a Google map.

The bottom button will send a custom predefined message to your contact list.  I plan to use this button to send a "I'm finished running and heading home" message.

The footprint button allows you to send and save your location and allows contacts to track your progress in near real time using Google Maps.

I learned that SPOT was recalling units shortly after I purchased mine due to a faulty battery warning light appearing.  They promptly offered to swap out my unit and give me one free month of service.  I have not had a chance to give it a proper field test yet, but I have read several great reviews from many types of users.

I will post my field test results soon after I run with it.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to a review on this. I considered buying one of these as I do a good bit of hiking and running in Linville Gorge. The Gorge is not a place you want to be if you get hurt... no cell signal and very difficult to be rescued! Quite a few regulars at the Gorge stated this thing would not work reliably deep in the gorge so I really would like to see how it works for you in your different destinations.
    I wanted it to give my wife some peace while I'm out acting like Jerimiah Johnson in the mountains:)