Rahul Althavale and I have talked about 25 times over the past 3 months. Although, we have never met in person, I know Rahul is the kind of person that I could hang out with anywhere in the world and the two of us would have a blast together. One thing is certain and that is that we would probably head to the hills or off the beaten path, away from the crowds and into the wild.
Rahul works for a company called SPOT and he sent me out one of these wonderful Satellite Messengers to test out and play with over the next year. We were both working really hard to get me one of these units by the time I got to Manitoba. Rahul shipped the unit out to meet me at the hotel in Winnipeg. Unfortunately for us, Federal Express sent the unit to Ontario and returned the unit back to California.
The team at SPOT got the unit shipped to my home and I have been playing with it ever since. I have taken the unit to Ohio, Washington, DC and all throughout Virginia.
Let me tell you folks, I love this thing for so many reasons it is not even funny. I am going to go through all of those reasons here. SPOT was built to make you and your family comfortable wherever you are in the world
The SPOT has four functions and all of them are valuable. This unit is a minimalistic masterpiece and only carries with it the functions that it needs to be of best use to its users. There is an on/off button, a help button, a Check Okay Button and a 911 button. Depending upon the plan you sign up for on a yearly subscription will depend upon the features that you have available to you.The SPOT costs $169.00 and costs an additional $99.99 per year for the features of ALERT 9-1-1, Check in, and Ask for Help. For an additional $49.99 you get the feature of tracking your progress and providing a bread crumb report to allow your contacts to see your progress in real time on Google Maps.
As well when you sign up I highly recommend that you spend the $7.95 for GEOS Search and Rescue Benefits(this service provides you with a $100,000 USD of additional search and rescue resources, including helicopter extraction around the world and reimbursement benefits – underwritten by Lloyd’s of London – for any emergency expenses incurred), if you decide you would like this service after your initial activation it will run you $150.00 so sign up when you activate. For $7.95 a year you get a heck of a lot of coverage should you find yourself out in the wilderness in a heap of trouble and you need to be extracted because you fell down and broke your leg or need medical attention.
There are tons of testimonials on the FindmeSpot website and some great stories as well.
The piece of mind that this product provides is amazing and it works extremely well anywhere that you are where the unit has a clear line of site to the open sky. The SPOT satellite messenger works hard for hunters, hikers, runners, backpackers, sailors, pilots and even family for tracking their children. I am planning on giving one of these units to my kids to keep with them when they head out to the lake to go fishing with friends.
I can think of so many reasons why this unit can come in handy and I am now carrying this unit in my bag on a daily basis. It will be a strong component in my pack for all of my future trips and when I am heading out of town and on a daily basis.
My only grip about this unit is the belt clip is not one of my favorites for this unit and I would like to find a soft case that allows me to know that the unit is a bit more secure on my belt and I know it is going to remain there.
From a hunting perspective there are some pretty cool features that I really like about this unit. The ability to send my family messages to let them know that I am ok is really important to me. I have had several trips out on the farm where I hunt and have an animal down and I need to spend some time tracking it but have actually left the farm because it has no cell phone reception, driven home and then come back because I wanted them to know that I was ok and would be several more hours to track an animal and then drag it out of the woods.
What I also like is this amazing tracking feature and how it could revolutionize how I scout for game. I can use the tracking feature for when I am just out scouting a new property and where I believe there are really great stand locations, I can send in a check in message to my contacts. When I got home I could sit down and log in to my account and go back to the “check in” spots and be able to look at aerial photos on the Google Maps feature. I can then save those stand locations and print out the map for evaluation and to keep with me while hunting.
This unit is a pretty amazing tool and it is one that I think every hunter and every outdoorsman should consider as an important tool as important as their cell phone, first aid kit, fishing rod or rifle. It gives you personal piece of mind to go anywhere and do anything. Whether you have a family at home that needs to know you are ok or you just want to know that if something bad happens somebody will be coming out to help you, the SPOT Messenger is a tool you are going to want have with you.
How it works
With the simple press of a button, SPOT acquires your GPS location and sends your location and pre-programmed message to your contacts over commercial communications satellites – in real time.
Four Simple Functions
911- Press and hold the 9-1-1 button to alert emergency responders of life-threatening events. The GEOS Emergency Response Center will work with public response agencies around the world, and call your emergency contacts to find out more about your situation and keep them informed of rescue progress. GEOS works with all rescue agencies from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and Coast Guard to local urban and rural 9-1-1 call centers. Optionally, GEOS will also dispatch private rescue agencies in those countries where public resources won’t do. 911 sends a message and location update every 5 minutes until cancelled.
Help – Not every situation is life-threatening. Run out of gas? Break an ankle? Snowmobile stuck? Press “HELP” to let friends and family know where your are and your situation. They’ll get a text message on their cell phone and an email with a link to Google Maps so they can assist. Help sends a message and location update every 5 minutes for 1 hour or until cancelled.
Check-in – Lets your contacts know you’re okay, or save your location for later viewing on the SPOT web service using Google Maps. Great to let your spouse know that you are running late, mark where the fish are biting, or just remember a special place. Contacts can get a text message with your GPS location and an e-mail with a link to Google Maps. For maximum reliability, Check-in sends the same message from the messenger three times, and delivers the first to all of your contacts.
Track Progress – Save your trip or show others where you are in real time. Press and hold the “OK/Check” button for a strong 10 count, at least 10 seconds. Now, Track Progress updates your location every 10 minutes to your SPOT web account. You can trek virtually anywhere outdoors and your family and friends can see exactly where you are in real time, without interrupting your fun. Give them your password to view your account as you travel, or save your tracks for viewing later using Google Earth (.KML), or GPX, the GPS data format.
So, no matter what you do outdoors, you can enjoy it with more fun, and more peace of mind with SPOT.