What a cute name, but a fairly good one considering the concept behind the gadget. The worlds first satellite messenger. How Cool is that?

In 1999, while sitting on my sofa with a good book I became aware of a strange sensation within my chest. A stillness that was so unnerving I sat up startled. I could only describe it as a sinking almost draining feeling. I had never felt such a sensation before in my life. So uncomfortable with the feeling was I that I rushed to the hospital fearing the worst. Both my parents had died early due to cardiac maladies so I wasn't taking any chances. The emergency room Dr. had an idea what the problem was but put me into the intensive care unit for observation. Some testing confirmed his suspicions, my heart was slowing down, I would need a pace maker.

Now, let me tell you the truth about this page and it's relevance to SPOT. Like most guys I know I am a gadget junkie. Whenever a gadget junkie and outdoors man turn up to be the same person there's a very good chance that big bucks will be spent and cool stuff will be in ample supply.
I just loved my first GPS. I have been a Map and Compass dude for years but the idea of the GPS was just so damn liberating. Lock in a way point put the thing in your pack until you need it then turn it on and follow it home.............Damn I loved the thing. I'm on my fifth unit and although I still give the Map/Compass combination the highest marks for dependability, its hard to beat a quality GPS unit. After my implant my Wife insisted I did not venture into the out back without friendly support (usually Russ the one man SAR team) but it didn't work out like that. I love to venture alone, I hunt alone, fish alone and just like to walk around the forest with my camera ALONE.
The day I fell on a Catskill ledge and damn near fell off a cliff, I gave SPOT another look.
It had what I was looking for. A way to ask for assistance from a"friendly" cost effective rescue source......Family and Friends. But with the capability to SCREAM for HELP from the big guns if the fertilizer ever really hit the ventilator.

I didn't see the need for the Tracking feature, at least not yet but the standard message features were just what this trekker was looking for. As with nearly everything I spend more then six bucks on, I researched the crap outta this thing and found that those users that didn't like SPOT were not using it correctly or had an unrealistic expectation of what the thing did.

Let me tell you what SPOT is NOT:

Not a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) or a EPLIRB (Emergency Position Location Indicating Radio Beacon)

These units use radio frequency 121.5Mhz or 406MhZ to transmit the beacon (signal) to a monitoring station or any radio tuned into these frequencies (these are internationally used) able to be monitored by any commercial craft and SAR forces around the world.

They can be big (not always) and expensive (nearly always) and require a bit of understanding to use.
SPOT on the other hand is idiot proof. If I could believe everything I read about the messenger I would have the Baby sitter I needed to set me free again to travel without entourage.

I sent away for my SPOT unit and received it within a fortnight. It was just as advertised, small and light weight and seemingly rugged. The controls were so simple I forced myself to read the instructions several times thinking I was missing something. The FINDMESPOT home page made everything perfectly clear and I couldn't wait to start sending OK messages. Out came the plastic from my wallet along with a few moths and spider webs and in less then ten minutes I was my own satellite station. Boys and Girls this IS very cool.
I chose my lists of message receivers very carefully. The I'm OK just Checking in list was of course the Family and a few Friends that would actually want to hear from me and get a kick out of seeing via Google Maps where the heck I am. My HELP list was primarily made up of my Hiking-Hunting buddies that knew how to use a Map and GPS and had the highest probability of finding my dumb ass if indeed the Pacer issue ever popped up to ruin my weekend.

The 911 list....well lets just say I have little control over who will be on that list but I'm sure I wont mind seeing whoever shows up should I ever find myself in that deep a puddle of DODO.

I took SPOT with me everywhere. It was easy due to its handy size and shape. I tested it in places (check for these tests elsewhere on the COSS site) that one might think had a poor shot at good reception, it passed with flying colors.

SPOT uses two types of satellites to do its magic, a GPS locator to peg your position and a Globalstar that rats you out to the monitoring station. The station forwards your Text messages to cell phones you pre-program OR to E-Mail accounts with direct links you just click on to display your exact location. You can even zoom down on the map for a precise position of the SPOT transmitter Location. "And it does it anyplace on the planet!" As long as you can see the sky, you have a great chance to send out your message. I've never waited more then five minutes to get a conformation on my cell that the message was sent. As long as SPOT sees the sky, You're golden. In areas where I had no cell reception, I had a E-Mail waiting for me showing where SPOT was when I hit the button. The only soft point I can really see with the unit is the need for a safety cover over the 911 button. I'd hate to have to tell these guys how I rolled over on my messenger and called for the cavalry. I taped an "O" ring over the button that keeps this from being accidental depressed.
I've read other reviews of SPOT claiming it should have some sort of built in conformation signal so you know your message got out.....yeah that would be cool but the price would need to go up. At about $150 plus a $99 yearly monitoring fee (for basic service) this thing gives alot for the money.

It's one of my favorite Orange for good reason and floats if dropped in water. It can take a bit of rough handling and I even dropped it once with a grimace on my face only to find the unit unhurt and working like a champ.
I use SPOT along with my other navigation tools, GPS, COMPASS and TOPO MAP and it has been given a spot of earned high importance on my equipment list.

I'm free to hike that extra ridge or change my mind about my planned route without feeling my loved ones would not know where I went.

My SPOT messenger is my second favorite gadget, next to my Pace Maker.