The spot is a very handy device that I have used in my job and decided to buy one of my own for my personal life. I routinely spend on average ~20 hours a week year round traveling or recreating in the back country in and arround logan canyon where cel service is totally unreliable. The purpose of the spot is to allow very simple communication from anywhere to friends and family and emergency response personnel when I am outside my cel phone coverage area. The spot allows for transmission of 5 preprogrammed messages. These include 911 / emergency service, a check-in feature to tell friends and family you are ok, an active tracking feature to let friends / family know your current location through out the day, a help / assist button to request help of the non-emergency variety from (friends / family / paid subscription service) as well as a custom message.
The setup was simple and took about 3o minutes. In addition to the cost of the device ($150) paid subscription for emergency service is also required for the device to function. The basic service is $100 for 1 year. Tracking is $50 per year, and rescue insurance is $25 per year. I got all this stuff for 2 years. Total $500.
The device its self is very easy top operate. Just turn it on an then press one of the 5 buttons on the front of the spot to send a message. Its important to read the instructions to understand how it works. The spot can only do one thing at a time and it takes a good deal of time to transmit a message. Sending a Check-In message is a process that takes up to an hour and sends multiple redundant signals to make sure that your message gets through regardless of spotty gps reception.
After consultation with my coworkers who have used the spot for 2 years, I am told that not only is the spot water proof, it also floats. And its basically immune to breakage.
I think this device or something similar really should be basic equipment for the back country traveler or anyone who spends a significant amount of time off the grid.
Edited by tromano - 12/29/10 at 8:24am