I’m a big fan of SPOT Personal Trackers. I have a series one unit (like the image on the left), and it’s been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It’s saved my butt a few times already and also gave me a very solid peace of mind when I’ve loaned it to family members on their trips as well.
You can map in realtime whoever is holding the unit, send measured “pings” from the device to pre-selected people to let them know you’re OK (and to leave a trail of breadcrumbs as to where you’ve been off exploring), directly notify your own private pre-selected list of people that you need help or even summon professional emergency rescue services from the unit in case you’re seriously FUBAR.
Its tough, too. It works just fine in temperatures ranging from -45C to 85C (-40F to 185F), and altitudes of -91m to +6,492m (-300ft to +21,300ft). It works perfeectly in other countries (which I can confirm!), and it gets signal just about everywhere in the world because it’s satellite based.
Check out the coverage map…
Aside from the very northern tip of Russia, some of lower Africa and most of Antarctica, you’re covered!
But recently, SPOT announced a recall on their 2nd series Satellite GPS Messenger devices. The new ones are smaller, have better button placement, and are aesthetically prettier, but they haven’t been out and “field tested” like the first generation devices have.
From the recall website, it says “Spot LLC is dedicated to providing the highest quality and best performance products to our customers, therefore, Spot LLC will be conducting a voluntary return on any new model SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger™ (SPOT 2) purchased since October 1, 2009. During recent testing, we discovered that some of the new SPOT 2 devices might not meet battery and messaging operating specifications.”
Considering what this gadget is designed for, I think any failure, no matter how small or trivial, is a critical failure. They’re doing the right thing by pulling them back for replacement.
The recall is in full effect now. To find out if your Spot-2 unit is one of the recalled units, login to your account at https://login.findmespot.com and click on the My GPS Locations tab. A message will display indicating if you have an affected SPOT-2 unit.
Replacement units should be available “early 2010”, plus you’ll get 1 extra month of your current SPOT service plan and associated services as part of the recall.