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By Timothy Jenkins, Rodgers Marine
(Article appears in Dec. 2007 issue of Fresh Water News)
Introducing SPOT, the Ultimate Outdoor Satellite Messenger
What do you do when you’re on foot and lost, or your vehicle has become disabled? Or maybe you’re on a boat, you’ve lost all power and are adrift. You’ve tried your VHF handheld radio repeatedly, but there is no one around and now it’s getting dark, what do you do? Oh, did I forget to mention that you are out of cell phone range? You might have a chance if you have a satellite telephone or an EPIRB, but you don’t because they are either too bulky or too heavy to carry, or way too expensive.
Now both those issues are resolved with the introduction of SPOT, the world’s first satellite messenger. With a push of a “911” button, SPOT can transmit a user’s exact location and ESN (identification number) to a 911 emergency call center. The “HELP or OK” buttons each send a pre-defined message that is routed to friends and family via email or text message. This canned message could be a request for their help or just to check in and let them know your position and that you’re ok. The “OK” button is also used for the SPOTcasting feature that automatically sends out a position message every ten minutes for 24 hours. This allows your selected contacts to track your progress using Google Maps and www.findmespot.com with password protected security.
The SPOT satellite messenger uses the GPS satellite network and a commercial satellite network to transmit its location and the user’s status. Coverage areas include virtually the entire continental United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia, as well as portions of South America, Northern Africa, and Northeastern Asia.
SPOT weighs in at only seven ounces and uses easy-to-replace AA size lithium batteries. When powered on, it has a “standby” battery life of twelve months and can broadcast 911 requests for up to seven days. If you are using SPOTcasting, the real time tracking feature, battery life is dependant on how often you send out a position report. Continuous, around the clock position reporting is possible for fourteen days, but stretching out the distance between position reports greatly extends the life of the batteries. With a physical size of just 4.3” x 2.75” x 1.5” the SPOT is just a little larger than an iPOD. The SPOT satellite messenger also floats and its rugged waterproof construction is engineered to withstand a wide variety of extreme environmental shock and temperature conditions. The SPOT is priced at $149.95 and annual service fees are just $99.00 per year. Monthly and multi-year options will be available in the near future. The annual dues for use of the SPOTcasting feature are $50.00 a year.
Thanks to this affordable, personal safety device, customers of the SPOT network can feel confident that they can request emergency assistance, completely independent of cellular phone or radio coverage. For more information on the SPOT satellite messenger go to www.findmespot.com or stop by Rodgers Marine.
This page was last updated on 12/13/2012
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