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Monday, 30 November 2009 12:16

The new SPOT GPS locater/messenger

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SPOT's newest GPS locator and messenger device hit store shelves this month, and it's something I know I'll be adding to my list for Santa.

It comes complete with a new form factor that is smaller, lighter, and touts improved battery performance. Three things that everyone wants with electronics upgrades.


New SPOT OrangeIf you've not heard of SPOT before, let me get you up-to-day on this clever little device. The device has several different buttons that are mostly all configurable using SPOTs online service. There are buttons that allow you to track your progress, which are then used as waypoint markers on a custon Google Earth page.  You have the option of making this public or private.  I like to use this to mark where I'm catching fish, if I even am.  There is an OK button that I have setup to email my wife to let her know that I'm just fine.  The email also includes a Google link to show her where in the world I'm at.  This is great when I'm in an area that is without cellphone service, and greatly improoves my Wife Approval Factor points while I'm out fishing. There is a Help button which I have never made use of.  It is to be configured to send a help message to friends/family via email, and contues to send the message every 5 minutes until the call is cancelled.  Most important is the SOS button.  This sends your GPS coordinates and a request for help to the SPOT service.  They, inturn, contact local authorities and/or Coast Guard (if you're on the water) to request emergency service for you.  Your GPS location is updated every 5 minutes until the request is cancelled.  So if you're capsized and adrift, rescue services will be able to track you down.  This continues until the battery dies (over two and a half days!) or the request is cancelled.  A new button on the SPOT Messenger is a the Message button.  This will send a custom message to anyone you have configured in your online setup.  I'm not sure what I'll use this for, other than to harrass friends that I know are working while I'm on the fish.

The New Spot Messenger has a retail price of $150, $50 more than the SPOT Personal Locator, but there are SPOT RAM MountMANY offers out there that can get you the device for FREE, such as buying a new Ocean Kayak. There is, however, an annual service charge to contend with. Their basic service runs almost $100 a year, a price I'm more than willing to pay given the Piece of Mind that comes with the SPOT service.

If you haven't heard, this device really does work.  A Canadia kayaker in Tasmania found himself in trouble after waves dumped his kayak on a reef.  In the harsh conditions, he was unable to complete a self rescue and his kayak was starting to fill with water due to an open hatch.  Despite seas and winds pushing him several miles offshort, the SPOT was able to update his location, and rescue services were quickly able to help him out.  This type of situation has been echoed over and over through out the US and abroad.

Yes, if you didn't catch that, the SPOT messenger works in many countries around the world.  So, when you finally get that dream trip to fish off the coast of Africa, or Australia, bring your SPOT with you!

Find out more about the SPOT GPS Messenger and SPOT Personal Locator at http://www.findmespot.com



GPS Satellites:
21 ft (6.4 m) location accuracy
LEO Satellites:
1610-1620 MHz L-band frequency
Satellite Speed:
17,000 MPH
114 min. to circle earth
876 miles (1414 km) above Earth
Altitude (twenty times closer than fi xed satellites)
Requires less power
Less power usage allows more frequent updates
Less power usage allows other value-added uses
1 to 4 at any one time
More satellites for SOS detection than anyone
More satellites means signal can be detected sooner
Angle of Detection:
Constantly changing, helps in dense coverage
Beam Coverage:
Overlaps, increased detection probability
Constantly, 8 planes 52° inclination
If no GPS fi x, SPOT sends distress signal without GPS position
to emergency response center
Previous Check In or Track Mode data provides
fast and close proximity

Export Data:
CSV (spreadsheet), KML (Google Earth™), GPX (GPS data)
Certifi cations:
FCC, IC, WEEE: Outside of Case
SAR, RoHS, CE1313: Inside Case
Additional Specs:
-Size: 3.7” x 2.6” x 1.0” (9.4 x 6.6 x 2.5 cm)
-Wt: 5.2 oz (147.4 g)
-SOS Transmit: 5 min. intervals until batteries die, 1350
transmissions on fresh battery
-Help/SPOT Assist Transmit: 5 min. intervals for 1 hr
-Check-in/OK or Custom Message Transmit: three times
within 20 min. - only posts one
-GPS Lat. Lon. datum format: WGS-84
Operating Environment:
Temperature: -22°F to +140°F (-30°C to +60°C)
Altitude: -328 ft to 21,325 ft (-100 m to +6500 m)
Humidity: MIL-STD 810E Method 509.3, 5% NaCl, 95% distilled water
Vibration: Per SAE J1455, Random, 20 Hz to 2000 Hz, 0.04g_/Hz
Water Proof: 16.4 ft (5 m) submersion for 1 hour
Type: 3 AAA Lithium 8x - Energizer
Standby mode: 94.7 days*
SOS/HELP: 2.8 days*
Track Progress: 4.3 days*
Check-in/OK or Custom Messages: 350 messages*
*Under normal usage a full battery charge should meet or exceed these amounts
On/Off Check-in / OK
Message Track
SOS Help
GPS Acquired Message Sent

Read 4289 times Last modified on Wednesday, 28 July 2010 20:01

Isaac Miller

About the Author: Isaac Miller considers himself an "equal opportunity angler" and will fish anything that will take a hook. Isaac often makes live internet video broadcasts when fishing from his kayaks, giving up-to-the-second reports on conditions and tackle choices. He also blogs at www.isaac-online.com and is a YakAngler.com Pro Staffer as well as Co-Host for Kayak Fishing Radio's Wild West show, PR Director for Recycled Fish, and co-owner of Green Tackle.

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