SPOT, Get Help Spot

Spot Tracker Device
Where’s Waldo, Spot

Recently I bought one of the SPOT (Satellite Personal Tracker) devices. It works with low orbit satellites and sends a GPS location to selected recipients. Essentially it has four buttons: an on/off switch,   an OK button that allows tracking (where’s Waldo), a HELP button that allows prerecorded emails to be sent to selected recipients, and a 911 button that will scramble the nearest emergency rescue resources to your location.

It’s a great idea but falls a little short. The next generation should allow a text message to be sent specifying in more detail what kind of help is needed and it would also be great if someone like AAA monitored the help messages (they would be available 24/7 unlike some of my friends who might be away from their computer.) A minor irritant is that you must watch the indicators to note when a message is transmitted. Usually a message is sent within three minutes so it isn’t a huge problem.

The first dozen positions reported were dead-on accurate but of the last four sent only one was received… and, all these were sent from hilltop positions that had very excellent sky coverage… that doesn’t do much for my confidence.

I travel in the boondocks quite a bit and really need some way to signal for help. In remote Oregon a cell phone is of little use as most cells concentrate on either the I-84 or I-5 traffic corridors leaving huge chunks of Oregon without cell coverage. Satellite phones are expensive and reported as unreliable so the perfect device is still waiting for development.


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