Update (September 2015) – My SPOT completed the 53-day trip requiring only one battery change, around day 35 or 40. I now have a supply of AAA batteries to last a while!
Let me introduce you to Bernie. At least he started life as “Bernie.” I don’t usually name my equipment, but the online account asked for a name for my new device and that seemed like a good one. Just like a St. Bernard, a SPOT satellite transponder will help you get rescued in the wilderness (and let friends and family know when you are fine).
However, it evolved that with my first test message all of my friends and family got a message that someone named Bernie was paddling the NFCT! There ensued some confused emails asking who is Bernie? My old SPOT is named Laurie so I will christen this new one Laurie C.
Old: SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker – purchased in 2011 for about $50 after rebate – annual subscription of $99 – weight 7.2 oz with two AA lithium batteries – its three buttons could (a) send an email message showing that I had safely arrived somewhere with the time and coordinates, (b) send a help message to a small previously-chosen group of email addresses, and (c) send a 911 message far and wide, activating a rescue process.
New: SPOT GEN3 – purchased in 2014 for free after rebate – annual subscription for SPOT Basic Service is $149.99 – weight 4.1 oz with 4 AAA lithium batteries – does everything that the old one did, plus includes tracking (where my position every 10 min. is sent to a private page) – the emergency button is now called an SOS button and sends a message to the GEOS International Emergency Response Center. Here’s hoping I never need to push it!