Spot Satellite GPS Messenger Field Test #1

Thanks to my generous friends who supported my Help Me Buy a SPOT Satellite Messenger campaign, I received the SPOT last week and gave it a first try on a trip to Catalina. Some warned that they felt the device wouldn’t work well, especially in cloudy conditions. Well, I’m happy to say that the SPOT worked perfectly – even under clouds. Here’s a screen shot of the check ins and track points that it recorded.

Catalina 04 13 2013

The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger automatically sends your coordinates every 10 minutes, as indicated by the footprint track marks. But you can also “check in” anywhere along your trip as well. In my case, I marked important turns and once announced with a custom message I pre-programmed that we were running late, but were OK. And the last check in is the one all your loved ones want to see: the check in back at the dock.

The SPOT user guide mentions that your device should have a clear view of the sky. It comes with an armband, but that didn’t seem very comfortable for a bike ride. So instead, I thought I would try using a Lowepro Dashpoint 10 Pouch which with it’s horizontal straps fits snugly and comfortably on the strap of my hydration pack. The SPOT had no issues capturing a signal inside this pack.

When I got home, I combined the GPS data collected with my Garmin Forerunner 110 and the SPOT to create a SPOT Adventure Map that I can share with the world. That service, which is part of the overall service plan, enables me to add photos to the check in points and a full story about the trip. You can check it out here:


Combining the Garmin with the SPOT turned out to be a perfect combination as the Garmin doesn’t do checkpoints, and the SPOT doesn’t track your every move like the Garmin does. I highly recommend both for recording your trips and for having the assurance that help is a button away when you need it when you carry the SPOT. And I would like to thank the following people who made this happen for me. THANK YOU!