One thing I have learned over my many years of Jeeping is that you can’t do enough to be prepared for anything. We’ve all seen or heard about incidents that have gone bad on the trail. Many of these stories played a significant roll for me three years ago when I made my decision to buy a SPOT Personal Tracker and carry it anytime I go off-highway.
Don’t know what a SPOT is? Simply stated, the SPOT is a hand held device that works where cell phones don’t. With SPOT you can have friends and family view your “tracks” on their PC using Google Earth, or you can send out an “OK” message to let loved ones know you are well. Most importantly though, in the event of a life-threatening emergency, you can press the “911” button and SPOT’s “911” center will send search and rescue to your location. My original SPOT has served me well and is an important emergency tool for my Jeep adventures.
Recently, SPOT announced availability of the next generation SPOT Messenger Device, the SPOT GPS Satellite Messenger or SPOT II. The SPOT II is not only smaller and lighter than its predecessor but it also features advanced GPS performance for faster location acquisition. The folks at SPOT have also listened to their customers and have built in a number of new features to make the SPOT II much easier to use, including a dedicated button for GPS tracking and LED lights to confirm message sending and GPS acquisition. In addition, the 911/SOS and Help buttons have safety covers to prevent accidental activation.
I recently tested the new SPOT II at the Canyon de Chelly Jeep Jamboree and compared the tracking to the tracking of my original SPOT. Canyon de Chelly has high walls and sometimes even challenges my high end GPS units when it comes to signal acquisition. Weak signals are directly attributed to the narrowness of the canyon and sheer walls towering up to 1,200 feet high. I made use of the new RAM Mounts, one to attach my new SPOT II to the windshield to keep it safe and giving it a clear view of the sky, and the belt clip model to keep it close when I was not in the Jeep.