Spot Messenger

Submitted: Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 18:19
ThreadID: 56986 Views:3309 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
This Thread has been Archived
I think I asked this once before some time ago (re Spot Messenger) but it came up in another thread and thought best to start a new one to see if there are any experience with it,

Has anyone in OZ bought Spot Messenger and if so what are their impressions.

Do you think it is an alternative to having an EPIRB.

Is it an alternative to a Satphone - if the phone only used for emergency situations (not covered by EPIRB)

I have seen their Web site and it is does seem impressive and cheaper than alternatives but is it worth it.


Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: KiwiAngler - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 18:39

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 18:39

we meet again :-)))

The Spot Messenger is definitely not an alternative to a Sat phone - you cannot talk on it

It is more like an EPIRB than a sat phone (or any phone) the major difference (as far as I can tell) is that with an EPIRB you activate it, it sends a signal to orbiting sattelites and/or aircraft who in turn relay it to Canberra Rescue Co-Ordination CentreAustralian maritime Safety site who then get the appropriate SES, rescue, police etc activated. If you have the new version EPIRB that has the GPS function it wouls also send them you GPS lat/long.

The Spot does the same thing as an EPIRB - BUT and here is where the differnce lies - with spot you can send a message (either SMS or e-mail with google map co-ordinates) - they call it a HELP message - one that is not life threathening - to your family/friends etc just letting them know where you are WITHOUT it going to the rescue services. HELP message info siteWith Spot you can also (if you pay the additional service charge) send a signal to your friends or family that alows them to track where you are travelling Spot Messenger Tracking function or just send a help messge to them ( non urgent doesnt go to rescue authourities)

I hope this is what it does because I have just purchased one :-))) so in a couple of days I will be able to tell you how it works first hand :-)))
Follow me via SPOT:

My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 300459

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 18:48

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 18:48
Just found this 'summary' of the Spot Messenger.

It seems to ay it much clearer than I did :-)

Functional Specifications
SPOT features four key functions that enable users to send messages to friends, family or emergency responders, based upon varying levels of need:
Alert 9-1-1 – Dispatch emergency responders to your exact location
SPOT sends one message every 5 minutes until power is depleted or 911 is cancelled.
Ask for Help – Request help from friends and family in your exact location
SPOT sends one message every 5 minutes for one hour or until Help is cancelled
Check In – Let contacts know where you are and that you’re okay
SPOT sends three identical messages to the SPOT service for redundancy. The first of those three messages is delivered.
Track Progress – Send and save your location and allow contacts to track your progress either using Google Maps™ or via the GEOS System's Findafone service
SPOT sends one message every 10 minutes for 24 hours or until SPOT is powered off.

Just to clarify - when they say " Ask for Help – Request help from friends and family in your exact location "
This is still just a signal it is NOT voice

Follow me via SPOT:

My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 566616

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 18:40

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 18:40
Hi Oldman,
My contacts at an Rescue Coordination Centre in NZ (who monitor epirbs etc.) say they are looking at them at the moment and expect to have a report soon. They also say that with what they know so far there does not appear to be any worries about them.

However, I think they are using the old Globestar satellite constellation and there have been many reports from people in Australia having problems using sat phones using that system. Might be a good idea to wait a while before purchasing.

AnswerID: 300460

Reply By: Oldman - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 22:09

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 22:09
Yep it is me again.

I will look forward to hearing your experiences with SPOT.

It does sound good, did you buy the bells and whistles with it and can you give an approx price (OK if don't want to here).

Kiwi Kia - also look forward to any comments.

re Satphone.
For me it would replace the need for a Satphone - if it worked.

I understand it is not a full substitute for one as you can't talk but the only reasin I would consider getting a Satphone is for emergency situations (not necessarily life threatening as in EPIRB territory).

So the ability to be able to ring some one up is not high on my list hence my comment why it could replace a Satphone - in my case.

The one thing I would be missing which would be useful and am not sure how you could get it is the ability to ring up to find out road conditions and/or weather - this is where a Satphone, HF radio would be winner.

However as the Satphone and HF radios cost many more dollars compared to SPOT (I believe/hope) then it is not a bad compromise.

Am I missing something here


AnswerID: 300502

Reply By: Member - Michael M (VIC) - Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 01:18

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 01:18
Oldman & Fellow Members

The Spot Messenger works extremely well. We have been fortunate to have secured two 'Spots' for use on The Great Australian Cancer Bush Walk, starting on Cape York May 5th. We are currently testing the system with one of our support drivers up in the Kosciusko region. My last OK message was received a couple of hours ago and came with a Google Maps link showing me his exact location to within 5 metres. For us, this can be linked to our website to allow sponsors and supporters to keep track of our progress every day from North to South.

We will be using 2 units, one with the support vehicle and one with myself. Will potentially save a lot of sat phone costs and keep those back at home from worrying. Personally I'm forming the view that the Spot could take the 'search' out of Search & Rescue. ( I hope I never find out!)

For anyone interested in purchasing a Spot Messenger may I ask members to consider contacting Ian Veitch from PI Plus. This is the company importing the units and they have pledged to donate $20 from the sale of every unit to The Great Australian Cancer Bush Walk! So you could be helping yourself and a great cause at the same time.

Contact: Ian Veitch 03 95139889 or
AnswerID: 300520

Follow Up By: Oldman - Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 18:14

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 18:14
I have sent an email to Ian, I am very interested in SPOT and if I do purchase I will do so through him.

He is offering them cheaper at the moment so I reckon if I go ahead with the purchase I should split the difference between the Great Australian Cancer Bush Walk and myself (I think another $20). One condition is that you let us all know how they go.

Any way how do I send/donate this money - great cause and I suspect great fun (ie walk).

All the best
FollowupID: 566766

Reply By: Oldman - Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 01:34

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 01:34
Michael and Kiwi,
Many thanks for your comments.

As said above I am interested in a tool which can provide me with some sort of security while traveling in areas where communication is poor.

I live in Canberra and there are quite a few areas near by where normal phones will not work in (not sure about the new stuff from Telstra).

Spot may be a relatively cheap way of providing me level of security.

Just today a fellow 4wd driver rang me and said he was going for a drive through the Brindabellas and he would be back by 5:00pm as a precaution (there have been people stuck out there for a couple days).

Spot - would I hope be magic for this sort of thing.

So I am very interested in any info on how well this works -

thanks to all who have and will reply,

I am getting itchy to buy another gadget (Kiwi knows what I mean :)) especially one that could save my life.

AnswerID: 300522

Reply By: Oldman - Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 01:47

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 01:47
As a matter of interest - what options did you take with the product
Did you go for options
Track Progress
GEOS Search & Rescue Benefit
If you get at initial purchase it is $7.95/year - is this for the first year only ?


AnswerID: 300525

Follow Up By: Member - Michael M (VIC) - Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 12:58

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 12:58
From speaking with Ian and checking out their website, the basic package does everything you need including the 911 (000) facility. The Geos Search & Rescue option seems to make a lot of sense given it provides $100,000 to help cover any emergency rescue costs that may come your way if the wheels really fall off! This is $7.95 per year if taken out when the unit is initialized. For the purposes of the walk we also have taken the personal tracking option. I suppose for specific treks this would be very helpful if you really wanted people to know exactly where you are all the time.

the website has all the info and Ian 's a good bloke with huge background in search & rescue here in Victoria, who'll have all the answers for you
Cheers,Michael M
FollowupID: 566700

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 18:09

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 18:09

The unit hasn't arrived yet so I havn't completed my subscription

But when I do I will be signing up for:

The basic service AND the Track Progress

As for the SAR benefit I will decide when I sign up as the $7.95 USD per year is for America only.

The siite states " Membership is also available to residents of other countries but prices may vary."

I will ask what the price will be and decide then.
Follow me via SPOT:

My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 566761

Reply By: Member - Michael M (VIC) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 21:45

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 21:45
Gday Oldman & Kiwi

I'll be using the Spot everyday for 13 months so will be able to give real feedback. Our website will have a link to the Google Mapping site so my location will be known to anyone who wishes to know!

As for donations, the website will have a direct donate on line facility any day now in readiness for the 5th May kick off at Cape York. Uncertain if I'll get back to this forum before flying north on Wednesday so all the best til I get to a computer sometime in next several weeks.
Cheers, Michael Mitchell
AnswerID: 300839

Follow Up By: Ian V - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 22:31

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 22:31
I have a SPOT and found it to be great. The Australian importer and distributor for the SPOT is If you use the 9-1-1 feature it does go through to the Texas communication centre and then immediately to AUSSAR / AMSA in Canberra. They then get local Search & Rescue resources to attend. AUSSAR / AMSA have had a full briefing on the device and have been talking with Texas since the activation off the west coast of Tassie in late January. There is no long delay involved. The units are slightly more expensive here in Australia due to importing costs and tariffs. At least if there is a warranty issue I don't have to send it back to the US as I would if I purchased outside Australia. Great product, cheap to run. I have all the features with full tracking and it costs me about 15 cents a day. Cheap insurance and I can let my mates see what I'm doing while they are stuck at home.
FollowupID: 570991

Sponsored Links