My First Impressions
My first satellite messenger was just delivered to my door. I bought the Spot Gen 3 Satellite Messenger. It only took 2 days for Amazon to ship it to me. It was one day late of a 12-mile hike, by myself but It will be with me on my future hikes.
It was very nicely packaged and all the parts were present. I’m still impressed with it arriving in just 2 days.
The SPOT Gen3 is really small. It’s only about the size of a wallet, and a small wallet at that. It also comes with a strap to secure it to your pack.
Things I Learned
As soon as I started ready the quick start guide, I learned some things that are not predominately displayed on SPOT’s website.
1st – there no service provided, not even the SOS service without activating your device and paying the monthly or yearly subscription fee. Granted, the subscription fee isn’t much at $11.95 but I guess I was thinking at least the SOS would work without a subscription. I need to read more closely next time.
2nd – they make it really clear that you need a clear view of the sky to obtain a GPS signal and provide the most accurate location information. The Gen3 is not reliable indoors, in a cave or in a very dense forest.
3rd – Orient the SPOT Gen3 with the logo face up toward the sky which will improve its performance. The antenna is located under the logo.
4th – keep the SPOT at least 12 inches away from other GPS devices, as the SPOT can interfere with signal reception for other GPS devices.
Well, the 2nd item makes it abundantly clear that if you fall from a cliff, you better land in the open or be able to pull yourself to where you have a clear view of the sky. I’m making a little joke here but you need to be aware of this. It’s the same as if you had a life-threatening emergency in a dense forest. You must make sure you have a clear view of the sky. It makes you think of where you want your accident to be, just joking.
A Look Inside
I wanted to give you a quick look inside to see the rechargeable batteries and how the USB charging cable is attached. They have a real nice design because you can open the back with a screw driver or a metal connection pops up and you can easily turn it with your hand. The 4 AAA Energizer Ultimate Lithium 8x batteries are included in the package. The back is easily re-attached and the back has a cut out where the USB charging cable can be attached without taking the back off again.
It took me about 10 minutes to unpack and look through all the documents. It took me about 30 minutes to go through the activation and setup of the Gen3. I still have contact information and a pre-programmed message to set up so my guess is I have another hour or so to set things up and test it out before I hit the trail again. However, saying all that, the setup was easy and the instructions on the website were straightforward and clear to follow.
There was something else that I was concerned about but SPOT did a great job of taking care of. I was concerned with how easy it would be to activate the SOS distress call button. Fortunately, it and the Help/SPOT S.O.V. buttons have a cover that you have to open in order to activate either button.
The SOS button is obvious and you never want to activate it unless you are in a life-threatening emergency but the HELP/SPOT SOV is a non-life threatening message you can send out to friends, family and even an emergency service, but that is an extra charge per month (the extra charge is for the service, not the message to you friends and family). It is free for your family to come and rescue you.
I guess I still have more to add to this review but I will add that review after I test everything out and hit the trail for the first time with the SPOT Gen3 Satellite Messenger. The interval timing settings are set at 5 minutes now and I will also show you the map of my hike with the intervals shown and give you my final thoughts on the Gen3’s performance.
I do want to leave you with a few last things. Below is a photo of the SPOT Gen3 attached to my day pack.
Here is a photo of the SPOT app which is free to install and your family and friends can see where you are at the intervals you have set, plus that is where the messages show up.
I will be back with another update soon after I put the SPOT Gen3 through its paces on the trail. Until then, go out and enjoy the outdoors, and hopefully this never happens to you, but if you do end up in trouble, at least they can come for you.
If you have questions about other Personal Locator Devices (PLBs) or Satellite Messenger, check out my Emergency Radio Reviews.
If you would like additional information, leave a COMMENT BELOW or send me an EMAIL.
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