SPOT rescue beacon
My wife got my son a spot rescue beacon for xmas. Want him to have it while he was out in the back country on his new sled. Is the extra message stuff you have to pay for on a yearly basis worth it? I think it's about $140 a year. I'm not real sure what you actually get with it.
There are a half dozen other threads on the SPOT in this forum. Try a search to find them.
The SPOT will not work until you activate it and purchase the service. The basic service is all you need if you just want the ability to send the OK, Help, or 911 messages (the 2nd generation tracker adds another message button to give you 4 message options). It runs $100 per year for basic service.
The insurance is a good add-on. You can only add it during the initial activation for about $8 per year.
The tracking feature is also a nice add-on, but you should look at the actual usage that is expected. The tracking feature provides a real-time link to the SPOT so that someone can watch the progress via the internet of the current location of the person with the SPOT. This adds $50 per year to the bill.
If the person using the SPOT is in Alaska, you can pretty much forget about getting the roadside or maritime assistance features. First off, they take away the functionality of one of the basic messages and the availability of these services in Alaska is very limited. A complete waste of both money and functionality of the messenger if you ask me. So don't even look at these options.
The thing I like about the tracking feature is the ability to look at where I was when I get home. Sometimes I'm just out exploring without a set route in mind, so it's nice to be able to look at a map when I get home and figure out exactly where I was and what was over that next ridge.
I paid for the basic and tracking services when I signed up, as it was necessary to get both in order to recieve the full purchase price rebate. I'm glad I did, though, and will likely do so again when my contract runs out.
I bought the basic and tracking on mine and I'm very glad I did. In fact, tracking is the feature I use the most.
Don't know about roadside assistance and all that other stuff- it wasn't available when I set mine up but I'll concur with what others said- if I'm in an area I'll be using my SPOT I can likely forget about roadside assistance.
Now if they make a "critter hauling assistance" button I'd buy that one!