In May of this year, SPOT LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc., announced the new SPOT Global Phone, a portable, easy-to-use and data-enabled satellite phone. For those of us who have used the Spot Satellite GPS Messenger, this was welcome news. Not only does it come with Spot’s great rescue service, but it is a more affordable alternative.
Spot’s press release states, “As the first satellite phone available in major retail outlets such as West Marine, REI and Cabela’s, SPOT Global Phone will not only provide a lifeline during these adventures, but an opportunity to connect with impeccably clear voice quality on a satellite network that is light years ahead of the competition.” Being able to find a Satellite phone in a common retail store, makes it more available then the usual borrowing or renting that hunters have suffered through for years.
The SPOT Global Phone retails at $499 plus a required subscription starting at $24.99 monthly or as low as 25 cents per minute. The Spot is a fairly compact size, measuring 5.3"H x 2.2" W x 1.5"D. It features a fold away antennae that extends to three time the size of the phone for decent satellite reception as long as it has a full view of the sky. It is fairly lightweight for packing coming in at about 7 oz. Its battery allows four hours of talk time or 36 hours of standby which is about equivalent to any smartphone. However, if you are like me and keep it off except for emergencies or check-ins, the battery lasts much longer.
One nice feature about the new phone is it is easy to use. Service comes with a traditional 10 digit number and like a cell phone you just dial and hit send (after extending the antennae). It has a nice backlit color display for outdoor daytime viewing.
Globalstar, like a cell phone company even supplies a map of coverage area so you can see if the Spot phone will be useful at your favorite hunting spot. I know that coverage in my state of Alaska is good. My test runs on the phone have also been excellent, although I haven’t yet tried it on a hunt. The sound is clear and it seemed to connect fairly quickly. The only issue I found was that it has to have a clear view of the sky for connection (buildings and mountains will block the signal), and it will drop a call if you are driving and the sky is blocked suddenly.
For more information on the SPOT Global Phone, visit www.findmespot.com or call 866-651-SPOT.