markskor wrote:Or...is SPOT even an effective tool, or is it something of a high-tech toy, serving merely to give wives at home, peace of mind?
Frankly, I think is the probably the best reason to buy a SPOT, and it works very well for that purpose. We carried one this summer, and as soon as we figured out how to use it properly our spouses (and assorted onlookers) got very nice peace-of-mind messages. I grumbled in another thread about the inadequacy of the SPOT manual vs. the excellent information available from other SPOT users on the Internet — we made a lot of mistakes before getting the hang of the thing.
One or t'other of the rangers on this board might want to chime in here, though, because the last I heard, the vast majority of the SPOT 911 button-pushes from the Sierra backcountry were "legitimate," in the sense that they represented real emergencies in which the party pushing the button could have used assistance. The "mommy" calls get a lot of publicity, but as I understand it they're extremely infrequent. The more subtle question, I think, is whether simply having the gizmo causes people to tempt fate in ways they wouldn't, if they did not have the gizmo. I worry about that.