The SPOT Messenger is a great invention using the GPS satellite network to acquire your current latitude and longitude coordinates, and then sending its location with a link to Google Maps that can be viewed by your designated co-workers, family, and friends. SPOT also lets you send pre-programmed messages via a commercial satellite network to any email or text message recipient you setup before you leave. SPOT can identify and relay your location and programmed messages from nearly anywhere in the world.

As good as it is, it's not perfect. There's no way of knowing for sure if your message successfully made its way to your intended recipients, and it can be finicky in certain terrains or circumstances that keep it from working as you expect. So we've put together a series of articles that will help you get the most out of your SPOT Messenger. Most of this also applies to the SPOT Connect, although the activation steps are mostly made via your smartphone, not the SPOT Connect device itself.

Your first step should be to setup your SPOT profile at To help you setup your profile, we have developed a separate set of instructions for you to review first. The information below describes how and when to use the Tracking button. This function allows you to press one button and then the SPOT device will send out a location signal at 10-minute intervals that can viewed on a Google Map page. Other articles about how the SPOT works include:

How to Send a Custom Message on your SPOT Messenger
How to Send a Check-in/OK message on your SPOT Messenger
How to Send a SOS Message on your SPOT Messenger
How to Send a Help Message on your SPOT Messenger
Understanding the LED lights on your SPOT Messenger

First, note the location and function of each of the primary buttons on the SPOT unit in this picture:

spot users guide

Here are the simple steps to follow, along with some useful tips on using the Tracking button:

Load three AAA batteries. Make sure they are lithium. Turn the POWER on, by pressing the center button and holding it a few seconds. It will start flashing green.

You need to be outdoors, ideally with a clear view of the sky in several directions to communicate with the satellites. Position the unit flat on a surface or in your hand, with the logo side up toward the sky. Press the TRACK button on SPOT for several seconds until it starts flashing green in unison with the POWER button light.

The GPS light will then start blinking also. Probably red - for just a second or two - as it first searches for the GPS satellites, and then will blink green while SPOT sees the GPS satellites and is trying to lock in your GPS location. Once the GPS location is obtained, the GPS light and Message Sending light blink green together for approximately 15 seconds to notify you that your message was sent with your current GPS location.

SPOT will repeat that process every 10 minutes for 24 hours or until you cut off the unit. It's best to experiment with the SPOT device at home and get familiar with all of its functions and features. Activate the TRACK button and set the unti on your dashboard and go for a drive. Then go check online and see how the messages look on your Shared Page (see setup instructions). These auto-track messages are not delivered via email or SMS like the OK and CUSTOM messages.

For more information, find the complete User Guide at, or we have put together a Quick-Outline Guide you can print and take with you on your trip. It was designed for our SPOT Messenger rental customers, but applies to any user

We also rent the DeLorme InReach SE for two-way satellite communication capability when outside of cell phone range.