Thats exactly the kind of unit the Coast Guard guy recommended here:
SPOT Personal Tracker at REI.com
I see that I need to clarify my previous post: go to that link, then click on Reviews. The first one is by "SAR Responder"; read that. Here is an excerpt:
"Save your money for a real 406MHz beacon! You'll spend just as much once you add the cost of the annual subscriptions and extra services!
As someone with Coast Guard Search and Rescue experience who is very familiar with SPOT, (also an AT and PCT alum) I wanted to add my review from the perspective of someone who has responded to distress beacons. I am a fan of any device that enhances safety, and I first learned about SPOT with an open mind.
However, I have since found many reasons to dissuade mariners and others from using the device. I can't stress strongly enough the need to go with a 406 MHz beacon, such as an EPIRB / ELT / or PLB as the distress-alerting device of choice. As a reference, I'll point to SPOT's own web site.
Unfortunately, it is full of half-truths and other misleading information." Go to that link and read the rest.
Yes, SPOT can work, they have a fancy website that tracks where you are, and there are one or two glowing reviews from people whose lives were saved. But an 406MHz beacon would have saved those peoples lives just as well, with a more reliable satellite system (the SPOT system has gone down in the past), no annual fees, etc, etc.
At the SPOT II link in my first post, click on Reviews again.
SPOT II Satellite GPS Messenger - Special Edition Holiday Kit at REI.com
Here is an excerpt from one of the reviews:
"The device is small and seems well manufactured. The device is easy to use albeit its very limited in function.
The shocker comes when one is about to activate it.
This is a unique device and hence escapes the radar that regulates fair consumer polices regarding cell phones.
The hidden policies of Spot is a bit of a shocker considering they are illegal if it applied to cell phones.
For one thing, to activate the unit, one "MUST" agree to auto renewal, which gives Spot the right to charge the credit card about a month before it the subscription expires.
Second, Spot has the right to change prices at will and NOT inform the customer about the change in price.
Third, if the customer wants to cancel auto renewal, he must also cancel the rest of the year in which he had already paid. Spot claims that the customer can request a refund for the months he did not use. I have a feeling this process is filled with bureaucracy.
Fourth, the customer has to request that the auto renewal be canceled 45 days before the end of the subscription period."
This gives you an indication of what this company is like. Read the other reviews if you are still thinking about getting a SPOT.