aspendirtbikes wrote:The concept of the Spot is great but it does not work in Chile...
This statement is just plain incorrect and deserves clarification for those considering coming to Chile with one of these devices.
Personal experience of using SPOT in the northern half of Chile between 2010 and 2012, specifically in the Regions II and III, is that the system works very well, to the point of being almost infallible IF YOU USE IT CORRECTLY.
Like all technology, it has its limitations which must be taken into account. For example, if the unit is not given a reasonably clear view of the sky, it can't be expected to send its signal - i.e. if you press the button to send a message and then stick it in the glovebox of your car or inside your backpack, chances are it isn't going to work successfully. Additionally, if you're at the bottom of a deep valley and only have a restricted view of the sky, you obviously have a lower chance of sending a message due to the limited number of satellites in your "field of view".
On top of this, as Admin noted, the further south you get, the less chance you have of things working properly. SPOT functions reasonably well in the La Serena area, but distinctly less well in Santiago, HOWEVER this does depend on the model of the SPOT unit you have. Older models have just refused to work for me in Santiago.
Refer to the SPOT coverage map on their website, they clearly indicate that their coverage diminishes/disappears in southern Chile/Argentina.
In relation to "Mr Cockup", it was very pleasing to see he turned up in one piece! Kudos to all involved in helping locate him!