ACR Electronics is billing the new ACR Bivy Stick as the “world’s smallest and most simple satellite communication device,” and it certainly is sleek and simple. At just 100 grams (3.5 ounces) and 4.5 by 1.8 inches, the device fits easily in the palm of your hand, and has just three small buttons, two tiny lights, and a USB port.

The Bivy Stick pairs with a cell phone but can then be used when there is no cell phone service. One of the buttons — the check-in button — will send a prewritten, queued up message to set recipients, along with your GPS coordinates. A signal light will blink indicating the message has been sent.

There is also an SOS button on the device, which is activated by lifting a flap and holding a button down for five seconds. This will send an emergency message along with your location, updated at various intervals, from anywhere in the world to Global Rescue, an industry leader, providing 24/7/365 medical, security, and evacuation.

Simple instructions for SOS and check-in messaging are on the back of the device, as is an easy-to-read key on the signal and status lights on the side of the Bivy Stick.

When used in conjunction with a smartphone and the ACR Bivy app, the device also has a weather screen, which will update via satellite when the phone is out of cell or WiFi service. Satellite weather forecasts can take a few minutes to process, depending on the satellite signal, and can be purchased in three-day, three-hour increments; or seven-day, two-hour increments.

A tracking mode on the device also lets a third party get the Bivy website and view your location, which is updated every 10 minutes. The device itself has an MSRP of $349.95, and flexible plans mean fishermen can pay for the months during the season. An unlimited plan costs $49.99 a month with no annual fee. Usage plans are $40 for 100 credits and $18 for 20 credits, with one credit per SMS message, tracking interval, location report, or basic weather report.

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Brian Hagenbuch is National Fisherman's products editor, a contributing editor to SeafoodSource and a Bristol Bay fisherman. He is based in Seattle.

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