in peter's experience with the second version.
it worked perfectly. and it worked perfectly at between 68° and 69° north. for those unfamiliar with such things, we can call it the Canadian distance between Paulatuk and Kugluktuk. (yes.. lots of k's and u's. better yet, as you go east, they add an abundance of j's and start stacking the u's several deep.)
now, granted, there is not much "tree cover", nor really much of Anything up there, but i know for a proven fact that it sent signals each and every night from various locations. i did give it a hand and usually place the beacon atop a nearby rock or local high point. i let it run roughly an hour each time.
the website was only modestly annoying (given my very low tolerance), but i managed to create an account, add names, change names, modify settings and messages all on my own.
yes, there is an annual fee, and let us not forget, that annual fee allows (if you exploited it ) a VAST amount of usage. one has the option of loaning the unit to friends (... doug being the exception on that subject), and simply changing the names on the contact list.
so : in my life, the spot beacon has worked as advertised. for some other folks .. perhaps not so much. the battery life seems exceptional. for what little it costs, and for what it reliably does for me, spot is a no brainer.
maybe i got a "good one". there seems no easy way to determine this as yet.