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Personal Locator Beacon

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:51 pm
by banzer
I know this gets discussed lots over on the beardy forum (ducks) .... but what PLB is a good all-rounder for hiking, remote kayaking missions, and sea kayaking? Not something I would need more than once or twice a year so doesn't need to be the flashest. Thanks.

Re: Personal Locator Beacon

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:09 pm
by seawolf856
The RescueMe 1 is a very small unit, easy to operate, 7 year battery life and it is OK to use on land as well as at sea and all this for a very competitive price - what's not to like.

Re: Personal Locator Beacon

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:12 pm
by seawolf856
Ooops! Sorry - I seem to have strayed from the beardy forum. Ignore us old sea dogs, what would we know about the use of life saving technology in remote and exposed situations?

Re: Personal Locator Beacon

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:26 pm
by andynormancx
Another vote for the RescueMe 1, it is smaller of the McMurdo FastFind. Pop it into your jacket pocket and you'll forget it is even there.

It also tends to be about £20 cheaper than the competitors:

https://amzn.to/2CwPavm

Functionality wise, all the real PLBs (as opposed to things like Spot and the Garmin inReach) are basically the same. The only real variation is the size, design of antenna etc

Re: Personal Locator Beacon

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:21 pm
by Northern Blue
I use a McMurdo Fastfind Ranger, which has exactly the same technical ability and waterproofing as the Fastfind 220, but is made of a more robust plastic, better suited for use in the mountains, should I ever be unfortunate enough to drop it down a crag.

Re: Personal Locator Beacon

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:33 am
by Poke
andynormancx wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:26 pm
Functionality wise, all the real PLBs (as opposed to things like Spot and the Garmin inReach) are basically the same. The only real variation is the size, design of antenna etc
Whats the advantage to a "real" PLB, rather than something like the inReach?
Whilst I've never used a PLB, I've used an inreach before, and found that the 2-way communication was a god-send.
With a PLB, is there any indication that a) the SOS has sent? b) that anyone is coming?
Also, does it continue to transmit your location (i.e. if you decide to move to try to get yourself out of the situation, will it inform rescuers of your changing/changed location)?

The devices cost about the same I think, though I guess you would need a subscription for the inreach and not the PLB?

Re: Personal Locator Beacon

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:28 pm
by Chris Bolton
I guess you would need a subscription for the inreach and not the PLB?
Yes. My Inreach costs me £24/year, plus £17 for each month that I choose to activate it for. The PLB has no oncosts other that a new battery and service every 5 or 6 years (about £80 for the McMurdo).

Another difference is that while PLBs transmit a distress signal on International open frequencies (406MHz to satellites and in some cases 121.5MHz to aircraft and as a homing signal) the Inreach sends a message to the GEOS emergency centre, who then alert the relevant authorities.

Re: Personal Locator Beacon

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:50 pm
by andynormancx
A couple of other potential benefits of PLBs over inReach/Spot:

- they use a lower frequency at 406 MHz, which probably gives them higher penetration of stuff in the way of the signal than the much high frequencies uses by the others
- they have higher power transmitters (from what I can see with some Googling, PLBs transmit at 5 watts, whereas inReach is more like 1.5 watts)