Emergency Devices

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Emergency Devices

Post  Admin on Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:19 pm

Lets talk about devices that can summon help and get you out of the forest, or even find you on a lonely road that you might not have cell coverage for. This is probably a device any lone wolf motorcyclist whether it be a dirt rider like me or a guy cruising around remotes areas on his Ultra Glide.

One of the more popular devices is the SPOT now on their Gen3 model for $150. This is not a true PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), this works off commercial satellites.

Links:
http://www.findmespot.com/en/
http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=103

Pros:
Tracking package available
Cheap Unit cost
Can send pre-defined text

Cons:
Expensive Plans $100 a year for basic, $50 more for tracking and $15 more for Search & Rescue Insurance adds up to a lot of money YEARLY to own this device.
Poor customer service




The next unit like the SPOT is the Delorme InReach. This is a more costly unit, with higher service plan pricing but this unit seems to do more then the SPOT. This is also not a PLB. However if you have the extra money this unit offers a lot more then the SPOT, to me being able to send custom text messages is what makes this unit shine.

Links:
http://www.inreachdelorme.com
http://www.inreachdelorme.com/product-info/subscription-plans.php

Pros:
Tracking
Can send pre-defined text
Can send normal text messages and received text messages
Can check social sites like Facebook

Cons:
Unit cost $299
Monthly plans from $10 to $50 a month




Some ask why not get a Sat Phone, there is a few reasons why you might want one or might not or even add it to your inventory. This question seems popular on some Adventure sites now that SPOT has brought out a Sat Phone with the word SPOT on it which is a re-badged Globalstar GSP-1700 phone. This is not a PLB or any type of SOS to get help, and if you are hurt and can not talk good luck in telling rescue where you are.

I would say this is good for those wanting to just keep in touch with loved ones that might be doing an around the world adventure. However note in some countries these are highly illegal to have and might cause you difficulties. So please research the countries you are travelling through prior to your trip...typically the more repressive the country the more likely it is illegal to have.

Links:
http://www.globalsatellitecommunications.com/globalstar/promotion?gclid=CMam4IG-9bcCFUfhQgodvVcA6g
http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=127
http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=126

Pros:
Keep in touch with loved ones

Cons:
Expensive Phone, and Expensive plans from $25 a month to $150 a month
Customer service lacking

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Re: Emergency Devices

Post  Admin on Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:20 pm

Now onto some PLB's. A PLB is a LAST resort, you only press that button is all else fails to extract yourself from the situation. These devices conform to NOAA specifications like non user replaceable batteries (5-7 year life span and then the unit is sent back for a fee). These also have unique numbers that when you get your device you register it with NOAA. They also work off of two military satellite constellations.

For a reliable emergency response these are what people use.

Some people complain about the unit pricing which we will take a look at. In reality they are cheaper then the subscription based units.

The first brand we will take a look at is the ACR ResQLink. It cost $280 at REI, there is no subscription plan needed. There is however a subscription plan to 406link to send test although you get X amount for free with the unit. The unit sends a 406 Mhz signal, also it sends out a 121.5 Mhz homing signal, the unit has a GPS and will send out your coordinates with that 406Mhz signal so rescuers will be within 100 meters.

Links:
http://www.acrartex.com/products/b/outdoor/catalog/personal-locator-beacons
http://www.rei.com/product/815753/acr-electronics-resqlink-406-gps-personal-locator-beacon

Pros:
Compact
No subscription fees
If device is used for rescue they will give you a new device

Cons:
Expensive battery replacement $100-$200
No Tracking
No Texting




ACR also has a unit called the SarLink. This unit like the above does everything one could want with the added feature of being able to send out 10 to 40 pre-defined messages over the course of the units battery life. An optional subscription to 406link.com is needed which is $40 to $60 a year. This unit cost $500

I would say pass on this unit, the only reason is because a PLB is to be used as a last resort. Also the unit is smart enough to know when its battery is LOW and will then not let you send a message out because it wants at least 24 hours of power left to call for help if you need it. Remember the battery is non-replaceable thus every message you send is using up battery life...hence why you only get up to 40 over the life of the unit. To be honest I would stick with the ResQLink for the $280 or if messaging is your think you should be considering a SPOT or InReach.

Links:
http://406link.com
http://www.rei.com/product/804323/acr-electronics-sarlink-view-406-personal-locator-beacon

Pros:
No subscription fees needed
Limited Messaging subscription available
If device is used for rescue they will give you a new device

Cons:
Messages use up battery life
Expensive unit compared to the ResQLink
Expensive battery replacement $100-$200
No Tracking



Youtube videos:
http://youtu.be/3nQ7IkTgeYo
http://youtu.be/KZoX0cr42WM

Now cost compared to a SPOT for example (I'm using SPOT as its a common unit people seem to get due to it being CHEAP)...at least they think its cheap, but is it!!!

SPOT Gen3
$150 unit cost
$100 a year basic plan
$50 a year tracking plan
*most people I know have the tracking plan too for loved ones to see where they are at
Plan cost for 5 years = $$750 + Unit cost of $150 for $900
Plan cost for 10 years = $1,500 + Unit of $150 for $1,650

ACR ResQLink
$280 Unit Cost
No subscriptions
Lets say $150 for battery replacement in 5 years = $430 (savings of $470)
10 Years out is $580 (savings of $1,070)

I know someone might say well you are comparing apples and oranges but in reality I am not because I have heard people say "yeah the PLB is nice but they cost more for the unit". True but they have no other associated cost with them on a reoccurring bases.

I mean true be told for most of use nowadays a smartphone and a PLB is all you need. The smartphone lets me stay in contact with people, I have posted photos on Facebook from the middle of the forest where you think there would be no service...LOL Cell coverage is getting better and better all the time. Yeah 15 years ago I would agree with you that you would be out of contact with people a lot in trying to use cell towers...but that is not the case nowadays. I've used my cell on top of Mt Evans and Pikes Peak...I've had service at sky resorts *shrug*

I'll take a look at some other PLB's and post them up...their are a few out there. I used the ACR because I like that the antenna is quality and it can be reused. Plus REI sells the unit, and in reality you could have a free battery replacement as REI will take returns for the life of products no questions asked...LOL So you could just get a new unit every time the unit in 5-7 years says the battery needs replaced.
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Re: Emergency Devices

Post  Admin on Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:20 pm

Wikipedia to learn more on beacons:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distress_radiobeacon

Another PLB I heard Adventure riders say they have is the McMurdo. It is $270 from REI. It has a 50 Channel GPS vs the ACR's 60 channel. What I don't like is the antenna seems to be a one time deal, you pull the top off the unit and it springs out (I could be wrong maybe it can be placed back inside). I guess seeing as a PLB is really a one time use device this probably not as big of a deal. 1 year warranty, can get extended warranties for a total of 5 years.


Links:
http://www.mcmurdomarine.com/en/products/plb
http://www.fastfindplb.com/us/
http://www.rei.com/product/849914/mcmurdo-fastfind-220-personal-locator-beacon-with-gps

Pros:
Small sized Unit
6 year battery life

Cons:
Pulling top and deploying that one time use antenna
Hard to see light for battery test in daylight

Youtube Links:
http://youtu.be/uT5j3j1P1-Q
http://youtu.be/eHjwnUSlKxI




I see they also have another unit called the Ranger...might be worth looking into as its suppose to be more rugged which is what Dual Sport aka Adventure riders like. Looks to be around $240-$300 depending on website.

Youtube Links:
http://youtu.be/BLJH5TishuM

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Re: Emergency Devices

Post  Admin on Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:21 pm

I ended up buying a Fast Find 220
http://youtu.be/2TKycgIcb_o
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