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Thread: Plb...elb...epirb

  1. #1

    Default Plb...elb...epirb

    Do you use, or have experience with an ELB? (meaning a non-subscription beacon...and not the SPOT units)

    I thought about mentioning this on one of the satellite phone or SPOT threads, but decided not to hijack one.

    I regularly hunt the backcountry of central Alaska, by Super Cub drop. You can always find a Motorola Iridium phone in my camp, but we seldom carry it on our person as we hunt. I recently decided to purchase a good ELB unit, and my research led me to the ACR AquaLink / SarLink / ResQLink series. I decided on the AquaLink View, due to its floatation, battery life, and digital readouts. No subscription is needed for service. The reviews were all good. I'm mainly interested in hearing from those who may own one, or have first hand knowledge of someone who has used one for emergency rescue. All information is welcomed!

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    Member Marc Taylor's Avatar
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    100% redundant if you have a sat phone in camp but don't want to carry it. I can't imagine that.

    Taylor

  3. #3

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    We'll disagree on the 100% part of that. Considering two hunters can't split a sat phone in half (if separated during the day), the ELB is a no ongoing cost alternative for safety. Sat phones can't guide a rescue crew in the event one is unable to talk...has lost conciousness.

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    Member Marc Taylor's Avatar
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    Sounds like you got it all figured out. So buy one. Do you always get a concensus before a purchase that may save your life?

    If so, you wouldn't own a DOWN sleeping bag.

    TEACH me something, K Dill.

    Taylor

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    Marc....do you always have to reside in a place of anger and frustration? Try being a bit helpful and humble for once.

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    No dog in this hunt but c'mon Marc I have a lot of respect for your knowledge but is this really necessary? I' like to hear some more on the thread subject.

  7. #7
    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K Dill View Post
    Do you use, or have experience with an ELB? (meaning a non-subscription beacon...and not the SPOT units)

    I thought about mentioning this on one of the satellite phone or SPOT threads, but decided not to hijack one.

    I regularly hunt the backcountry of central Alaska, by Super Cub drop. You can always find a Motorola Iridium phone in my camp, but we seldom carry it on our person as we hunt. I recently decided to purchase a good ELB unit, and my research led me to the ACR AquaLink / SarLink / ResQLink series. I decided on the AquaLink View, due to its floatation, battery life, and digital readouts. No subscription is needed for service. The reviews were all good. I'm mainly interested in hearing from those who may own one, or have first hand knowledge of someone who has used one for emergency rescue. All information is welcomed!
    It may have no relevance or fit the criteria of your question, but hey, it's free.

    On our remote float trips we generally have 2-4 rafts with a guide in each one. The lead guide carries the SAT Phone and the BIG first aid kit. The other guides carry SPOT and a pretty good sized kit as well. While I can see where others might view this as redundant, and possibly it is, if we become separated, which happens frequently, each boat is autonomously prepared for an emergency and not dependent on having to find the lead raft. We carry waterproof walkies to keep in contact, another possible redundancy, but sometimes a few fail-safes might save your bacon.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

  8. #8

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    Thanks AlaskaHippie...that's the kind of stuff I'm looking for. A little redundancy can be a good thing, especially when it means safety. Things get drowned, batteries croak, and the unexpected happens. I've been in enough places on the North America continent to know that sat phones aren't always going to "hook up" just when you need them. I've considered the ELB for a couple years. I like the idea that it can reside in my pack or on my body everywhere I go. It requires no thought or planning...just a batt check now and then. I was recently hunting a very remote area of Hawaii...had no sat phone with us...and an ELB would have been perfect. The country we hunted was strewn with treacherous rock and boulders...injury would have meant evacuation.

    Halawa Goat1.jpg

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    A decade a go it was VHF handhelds.

    Before that it was being entirely dependent upon ones abilities.

    Not to be presumptuous, but no techno-gadget can replace plain old common sense and self reliance.

    I wouldn't go as far as to call such things a crutch, but there are times I have encountered folks with SAT Phones, SPOTS, GPS walkie talkies, etc. Who didn't even possess, or have the ability to use, a compass. Them are the ones I fear for. If someones "skills" erode drastically because a battery died, they where in over their head long before they got into the field.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    So why not the new spot? Heck for the resuce insurance alone it makes it worth it.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    I own both. And both go on almost all my adventures. I carry my PLB attached to my pfd whenever I am on the water. It floats, is waterproof and requires nothing else. It has onboard GPS and will acquire my position without me having to know or even be able to communicate it. My phone has tremendous value to me. It can save a trip, deal with minor emergencies, keep the wife happy as well as be that life saving communicator. Especially when it is someone else who needs help.

    I owned the phone first and purchased the PLB after my kids started going with me (my youngest was only 18 months on his first trip). I had a vision of one of them falling face first into a campfire and me struggling to turn on my GPS and phone then make a call while trying to administer first aid. It seemed prudent to get the PLB and I don't regret it. I am considering a second one for when my wife and I are in different locations.

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    Any 406 beacon requires registration and renewal of that registration every two years. Aircraft ELTS incorporate G switches and remote control panels, Epirbs use water switches (I think?), and PLBs are manual. All use the same signal path. Because the units broadcast a specific user ID code the authorities can make phone calls to validate the potential emergency. SPOT directs it's signal to a civilian message center for translation to the rescue authorities. An aircraft ELT will be responded to by the National Guard, and Epirb by the Coast Guard, and the PLB by the Troopers. Of couse those agencies may recruit one another to help if they're in better position. With the small size and weight of PLBs these days I can see how they'd be attractive. Price has come down, too. Personally I prefer a sat phone. My hunting partner has one, too, so we have redundancy. PLBs trigger rescue without definition of the emergency. A sat phone allows me to communicate what's wrong to whomever I choose. Usually I call my wife to tell her I'm late because the weather sucks. That's been worth the price many times over. Sat phones keep getting smaller. The Iridium 9555s are light and easy to carry.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    K dill,


    I have been carrying an ACR Terrafix PLB on remote trips for five years. Very tough unit, no subscription, and unlike some sat phones and spot units, it works anywhere in the world. I have read varying reports about sat phones and spots not working in some areas. The ACR is registered online every two years with NOAA as Mr Pid suggest, but it takes only minutes. They email you a reminder and also mail you snail mail with a small sticker to put on your PLB. You can also update your info on the website any time you want. For example, three hunters, 663 lb body weight, two red rafts, yellow tent, one has heart issues, will be floating the Kobuk Sept 1-13, flying in with xxx flight service out of Kotzebue, etc... You can also list several emergency contact numbers on there. People with which whom you should have your trip plans left with. If you activate your ACR, this info will be available to rescuers. The only downside is the price of the replacement battery. Good for 5-7 years (likely longer) the battery pack replacement quote I recently got was $180. I am tempted to just buy one of the smaller and lighter ACR offerings instead of replacing the battery in my old one. With that said, these units make one heck of a back up for the back up. There are many situations where common sense and skill sets will keep you out of trouble. For other situations, the ACR personal locator beacon is nice to have.




    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Here's an article that may be of interest re: PLBs and sat phones.

    In just a few minutes after triggering a beacon the RCC guys will start a phone call campaign to see if the alert is real and to determine whether to launch a helicopter. That takes about an hour. With my sat phone I'll be talking to RCC before they'd have time to receive the alert notification let alone do the sleuthing to determine whether to launch or not.

    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/articl...mauling-rescue

  15. #15

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    Thanks so much, guys.

    Like others, I tend to rely primarily on the sat phone for safety and communication. There are a number of good reasons to go for the phone first, and there are only a few situations where it might be at a disadvantage, or useless. Those possibilities are what led me to select an ELB and make it part of my daily ruck. I can only imagine deploying it in the event of severe injury or being lost...and lost is really not part of my vocabulary. As far as the obvious redundancy goes, well....I carry 3 ways to start a fire whenever I leave camp, too. I have always enjoyed erring on the safe side of hunting.

    Great information, and precisely the kind of stuff I was looking for. My thanks again.

  16. #16

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    I have a Sat. Phone which I carry when I plan to be out of cell phone range. Usually when camping or boating, Sometimes the 2 are related during hunting season. I have 6 ELT's which have a manual on switch. They weigh less than 8 ozs and I give everyone with me an ELT as well as having one onboard my boat. That way if a person in my party gets lost, or injured they can summon assistance even if I'm not on the spot with a Sat. phone and GPS.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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    A compass and a VHF handheld has always done me good, with boating, snowogo's, walking and such.

    If I aint home in 4 days, someone will notice. I always plan my "loop" (I hunt in circles, big circles) and stick to the rout as best as I can.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    I met a professional Stag Hunter in Scotland in 1986 he said they always carried a flask of single malt scotch "Glennfiddich - Heart of the Red Stag" when the North Sea Fog would roll in, they would shelf up on a rock make a fire and sip down some spirits of the gods....no spot back then! ar-laddie!

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