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Thread: ACR Terrafix AND/OR Sat phone?

  1. #1
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Question ACR Terrafix AND/OR Sat phone?

    Well, now that I'm looking even closer at these devices. I've been known to go into the great unkown and my family struggles with this. They are in Michigan and it's even harder to check in. The stress I put them under just on the trip up has convinced me that I need to do something to comfort them. I was origionally going to go with a sat phone. Now I am thinking about an ACR unit.

    So, what would you get/carry? In the fall, winter and spring I do mainly day and weekend trips. I'm not real experienced with winter adventures and have no experience in avelanch areas, which scare the daylights out of me right now! These will be extremely limited trips, but never too cautious. In the summer I may be gone for a month or more with no communication.

    For those of you that own them... I know you only send the signal if you are in a risk-of-death situation. My first question is, can you reverse the signal? Suppose I send the signal and help (from a bystander) shows up 20 minutes later, can the signal be reversed? My second question is, can your trip itinerary be view by others? Family members? Public?

    Thanks for your input, I am sure I will have more questions as I learn!

    -Joshua

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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Hi Joshua,

    I carry both satellite telephone and 406 mHz EPIRB. I'll try to answer your questions. First, regarding the EPIRB, once activated you cannot "reverse" the signal. You can turn the unit off but as soon as the signal is received it will begin a chain of events that will activate search and rescue and if you turn the signal off it will only confuse the searchers. Your trip itinerary is not broadcast by the EPIRB - only the identification of your particular unit is boradcast. They (the responders) will then look up registeration information and call the telephone numbers you listed when you registered your unit. If you list family members as your contact and if you have filed a trip itinerary with them (family) that simply gives supplemental information regarding your intentions since the EPIRB is broadcasting its coordinates to pinpoint your location. Your specific itinerary is not real important unless you are known to be at home sleeping and your unit is somehow broadcasting on its own in the backcountry.

    If you plan to go for a month without communication, I suggest you invest in a satellite phone. Wives tend to worry and imagine things. It's also hard for you to spend nights in a tent without wifely contact. My wife has always appreciated the opportunity to talk to me while I was shivering in my sleeping bag in places like the Greenland ice cap - and I also like the opportunity to reach out and call home from such places.

    How are you liking Alaska so far? Is it everything you expected it to be?

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    Default additional info

    Here's a link to a similar discussion that I started last December...

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ead.php?t=7171

    Take the time to read through it... there is a TON of good info...

    I'll add a couple of comments though:

    To my knowledge neither device will be of much use in an avalanche... You have to have clear sight for coverage. If it were burried in snow it would likely not work...

    My hunting partner usually rents a sat phone for our back country adventures. Often times we leave it in base camp (no more than 4-6 hours away). We've had our frustrations with coverage but it has never failed on us... It just seems to know the worst time to drop the call.... However, a Sat phone is a very versatile piece of equiptment.

    The primary reason for the addition of the ACR (PLB) was for use on my boat. It's waterproof, has a floating case and if we were sinking, on fire or stranded there is NO BETTER way to get help and I mean NOW!!!

    The icing on the cake is that it will not only be useful in a boating emergency but can be packed, cached or carried anywhere, anytime... It's a nice addition and great peace of mind....

    With that said it is a ONE DEMINSIONAL piece of equiptment... It's for life and death ONLY!

    I could go on but I'm just repeating so much of what you'll read in the above link..

    Later,
    Winmag

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default Thanks fellas!

    I knew there was a Thread on this, but my searches did not find it Thanks for the link!

    Anyway, thanks for the info! I was not aware that it was not dependable in an avy situation, it makes sense though. I wasn't going to depend on that device alone and I will get a better education on snow slides before I head out into that possible situation.

    Dan - I guess my question was a little undefined. In referring to accessing my itinerary, I meant online and NOT in the event of an emergency. Not a critical component, just a convenience thing.

    I've got more to ask, but will have a read though the other thread first.

    Thanks again!

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks again for that link WinMag!

    Great stuff over there on that link folks...even if you are not interested in the unit.

    Okay, so personal instincts tell me a lot after reading through that thread. Here's what I need to do immediatly...

    1. To start learning about Sat phones, as they are extremely versitile compared to an EPIRB unit. Haven't ruled out the location beacon though.
    2. Locate and list all emergency contact numbers so that I have them in a pinch. I will print and laminate several cards and put them amongst my gear.
    3. Add paper and ziplock bags to my survival kit to leave note if need be.
    4. Learn about the acronyms associated with emergency personel units.

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    Member Casper50's Avatar
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    I have a quick question about sat phones. When I read my instructions this fall it said that even if not activated I could call an emergency number. The example was 112. When I turned it on and was waiting for activation, it said no service but there was an icon to select for an emergency number. What is the emergency number here, (911)?

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    Been using Iridium now for two summers, never had any difficulty, always sounds like I am next door to person I am calling.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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