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Old 09-21-2013   #1
SpeyCatr's Avatar
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 267
Personal Locator Beacons - do you carry/own one?

I'm just wondering if any of you carry/own a Personal Locator Beacon? There are ones like the Spot that you pay a third party subscription service for annually and then there are ones that you pay more upfront but no subscription service is required and they link directly to the search and rescue network.
I am pondering getting one in the somewhat near future. I'm curious what you have and what you think of it or if you're in the same boat as me.
One of the ones I was looking at is this one: ACR ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon (2880) - GPS Central Canada

It does have a level of water proof-ness, if that's a word as you can see by the specs in the link. NO I am not associated with this site, etc.

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Old 09-21-2013   #2
shredder-scott's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 257
I use the spot. I like the abulity to send text msg that spot offers

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Old 09-21-2013   #3
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 98
I use the Delorme InReach. The 2 way text and online tracking are why I have it. I don't like the monthly subscription cost. I think the ACRs are a better emergency device, but the InReach is more versatile.
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Old 09-21-2013   #4
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
We have a spot and considered a plb but decided against it. We like the other features of customized messages with the spot. We use one for motorcycle trips my hubby takes on backroads which is a msg that he is broken down and come pick him up. Not an emergency but also not ok. Also like the tracking function- a friend of a friend of a friend dumped their bike and got pinned and couldn't get to their spot. With tracking I can see if he stopped moving, didn't send in an OK, and then I'd go get him. Basically we decided the need for the sos button was likely going to be never, and the ability to use the spot in other ways is nice. And we still have sos just in case. We recently looked at the delorme to be able to send msgs but decided it was too much money for the benefits.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 09-22-2013   #5
Roddy's Avatar
Park City, Utah
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 51
I have an InReach as well. It is spendy, but I like the 2-way text capability. Based on what Lhowe said, it sounds like the Spot in transferrable. I have not tried to sync my wife's phone to my InReach account, but I do not think it is transferrable between smart phones. I could be wrong.
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Old 09-22-2013   #6
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
I have had SPOT for 4 years now. Never used it for Emergencies yet, I have friends who have and it worked great. I used it a lot for notifying family I am ok. Delorme inReach looks good as well with 2 ways txting.

When it comes to safety, cost is no object to me. I carry SPOT on my pfd and satellite phone with me on big trips in my dry box. I usually TL, so hate to get caught with my pants down in the time of trouble.
-ALEX [ youtube ][ my boat ][ ]
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Old 09-22-2013   #7
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
Originally Posted by kazak4x4 View Post
I usually TL, so hate to get caught with my pants down in the time of trouble.
Well quit pulling them down then!
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 09-22-2013   #8
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
so far I have been on the side of not owning one and dealing with whatever comes our way. I have done 4 grand canyon trips without one, but I don't oppose those who bring one. The ranger mentioned that it may be required sometime in the future.

I do get spot texts from one of my friends and recently got a text that they were at Diamond but decided to proceed due to flash flooding. It was pretty simple to tell the shuttle company that they were continuing on downstream and I think that helped everyone out.
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Old 10-23-2013   #9
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 103
Travel with kids

I never carried any form of beacon, until I started travelling with kids. I don't need/want the 2-way communication, but want to be able to call for help for life threatening emergency.

We carry this one (and have never used it, thankfully) ACR AquaLink Personal Locator Beacon - GPS Central Canada

I supply these for folks that work for me in the deep backcountry:
GeoPro Messenger - GeoPro LBS These can serve as a PLB and do 2-way communication, but require a monthly service plan.
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Old 10-23-2013   #10
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,407
emergency use

I do not have a SPOT but have a friend who does and she uses her SPOT on all her trips. She recently did a GC trip and gave me access to her SPOT web page. I used that page with Google Earth to follow the trip down the GC. Really worked well and interesting.

On the other hand, my rafting buds have been using Sat Phones for a long time. We just include rental in our longer river trips cost sharing.

Over the years, the Sat Phones have come in real handy. Once on a lower canyons Big Bend float we got caught in a Texas winter storm and lost a couple days tent bound. Used the Sat Phone to call our shuttle driver and he arranged a pickup for us that got us out of a possible jam. Made a possible bad deal into just another adventure.

The second time was last September on a GC float. I had a serious accident at Horn Creek and had to be airlifted out to Flagstaff. We were lucky, got on the Sat Phone immediately, got connected to the awesome chopper rangers and in a bit more than one hours time I was in the chopper. The speed of the sat phone and rangers chopper probably saved my life.

I think any of the personal locator systems are great tools to have on any trip outside of cell phone coverage.

Sat Phones tho, my opinion, are the best all around tool to send routine messages home, make routine trip changes (ie bring in gear or people at Phantom Ranch is common) or in a emergency to get help fast.

Only problem is cost for sat phones. They are coming down. But, groups can pool money for a shared group phone purchase (depends on the group tho) or do like we do just rent a sat phone and include costs in group sharing.

Either tool is something that gives a lot of security - and we never know when bad things happen to even otherwise well prepared river trippers.

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