Personal Location Device - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-22-2012   #1
 
SummitSurfer's Avatar
 
Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
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Personal Location Device

Need feedback from anyone who has used/owns the (personal location device) like ACR SARlink 406 GPS Emergency locator. My wife is tired of me being on the river for days with no way to check in with her I'm ok. Any feedback on 406link.com would be helpful too.
SARLink Personal Locator Beacon / Cobham - Beacon Solutions

Thanks, Coon

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Old 04-23-2012   #2
swimming
 
Vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1990
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SummitSurfer View Post
Need feedback from anyone who has used/owns the (personal location device) like ACR SARlink 406 GPS Emergency locator. My wife is tired of me being on the river for days with no way to check in with her I'm ok. Any feedback on 406link.com would be helpful too.
SARLink Personal Locator Beacon / Cobham - Beacon Solutions

Thanks, Coon
I have the ACR Terrafix GPS PLB. It is only an emergency beacon though and you cannot use it like Spot to send messages. It is a solid unit and the GPS on board will pinpoint you to a 10 square meter location. It not only sends the emergency signal up to the NOAA stallite to alert the call center (must re register the unit every 2 years) it has a 406 MHZ ELT signal the same as the ELT of an aircraft.

The downside to it is the no communication aspect and the unit is a little heavy when back packing.
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Old 04-23-2012   #3
 
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Golden, Colorado
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This one is the solution I'd get- not quite a PLB, but their call center will notify your emergency contacts and call authorities if you request it. It allows 2-way satellite messaging and sends breadcrumbs to a google maps page, which to me is 99% of the use case I would want. Pricey, though. It's pretty new, so I'm waiting to get some more feedback from people that use it.

CerberLink Technical Specs

CerberTouch - Free Messaging, Mapping and Distress Message Smartphone App
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Old 04-23-2012   #4
 
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Lewistown, middle of MT
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I love my Spot. Worked 21 of 23 days in the big ditch. I have an old model that I got off ebay - so it's hard sometimes to know if you actually sent a "check in". The newer ones are much easier to tell. It was much more functional than the satellite phone in the ditch. We didn't have send an SOS, but I know we would have been able to if needed. My husband has had to use the Help, but not 911 function when caught out in the mud of the Missouri Breaks during hunting season. It is very comforting for those left behind to know that all is well. Well worth the price of the ticket.
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Old 04-23-2012   #5
 
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North Fork, Idaho
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I am also in the market for locators since I live in an already remote area, virtually by myself, and I don't want my time and plans limited by worrying about communication in cell-free areas or if you get hurt, etc ( I am 64).

A friend has a SPOT II and he loves it, but googling user experience seems to be very mixed. It seems they are fairly fragile with many early failures, poor repair and return experience, and the messaging service has some issues.

The more pricey models seem to be up there in 4-5 stars in experience versus the 3 stars for SPOT.

Will monitor this thread.....
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Old 04-23-2012   #6
 
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
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The annual $100 renewal just came due on my Spot Connect so I looked at other options. Delorme has one (inReach) that seems similar to the Cerbertouch. Allows two-way messaging.

At this point, I'm sticking with the Spot for another year. I just can't justify the cost and monthly fees for the other ones even though they would be much more usefull with the two-way messaging. If I was out in the middle of nowhere constantly, I would get one with two-way messaging. For now the Spot Connect serves me fine. I can check in. Let the wife know we had an epic on the river and am running late but she can quit worrying. Show friends and family where I'm camped. And call 911 in an emergency.

I bet in three years all cell phones will have these built in.
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Old 04-23-2012   #7
 
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Summit County, Colorado
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Well.........I've been doing some good research on all these devices and speaking with several one on one via phone. I've decided to stick with my original cut and go with the ACR SARlink 406 GPS

Here is why:
-$359 no subscription needed to summon emergency services.
-If I decide I want to send messages; annual subscription is $39 or 420 messages.
-Unlike Spot; its accuracy from its radio freq 121. mhrz radio AND satelite transponder is pretty bomb proof works well in canyons with no horizon line.
-Battery last 5 years or 33 hours of emergency activated usage.
-Don't have to deal with the infamous Spot Customer Care
-If I cancel my 406Link.com subscription, my device still works.
-military and Coast Guard uses these......good enough for me.
-Order before May 31st and get $50 rebate OR 60 piece first aid kit AND ACR beacon strop lite, valued at $59 dollars.

Reviews and blog feedback all over the web praise the ACR products unlike some of the other units available.

No disrespect to the Spot owners, I have family that loves them, but they seem more like a FaceBook page updating toy than true PLB or EPIRP device.

No disrespect to the Cerberus fans or owners but I don't have $24 A MONTH or $32 A MONTH after spending $499 or $799 on a device. NOTE: If I was a rich man...I might consider this device though..tempting but too $$$$

The one downfall to the ACR SARlink, Aqualink 406 GPS device is that its 5 year battery is $160 BUT when you do the math, between all the devices, subscriptions, dependability etc. The ACR devices do it all for less!

Lets keep the conversation going cause I like to know whats out there!
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Old 04-23-2012   #8
 
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
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I agree the SARlink looks like a much better tool than the Spot for use in emergencies, but can you use it to communicate non-emergency situations when out of cell range? It looks like you can only send either an SOS or "I'm OK" messages to 1 contact for $40/yr or 5 contacts for $60/yr? I like being able to communicate a bit more like "I'm stuck and need help but don't send in the cavalry." I imagine if you called in SAR helicopters for a broken alternator 20 miles from the nearest road you would be charged.
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Old 04-24-2012   #9
 
Evergreen, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 130
I think the SPOT is a good choice, but whatever you do, don't buy or rent anything from Outfitter Satellite (Satellite Phone Sales, Rentals - Outfitter Satellite Phones.)
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Old 04-24-2012   #10
swimming
 
Vancouver, Washington
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Summitsurfer, I am kind of with you on this one. Like I said, I have the ACR unit and for pretty much the same reason. I really don`t care about communication. When in the outback, I really don`t want anybody being able to be getting ahold of me...I can see it now....."beep beep beep, Work just called, they need you to cut your trip short and come back early..." no thanks! I just want something that if things go to hell and I cant self rescue, the cavalry comes to the rescue.
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