GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

dalai47
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GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby dalai47 » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:03 pm

I've spent many trips in the bush solo over the years and have never been concerned; other than leaving a rough itinerary on the kitchen bench at home. But given the recent passing of a local MTBer riding in the near by hills, I am considering options for future trips and therefore looking to purchase something like a Spot.

I'm very new to these devices, so keen to hear what others have used and opinions...

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sogood
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby sogood » Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:22 am

InReach is better and so is Yellowbrick. It's all about the constellation of satellites they use. If you are within mobile coverage, you can use apps with such function, or even Apples Find My Friend. BTW, it's PLB for us. EPIRB is for water application. The smallest PLB at present is OceanSignal's PLB1 RescueMe.
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby Warin » Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:13 am

EPIRB/PLB
    Requires activation - so you need to be conscious to activate the signal for help.
    Has no no going fees, but you do need to have some contactable friends that have your travel plans to hand. And you need to supply the list of friends and their contact details to the EPIRB/PLB monitors.

Other
    If you think that you may be 'knocked out' and unable to activate a help signal then you need something else - either tracking or a system that senses your 'problem' (by shock detection or failure to move or both?) and automatically activates.
    Probably a subscription service - fees to be paid
    Possibly gives a web based track that people can look at
The details will depend on who you select and possibly what level of service you select. SPOT is popular amongst Americans .. and looks to work here. I've seen reports of it working here in emergency situations.

Me? PLB. I figure if I'd dead I don't care, and delays won't matter. The response times will depend on where you are - up to 3 hours max .. but that response might be an airplane flight over you.

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby dalai47 » Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:47 am

Thanks for the responses. :D

sogood wrote:BTW, it's PLB for us. EPIRB is for water application. The smallest PLB at present is OceanSignal's PLB1 RescueMe.


Like I said, this is all new to me... :wink:

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby sogood » Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:24 am

PLBs are now certainly very reachable for the average consumer. I have a RescueMe that I take on my bushwalks. In the not too distant future, one way texting will likely reach PLB class of products, at least there's already discussions on the new specification. For your remote touring needs, it'll be a choice b/n PLB, various two way messaging services or a satellite phone. A lot will depend on where you are at (satellite coverage) and how much you are willing to pay for the value you get out of it. SPOT's main issue for us Aust/NZ users is its patchy and poor quality satellite coverage in our part of the world, often limiting at locations. PLB uses the Cospas-Sarsat satellite constellation and is a true global coverage service.
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby Warin » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:10 am

sogood wrote: In the not too distant future, one way texting will likely reach PLB class of products, at least there's already discussions on the new specification.


That will require a change of satellites ... = $$,$$$ (at least) + time (in 10s of years). I'd put that in the distant future. Oh and change the ground station equipment ....

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby sogood » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:21 am

Warin wrote:That will require a change of satellites ... = $$,$$$ (at least) + time (in 10s of years). I'd put that in the distant future. Oh and change the ground station equipment ....

How do you think the present satellites receive and pass on the GPS coordinates and the IDs of activated PLB/EPIRB? Of course theses things are expensive but money is being spent. Change satellites? Or change the softwares? 10 years? Maybe or shorter. Don't be so pessimistic.
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby FXST01 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:23 am

I have gone PLB with a ResQLink+, which claims to be the smallest buoyant PLB.
No need to turn it on in the mornings or off at night or ensure it is charged for the next days riding.
Need to register it with AMSA but that is really no hassle.
No activation fees or annual subscriptions to pay.
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby petie » Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:57 am

I've gone with a gme PLB. Not super light, but Australian made and easy to get hold of. If your use is cycling specific then the other suggestions may suit better. As others have said, and as per your example, you are looking to use it when you need serious and urgent help. I have seen some very messed up people still manage to activate their PLB, and if they couldn't they are very unlikely to have made it anyway. All the right people are alerted immediately via AMSA with the PLB, I'm sure the spot etc are similar but last I checked the signal was handled through the US which just leaves room for error in my books.

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby RonK » Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:12 pm

DeLorme Inreach for me...
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Warin
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby Warin » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:11 am

sogood wrote:How do you think the present satellites receive and pass on the GPS coordinates and the IDs of activated PLB/EPIRB?


Good point! I did not think of that. I'd expect a price drop on PLB/EPIRBs just before the release of the 'message equipped' versions. But I expect it will have to go through some sort of committee approval process ... international committee approval process. Might be some time.

So would be ok to purchase a current PLB/EPIRB and expect some years of use before the 'message equipped' versions become available? IIRC the battery life is 5 or 10 years.

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GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:15 am

Battery life is rated for 7 years. I expect my next PLB to have more features. If you need now, buy now. Messaging feature is probably one battery life away.
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby queequeg » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:03 am

I've been out of the game far too long. When I was flying they hadn't gone to the 406mhz beacons yet and were still using the 121.5mhz ones. Many of the fixed beacons in the plane were designed to auto activate on severe G-shock, usually indicating an impact.
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Warin
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby Warin » Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:38 am

queequeg wrote:I've been out of the game far too long. When I was flying they hadn't gone to the 406mhz beacons yet and were still using the 121.5mhz ones.


Errr both the old and new systems use the 121.5 MHz frequency, used for ground and over flying aircraft searches to locate the PLB/EPIRB. This mean there was no replacement of the ground/air base search equipment - saving costs and replacement time. They have a second frequency used to communicate with the satellites. 406 MHz for the new satellites, I forget what frequency the old system used.

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby queequeg » Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:50 am

Warin wrote:
queequeg wrote:I've been out of the game far too long. When I was flying they hadn't gone to the 406mhz beacons yet and were still using the 121.5mhz ones.


Errr both the old and new systems use the 121.5 MHz frequency, used for ground and over flying aircraft searches to locate the PLB/EPIRB. This mean there was no replacement of the ground/air base search equipment - saving costs and replacement time. They have a second frequency used to communicate with the satellites. 406 MHz for the new satellites, I forget what frequency the old system used.


Why switch to a 406?

As of 1 February 2009 Cospas-Sarsat satellites no longer detect 121.5 MHz distress beacons.
Major advantages of switching to a 406 MHz distress beacon are:

their improved accuracy - especially those that are GPS capable;
the capability for search and rescue authorities to determine whether the alert is legitimate - for those that are registered, a simple phone call can determine this;
and a faster response - valuable information about those in distress and the distress location can be gained by rescue authorities contacting friends and family nominated as emergency contacts.

Distress beacon owners must make the switch to 406 now as 121.5 MHz distress beacons are no longer detected by satellite.
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby WarrenH » Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:00 pm

When I was bitten by an Eastern Brown, in the Taliesen Hills in NSW, two years ago this month, I contacted 000 with my Next-G rural phone and gave them my exact GPS co-ordinates ... 000 couldn't respond to the co-ordinates because their vehicles could't log them in.

I had to talk my rescuers into my location, along several fire trails with closed gates. I maintained the bite, until I was found. Make sure your phone is fully charged, so that 000 can monitor your condition, if you're injured and still conscious. 000 hung on until I was reached by ambulance officers.

Don't just rely on a beacon. Be even more equipped ... which you know anyway.

Recently, I read about the 1,200 over-reactions (the false alarms) by people who activated beacons in NSW. When people got weary they even fired off their beacons expecting others to come and get them, a somewhat common complaint ... the NSW Police were not impressed at the number of false alarms they responded to.

Here in the ACT, National Parks have beacons for loan. In NSW the Police depending on where you are, will lend beacons. One of the problems is that the loan period can be relatively short ... for a weekend or a tad longer.

Warren.
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby Warin » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:01 am

queequeg wrote:Why switch to a 406?

As of 1 February 2009 Cospas-Sarsat satellites no longer detect 121.5 MHz distress beacons.


Hummm Journalists 'simplifying things for the public' ? But distorting things so much that they are false. :roll:

The 121.5 MHz signal was never detected by the satellites. The old '121.5' things were actually 121.5 MHz AND 243 MHz .. and it was the 243 MHz that was detected by the satellites. The new '406' actually are 121.5 MHz AND 406 MHz ... the 406 MHz is used by the new satellites. The 121.5 MHz is still used by ground and aerial base search people. Some older watch PLBs only use the 121.5MHz signal .. mostly used by pilots thinking that they will be over flown by aircraft with the 121.5 MHz detection system.

---------------------
Ambulance services in NSW at least have a free text entry mode .. the operator has a set of questions on the screen that they normally ask - street .. nearest cross street etc .. however they can over ride that and go into a free text mode ... this is what you want in a remote area to take GPS location for instance .. if the operator won't take your data .. ask for the supervisor! I'd hope other states have the same .. While most of the ambos may not have a GPS .. some officers do. Certainly the helicopters do!

---------------------

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby queequeg » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:04 am

Warin wrote:
queequeg wrote:Why switch to a 406?

As of 1 February 2009 Cospas-Sarsat satellites no longer detect 121.5 MHz distress beacons.


Hummm Journalists 'simplifying things for the public' ? But distorting things so much that they are false. :roll:

The 121.5 MHz signal was never detected by the satellites. The old '121.5' things were actually 121.5 MHz AND 243 MHz .. and it was the 243 MHz that was detected by the satellites. The new '406' actually are 121.5 MHz AND 406 MHz ... the 406 MHz is used by the new satellites. The 121.5 MHz is still used by ground and aerial base search people. Some older watch PLBs only use the 121.5MHz signal .. mostly used by pilots thinking that they will be over flown by aircraft with the 121.5 MHz detection system.

---------------------
Ambulance services in NSW at least have a free text entry mode .. the operator has a set of questions on the screen that they normally ask - street .. nearest cross street etc .. however they can over ride that and go into a free text mode ... this is what you want in a remote area to take GPS location for instance .. if the operator won't take your data .. ask for the supervisor! I'd hope other states have the same .. While most of the ambos may not have a GPS .. some officers do. Certainly the helicopters do!

---------------------


That info came straight from the AMSA website....

http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/essential_info.html
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '15 Cervelo S5

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Warin
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby Warin » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:18 am

queequeg wrote:That info came straight from the AMSA website....


Still wrong. Maybe the persons title is 'communicator' ... not a technical type person.

The problem stems for the old 'common' name 121.5 ... just as people call all of them EPIRBs .. not PLBs ELT?s etc.. so the term 121.5 gets used. Maybe a better thing would be to say if it is not 406 (the new 'common' name) then it may not work. Gets away from any source of confusion?

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby rifraf » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:50 pm

WarrenH wrote: I was bitten by an Eastern Brown, in the Taliesen Hills in NSW, two years ago this month, Warren.


Jeez Wazza,
how many times do I have to tell you?
Don't feed the bloody wildlife (Mozzies excepted) :wink:

WarrenH wrote:Don't just rely on a beacon. Be even more equipped ... which you know anyway.Warren.

I got a mobile phone, hopefully decent basic Ortlieb first aid kit and I just splurged on a PLB (ACR ResQLink+), always a few days extra food +water.
Other than letting someone know where I'm going, is there anything I've missed :?:


WarrenH wrote: I read about the 1,200 over-reactions (the false alarms) by people who activated beacons in NSW. When people got weary they even fired off their beacons expecting others to come and get them, a somewhat common complaint ... the NSW Police were not impressed at the number of false alarms they responded to.

Warren.

Thats bound to put a frown on the rescue crew.
Hope they nip that in the bud before it comes out of the rest of our wallets (When people got weary......) :roll:
Surly Ogre, Carry Freedom Y-frame Trailer, Extrawheel trailer.

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby Aushiker » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:44 pm

rifraf wrote:
WarrenH wrote:Don't just rely on a beacon. Be even more equipped ... which you know anyway.Warren.

I just splurged on a PLB (ACR ResQLink+), always a few days extra food +water.


Nice and small ... did you get it locally?

Andrew

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby rifraf » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:14 am

Aushiker wrote:[

Nice and small ... did you get it locally?

Andrew

Yes
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rifraf
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby rifraf » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:36 pm

I spotted on bushwalk.com.au that you can hire a PLB

http://www.bushwalkingblog.com.au/plb-hire/
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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby Rodgerbiltit » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:48 am

I recently purchased a PLB - smaller that most, longer battery life, designed in Australia (with additional features) and cheaper!
http://kti.com.au/safety-alert-plb/
http://www.skippersmate.com.au/KTI-Safe ... LB-Beacon/
I hope never to need it and maintain that if I'm unable to activate then I most probably wouldn't survive until rescued anyway!
Rodger

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Re: GPS Tracker / EPIRB options?

Postby dalai47 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:45 pm

About to buy an OceanSignal's PLB1 RescueMe for my solo Mawson trail trip fast approaching . Any last minute suggestions for other options before I do?

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