Personal Locator Beacon

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 09, 2016 at 23:36
ThreadID: 131791 Views:2337 Replies:8 FollowUps:2
This Thread has been Archived
Hi there!
In few weeks i'm going to travel with my kids and my wife and we will go to Uluru/kings Canyon/ Merenie Loop/Alice Springs departing from Adelaide.
The only dirt road will be from Kings Canyon to Alice Spring.
Do I really need a Personal Locator Bacon on board of my 4wd ??
Thanks for all the replies!!
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: equinox - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2016 at 23:52

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2016 at 23:52
Hi luca_ki
You wont need a PLB (presuming you and your family have no critical medical conditions)
However, I have a spot PLB. I take this on remote trips, but I sometimes take it on not so remote trips also. Spot has a OK button and you can send text (predetermined text on mine) to email and mobiles. Also, I pay a bit extra for tracking so I can open the link to friends and they can see my progress.
Up to you however more than one use for a PLB

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 597208

Reply By: Zippo - Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 01:04

Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 01:04
Even on the Mereenie Loop there is quite a bit of traffic, so (as Equinox said) unless you have a condition requiring rapid response a PLB is not necessary.
AnswerID: 597209

Reply By: vk1dx - Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 07:35

Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 07:35
I wouldn't bother either. No high risk roads or tracks and plenty of traffic.

AnswerID: 597211

Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 11:35

Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 11:35
Think of it like an insurance policy - you may need it, you may won't know if you needed it until you return safely from your trip - if that makes sense...

And just like any insurance, you never need it, till you need it!

Having said that and on balance if you are not venturing off the main route described, or walking in the bush, you can probably get by without it. But if you have $300 to spare, think of it has a good safety investment, buy it and write it off like an insurance premium.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
AnswerID: 597215

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Mar 11, 2016 at 00:05

Friday, Mar 11, 2016 at 00:05
Hi Luca

While I agree with the comments here that unless you have a medical need, or will venture down remote side tracks, you will not need a PLB on the roads you have mentioned.

Did you read this recent thread on thePLB thread case for carrying a PLB?

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 597227

Reply By: Idler Chris - Friday, Mar 11, 2016 at 16:24

Friday, Mar 11, 2016 at 16:24
Of more importance is a satellite phone. On another forum a question was raised about satphones, but I see PLB's as just as important. You are being very responsible in looking at the safety of your family. Your decision will probably be influenced by, is this a one off trip, or will there be others in the future.

This is my view of things I hope it helps.

Satellite phones - hire or buy? The cost difference between the two is not great enough to even
consider hiring a phone. A hired phone is second hand, you do not know its history, it is unlikely to
be as reliable as a new or refurbished phone.

For outback travellers satellite phones should be looked at in the same way you look at insurance -
an ongoing cost to cover the unexpected. A satellite phone in an emergency could make the
difference between life and death, to travel without one in this day and age is, I suggest, very
foolish. I would also highly recommend carrying a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) as this alerts the emergency services very quickly. The satellite phone enables communications with the emergency services to confirm that there is a real emergency, and to target the response to the nature of the emergency. When you purchase a PLB your register it with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority together with your details including contact details. When a PLB is activated one of the first things that the emergency services do is to ring your satellite phone, provided you have one of course.

For outback travellers having a satellite phone is a must. The question is which one. There are two
scenarios, one where you only want the phone for emergency or very occasional use, or two where you wish to be able to make regular contact with the outside world. For second scenario there are many many options depending where you go and how many phone calls you want to make. I do not propose to go into all these options here, but to only talk about occasional and emergency use.

The suggestion I am about to make is what I do, and when faced with an emergency last year six hours north of Katherine N.T. it worked perfectly in extracting me for what could have been a very nasty situation. You should do your own research as your life could depend on it, there maybe other solutions but this worked for me and I highly recommend it.

I have a refurbished Globalstar GPS1600 satphone. It is a basic phone no bells and whistles designed to do one thing, to easily make phone calls which it does well. It has a large phonebook which you can fill before leaving home with all potential numbers that you may need. There are are a number of places that sell these phones, including eBay. I brought mine from EO member SatphoneSales in Qld. who currently are selling them for $375 (Mar 2016). I have mine on a $20 per month post paid plan with Piviotel, in my case organised by SatphoneSales. You can suspend the plan and save the $20 per month but if you do, when you reactivate your plan you will get a new phone number. I never suspend my plan as I am always ready to go, my number never changes, and I just see the $240 cost per year as an insurance and a drop in the ocean to what my life is worth. Call cost is about a $1 per minute which while not cheap, is not really a consideration in an emergency. Your allotted number is an 04 mobile number and calls to it cost you nothing, and the caller pays the same cost as to any mobile number, which if they are on a plan would be no additional cost. So you could spend a dollar and ring someone and get them to ring you back.

I would not consider a prepaid plan. In an emergency the last thing you want is to run out of
credit. There are usually ways of getting more credit but it is not something you would want to be
doing in a highly charged emergency situation. Besides, the person using the phone may not know
how to increase the credit.

I have heard some people say that even though they are remote, say Canning Stock Route, someone will be along usually within a few hours. I would suggest it is not very responsible to be relying on the goodwill of others to save your bacon. I want my destiny in my own hands and not reliant on the goodwill of others, quite apart from that you may not have a few hours. Consider your partner having a medical emergency, or even yourself for that matter, a call to say the R.F.D.S. could give you advice of things to do before anyone can get to you that could just save a life.

In summary for a one off cost of around $600 for a refurbished satphone and a PLB and the ongoing cost of $240 for the phone plan I consider as excellent insurance to potentially save my life and give me great peace of mind. When I compare this with what it costs to insure my vehicle, it is a real bargain.

To travel remotely without a satellite phone and PLB in this day and age is very fool hardy in my humble opinion. Whats your life worth?
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 597252

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Mar 13, 2016 at 07:54

Sunday, Mar 13, 2016 at 07:54
Chris your post is quite interesting.

I have an Iridium 9595 on a Telstra Plan which works well but is costly to make or receive a call.

I have a few questions.

1)Does the Globalstar 1600 work on the new 2nd generation network?
2)Do you know if you can send or receive texts to Vodaphone, Optus and Telstra, and if so how much they are?

With the ability to turn the plan on and off, on the surface that looks like a better solution than Iridium / Telstra.

Also I seem to recall satphone sales is a member here. Any input from them would be interesting.
FollowupID: 866341

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Mar 13, 2016 at 08:49

Sunday, Mar 13, 2016 at 08:49
Hi Boobook, your questions,
1. Yes it does. I have had it for 18 months and been in all States and Territories except Tas and when I am travelling I turn it on every couple of days to make sure it is working and to check reception at different places. I have yet to find a place it does not have reception. The Globalstar network is supposed to be not as reliable as you get into the very north of Australia. Last year I had an emergency near Bulman in Arnham Land which is only several hundred k's from the top of Australia. I had numerous calls in and out with little trouble, it did what it was designed to do and did it well, all calls were very clear.
2. No text facility in or out. It excels at being a phone nothing else.

As I said I do not cancel the contract I accept the cost of $240 per year for the convenience of keeping the same number, and being able to go without any preparation. My family, friends, and fellow 4WD Club members know my satphone number. If I change it all the time it is likely to lead to confusion. Emergencies can also occur at home and in my case I sometimes lead Club trips and being contactable I see as important for me. The GSP1600 accepts voicemail so people can ring you at any time and leave a message. In these circumstances it costs the sender the cost of a normal mobile call, but it cost me the receiver 99 cents per minute to receive it.

Kevin at Satphone Sales knows all there is to know about satphones and yes he is an EO member. He has responded many times on this forum, but I suspect as he is running a business he does not have the time to come to the Forum all the time.

The bottom line is for you to ascertain exactly what you need and are prepared to pay for, and then give Kevin a ring and he will tailor a solution for you, he is great.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 866343

Reply By: Safety Beacons Australia - Sunday, Mar 13, 2016 at 07:08

Sunday, Mar 13, 2016 at 07:08
If you are going any where you are likely not to have mobile access its a good idea to have a PLB in fact its good to have one in the glovebox have a look at for more information
AnswerID: 597296

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Mar 13, 2016 at 10:18

Sunday, Mar 13, 2016 at 10:18
Buy a PLB.
After that, if you can afford it, buy a sat. phone.

I would travel without a sat phone, but not without a GPS enabled PLB.

OKA196 Motorhome.
AnswerID: 597305

Sponsored Links