Time to Beat my Drum Again

Submitted: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 08:32
ThreadID: 132309 Views:3191 Replies:8 FollowUps:28
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Good Morning all

In todays modern times, with both education and media, people are still not heading to sound advise.

A 79 year old man has been missing for 4 days in the northern Flinders Ranges.

Station workers have located the mans vehicle and the STAR force are now into their second day of searching.

How many times do we have to say....


NEVER LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE IF YOU BREAK DOWN

BUY A PLB AS YOUR CHEAPEST PIECE OF EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT.



How many times do we have to repeat this very basic yet simple requests.


Take care and take your safety seriously in the bush.


Cheers



Stephen
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Reply By: Member - John T (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 08:49

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 08:49
Good morning Stephen

Yet another timely reminder that our wonderful country has dangers that only those who travel around the more remote places are aware of. Not that the northern Flinders is remote to many users of this forum.

I have just this morning renewed the registration for my PLB and it will be in my Nissan / grab bag each and every time I drive away from home. As you state - very cheap insurance. Mind you the battery life expires in 2 years so will have to replace then.

Thanks for your reminders once again

Take care out there.

Cheers

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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 09:37

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 09:37
John,

Noticed a couple of weeks ago that my GME410G battery has reached its expiry date.
At a cost of $199 plus shipping to replace the battery, compared with $299 for a new MT410G, it is a no brainer which choice to make.

Pretty cheap insurance I reckon.
Bill


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Follow Up By: Member - John T (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:14

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:14
Afternoon Bill

Yes mate that's exactly what I will be doing in a couple of years - good reason to buy Australian made in this case. Mind you the price has come down considerably since I bought my 410G.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:40

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:40
Hi Bill and John

I am in the very same situation as both of you. I like John renewed my 410G around a month ago, but have not received the new sticker as yet. Like Bill, my 410G is due to be replaced in the new few months and like Bill has found out, it is just as cheap to buy a complete new unit.

The up side is that nearly 7 years ago, I paid close to $600 for it then and now they are half the price.

Unlike the spot that is dear to use on a yearly subscription, our PLB's cost nothing to renew.


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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 10:11

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 10:11
Stephen - I think we have a case here where the old bloke didn't consider himself "in the bush", or "in the Outback".
He's probably lived in the station country for years and isn't too tech-oriented, and he's probably just decided to "walk home" after his vehicle became useless to him. He's probably done it before, and made it, after a long walk.

However, with advancing age, one has to be very aware of how the old body doesn't perform like it used to.
I could walk 40kms easily in a day when I was in my 30's, but I wouldn't like to try it today, now I'm pushing 70.

At 79, most people are slowing down appreciably. When you get lost, stress increases - and even though he probably has a vast amount of experience to draw on, he doesn't have the energy reserves to call on at his age.

I trust he's found soon, in recoverable condition - some of these old fellas are pretty tough.
However, as the days go by, the chances of finding him alive reduce rapidly.
I hope the SAR blokes are well-skilled, and I hope they have some state-of-the-art equipment such as FLIR thermal-imaging gear to assist in finding him.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:46

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:46
Hi Ron,

The chap that is missing is not a local station man from the area, but a tourist from Whyalla, and this morning Police held grave fears for his safety and finding him alive. Even though the days are still mild up in the area, the nights are now getting quite cold and without proper food, water and clothing, every hour that passes without finding him alive makes it a more serious issue.

Lets all hope they do find him very soon.


Cheers



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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:51

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:51
Hi Ron,

I should have also posted this link.

Missing Man


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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 17:40

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 17:40
Thanks Stephen, the article does say he has been to the area before and is experienced in the bush.

However, as we've seen in recent times, a lot of these so-called "experienced in the bush" people, aren't as experienced as the relatives try to make out, and they do some silly things.

As you rightly point out, leaving your vehicle is the biggest no-no.

With a vehicle you've got shade in Summer and warmth in Winter (by sleeping in it) - you have fuel to make a fire - and a vehicle is easily seen by aerial searchers, whereas a human on foot is very hard to find, unless the searchers are equipped with heat-seeking thermal imaging equipment.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Notso - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 10:34

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 10:34
My brother in law used one of theseSpot Tracker and Messenger on a 700 kilometre walk through the Mountains from Victoria to ACT. Allowed him to send messages and also allowed us to plot his track on Google Earth. Sounds like a pretty good system.
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Follow Up By: Member - Leigh (Vic) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:19

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:19
Yep, very important part of my kit, plus HF. The spot device is great for allowing others to track you in real time plus send text and/or SMS messages in a pre-configured format. If I was to take a decision to walk out, which I would be reluctant to do, I am trackable to about 5 meters. Just need to have back up batteries and some sustenance.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:58

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 14:58
Hi Notso and Leigh

The Spot units are a great unit, but their down side it they are dear to use and a yearly basis and great fees and how advanced you want to go, compared to no running costs at all on a PLB

It would be interesting to see how your brother in law was able to keep the Spot charged up all the time, as like Leigh has said he would have needed a good supply of back up batteries, again something that you do not have to worry about with a PLB.


Cheers and Keep Safe.


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Follow Up By: Notso - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 16:31

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 16:31
Not too sure how he managed to keep up with the batteries, but we were able to track him all the way.

Even used Flight Simulator in Google Earth to fly the route. Only crashed and killed me and my wife 14 times.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 17:23

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 17:23
I have a 1st generation Spot. In tracking mode during the day and with two OK messages each day and left on continuously (just idling at night) the recommended lithium AA cells last about 4 to 5 weeks.

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Follow Up By: Member - Allan L2 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 17:39

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 17:39
I am not sure of the battery life of a "Spot" but the "Spot Gen 3" does have a low battery warning light. Recently purchased one & it has so far tracked us in excess of 80 Hours.
In this case, had he had one, he could be tracked until the battery failed. If he had activated the "SOS" signal when the warning light began flashing & stayed put he should stand a good chance of being located quickly.
I am not saying they are better than a LB but surely better than nothing.
Lets hope he is found alive & well in the near future
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:47

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:47
Hi all. There seems to be some healthy discussion re the merits of PLBs and the Spot devices. I know I have raised the issue with my parents whom are both in their 70s and still go remote camping for months at a time. One of factors which is tending for us to lean towards the SPOT device in favour is that there are many possible scenarios where they would like to send a message for help= but not actually life threatening. Eg car break down in remote location. They have food and water for weeks however may need assistance to get moving again. ?are we correct in thinking the SPOT would be more useful in this scenario.doc.
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Follow Up By: Notso - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 19:00

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 19:00
I'd agree, best not to set off an ELB unless it's an emergency.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:26

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:26
Hi Oz Doc

Could I please ask a couple of questions regarding the Spot, as to be honest, I know about them but not their cost and features.

How much is the minimum contract yearly subscription please, as when I looked, the minimum was around $300 and went up in price depending on extra services.

Are the units waterproof and used safely out in all elements, including rain, or being dropped into water?

In the event of an emergency, how long is it before the Australian Authorities are informed from the overseas people that manage the system?

If your parents are in remotes areas for extended times, I would highly recommend to also use and carry a Satellite phone for a number of reasons. If the scenario you mentioned above and your parents were going to be trapped for weeks without help, you are justified in setting off the PLB, as if you are in an area and help has not arrived, it would then be classed as a potential life threatening situation, and again a Sat phone if used, you could speak first hand with family of those coming to help.

Another good scenario of PLB v Spot is in my own personal situations. Often when in the bush or even kayaking, I always carry my very small emergency backpack that contains my Satellite phone, PLB, hand help UHF, 1.5 litres of water, signal mirror to name just a few items that I hope I will never have to use.

Those that carry a spot and head off on foot, do they take it out of their vehicle and carry it with them? Also one instance that can and has happen and will be life or death....a snake bite.

A young lad had left Melbourne last year and was heading to Darwin. Worried family had not heard of him and contacted Police. It was not until a few months later that the tragic events were told.

The poor lad went off of the Stuart Highway north of Glendambo and bogged his vehicle. While collecting wood to put under the tyres to try and gain traction, he was bitten by a Mulga snake and not being able to drive out or get help, he died a lonely and tragic death.

If he carried a PLB and set it off, authorities in Canberra would have know his exact location within metres in under 20 minutes and help would have been in action straight away after one of three phone calls. Help may have saved his life, as it would have taken him hours to die in an unconscious state, but like I said, help may have saved his life. Yes you can say that if he had a Spot, he could have set it off, but from what I have been told, it would have been hours before Authorities were informed in Australia and any help actioned.


Cheers and thanks for a good debate.



Stephen

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:57

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:57
Stephen,
I have a Spot. I am also aware of the protocols that exist between the Spot SOS service and AusSAR.

If a Spot SOS (the 911) button is actvated the signal is received in Canada. There is a formal agreement between the Canadian authorities and AusSAR whereby the SOS, if located in AusSAR's area of responsibility, will be transferred immediately to AusSAR.

I have a mate who worked in AusSAR. He was familiar with the Spot agreement and advised that the delay in Australian response would be in the order of 20 minutes.

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Follow Up By: Member - Leigh (Vic) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 21:11

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 21:11
Stephen, we have some mates (unnamed) currently out in the desert who have a spot device. If you click on the link they gave you you can see exactly where they are. I have followed their progress over the course of today and their location has been updated every 10 minutes off the satellite to my iPad. I reckon you'll convert sooner or later. I loan my unit to a remote bush walker so his family knows exactly where he is and how he is progressing in Tas and NZ etc. If he suddenly dropped dead at least they know exactly where to find him rather than waste the time of rescuers trying to piece it together. Both have their strong points I suppose.
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 21:26

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 21:26
Hi stephen, my folks looked into sat phones but when we did the math it seemed cheaper for the spot. They have had an epirb but its out of date now. So they were looking to replace it. Thats when i suggested they look into the spot. They have friends with sat phones but arnt keen on the cost and ease of use.doc
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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 21:47

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 21:47
Hi Stephen,
My 1st Gen Spot costs me $164.99 a year and has done for 6 years.
This plan covers Ok, Help and SOS functions plus tracking.
Tracking can be linked to multiple sites (EOtrackme etc).

Cheers
Alan

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Follow Up By: Member - Allan L2 - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 08:02

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 08:02
Hi Stephen & Alan,
The "Spot Gen 3" manual states it is rated IPX7 waterproof: Up to a depth of 1m for up to 30 minutes.
The thing that concerns me is its operating temperature -30 to 60 C. Will have to be cautious about leaving it unshaded on the dash of the vehicle.
As Alan stated above the cost is US $164.99. A$225.66 P.a. That's less than 62 cents per day. The tracking is every 10 minutes. For more info check findmespot.com
Alan,
What has been your experience regarding battery life? Do you take precautions regarding high temperatures ?

Cheers,
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Follow Up By: equinox - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 09:21

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 09:21
Hi Allan

Battery life is about 6 weeks.
I used to change the batteries before each trip however now just carry spares. There is a battery warning indication (and unit still operates in that mode).

The heat has never worried it. It usually just sits on the dash on the ute or is cable tied on the front rack of my quad bike.

Cheers
Alan

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 14:26

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 14:26
Hi Alan, Frank, Leigh and last but not least, Allan

Thanks for that very interesting information on the Spot, greatly appreciated. Now it looks like another piece of kit to get and to have some fun with. It sounds like most of you are on the basic contract and get great good value for money.

Checking the internet, you can get the new Spot 3 for under $200 and now with the cost of the pre paid sat phone deals being cut back, it would make more sense to head into a spot.

Thanks to you all for your great replies.



Cheers


Stephen
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Reply By: Member - Roachie - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 17:12

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 17:12
Stephen,

Do we know for sure that his vehicle had broken down? I haven't seen any mention of this anywhere to date; thus I don't think he would have normally decided to stay with his vehicle.

It sounds to me more likely that he went for a bushwalk and has either got himself lost or had a medical episode.

But I guess it's all just speculation at this stage until they find the gentleman.

Cheers,

Bill
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:31

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:31
Hi Bill

I did not state that his vehicle had broken down at all, these facts at this stage are not known.

What I said was in a general situation that if any person is in a situation where your vehicle does break down, never leave it, as it is easy for a vehicle to be spotted from the air, and almost impossible for a lone person to be spotted from the air.

It sounds like he may have sent on foot hiking and has run into serious trouble.


Cheers



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Reply By: LAZYLUX16 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 19:53

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 19:53
Hi Stephen L I read story P plater in 4wd ran out of fuel had no water and never let his tyres down for sand and ended up sideways stuck on a sand dune mmmm!!! Lucky he had help from some guys fishing nearby.I just purchased Thuraya Satphone and will get PLB but not sure yet which one ..silly these days not to have something on board.I did work in Cooper Basin in 80s had no communication in 4wd because carried Detonators .I broke down and guys in camp forgot about me because those days drinking was allowed and other substances used.It was pretty wierd pitch black dark and my mind was really doing strange things and could hear a pin drop.Finally my work mates rescued me at 1130pm .Bit angry as very hungry and hanging for a beer..I am sure these days companies have all the tools to stop these things happening..cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:40

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:40
Hi Lazylux

Yes things are now very strict out in the mining camps and safety is taken very seriously.

When one of my sons was working up in Moomba, a strict protocol must be followed and details of where all vehicles are heading is logged. They are to keep in regular contact back to Moomba and if they do not hear from you within two hours, emergency teams are sent out to retrace your steps and look for you.

One day when they were out, their radio died and they were a long way out of Moomba, but the car was still working fine. Not wanting to get into any trouble, they started their long drive back to Moomba, and by the time they got back to the security gate, a helicopter team had already been sent out to look for them, so yes they do take being lost very seriously.


Cheers



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Reply By: LAZYLUX16 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:52

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 20:52
Stephen L wow thats pretty good.I remember the bulldozer guys broke down I had to go out in pouring rain to look for them .Easy the old environmentalist just bulldozed some big trees and made a little fire .Crazy guys .Memories loved those does all around Moomba and beyond mind u my back and neck stuffed and liver too ha ha ha ...Goin on big trip up around Lake Eyre and onto Alice and Rudall River WA so see how my body stands upto the tracks.Any advice on PLB.. I just read subscription needs to be paid for Spot Gen 3 but I thought I got Satphone that enough to able ring for help not need tracking .So just need back up if life threatening cheers ps what did ya son do up in Moomba ...
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 08:18

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 08:18
Hi Lazylux

My son is a licensed surveyor and was involved in a number of projects, including the geo thermal plant, gas lines at Jackson and Belera, to name a few places were were worked up there.


Cheers


Stephen
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 07:43

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 07:43
Yep new plb purchase of a KTI SA2G is good peace of mind.
Normally this lives in the glovebox, I've been in SE QLD a couple of weeks and done some fairy remote bush walks, so having this in the pack was good to know if I had some sort of critical incident, I'd be likely found fairly quickly.
Before coming up I registered in the online AMSA website I'd be doing some walks.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 14:31

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 14:31
Cheers Les

You can never have enough safety items and until more people can be converted, we will sadly see these incidents happing .



Cheers



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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 08:15

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 08:15
Good Morning Again Everyone

Just an update, and at first light today, Thursday the 5th May, Police, SES, and station people started searching again for the 79 year old Whyalla man.

So far an extensive search has covered more than 300 square kilometres without any trace of the man.

They say that he has been in the area before and he may have food and water with him, but with the cold nights, have great fears for his safety.


Lets hope that he is found alive.


Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: LAZYLUX16 - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 09:36

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 09:36
Nice stuff .I worked Siesmic and back in 80s we were ready to shut down in late November but Oil company lease was running out so we drove over to Jackson for a hurried exploration for couple weeks .The flies and heat incredible. And bulldust unbelievable.Our crew discovered one of the biggest oil reserves in Australia.The Adelaide News back then put article about Jackson and a photo of a tent that we lived in and said we worked in harsh conditions .Still got clipping of that.We were on $4.50 hr.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 14:37

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 14:37
Hi Lazylux

I bet $4.50 an hour back then would have been a kings ransom, as these days you shift the decimal point to the right and add on around and extra $5 and that is their hourly wage, some even getting a lot more times that by 12 hours and $600 plus dollars is an unreal daily wage.......lucky buggers then times that by seven and you can see they have a very comfortable weekly wage.

All the Best.


Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: LAZYLUX16 - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 18:53

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 18:53
Stephen L yeh we worked long hrs 7 days a week.Bought my 1st house cost 65k should have bought more but who knew the cost of living would go so high...cheers
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