PLB Activation - help them help you!

Submitted: Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 16:28
ThreadID: 135920 Views:1725 Replies:10 FollowUps:40


Another thread running currently and one that comes up from time-to-time is which PLB do I buy?

A good question, and you can read more about forumites thoughts on that here.

So as not to detract from the topic of the other thread I thought it worth highlighting in a new thread once you purchase your PLB of choice you will need to register it with the AMSA and provide emergency contact details etc.

A great feature of your account with the AMSA is the ability to upload travel plans or detail a trip you are undertaking.

Let's face it, you've gone to the expense of purchasing a PLB so give the authorities as much information as you can so they can quickly render assistance in your time of need. Let's hope you don't need it though, but just in case...!

In the event your beacon is activated the first thing the AMSA will do is to review your account for emergency contacts and any trip or further information you have entered.

And whilst they have a set protocol to follow once beacon activation is detected, it will assist them and ultimately you, if they have current information that you are travelling and that it correlates with the region where the beacon has been activated.

For longer trips and expeditions I detail travel information with approximate dates in an excel spreadsheet and upload into the AMSA website under “My Account”.

Hopefully some food for thought that may get assistance underway just that little bit quicker if you ever “hit that button”.

Good luck out there, Baz – The Landy

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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 16:38

Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 16:38
.
Good advice Baz. I would guess that some new PLB owners just buy the device and chuck it into the glovebox.
You have described the response of AMSA on receiving a PLB signal. The person activating the PLB will expect prompt response but that will be delayed if AMSA have to waste time validating the signal. The more info they have will ensure a more prompt response.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: William P - Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:32

Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:32
AMSA do not validate the signal before actioning - they start action first and then start the validation process - unless someone in the process convinces AMSA it is a false or accidental signal - action starts as soon as the emergency signal is received - the type of response may be amended as more information is received but it starts immediately.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:59

Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:59
.
William, the following is a copy&paste from the AMSA website.

"Search and rescue authorities commence search operations as soon as they can. If your beacon is registered, AMSA Search and Rescue will look up your account and ring your emergency contacts immediately. If emergency contacts are aware of trip details or trip details have been submitted online, search operations can be commenced much sooner. So it is essential to keep your details up to date."

1)"as soon as they can"
2)"look up account"
3)"ring emergency contacts"
4)"if emergency contacts are are aware of etc"
5)"search operations can be commenced much sooner"

"COMMENCED MUCH SOONER"...... Think that's the option I prefer,. but do you know something that I don't?
Cheers
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Follow Up By: William P - Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 19:09

Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 19:09
They can walk and chew gum at the same time.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 16:03

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 16:03
History and the odd Ministerial Enquiry has shown that AMSA most certainly have been guilty of not walking and chewing gum at the same time. If you can give trip details to validate that you should be in a particular area at a particular time they can validate much quicker, especially for terrestrial activations which are often palmed off onto local search authorities and not handled by AUSSAR. There is always a person in Canberra to ring and update your trip details if you carry a PLB/EPIRB.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:00

Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:00
Thanks Baz for posting this. I've back-linked your post to our EPIRBs & PLBs article so it keeps this useful post easily accessible from there in the future.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:21

Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:21
And don't forget - your Australian purchased PLB will work world wide.
When we go overseas, we register those travel plans too and take it with us.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:40

Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:40
Peter, I asked about this once, it will work in NZ through the AMSA, but elsewhere it depends on local resources, it should be checked with the country travelling to exactly what happens in the event of a PLB activation.
Some have little or no rescue services like Australia.

This page has info below AMSA using your beacon

Noted there always need to contact airline and airport travelling with / through, as they can all have different rules re carrying beacons.
Also noted there that some countries consider PLB carriage and activation illegal on land.

There is a link there to who to contact in various countries to find out local rules and procedures.

From that page too "AMSA Search and Rescue will only provide the registration details, if known, and any other information it gathers from emergency contacts. AMSA will request information on the progress of the search and rescue."
So yes it is still good practice to register trip itinerary to ASMA site.

Cheers.
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:42

Monday, Nov 27, 2017 at 17:42
I do this for all multi day bushwalks, and remote 4WD trips.

Did you know you can even upload a photo of vehicle(s) on a trip, so rescue knows what to look for ?

I loaded a couple of standard pics of the Ranger there, and each trip lodge itinerary for upcoming trip, afterwards remember to delete the trip to keep your list clean.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 05:00

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 05:00
Same deal with Spot.

Under the SOS message in your account you can add some notes - health condition is suggested but intentions can be added too.

And of course it makes sense to let your primary contact know your plans.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 14:21

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 14:21
The spot is not a PLB and it treated nowhere near the same as a PLB on the worldwide EPERB system

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 18:55

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 18:55
Hi Bantam

The SPOT device is actually the same as a PLB and transmits your location to authorities the same way as when a PLB is triggered, but goes to the USA first.

Not sure when you read that but have a look at this


Cheers


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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 21:28

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 21:28
Last I checked epirb/plb transmitted to cospas/sarsat system which is not for profit, international and the most complete system.
Spot transmits to the globalsat system which is privately owned and does not have as much coverage.
Garmin inReach transmits to the iridium network.
Plb/epirp do not require subscriptions and is monitored worldwide under agreement by SAR centres.
Iridium/spot relies on a call centre in the USA relaying details manually to the country you are lost in - assuming you have paid your bill.
I am happy to be corrected.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 22:37

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 22:37
Spot most certainly is not the same as a PLB running on the International EPREB system ..... it has nowhere near the effectivness, speed and is taken nowhere near as seriously.

IF there is a mandatory requirement to carry an EPERB a spot is not sufficient.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 05:51

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 05:51
What's your evidence Bantam?
Which organisation rejects a Spot in favour of a PLB?

Spot has an MoU with AMSA guaranteeing a response to any SOS that's received at its US base.

Worldwide, Spot has been instrumental now in over 5000 rescues.

I've carried one for years and sent scores of messages. They're CC'd to my own email address so I can later check its performance. Only once has it not been able to get a GPS fix - when I was on the steep south side of a mountain. This is a problem with other systems too.

Once I found it to be 50m out in rugged country. There's only a few places and times where this would be material in a rescue.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 06:53

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 06:53
At the risk of speaking on Bantam’s behalf...

A 406 MHz beacon is required to be carried by boats operating offshore and by aircraft registered in Australia.

Whilst a Spot device is monitored it does not use the same satellite system as the 406 MHz beacon.

My understanding is the 406 MHz beacon also has a much higher power output compared to Spot

However, the purpose of the thread was to highlight that once you register a 406 MHz beacon with the AMSA you can also upload travel plans.

I have a Spot device in addition to a PLB and pay for the tracking service, however I don’t believe you can upload travel plans to the Spot website.

For many EO travellers a Spot device or similar may be sufficient in terms of ability to signal an emergency along with the added features of tracking and limited text or ore populated message capability.

Neither are mutually exclusive, however a PLB has superior capability and the reason why they are mandated safety equipment in marine and aviation applications.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 07:07

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 07:07
Is there any land-based organisation that won't accept a SPOT used by an elective member or service user?

Spot gets its fix from GPS satellites like any other GPSr. It transmits its message to the Globalstar satellite which is in our north sky - over New Guinea or Indonesia or thereabouts. I agree it's not as good as COSPASS/SARSAT but it's as good as other emergency satellite services.

For marine uses you are probably thinking about an EPIRB, which I gather floats and is activated when it hits the water.

And yes, as I said in my first reply (which you thanked me for) you can upload your intentions to your Spot account.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 07:16

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 07:16
Sigmund

I can’t add to what I’ve written above, but will now check my Spot account to see if I have overlooked where I can upload detailed travel plans.

I’m familiar with the ability to add some messages under SOS, Help needed functions, but is there somewhere else detailed plans can be entered?

In terms beacons; whether PLB, EPIRB or ELT (aircraft) they are all 406 MHz beacons.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: gbc - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 08:12

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 08:12
Again, I am happy to be corrected, but globalsat uses low earth orbit satellites. The geostationary satellites over png/Singapore belong to Thuraya and Inmarsat. North of a line between Broome and Townsville spot/globalsat is shown to be 80% effective with connection times of up to 20 minutes.
If I wanted satellite comms in Australia off a commercial network it would be Iridium based - ie Garmin/Delorme in reach units which have almost seamless coverage.
For proper emergencies nothing competes with epirb/plb which, when activated constantly transmit to both sarsat and also emit a homing signal. An example of the importance of this was a farmer in Mackay recently was gored by one of his own stock. He hit the button on the plb and started driving towards hospital. The helo found his moving Ute and made the transfer on the highway with zero time lost.

Any communicator is infinitely better than none at all, but when it goes properly to custard the plb is what I want to rely on.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 08:39

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 08:39
lets start at the very beginning.

A PLB or EPERB running on the international search and rescue system is an entirely different thing .... electronically, legally and practically to any down market personal distress device.

1/ only a a PLB on the EPERB system will satisfy the requirements of a mandated locator beacon.

2/ and very important, the EPERB system has many satelites, and thus has far better and more secure coverage and far shorter signal response times.

3/ a PLB is built to a mandated international standard

4/ and very importantly, a PLB is just that a LOCATOR BEACON ..... once triggered, as well as transmitting distress signal information to the satelite system, it continuously transmits a homing signal on an internationally mandated frequency that all search and rescue services world wide can track, until the battery fails ... in the case of a pocket PLB, that is a minimum of 24 hours in the case of a full sized EPERB that is 48 hours

There is simply no comparison between a PLB or EPERB and any of the down market distress products.

This is why a GME PLB is around $350 and a spot device is about $180

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 09:11

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 09:11
Hi guys again

Just one point for everyone to think about.........

I carry both, but you must first have to activate a PLB to let the outside world you are in a life threatening situation.

With my SPOT, I send a link to friends and family before any extended trip, knowing that they can track my progress to within 5 minutes of real time travel, something that and PLB can not do in a non activated situation.

If for any reason my vehicle is stopped for any length of time, those that have my track details will know something is not right, and hopefully they can call for help, knowing my GPS location.

A good example of this would have been very helpful around 25 years ago when we were up in Birdsville. The Flying Doctor place came in around 2:30am. Next morning it was the talk of the caravan park when word was out. A guy rolled his Disco east of Birdsville and was trapped upside down for 15 hours before a passing vehicle called for help over the HF Radio. Even if this person had a PLB, he was unconscious and could not have activated it, but a SPOT would have shown family and friends that his vehicle had not moved in that time.

Like I said, I carry both and both compliment each other and both are very different, and I hope I never have to use either in a life threatening situation.



Cheers



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Follow Up By: gbc - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 09:41

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 09:41
For the sake of being perfectly accurate Bantam, where an emergency beacon is mandated, a PLB won't do. Only an EPIRB or ELT is acceptable. PLB's do not have the same battery life, and generally to not float upright - some like the GME's do not float at all. I believe very recently that a state government (Vic or NSW - can't remember) has acquiesced to the offshore fishing kayak community and has allowed PLB's to be used instead of an EPIRB in very specific circumstances and for very specific reasons, namely a PLB can be carried in a Life Jacket and deployed, whereas an epirb on a kayak will be inevitably carried inside the hull and deploying it would cause more danger by opening hatches at sea in an emergency situation.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 13:52

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 13:52
absolutely correct, where an EPERB is mandated, a PLB on the EPERB system is not adequate.

HOWever, because the PLB is on the EPERB system its performance and the response is guaranteed.

AS is its battery life ... a PLB is required to have a transmitting battery life in excess of 24 hours.

On land there is no mandatory requirement and the response times should be less than 24 hours ... even if the response times are longer than 24 hours ..... there is not the problem of drift that there would be at sea.


The fact remains ... the world wide regulated and performance guaranteed EPERB system is a whole lot more reliable than the retail personal trackers.

I know what I would trust my life to and what I would not


cheers
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 15:14

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 15:14
Again, what's your evidence?

GME states that the accuracy of their PLBs and EPIRBs is typically less than 100 m.

The worst I've seen in checking my Spot is 50 m. And I can check it; you can't with a PLB or EPIRB can you?

Location acquisition time is a matter of minutes.

Sometimes the unit will give a false positive on message sent. It should be left to run for 30 minutes to avoid that. Who needs to sweat on 24 hours of battery power?

BTW An EPIRB is a device similar to a PLB. It isn't a system.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 15:29

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 15:29
Gents

Can I propose you start a new thread on PLBs vs Spot and other devices if you are so inclined, in the same way I commenced this thread so as not to take another current thread on PLBs off-topic.

Hopefully that will preserve the integrity of this thread, which is about uploading trip data to the AMSA website, not on the merits of the various emergency devices on offer.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: gbc - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 15:33

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 15:33
Acquisition times for low earth orbit satellites such as what your system relies on depends on when the next satellite flies over and your latitude within our country.
GPS position fix accuracy is something else entirely and is largely a moot point since all receivers are passive and all receive the same information from the same satellites. Number of channels is largely standardised these days. Accuracy is based on statutory guarantees ie ‘sub 100 metres’ and has little or nothing to do with what is on the ground. Since selective availability was turned off by Bill Clinton Gps accuracy has been 20-50 metres at worst.
What proof exactly were you looking for? 24 hours with a Plb buys you a gps position fix broadcast every 50 seconds on 406mhz and a constant .25w broadcast on 121.5 MHz. Again 24 hrs is a statutory requirement and all units run for much longer. Spot units are better than nothing but not in the same league when you need immediate action. I am glad you think yours is great though. I would suggest you do your own research rather than rely on internet proof. This stuff is too important.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 17:47

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 17:47
What makes you assume thst the Spot performance figures I cited aren't my own?
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 18:25

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 18:25
Sigmund mate with the EPERB system its not a matter of evidence, it is a matter of mandated international requirement and guaranteed performance. ..... it is guaranteed ( with disclaimers) to be 100 meter accurate which is plenty accurate for search and rescue

With spot and the other devices it is a matter of manufacturer claims.

ANY device that works with the GPS system will have limited and varying performance, depending on the capability of the item and the amount of accuracy the military determine that the system will allow it the time.

Particularly in marine navigation, it is very very important to understand the limitations of the GPS system ..... there are many stories of people who have over estimated how accurate GPS navigation systems are ...... autopilot and civilian GPS ....WILL NOT keep you in narrow marine navigation channels.

It is known and documented that the civilian GPS system is intentionally accuracy limited and this varies from time to time and from location to location.

The military and commercial avaition systems have additional references that produce greater accuracy

cheers
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 07:15

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 07:15
Perhaps you could save some time Bantam - yours and mine - by actually reading other people's posts.

I'm still waiting to hear whether say SaR or a 4WD or bushwalking club has ruled that a SPOT can't be taken on a trip when a PLB is recommended. Yes, for maritime and aviation use an EPIRB is mandated, a regulation introduced before SPOTs were released and it is in any case critically different for good reason. Terrestrial use poses fewer demands.

My EVIDENCE, acquired by testing in the field, is that my SPOT's worst accuracy figure for a location fix is 50m out. You seem to have missed that post so maybe you'll get it the second time around.

Is 'typically <100m' (GME) good enough? Mostly yes but it's not a silver bullet. It wouldn't distinguish between sides of the Razorback (south of Feathertop) or the Crosscut Saw near Mac Springs (both areas of risk that get a lot of foot traffic). That's why a strobe is added to some devices and should be taken if yours doesn't have one.

BTW GPS selective differential was turned off years ago. What else have you missed?
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 07:45

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 07:45
Sigmund

Is it that important to get an answer?

Strewth mate, if you use a Spot and you are comfortable with it, that is all that matters. For what it is worth, I'm sure it is far better than nothing and that it will work adequately, but let's hope you are never in a situation where you have to put it to the test...

Rather than this volley of comments perhaps you can come back and answer my question about updating travel information to the Spot Tracking Page (I asked above), after all that is what this thread is about...



Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 08:41

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 08:41
There is an epirb vs spot thread (at least one, might be more) . . . it might be worth taking it there for anyone wishing to share their info / thoughts on this . . .

https://www.exploroz.com/forum/134071/eperb-vs-spot-tracker

My 2nd KTI PLB should arrive today, and I'll be straight onto registering it for both 4WD trips and bushwalking use.

A couple more PLB pointers . . . this applies for my KTI unit, it may differ for other PLBs . . .

The battery life is min 24hrs, suggest it would be longer real life.
The accuracy is 3m.
There is a high intensity LED strobe for locating at night, and probably less effective (but handy) for day time visibility.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 09:11

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 09:11
Baz, I told you it was answered in my first reply to your OP.

Not enough? I have repeated it in my last.

Volley of comments? You got that right. Bantam appears to think if you say something often enough it's true. But when it comes to life and limb more is required.
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Follow Up By: William P - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 11:27

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 11:27
For Christ's sake give it a miss - this is a PLB thread not s Spot thread.

As mentioned, if you are happy with SPOT then great but go and discuss it somewhere else - there are heaps of threads.

Tiresome
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 11:37

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 11:37
The OPer asked for that information.

He missed it the first time I posted it. As a courtesy to him and because he's a lifter here not a leaner I've repeated it.

If it's not of interest to you, you're not obliged to respond to it. If it's tiresome you've just made it more so. Good effort.
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 08:48

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 08:48
..
Wiki has a heap of info on not only the 406 epirb, plb arrangement, but also spot, inreach, and a host of others, very interesting reading and explains a lot that is in the above posts from members.
WIKI - PLB ERPIRB BEACONS

I was just checking around to see if the PLB 406 was also monitored by commercial aircraft too, always had it in my head that they also monitored them, or the old 243 frequency when it existed.

Apparently not as the 406 sats are almost perfect guaranteed coverage, and besides gleaning a bit more info about all those options in the link, I picked up this gem . . .

The longest period that all satellites can be out of line-of-sight of a beacon is about two hours.

PLB and EPIRB do also transmit on 121.5, which S&R aircraft (maybe what I recall from with aircraft thing) can use to close in on the signal (somehow combines with the 406) and find you very accurately on the ground.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 08:59

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 08:59
Hi Les

Regarding commercial aircraft monitoring of an emergency frequency.

This was/is 121.5 and I suspect many still do.

I carry a handheld VHF radio, which is legacy equipment from my flying days, as in an Emergency there is the potential and likelihood of communicating with aircraft if other options fail...

Cheers, Baz
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 10:04

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 10:04
Good to know re 121.5 Baz.
Even though 406 will get your signal within max 2 hrs or so, commercial planes should pass overhead reasonably often too, and I imagine the 121.5 would have a fairly decent range, so it may also get attention.

I'll keep my ears / eyes open though, and see if I can confirm for myself just how good planes can pick up 121.5 passing overhead or oblique to a PLB on land.

From what I read that is their main voice frequency, so it must come through as a beeping of some sort I would think.
S&R must have directional equipment to hone in when getting close.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 12:51

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 12:51
Hi Les

Yes, it came through as a beep on 121.5, if you have a handheld VHF radio you can make voice contact and range can be quite good.

I still carry charts that have frequencies on them...

There are aircraft crossing the Australian continent 24 hours a day, so it is an option in an emergency.

Cheers, Baz
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 14:06

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 14:06
the response times to EPERBs in or near populated areas is way better than 2 hours ...... that 2 hour maximum is over the whole face of the planet and extends to the poles and in the vast expanse of the southern ocean.

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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 11:50

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 11:50
Fer chissake Bantam, if you're going to postulate as an expert, at least learn how to spell it .....

Emergency Position-Indicating Radiobeacon Station ie: EPIRB.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 16:47

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 16:47
I don't claim to be an expert on EPERBs ....... and as far as spelling is concerned it makes absolutely no difference to the facts.

I don't need to be an expert on EPERBs ( I'll keep spelling it that way just to annoy you).
Everything I am posting should be common knoweledge to anybody with a marine radio licence or a power boat licence.

The thing several people fail to grasp, is the published figures for EPREBs are the internationally mandated performance ........ the actual performance and responce times in real situations in less remote areas will be far and away better.

EPERB EBERB EPREB RERFURB

CHEERS
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Reply By: 9900Eagle - Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 18:56

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 18:56
How does an informative thread become so mine is bigger than yours. I don't know how the system works regarding priorities, but I do know they come looking for you pretty quickly once they receive a mayday.

Any info helps them and that is what Baz has tried to convey.

THIS is from someone who was SAVED by the then Brisbane radio and then conveyed to Canberra for help deployment. That help arrived pretty quickly and I doubt things have changed many years on.

Thanks Baz
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Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Nov 30, 2017 at 06:50

Thursday, Nov 30, 2017 at 06:50
As someone who has SAVED LIVES and LOST LIVES conducting searches in cyclones for yachts (eg 4 days looking for the Rockin Robin at the Swaines Reef in the 90’s risking our lives for no result) with Brisbane/Townsville radio doing their best to cobble the search together, as someone who has sat at countless trade and boat shows explaining this very topic, as someone who worked for AMSA for years and trained yearly in solas, huet, shipboard safety and sar, I can confidently say my involvement in this thread has been about trying to educate people who clearly need it. Back in the day Brisbane radio could barely book a radphone call most of the time. Yes, things have changed, and yes my little plastic box is better when it is really really needed and I am about to die, and I will happily upset the lot of you if it saves ONE LIFE. I’m not saying dont buy a satellite communicator, I’m saying ask yourself the question about what you are buying it for. If it is to rely on to save your life, there are better options. Hence why some members have both.
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FollowupID: 886186

Reply By: Sigmund - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 07:25

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 07:25
@Baz:

Re adding trip intentions to SPOT ...

Under the SOS message in your account you can add some notes - health condition is suggested but anything can be added.
AnswerID: 615301

Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 11:35

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 11:35
I think a few things in the discussion about Spot, beacons and Globalstar need a bit of clarification.

It's an EPIRB, with an I before the R. Not an EP*E*RB

It's Globalstar, not Globalstat.

Globalstar is a constellation of low earth orbit satellites, not a single geostationary one.

Spot does not rely on Globalstar for position fixing, as implied somewhere in the thread. Spot is a GPS receiver, so has much the same positional accuracy as any other consumer GPS device. Therefore it can find itself whether or not it can talk to or "see" a Globalstar satellite.

Spot uses Globalstar's simplex data system to log its position with the Spot system. Globalstar's simplex coverage is far better than its duplex coverage, which is used for voice. Here is Globalstar's Australian duplex coverage. Because Spot uses Globalstar's simplex system, the known deficiencies of Globalstar's duplex coverage in Australia do not affect Spot's ability to report its position or to send an SOS.

A friend who used to work in AMSAR operations advised me that there is a formal agreement between Spot and AMSAR whereby an SOS originating in AMSAR's area of responsibility which is received by the Spot organisation will be handed off to AMSAR. It was not made clear to me what would happen if the SOS came from an expired or unpaid Spot account.

The two AA lithium batteries in my Gen 1 Spot tracker last about 3 weeks with the unit continually left on. During the day it is in tracking mode (10 minute intervals), at night it is idling after sending an OK message to my family - ie not switched off. The newer, smaller devices using AAA batteries might have a lesser endurance, I don't know.

Hope this helps

AnswerID: 615309

Follow Up By: Candace S. - Saturday, Dec 02, 2017 at 14:33

Saturday, Dec 02, 2017 at 14:33
This is the most spot-on response in the thread (no pun intended). ;)

A SPOT device is okay if you have reliable friends or family who will monitor it regularly for the length of your travels... This isn't always feasible in my case, and anyway I like the system that is monitored by professionals 24/7.

406 mhz PLBs and SPOTs each have their advantages. I'm thinking here about general on- land civilian use. When a 406 mhz device isn't somehow mandated.
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FollowupID: 886244

Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 17:08

Friday, Dec 01, 2017 at 17:08
.

I'm confused......

If a SPOT device is "the same as" or "as good as" a PLB, as some are claiming, then why are some people carrying both?

Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 615316

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Dec 05, 2017 at 15:01

Tuesday, Dec 05, 2017 at 15:01
.
Four days now without an answer. Is that because there is no answer??

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Dec 05, 2017 at 16:58

Tuesday, Dec 05, 2017 at 16:58
You're answering yourself now mate :)

My thoughts are in SOME ways Spot or inReach are better than PLB too Allan.
Depends what's important to the individual.

PLB is no doubt the best, most reliable emergency type device though, fastest to be noticed by authorities, and most reliable / accurate in all locations and conditions.

You could easily argue an Iridium network sat phone is as fast, and better person to person details etc, but when you compare cost of a plb ($25 a year) and lifespan (some 7 years, some 10 +) to sat phone, well that is the other personal thing people have to weight up on their needs.

All off topic here now, the other thread is going to get messy as it's hard to compare all the benefits of each of the 4 (most efficient) types of outback emergency comms, because they are all individual in their little ways.
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FollowupID: 886326

Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 05, 2017 at 20:55

Tuesday, Dec 05, 2017 at 20:55
Allan, I carry both because they provide different functions.

I carry a PLB for obvious reasons. It is the most reliable means of sending an SOS to SAR authorities and has guaranteed response.

I carry a SPOT primarily so I can regularly reassure my less adventurous, stay-at-home family who for some reason still love me and want me alive that I am ok. They and the grandkids like to see where I am, so the tracking facility does that.

SPOT's SOS function, for all its flaws, is a little bonus.

And I have a satphone because neither the SPOT nor the PLB provide two-way real-time comms.

Cheers
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FollowupID: 886333

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