PLBs

Submitted: Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 20:52
ThreadID: 32901 Views:2757 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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Hi All,
I am considering buying a PLB/EPIRB, and would interested in hearing your views on what might be the best unit for the 4WD fraternity. Presumably, it must be a 406MHz unit. Given that it may actually save ones life, dollar value is not all that important. Would appreciate your comments.
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Reply By: Mike Harding - Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 21:05

Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 21:05
I assume PLB stands for Personal Location Beacon?

It ain't!

It's an Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon.

I make this distinction not for semantic reasons but because these devices should not be triggered unless the is an identifiable threat to life - so if you're in many areas of (say) Victoria and your vehicle battery is dead you don't trigger your EPIRB - you put on your comfortable shoes and walk out to a phone. otoh if you're in the depths of WA with a flat battery it may well be appropriate to trigger an EPIRB.

An EPIRB is a last ditch device - if cost is not an issue go HF radio or Sat Phone and keep an EPIRB for last ditch situations.

At this point I would still go for the 121.5MHz devices.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 167065

Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 04:35

Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 04:35
Pick up a second hand Satphone - I bought my Motorola 9500 off ebay for under a grand and there's one there at the moment which started at $300.

Get your Telstra SIM card for your digital mobile enabled for international roaming and use it in an Iridium Satphone. That way you don't need a $30 a month account - which the ba$tards at Telstra want to lock you into a 24 month contract on even if you already own your phone.

You pay a little more to make calls and you pay to receive calls but if it's for emergency use only it's still far more cost effective.

Then you can use it for breakdown, not so emergency contact (eg. We've had a breakdown, we'll be a day late - don't send the search parties in) or for a true emergency.

A call to an emergency service with a set of GPS coords and an exact description of the problem will get you help something like 15-20hours (at least) faster than an EPIRB which will initiate someone looking for you in a 20km square area.

Dave
AnswerID: 167089

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:26

Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:26
If you only plan to use your Iridium phone for EMERGENCY calls then you don't need any SIM card - just dial 112. You will be connected to an Australian 000 operator.

Mike
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Reply By: Member - JEFF - Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 11:51

Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 11:51
G,Day Geocache

I'm just about to purchase a Satphone 9505 at the horrible price of $1995. and the bit I hated most of all was the fact that I had to have a monthly account with Telstra with the phone in use for maybe only 4 months of the year. Thanks for the tip on the sim card which I already have set for International roaming. Are you sure it really works ok that way?? I'm not really doudting you, I'm just surprised it can be that simple and no account how good is that! ! ! !

Regards

Jeff
AnswerID: 167121

Follow Up By: Geoff M (Newcastle, NSW) - Sunday, Apr 16, 2006 at 14:15

Sunday, Apr 16, 2006 at 14:15
Yep, it truly is that simple.

Geoff.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:29

Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:29
"I'm just surprised it can be that simple"
- I suspect it is only available to make it easy for Telstra's remote-area customers.

Mike
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Apr 16, 2006 at 13:46

Sunday, Apr 16, 2006 at 13:46
Hi Troopie,

Mate, I agree that the 406MHz EPIRBS are still not readily available for a decent price, or in a size that you can carry around with you.

In my opinion you cannot go past the two devices from ATI and available through the ExplorOz Shop.

I have the model without the strobe, but if you want the extra safety feature, of visual attraction at night, pay the little extra for the Strobe model. They are extremely compact and come with a carry case that you can attach to your belt, or hang around your neck, if you wish.

These units will still be supported for a couple of years yet and as I understand, you will be able to get a rebate of some kind, when you eventually "trade up" to the 406MHz models when they become more compact and affordable.

KTI EPIRBS

Bill


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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Apr 16, 2006 at 13:50

Sunday, Apr 16, 2006 at 13:50
KTI Model with Strobe

Bill


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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:31

Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:31
Don't let the name mislead you ! The "strobe" in the KTI EPIRBs is only LED's - not as bright as a gas discharge tube liek in a flasgun.

Mike
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Reply By: Member - Drew T (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 18:44

Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 18:44
TurboTroopy. I'm also looking for an EPIRB for a forthcoming trip on the Canning. I already have a satphone but want an EPIRB as a backup in case the satphone isn't working for some reason

What did you find out re the 406 MHz & 121/243 Mhz units? What were the best prices you got for both? I'd prefer a 406 since it won't be outdated in a few years ... but at approx double the price they're expensive!!
AnswerID: 168132

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:34

Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:34
Bias Boating seem to have the cheapest 121.5 MHz EPIRB

Mike
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Follow Up By: TurboTroopie - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 21:22

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 21:22
Drew T,
I found the following at various places on the net.

1. Fastfind Plus (by Pains Wessex): $1995. 406 Mhz unit, with 121 Mhz homing signal and internal GPS to allow position fix to 150 m. Provides signal to authorities within 90 min. Hand sized.

2. Findfast (by Pains Wessex): $1399. As above but without the GPS, allowing position fix to 5 km Hand sized.

3. Aquafix 406 GPS I/O PLB ( by RFD): $899 (from Witworths). Roughly as per Item 1.

4. Aquafix 406 GPS I PLB (by RFD): $699 Roughly as Item 2, but able to connect GPS to unit to allow transmission of co-ords.

5. GME MT401 (by GME): $959 (from Macquarie). Roughly as per Item 2, but weighs about 1.1 kg and twice as big in each dimension.

6. A number of 121 Mhz units from KTi and GME for about $300. Roughly hand sized, position to 20 km, may take several hours for signal to be received by authorities.

John Ross.
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Follow Up By: Member - Drew T (VIC) - Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 10:36

Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 10:36
Ended up buying one on monday. A GME MT400 (406Mhz) from Whitworths Marine for $549. You can also get them from Prestige communications website @ $535 + postage. Couldn't find them any cheaper

Spent the extra money for a 406Mhz unit because:
- you register it with AusSAR & hence if EPIRB is activated they know who owns it & can contact/liaise with your nominated contacts before launching a rescue operation
- the 406Mhz beacons can geolocate you to within 5km rather than 20km with the analogue 121.5/243 beacons
- 6yr battery storage life
- the 121.5/243 satellite detection system will be turned off in 2009
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