PLB discussion (locator beacons)


(Chris Lynch) #1

Copy/paste from FB:

Real talk- PLB’s… I just bid on and won an ACR SARlink beacon for $25. It’s prob got an expired battery, but that is $125-$160 to fix, better than $300 (new price).
Anybody here carry a PLB? And I’m not talking SPOT or InReach, but a real deal 406mhz unit. I had an InReach long enough to do some reading, get buyers remorse and sell it. Never again.

For those that don’t know the difference… SPOT and INREACH are glorified satphones, without the calling capability. You pay it the ass in monthly fees ($10-$50 a month!) for an already pricey device. You are limited in what you can send/receive. And with those, if you need help, you will likely be paying for that too, as they don’t utilise the global search and rescue network but often private firms.

The Arc devices have no registration fees, no monthly subscription, and generally you won’t have to pay for being rescued… Plus they use three different methods to triangulate/communicate your position to SAR personnel, which is better that the one the others above use.

If you actually have to USE an Arc device, they will replace it free of charge.


(Chris Lynch) #2

Going rate for batt replacement seems to be $125.

I found this though-

I can grab four batteries from Interstate for $5/ea… and do it myself. If I had an interstate here in town I would do it for sure, but I dont know about driving an hour to get some batteries (can’t order online)… The stores aren’t anywhere that I normally go either.


(Gressak) #3

I would like to here more and how things work out on battery replacement.

I personally would be on the fence about changing the batteries myself. Between the battery life and the potential waterproofing breach if any …I could be easily convinced into shelling out the dough for a the company to do the work.

Sounds like a pyramid scheme for these batteries to not be rechargeable…hahahahaha…what is this 1980?

I am curious, these things claim a 24-30hr signal life. Is that typically enough? What are the statistics for triggered plbs and rescues?

found this article helpful.

One of my buddies I surfcast with carries and epirb when he fishes solo.

I have considered buying one as occasionally I do fish alone. We wetsuit in the ocean and often swim out to rocks. There is always risk of getting knocked into current and swept out to sea. In place of an epirb, I just tend to be much more conservative in my perches…but that is not to say an accident cannot happen. I have had friends trapped in the surfline with rising tides. Heard stories of guys waist deep in bogs…sinking and unable to get out. I have done plenty of stupid stuff backbacking solo, that on reflection could have ended badly without any way to call for help.

Even recently hiking around in the berkshires with my family and 7 year old. No phone signal…hiking ins some gnarly terrain. In this day and age…not being connected really messes with your mind. The what ifs sort of creep in.


(Mike Kotowski) #4

I have an inreach, but its primary purpose is the ability to send and receive texts with my wife when I’m away from cell coverage. Can you communicate with a PLB, or is it only a “use once as a last resort” device?


(Chris Lynch) #5

These PLB are for life and limb emergencies only.
HOWEVER, you can register with I think www.406link.com and it can send a location (no status) when you do a self test, but those use valuable battery life.
That registration is only $29-$59/yr though, much cheaper than the inreach and spot plans.

Where I go, I don’t feel like I need this, but it is piece of mind.


(Mike Kotowski) #6

Yeah, the ability to send/receive texts is well worth the extra cost of the InReach for me. That’s the main reason I have it, not for the emergency aspects (although that’s a bonus for sure).