walkhighlands

Add reviews of outdoor gear and equipment here... or simply chat about gear and ask for recommendations

PLB - The perennial discussion.

Re: PLB - The perennial discussion.

Postby Sack the Juggler » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:57 pm

Never really thought about this before. My wife and a few friends all have each other linked on the iphone find my friends app, which we use when we are out running or walking (so the support can find us in a race or training circuit).

I've seen friends with gps trackers for their dogs, can these be used as spot locators? They are quite small and easily placed on a dog collar so they are not big units, and they seem fairly cheap.

Is there something similar for humans? :D
Sack the Juggler
Ambler
 
Posts: 378
Joined: Aug 8, 2018

Re: PLB - The perennial discussion.

Postby petelynn » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:50 pm

I bought an ACR ResQlink+ about 2 years ago and registered it. Have never used it (other than regular tests to check its OK) and hope not to. I don't walk that often in Scotland but tend to go for remote areas and alone when I do. Multi day hikes in the Cairngorms and on the east side of South Uist being the most recent. Neither area had a usable mobile signal for several days.

In addition to the near guarantee of getting a distress signal out if you're capable of releasing the antenna and pressing the button I feel that it provides advantages to the rescue services with an accurate location, 24 hour homing beacon and information (via the registration system) on the person using it. It potentially reduces the risk of a protracted search to a vague location. Although mobile phones are great, like many multipurpose tools, they don't do the job as well as something designed for the specific task. In my case I decided the cost and weight penalty were justified.
petelynn
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 43
Munros:8   Corbetts:9
Grahams:5   
Sub 2000:10   Hewitts:32
Wainwrights:11   
Joined: Jun 23, 2012
Location: Wells-next-the-Sea

Re: PLB - The perennial discussion.

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:37 pm

davekeiller wrote:If walking in the UK, how much do they add compared to a mobile phone (fully charged and turned off to save battery)? If you dial 999 then they can triangulate your position, and they've also developed a system called SARLOC which mountain rescue teams all use - this sends a text message to your phone which interrogates the GPS and sends a message back to the MR team with your co-ordinates to speed up their search.
A personal locator beacon feels like a lot of money for an extra safety net that will probably never be used given that you'd need to be conscious and in an area with no mobile signal on any network and unable to reach a spot with signal. Taking a whistle and telling someone where you're going and when you'll be back seem to be more cost effective solutions to the problem.


A few years ago I had a serious accident (windsurfing, not mountaineering!!!) as a consequence of which I was over 6 weeks in hospital. This experience made me realise that the folk that suffer when someone has an accident or serious mishap are the victim's nearest and dearest, rather than the victim him/herself - if you're fairly well knocked about, you're pretty well out of it in practice.

I do a lot of walking, including scrambling, in quite remote spots, so I got a PLB to give my family greater peace of mind, and for me the £200 has been worth every penny for that reason alone.

As regards reliability, my understanding is that you effectively always have a signal, since they rely on satellite, not terrestrial technology. Certainly my sailing friends say they are highly effective for sailing (for which I believe they were originally conceived), and the rescue folk apparently respond very quickly indeed to any distress call. But for the type I have, you do need to be conscious to activate it.
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2694
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:205
Wainwrights:78   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: PLB - The perennial discussion.

Postby davekeiller » Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:54 pm

Ultimately, it's a cost/benefit analysis.
You have to use your judgement to determine whether the additional safety net of a PLB outweighs the financial costs and additional weight. For some people, the benefit outweighs the cost, and a PLB is a sensible investment. For others, that's not the case and it seems a perfectly reasonable choice not to carry one.
For me, PLB's are in that grey area of equipment that's useful in certain situations but not so indispensable that I feel it's always essential.
davekeiller
 
Posts: 307
Munros:145   Corbetts:17
Grahams:4   Donalds:3
Hewitts:19
Wainwrights:20   
Joined: Oct 25, 2013

Re: PLB - The perennial discussion.

Postby boriselbrus » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:32 pm

The dog tracker units rely on GPS for location, then a 3g phone signal to transmit that location to an app on your phone. So for the purposes of calling for help, no better than a mobile phone, and in most cases worse, as you can text 999 for help (if you have your phone registered with the service). The 999 text will use any available network (not just the one you are registered to) and will work with just a sporadic 2g signal.

Most places where I walk in the Highlands there is no phone signal so a PLB makes sense. But as said above everyone has to make their own decision. I haven't got one yet despite a lot of solo walking but I think one may well be bought soon.
boriselbrus
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 26
Munros:227   Corbetts:5
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:44
Wainwrights:59   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 6, 2014

Re: PLB - The perennial discussion.

Postby WesterRossWanderer » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:00 pm

davekeiller wrote:Ultimately, it's a cost/benefit analysis.
You have to use your judgement to determine whether the additional safety net of a PLB outweighs the financial costs and additional weight. For some people, the benefit outweighs the cost, and a PLB is a sensible investment. For others, that's not the case and it seems a perfectly reasonable choice not to carry one.
For me, PLB's are in that grey area of equipment that's useful in certain situations but not so indispensable that I feel it's always essential.


Thank you all for your contributions - I think "davekeiller" sums up the discussion pretty well given the wide range of attitudes.

As a final note to this post: I have just received an email today from The Beacon Team, Falmouth CGOC stating that the lead in time to completed registration is currently 12 weeks+ due to unprecedented demand - it must have been a popular present!
They go on to reassure me that if I have to use my PLB before then it is still held in a searchable database and, regardless of personal details, any activation would be treated as an emergency.

Enjoy life and be as safe as you can be.
WesterRossWanderer
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 28, 2018

Re: PLB - The perennial discussion.

Postby EBowman » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:19 pm

The thing that tipped the balance for me to decide to buy a PLB was an incident in which a person drowned near where I routinely walk. The part of the coastline does not have mobile phone reception. Imagine the frustration of coming across somebody who needs help, knowing there is a relatively inexpensive gizmo that could bring the calvary, but that you decided not to get one in order to save a few £'s.
User avatar
EBowman
Walker
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 3, 2012

Previous



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Gear and Equipment talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests
cron