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Emergency location devices


PadWC2
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What devices are there in the market which can be very simply activated to summon help in an emergency.

OK. I hike alone with my GPSmap 60CSx. I can't get lost, but I can get hurt and in places where cell phones don't operate....no bars.

 

Goggling brought me no where but 300,000 bit of nonsense.

 

What's out there.

 

Thanks,

 

Ron

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What devices are there in the market which can be very simply activated to summon help in an emergency.

OK. I hike alone with my GPSmap 60CSx. I can't get lost, but I can get hurt and in places where cell phones don't operate....no bars.

 

Goggling brought me no where but 300,000 bit of nonsense.

 

What's out there.

 

Thanks,

 

Ron

 

SPOT

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What devices are there in the market which can be very simply activated to summon help in an emergency.

OK. I hike alone with my GPSmap 60CSx. I can't get lost, but I can get hurt and in places where cell phones don't operate....no bars.

 

Goggling brought me no where but 300,000 bit of nonsense.

 

What's out there.

 

Thanks,

 

Ron

 

SPOT

 

A satellite transceiver that allows family and friends to keep track of your position via internet mapping programs, assuming you transmit occasionally.

Also transmits an emergency signal for search/rescue. Again, assuming you (can) push the transmit button.

I believe there is a subscription fee for the service.

 

Don't hit the wrong button. The Coast Guard and other rescue services charge mightily for responding to false rescue requests. :):(

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What devices are there in the market which can be very simply activated to summon help in an emergency.

OK. I hike alone with my GPSmap 60CSx. I can't get lost, but I can get hurt and in places where cell phones don't operate....no bars.

 

Goggling brought me no where but 300,000 bit of nonsense.

 

What's out there.

 

Thanks,

 

Ron

 

SPOT

 

A satellite transceiver that allows family and friends to keep track of your position via internet mapping programs, assuming you transmit occasionally.

Also transmits an emergency signal for search/rescue. Again, assuming you (can) push the transmit button.

I believe there is a subscription fee for the service.

 

Don't hit the wrong button. The Coast Guard and other rescue services charge mightily for responding to false rescue requests. :):)

 

Again the spot ou can find info here www.findmespot.com, I have one and have not used it yet but it gives me peace of mind. You can use it to let you friends follow your travels on a web site, not just for emergencies. If you buy one make sure you sign up for the insurance, It is about $8 a year and if you need to call for help everything is paid for, helicopters manpower everything. hope this helps.

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If you're really in the boonies and actually feel you need a personal location device, why not stop at an REI or other outfitter and rent one ? Most larger one's do.

 

You still have the protection you feel is needed, but no subscription fee.

Just grab one when you're "really out there", out of cell range.

And by renting, you'll receive an upgraded unit.

 

If your needs change, you're not stuck with another gizmo you have no need of.

Or, you may find it's worth the bucks and purchase one at a later date.

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The U.S. Army issues one of these PLB's to every soldier in Afghanistan.

 

PLB 1

 

PLB 2

 

The links are to show you the PLB I am talking about and not an endorsement to who is selling it.

 

You are given strict orders not to activate unless you are separated from your unit and have no other means of contacting them. But if you ever feel you are separated or lost turn it on, they will come and get you.

 

I just got back on 04 NOV 09 and will buy one and throw it in my cache bag as I usually cache alone in remote areas of Louisiana. My wife has gotten on to me a few times in the past when I did not come home on time and she could not get me on my cell phone as cell phone coverage in this part of Louisiana sucks.

 

The SPOT is garbage and riles on cell phone towers or something that is not reliable and has a hevty subscription fee, if you Google reviews on it you will see it is a rip off.

 

The PLB the Army issued me: Utilizes a powerful 406 MHz signal to relay your distress call to orbiting SAR satellites. As local Search and Rescue is deployed, a separate homing signal and integrated LED strobe light guide rescuers to your location.

 

Go with a PLB and don't even consider the SPOT.

 

The PLB will pay for it self in peace of mind as it will work when the chips are down, and not have a subscription fee.

 

edit for broken links and added a few things.

Edited by AirborneSurveyor
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Incorrect about the SPOT. It is a satellite-based system However, it does have a subscription, but there are different levels to that subscription.

 

Just don't be like these folks:

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2749684/Se...e-annoys-police

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=49010

 

There is also a 2nd generation device which is supposed to resolve many of the issues people had with the 1st gen device.

 

Personally, I don't carry anything but a cell phone. It doesn't work in many areas near me, but I'm confident in my outdoor skills to be able to at least get somewhere that I can find a signal.

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What devices are there in the market which can be very simply activated to summon help in an emergency....

 

Matches build fires which can signal your location. They are small, lightweight, cheap and the signal fire can help keep you warm while you are waiting for rescue.

 

And a signal fire looks different than a campfire...how? Search and rescue won't be looking for you (or your signal fire) unless they know you are missing, and have some clue where you are.

 

A written plan left with family or friends before you go is essential. Wandering off without telling anyone ahead of time is asking for it. Batteries in cell phones and ELT's poop out.

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I always carry an aviation hand held radio on deep woods hikes. In an emergency, with it, you can talk to any airplane that flies over your position. Before hiking in an unfamiliar area, you can stop at the nearest airport and talk to a local flight instructer to find out what frequencies are in use in that area. You would also be able to talk directly to any search and rescue aircraft on the emergency frequency of 121.5. A new handheld is less expensive than the personal ELT's and with about 1/2 hour instructions from your local flight instructer you would have all the training needed for any emergency.

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I always carry an aviation hand held radio on deep woods hikes. In an emergency, with it, you can talk to any airplane that flies over your position. Before hiking in an unfamiliar area, you can stop at the nearest airport and talk to a local flight instructer to find out what frequencies are in use in that area. You would also be able to talk directly to any search and rescue aircraft on the emergency frequency of 121.5. A new handheld is less expensive than the personal ELT's and with about 1/2 hour instructions from your local flight instructer you would have all the training needed for any emergency.

 

Check out the attached link:

 

http://www.angelfire.com/wi/scanner/generalaviation.html

 

The ones to check out are the "unicom" and "multicom" frequencies.

 

122.7 and 123.0 are common Unicom frequencies used by pilots to communicate with airports. Just about every airport has some unicom radio. Usually, the unicom freq is used for getting local weather and runway conditions, but you may hear a pilot make a request for coffee or a meal, or even a courtesy car to a local hotel. Pilots will also use unicom like multicom for communicating their flight intentions.

 

122.8 is what is referred to as multicom -- it is used by pilots to communicate their intentions while flying in and out of an airport. Since multicom is common, the pilots will id who they are talking to. For instance, you might hear something like, "Tango Traffic, Cessna Five-Six-Sierra entering downwind runway one-eight, Tango Traffic". In this case a Cessna 172 (reg no. N56S) is letting everyone flying in our out of Tango Airport know they are entering the landing pattern on the downwind leg to runway 18 -- they will land going south on the north-south runway. Note that the pilot identifies that he is talking to the traffic at Tango Airport. November Airport, four miles away, may very well use the same multicom freq and have a similar 18-36 runway.

 

122.9 is the multicom that FS search and rescue will be on. Good to know.

 

123.45 is an informal multicom that pilots sometimes use to shoot the breeze. If you are flying cross-country, and don't need to be dialed into a specific ATC freq, it is sort of like the old CB channel 19. In flight school, we used it on solo cross-country flights to keep tabs on each other.

 

121.5 is the emergency channel, of course. The ELT on most aircraft will transmit on this frequency (aircraft ELT's can be switched on manually. A crash will also automatically turn on the ELT. Be aware that the FAA sets aside a day and time each month to check ELT's -- if you want to check to see if your ELT works, that's when to do it. Don't forget to turn the ELT off, or you will have some angry folks to deall with.

 

The long and short is that noneof these freqs will help you if the plane overhead is not on the same channel. Aviation radios don't scan -- they are only tuned to the one station at a time. Another thing -- aircraft radios are notoriously bad. It isn't the radio's fault, a plane just has a lot of vibration and electrical interference. Finally, the pilot is in a very busy and noisy environment. Speak loud and clear, and be patient. Finally, don't screw around on those frequencies. Clicking the send key will frustrate plots making their calls, and might even mess with the runway lights (clicking the multicom freqs will change the runway light intensity at many airports, no joke).

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Several years ago, I checked what devices are best in case of emergency. At that time I knew only about satellite phones. Later I learned about PLB's, and SPOT-type devices have been invented recently. Now I think that each device is best suited for a different kind of emergency.

 

SPOTs are good for "Status: green" situations. You hike through the backcountry, and your family at home can see where you are. In case you are running late, they can check if you are on route and in motion.

SPOTs have two additional buttons, non-critical emergency (status: yellow) and critical emergency (status: red), but the other devices are better suited for those jobs.

 

Satellite phones are good for "Status: yellow" situations. When you have a non-critical emergency, you can contact anyone you think can help you, and get a cheap help (get some information, or get them to come and pick you up). SPOTs will rely a prerecorded message to your family, but no details about what's wrong. Satellite phones can be used for "status: green" situations (but calling home every few hours has a high cost), or for "status:red" situations, but less efficiently than with a PLB.

 

PLB's are designed for "status: red" (critical emergency) situations. You can be located even if only a satellite is visible from your location (for example you fell in a canyon and broke your legs). SPOTs need 3-4 satellites to get a bearing (same as a GPSr), and satellite phones need to "see" the satellite long enough to make a call and convey the message. When you desperately need helicopter rescue, a PLB is the best device to have.

PLB's have only one button (critical emergency), you cannot use them for the other two situations.

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From Bettles AK to fairbanks my son was flying his Super Cub on floats and I was flying our Piper Archer. before we took off he said we will maintain radio contact on 123.45. I said just a minute i want to write that down. He smiled and said "you can't remember - one, two, three point four five. shows how the mind doesn't work at times. Sorry for being off subject. Dick, W7WT

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Ham Radio!

 

No monthly subscription needed and it has plenty of fun non-emergency uses. Also, there will always be hams -- unlike personal locater services, a ham radio does not rely on a particular company staying in business in order to be useful. Any ham radio can talk to any other ham radio (and, in an emergency situation, many non-ham radios as well).

 

That said, I often cache with just my 7yo, and as long as someone always knows roughly where you are going and when to expect you back, your signaling method need not be high tech. A good mirror and a piercing emergency whistle, or a smoky emergency fire are more than enough for someone to find you if they are already looking!

 

The most important thing is to have the right gear to survive until help arrives, and the right skills to use it (especially first-aid items) to the fullest advantage.

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A satellite transceiver that allows family and friends to keep track of your position via internet mapping programs, assuming you transmit occasionally.

Also transmits an emergency signal for search/rescue. Again, assuming you (can) push the transmit button.

I believe there is a subscription fee for the service.

 

Don't hit the wrong button. The Coast Guard and other rescue services charge mightily for responding to false rescue requests. :huh::)

 

When I was in the CG there was a huge charge for reporting a fake distress call. They have cost per unit, per person, gas, food, electricity charge, ECT...

but when an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon) went off by accedent there was no charge but a very very stern sugestion that you learned how to use your equipment.

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From Bettles AK to fairbanks my son was flying his Super Cub on floats and I was flying our Piper Archer. before we took off he said we will maintain radio contact on 123.45. I said just a minute i want to write that down. He smiled and said "you can't remember - one, two, three point four five. shows how the mind doesn't work at times. Sorry for being off subject. Dick, W7WT

 

I hope you grounded him!

*grins*

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Personally, I just carry my GPS, a cell phone, a REAL first aid kit (none of that band-aid crap), and an IR strobe for when the you-know-what really hits the fan since 99% of the time pilots will be using NVG's.

 

A strobe is an excellent bit of kit to carry, fairly light and highly effective in increasing you chances of being spotted (read - surviving).

 

it the proverbial hits the fan, it's all about time.

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