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Emergency Locator Beacons to be available for hikers/outdoor enthusiasts


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Excellent topic. It reminded me of an article that Backpacker magazine featured about a year ago. A minister took some time off to hike in the wildnerness mountains but became entrapped when a boulder slid, pinning his leg. AFter many agonizing days, he died of dehydration and exposure only a few days before he was discovered. Timely help could have saved his life.


The beacon will become basic outdoors survival gear for backpackers and hikers .


"When you find it, its always in the last place you look."

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Once we get E911 equipped cell phones as the norm it won't be as useful, except in areas where there is no cell reception (which actually is a fair amount of the territory where geocachers & hikers go)


Among the top selling cell phones only one is 911 equipped, and even then your area must provide the right coverage. So for now it's a good thing. an expensive thing, but a good thing...


Someone commented on USA being behind the curve. I won't go off-topic too much except to say that A) they're right and :) Americans think they're the kings of the world but they're not. If I say one more word I'll really be off topic so I'll shut up now.







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I'll reserve judgement about it being a good thing once we see how many false alarms are triggered. I once belonged to the Civil Air Patrol as a pilot. Our mission was to track down crash locator beacons. 99%+ of them were on airports from planes making a hard landing and the pilot unaware that the ELT was activated. These aviation ELT's were silent. I hope the civilian version has some audible indication that it is tripped, otherwise it could cause huge problems for the search and rescue teams, not to mention the time and expense. Further, I hope some registration is needed to purchase one and that the ELT has some digital signature to it. Any false alarm, unintentional or not, could cause a real emergency to get a delayed response. I'll bite my tongue on the off topic trash.


Steve Bukosky N9BGH

Waukesha Wisconsin

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Certainly 121.5/243mHz Epirb's have there share of problems with false alerts and it's probably more than 99% icon_eek.gif but then there's also the 12 oddd thousand people that can directly attrib their existence to the system 121.5 or not.


But at least fixing this false alert issue is in progress and hopefully 406's will/might/could solve "most" of the probelm (if registered). Registration is one of the strong points with 406's if it's made a condition when purchasing.


Cheers, Kerry.


I never get lost icon_smile.gif everybody keeps telling me where to go icon_wink.gif

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although I doubt that the majority of false trips will be without knowledge of the owner. I see a slightly different scenario, people calling out S&R because they're cold, they twisted an ankle, are just *too tired* to hike back, or a million other non-emergent situations that use up valuable resources best left for true emergencies.


I'm not completely against safety nets and can see where this technology could occasionally save lives. I can also see it being abused, especially by those that really shouldn't be doing backcountry trekking but feel they can because help is just a button-push away.


GeoMedic - team leader of GeoStars

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Well it seems that for once Australia is way ahead of the Americans. We can buy or hire Epirbs at most camping shops and have been able to for quite a while.

If you intend to go hiking in our Snowy Mountains and get lost and you don't have an emergency beacon you get fined. The National Parks and Wildlife service hire them out and also have a log book for you to log your intended path.

I haven't heard of any false alarms to date so I take it that either there hasn't been any or they are too few to mention.

They are also not cheap so it is the serious hiker that owns one and they aren't the ones to cry wolf.

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