Price Paid: $279
As a pilot and sailor I've used EPIRBs for many, many years. Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) were introduced into the United States not too long ago and I immediately purchased an ACR Sarlink. Now ACR has introduced the ResQLink PLB and this is a backpacker's dream. It's about the size of a flip model cell phone at 1.3" x 1.9" x 3.9" and it weighs a scant 4.6 ounces.
Due to space limitations let me just say that the beacon transmits to high and low satellites whose sole purpose is search and rescue. It also transmits continually on 121.5 to act as a homing beacon for rescuers. It transmits at 5 watts of power and blasts through trees, storms, etc. The rescuers then know who you are, where your are, and that you are in trouble.
When you open the box the first thing your are required to do is register your beacon with NOAA. Its a simple, easy process than can be completed online in about ten minutes or less and it is at no cost to you. This registration must be renewed every two years.
ACR has recently added its 406link.com service which allows you to test and confirm your beacon via cell phone and email up to 420 times over the five year life of the battery. This costs $39.95 per year. For $59.95 per year you can have your tests transmitted to as many as five recipients and add a precanned message such as "I'm OK, on course." Great for that person back home monitoring your "hiking plan." Both plans are completely optional - if you push the button, rescue is still coming whether or not you are a subscriber.
So, bottom line. A PLB is your last best chance. Do you want to trust your life to a "messenger" that transmits at 400 miliwatts or a PLB that transmits at 5 watts?
My experience with this PLB is a bit limited but I did just send and receive a signal from inside my garage! I've never, not once, had a transmitted signal not go through using ACR PLB's. I never go on any hike without my PLB (it's my 11th essential!) and that just got easier with this new lightweight, compact model!
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Here's what other sites are saying:
The ResQLink(TM) Personal Locator Beacon weighs less than a couple of energy bars and could someday save your life. It uses satellite technology to notify search and rescue of your location in an emergency.This ultra compact emergency beacon weights only 4.6 ounces.With 5 watts of power, the ResQLink Persona Locator Beacon is more likely than other locator devices to reach a satellite in bad weather.Class 2 (non-hazmat) lithium batteries have a shelf life of 5 years. Operation life 24 hours. These batteries should be replaced after use in emergency situations.A satellite test feature lets you confirm that the ResQLink is working properly before you need to activate it.The 66-channel GPS receiver acquires satellites faster when activated than many similar devices.An automatic strobe flashes while the device is activated to help rescue personnel see your location.Three levels of integrated signal technology improve the likelihood that your distress signal will be received.Submersible up to 5m for 1 hour.DOES NOT FLOAT.
The compact ACR Electronics ResQLink 406 personal locator beacon is ideal for anglers, pilots and backcountry travelers. It relays your position to a global network of Search and Rescue satellites. Powerful 406 MHz satellite signal and 121.5 MHz local homing signal help reduce search times and maximize your chances of survival in an emergency. ResQLink broadcasts a unique registered distress signal that tells rescuers where and who you are. 66-channel GPS fixes your location to within 100m; a satellite signal alerts Search and Rescue personnel and a local homing signal guides rescuers to your exact location. In addition to the local homing signal, a super bright LED strobe light helps rescuers find you quickly. Light and small, the ACR Electronics ResQLink 406 personal locator beacon is carried easily in a pack or pocket. Fully functional self-test of the circuitry, battery power and 406 MHz transmission gives you peace of mind knowing your beacon will work when you need it. GPS acquisition test mode allows you to test the GPS functionality up to 12 times over the life of the battery. Once activated, the ACR Electronics ResQLink 406 personal locator beacon will continue to transmit for up to 30 hrs. in typical conditions. Waterproof at 16 ft. for up to an hour and 33 ft. for up to 10 minutes.
Once upon a time, suffering a broken femur during a solo backcountry trek meant that you were a goner, but thanks to the ACR ResQlink 406 Personal Locator Beacon, that no longer has to be the case. This high-powered emergency locator and GPS integrates three levels of signal technology so that you can always send out a distress signal to SAR teams regardless of your location on the planet.
At 4.6 oz, the ResQLink and weigh less than a couple of PowerBars(R). Plus, it's smaller than the cell phone in your pocket. The ResQLink and are full-powered, GPS-enabled rescue beacons designed for boaters, anglers, pilots and backcountry sportsmen. With three levels of integrated signal technology--GPS positioning, a powerful 406 MHz signal, and 121.5 MHz homing capability-- the ResQLink and quickly and accurately relay your position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites. A built-in strobe light provides visibility during night rescues. Dimensions: 1.3" x 1.9" x 3.9" Wt: 4.6 oz.
- Mountains Plus