Time for a new PLB

boobook

Well-Known Member
Well my trusty ol KTi PLB is nearly at its end of life so time to get a new one. KTI doesn't look like it will ever come back and there are none on the market that have 10 year battery life so time to look for a new one and see what's new.

The options are the GME 610G which is an update on the 410G with faster GPS search time and more satellites, ACR REsQlink 400, 410, 425 etc. and the Ocean Signal Rescueme PLB1

Most range from $350 up, unless on special. The ACR 400 is usually about $320 but is much larger and only has 5 year of battery life instead of 7.

The GME tracks 72 GPS satellites and it was looking like GME for me- until I found 4 new interesting features of PLB's

1)The Ocean Rescue and ACR both support MEOSAR, GME does not. MEOSAR allows the signal to be detected in less than 10 minutes, not up to 10 hours. That could be a big life saver - literally. Also, the old LEO SAR system is being phased out - see AMSA bulletin below.
2) A one-way 'I'm ok' spot like service. Only in the US right now and about $100 AUD per year. If you use that it sends location emails or text to 5 people. It's not available in Australia and may never be. But may interest some people.
3)There is a new service called Return Link Service. Emergency signal received confirmation which is free. This works on the ACR 410 425 only ( also it,means signal was received but not that a response on the way)
4)ACR and Ocean Rescue both support Galilleo and GPS. GME apparently doesn't.

So for me, it is clear. The Ocean Rescue is the right choice for my new PLB. Note, that the Ocean rescue may not be the best for Ocean use. I did not look into that.

I hope this helps others looking for a PLB.

 
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Aza013

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the info :)
I’m running with the GME unit, but If I did not have one this would have been a good help.
 

Triton14

Well-Known Member
Not one solution will fit all.

I think I got in on the last of the KTI's & have about 8 more years till I have to go through this issue again.

From what I understand they were bought out by a Norwegian company - Jotron AS & then this company decided to discontinue one of the most popular & effective PLB's you can buy here & replace with their own offerings which is nothing like the KTI.

Makes no sense to me, how ridiculous :oops:

Anyway I know its a subscription based product but Id be looking at a Garmin InReach as an all round GPS & PLB solution combined.

Otherwise yeh GME for stand alone unit.

But its one of those thing that has been widely discussed on here.

PLB vs Sat phone vs messaging GPS devices.
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
I needed a new PLB, previously had the KTI which are no longer available so bought the Ocean unit to replace it
 

Lost1?

Well-Known Member
After using a zoleo on my last trip the future comes will be sat phone. Most likely iridium. Perhaps backed up by a PLB for absolute emergencies.

I found the zoleo ineffective when needing to communicate with others that did not have mobile reception. Hence time for a change.
 

GPS Guru

Active Member
I carry a Satphone and Rescueme PLB. I have both in case I am injurEd as a PLB is a lot easier to use.
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
I carry a Satphone and Rescueme PLB. I have both in case I am injurEd as a PLB is a lot easier to use.
Our Iridium satphone has a big red panic button - just as easy as a PLB to use. And it enables emergency services to talk to me if I'm conscious.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Our Iridium satphone has a big red panic button - just as easy as a PLB to use. And it enables emergency services to talk to me if I'm conscious.
It is a quandary. Press the button on the PLB and it gives your location - even if while you move, and directs the rescuers to you conscious or not, has a guaranteed run time and doesn’t need a subscription. Sat phones are great but if death is in play the PLB is what I’m reaching for first, then the sat phone If i can.
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
It is a quandary. Press the button on the PLB and it gives your location - even if while you move, and directs the rescuers to you conscious or not, has a guaranteed run time and doesn’t need a subscription. Sat phones are great but if death is in play the PLB is what I’m reaching for first, then the sat phone If i can.
Not really a quandary. The Iridium also gives accurate GPS location when the red button is pushed and will update that position if you move.
Like mobile phones, the Iridium must send the emergency call, even if your subscription isn't current.

Death options - that's where the satphone leaves the PLB in the dust - because no PLB will enable you to talk to emergency services and get advice for emergency treatment, or ability to move to a helicopter pick-up point, or whatever. The sat phone also will enable you to tell emergency services exactly what you need, so they can mobilise the right response immediately. With a PLB the response goes something like this:
1) You push the button - and some time later (possibly up to four hours) the AMSA centre receives the call
2) They notify the nearest emergency response centre (typically Police)
3) The Police look outside, decide it's too dark to launch the plane, so wait another eight hours until dawn
4) The plane eventually lifts off, gets to your location, circles around and the observer radios back to base - there appears to be a person in distress but they appear unresponsive, better send a ground team (or a helicopter if you're close enough to one)
5) So, some 8 to 14 hours after you activate your beacon the ground team gets sent

With a sat phone, you call the Police directly, tell them what's wrong and they dispatch a ground team (if it's dark outside) or a helicopter immediately.

Plus, if you are unconscious the emergency services can call you and the ring tone can guide them to you if you're out of sight - something your PLB won't do.

As for guaranteed run time - the battery on the sat phone is good for hours of talk time and days on standby.
 

GPS Guru

Active Member
The Iridium 9575 that you have is my preferred phone. You have mentioned some valid points. It will send a message out to GEOS in Texas (as long as you are registered with them) and they will coordinate from there. However, the phone has to be able to see a satellite (as does a PLB) and in some instances, you may not be able to communicate on it. The satellite constellation that is used by PLBs is solely dedicated to rescue whereas Iridium is for communication with SAR being secondary. A PLB also transmits on 121.5 which is monitored by aircraft so rescue could be quicker. Also, in the event of an injury, a PLB is a lot easier to use than a sat phone. As good as the 9575 is, I always carry a PLB that can be used in conjunction with the sat phone, which I also carry.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Not really a quandary. The Iridium also gives accurate GPS location when the red button is pushed and will update that position if you move.
Like mobile phones, the Iridium must send the emergency call, even if your subscription isn't current.

Death options - that's where the satphone leaves the PLB in the dust - because no PLB will enable you to talk to emergency services and get advice for emergency treatment, or ability to move to a helicopter pick-up point, or whatever. The sat phone also will enable you to tell emergency services exactly what you need, so they can mobilise the right response immediately. With a PLB the response goes something like this:
1) You push the button - and some time later (possibly up to four hours) the AMSA centre receives the call
2) They notify the nearest emergency response centre (typically Police)
3) The Police look outside, decide it's too dark to launch the plane, so wait another eight hours until dawn
4) The plane eventually lifts off, gets to your location, circles around and the observer radios back to base - there appears to be a person in distress but they appear unresponsive, better send a ground team (or a helicopter if you're close enough to one)
5) So, some 8 to 14 hours after you activate your beacon the ground team gets sent

With a sat phone, you call the Police directly, tell them what's wrong and they dispatch a ground team (if it's dark outside) or a helicopter immediately.

Plus, if you are unconscious the emergency services can call you and the ring tone can guide them to you if you're out of sight - something your PLB won't do.

As for guaranteed run time - the battery on the sat phone is good for hours of talk time and days on standby.
These theoreticals could continue ad naeseum as they always have and will. I am ex AMSA, I know how they work. When shit hits the fan I want a PLB/EPIRB activated every time. Sat phones are brilliant also, no question - they compliment each other.

And for people who like facts over theoretical:

In 2019/20, AMSA received 390 activations throughout Australia.

Average time to get an asset on site was 94 minutes for daylight activations and 123 minutes for night activations over that period.

Targets are 150 minutes daytime and 180 minutes nighttime.
 

LongRoad2Go

Well-Known Member
These theoreticals could continue ad naeseum as they always have and will. I am ex AMSA, I know how they work. When shit hits the fan I want a PLB/EPIRB activated every time. Sat phones are brilliant also, no question - they compliment each other.

And for people who like facts over theoretical:

In 2019/20, AMSA received 390 activations throughout Australia.

Average time to get an asset on site was 94 minutes for daylight activations and 123 minutes for night activations over that period.

Targets are 150 minutes daytime and 180 minutes nighttime.
Yep, agreed. I was in land based S&R for about 25 years back before GPS, and then when it was open to non-military users. Helicopters were the first call, restricted only by weather, not daylight hours (if they had FLIR). So, usually, we were called out when weather and other conditions were crap, given map grids to search, a radio, and carrying remote First Aid and gear/food for three days.

Talking with someone is nice, but generally irrelevant – the critical thing is to find the person, treat them accordingly, and plan for extraction based on prevailing conditions.

So, the first go-to is always the PLB/EPIRB then, if available, a phone: emergencies are time-critical, talking just wastes it and is a distraction. Also, it was not always obvious to people that the more open the sky above means an enhanced signal and ‘triangulation’ accuracy = more satellites. For example, canyon rescues are notoriously difficult, made worse if people don’t have the wherewithal to find an open area – hence the basic rule to have a minimum of three people in any party.
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
I don't know why people discuss the relative merits of Sat phones vs PLB's

To me it's very simple, to pay $350, the same as a tank of fuel these days, you can get a life-saving device that you can set off with no basic knowledge and no risk of flat batteries, antenna orientation ( or breaking) and coverage (eg in a rollover). I have mine accessible to everyone in the car in case of a rollover strapped to the headrest upright pole.

Sat phones and HF compliment the PLB in non-emergency situations, or to give more detail but nothing will get the authority's immediate and undivided attention like an Australian-based EPIRB call. They're audited on it.

If you can't afford one, you can't afford to go 4wding IMHO. 14c a day to own.
 
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cookie64

4x4 Earth Contributer
I don't know why people discuss the relative merits of Sat phones vs PLB's

To me it's very simple, to pay $350, the same as a tank of fuel these days, you can get a life-saving device that you can set off with no basic knowledge and no risk of flat batteries, antenna orientation ( or breaking) and coverage (eg in a rollover). I have mine accessible to everyone in the car in case of a rollover strapped to the headrest upright pole.

Sat phones and HF compliment the PLB in non-emergency situations, or to give more detail but nothing will get the authority's immediate and undivided attention like an Australian-based EPIRB call. They're audited on it.

If you can't afford one, you can't afford to go 4wding IMHO. 14c a day to own.
It's simple for me, I just take my EPIRB out of the boat, register my trip with AMSA and put it in the 4wd - did it on my last trip, so have an EPIRB, Sat Phone, & VKS737, overkill maybe, but I'd rather be looking at it and using it, than wishing I had it.

Tried calling Wiluna Police station on my last Canning trip and had to leave a message as they were out on a call, glad it was only to replace my Stubby Holder and not life & death.

Each device has it's merits, when a friend in another 4wd broke his springs there were a load of Sat Phones brought out but who to call to get springs, a quick call to VKS had several numbers to call and Newman ARB / Toyota had a set of springs shipped overnight from Perth using the Sat Phone.

Cheers
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
As @boobook said, for less than the price of a tank of gas why wouldn’t you just carry both

I carry a satphone as well but if I am in a life threatening situation I don’t want to be dicking around locating a satellite and then making a call
Just flip the lid on the PLB and press the button and follow up with a phone call if you are able too
 

Krumpy

Member
I don't know why people discuss the relative merits of Sat phones vs PLB's

To me it's very simple, to pay $350, the same as a tank of fuel these days, you can get a life-saving device that you can set off with no basic knowledge and no risk of flat batteries, antenna orientation ( or breaking) and coverage (eg in a rollover). I have mine accessible to everyone in the car in case of a rollover strapped to the headrest upright pole.

Sat phones and HF compliment the PLB in non-emergency situations, or to give more detail but nothing will get the authority's immediate and undivided attention like an Australian-based EPIRB call. They're audited on it.

If you can't afford one, you can't afford to go 4wding IMHO. 14c a day to own.
I was about to ask someone to talk me into it when I already have a sat phone. Done and done Ty
 
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