Last Updated on May 1, 2022 by Markeyus Franks
Preparedness can spell out the difference between a good or a bad day and sometimes, between living or dying. That being said, we all carry with us some items that we never know when we might need. You never know when the mall’s restroom will run out of toilet paper or when your car might need that spare tire.
There are things we simply bring just in case. However, a Personal Locator Beacon is another item one should have, especially if you frequent fly over uncharted terrain; or visit remote areas. Understandably, there are some of us out there who have never heard of this before. This blog will talk about what personal locator beacons are, when you might need them, and the best options to choose from today.
WHAT IS A PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON?
Personal locator beacons are compact, portable beacons that transmit an emergency distress signal to the most accessible rescue operators nearby. PLBs are life-saving tools that can be utilized in an emergency if everything else fails. As a matter of fact, they should only be used on the verge of a life-threatening emergency or impending risk.
Suppose you were Jack or Rose aboard the Titanic when the fateful shipwreck happened. A PLB is something you wish you have had with you. It’s similar to the Emergency Locator Transmitters, or ELTs equipped on planes, except those things go off on their own in the event of a crash. The PLB is like your own ELT. Hence, it’s personalized. So how exactly does this device work?
PLBs will emit signals on globally pre-determined frequencies in the case of an emergency. In the United States, the transmitted 406MHz signal is monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC). The same surveillance is carried out by global satellites in other areas, such as international waters.
Each PLB is assigned a unique identifying number, or UIN, which is a 15-character code consisting of digits and letters. This unique identifier is saved in a database. When you use the beacon, it sends an electromagnetic burst to a satellite, which gives rescuers your specific position. The UIN also provides them with your name, address, and other relevant data, such as unique medical problems. This type of information will be very helpful for rescuers to know beforehand.
Owning a PLB, therefore, entails a pertinent responsibility to register it with the proper authorities who will integrate all essential information about you with the device’s UIN. This can offer you a sense of security that rescuers will know exactly who you are and your particular needs. With this rather impressive invention, we can say humanity has come quite a long way.
WHEN DO YOU NEED A PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON?
The answer to this seems rather obvious at this point. You might be thinking that there is minimal demand for these products, especially in today’s interconnected tech-obsessed world. However, research shows that more and more people are waking up to the dangers of today’s gadget dependence, and many are choosing to occasionally “disconnect” to appreciate nature. Again, a PLB is something you need just in case because, as we said, you can never be too careful.
Besides, as progressive as we have been with our everyday gadgets, there are still places and instances where these devices might be rendered useless. There are still places out there where a 911 distress call might be impossible to make. A PLB can come in handy when going on a camping trip, engaging in a hike, or going on a cruise ship. Remember Jack and Rose?
Now that you’re acquainted with Personal Locator Beacons, and you have a solid idea as to when you might need one, let’s find out which Personal locator beacon is the best to buy.
WHICH PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON IS THE BEST TO BUY?
So maybe now, you’re thinking you need to purchase one of these PLBs for your next adventure. You wouldn’t be wrong, as you want the best chance of survival when the unspeakable does occur. That being said, it could be very intimidating and overwhelming to comb through the endless array of product offerings available out there to choose the right one. Lucky for you, we put together five of the most promising models of PLBs so you won’t have to.
1. The ACR ResQLink 400 – SOS Personal Locator Beacon with GPS
ACR claims to have improved the new ResQLink 400 PLB using first-hand input from individuals who tried using the PLB in legitimate emergency situations. ACR is pleased with the product’s new user-friendly design upgrades, which bring expanded capabilities to give a reliable and inexpensive connection to rescuers in the event of an emergency. The new Personal Locator Beacons, which are made in the United States, are said to have the familiar excellent strength and operating dependability that ACR devices are known for.
This item has the advantage of operating on all three Cospas-Sarsat satellite systems, ensuring a seemingly instant signal identification and transfer. Anybody triggering a ResQLink PLB on the next-gen network may assume to be located within 100 meters approximately 95% of the time and in only 5 minutes from the time of the distress signal. For quicker locating and higher reliability, the new ResQLink series includes a multi-constellation detector and the GPS Satellite network. The ResQLink line doesn’t come with any subscription requirement, but you must register it with the national government of your country.
2. The RESCUEME PLB1 Personal Locator Beacon (USA Programmed)
The rescueME PLB 1 is compatible with the globe’s one and only official specialized rescue satellite network. There is no cost to utilize this service because it is financed by governments. This gadget also employs a homing signal that emits on 121.5MHz and is received by equipment connected to both marine and aerial rescue vessels to aid in search and rescue. It also includes an embedded strobe light for enhanced exposure for the user in dire situations.
The rescueME PLB 1 also has an easy-to-use activation system. Even in the most difficult circumstances, it can be used with just one hand. Many crises might make us unable to use both hands. Thus this is an important feature to have. It also incorporates a simple spring-loaded flap that serves as a lid for the trigger button to avoid accidental usage. The rescueME PLB1 is equipped with an innovative cradle fastening mechanism that can be quickly attached to your lifejacket, waist, or backpack, taking up minimum space and providing easy access when you need it most.
3. The McMurdo FAST FIND 220 Personal Locator Beacon
The McMurdo FAST FIND 220 PLB is likely to provide you with the greatest bang for your buck. Like most models out there, this device has both 406 and 121.5MHz transmission frequencies for faster rescue response time.
It’s relatively easy to operate, making it an ideal choice for the elderly or those with impairments. It also doesn’t require the user any kind of subscription. The device’s high-bright LED SOS light mechanism stands out since it provides maximum visibility in the event of a crisis. It also has an above-average battery life, making it a great value-for-money proposition.
4. The Ocean Signal rescueME MOB1
As the name suggests, this model will probably serve you best in the unfortunate event that you get stuck at sea. This item has a battery life of more than 24 hours. It interacts with the boat from which you were separated as well as other compatible vessels in the area. It also carries a range of up to 5 miles depending on circumstances.
The vessels’ Digital Selective Calling signal can also be activated by the MOB1, notifying your personnel of the issue. It also includes a built-in strobe light for optimal illumination in low-light situations. While at first glance, it doesn’t appear to be as compact and as portable as the others we mentioned. The MOB1 is meant to be inserted into the lifejacket, and it will be triggered immediately upon the jacket’s inflation, issuing the first alarm within 15 seconds. It seems relatively larger than most other PLBs, but it appears to have an ergonomic design, nevertheless. It’s also popular with delighted consumers because it’s simple to set up and use.
5. The Artex PLB
The ARTEX gives you the peace of mind that emergency responders can be notified, and rescue may be expedited at the push of a button. It’s similar to other models reviewed in that it can be used with one hand and is simple to use. It also features a cover, which helps to prevent unnecessary triggers.
The ARTEX PLB is equipped with a one-of-a-kind fastening clip as well as a flotation bag, which allows the PLB to be securely secured to its pouch with the included lanyard, allowing it to float in the event you’re stuck at sea.