Replacing my PLB

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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby Warin » Sat 04 Aug, 2018 3:49 pm

wayno wrote:when SAR get close to you they still need to have the beacon going to pinpoint you effectively, they switch to another frequency coming from teh beacon that they can pick up on antennas that are often installed on the helicopters and carried by SAR


121.5 MHz .. fitted to and monitored by commercial aircraft too, the commercial aircraft cannot do direction finding but they can monitor signal strength - when the signal strength peaks they are closest to you and would normally report it. This same frequency was used by the older PLB/EPIRBs too .. and it has not changed with the 406 - it too transmission on 121.5 and on 406.

I'd think if the transmitter failed after a day the rescue people would still be keen to get to you, so just stay put and leave the PLB/EPIRB on. If you 'drift' then they are going to have problems finding you after the PLB/EPIRB stops transmitting.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby emma_melbourne » Fri 07 Dec, 2018 2:49 pm

Thank you all for the update.

It appears that the ResQ Link PLB is usually $299, and the Garmin InReach Mini is $439.12 (cheapest I could find), so the difference in price is only $40.
(Link: https://www.zylax.com.au/garmin-inreach ... 79-00.html? )

I realize there's subscription fee and monthly fee etc, also for using the Garmin InReach Mini.

Aside from the price difference, the Garmin InReach Mini is 30 grams lighter than the ResQ Link PLB. (At 100 grams versus 130 grams)

Then the added functionality of messaging, checking in with family, being able to communicate my location etc.

So I am leaning towards the Garmin InReach Mini.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby Lizzy » Fri 07 Dec, 2018 4:31 pm

emma_melbourne wrote:Thank you all for the update.

It appears that the ResQ Link PLB is usually $299, and the Garmin InReach Mini is $439.12 (cheapest I could find), so the difference in price is only $40.
(Link: https://www.zylax.com.au/garmin-inreach ... 79-00.html? )

I realize there's subscription fee and monthly fee etc, also for using the Garmin InReach Mini.

Aside from the price difference, the Garmin InReach Mini is 30 grams lighter than the ResQ Link PLB. (At 100 grams versus 130 grams)

Then the added functionality of messaging, checking in with family, being able to communicate my location etc.

So I am leaning towards the Garmin InReach Mini.


Hmmm looks like $140 difference not $40
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby Grabeach » Mon 12 Aug, 2019 9:22 pm

I was cleaning out a cupboard today and pulled out my day pack. Thought it would be empty but turned out to contain my Fast Find 211 with an expires Aug. 2016 sticker. This wasn't much of an issue as I basically haven't walked for three plus years (knee), but having recently planned some exploratory mountain biking I thought I'd follow up on the registration. Went onto the AMSA web site and re-rego'd it till Aug. 2021. Only after having done this did I notice from the web site (wasn't noted on the last rego details document) that the battery had an expiry date as well. When I was walking every month or two, I'd simply check the night before that there were the maximum three bars when I pressed the test button.

Thinking about the above raised a few questions:-
1. If I had been walking and actuated the device, what would have happened? All my old contact details would still be correct and obviously the device would have sent a signal, but then what?
2. What does the battery expired date mean, both technically and regulation wise?
3. What does three lights mean? The card with the unit seems to suggest this means it's fully charged. In which case, shouldn't this override what is possibly an arbitrary expiry date?
Any thoughts?
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby wayno » Tue 13 Aug, 2019 3:49 am

expire is a date the manufacturer cant guarantee the battery will keep working past.
there should also be a function to test the satellite connection, but that uses more of the battery.
if you've got three lights you have full charge then it should still work. they don't expire your ability to use the beacon.
because its needed for potentially life and death emergencies, they put a conservative life on the battery life expectancy... there's no point saying it might work for ten years, Might work isnt good enough for the circumstances you could use it for, they are saying it will work for seven years, or however many it is guaranteed for, we cant guarantee its reliability after that. battery life gets affected by the cold, they have to take into account how much cold weather it might have to survive... some people won't get much more than the guaranteed amount of time out of the battery, others might get a lot more...
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby davidmorr » Sun 03 Nov, 2019 10:46 am

After a number of incidents recently where a PLB was used or may have been needed, I need to get one. Got a few questions:

1. Are the three mentioned by the OP still the ones for bushwalking?

2. Which GPS satellite system do they use or doesn't it matter?

3. Should the battery be replaced if the unit has been set off?

4. They all seem to come with a pouch of some kind. I am guessing the quoted weights are without the pouch or other accessories. What are the weights as you would use the device, ie, with pouch. It seems there is not a big difference in device weights initially, but the pouches could well change that.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby wayno » Sun 03 Nov, 2019 10:58 am

1 yes
2 cospas satellites specific to PLBs and EPIRBs
3 you usually have about 24 hours battery life once its set off assuming the battery is still in good condition... if you have it on for very long then you will need to replace the battery, some devices you can test to see how much batter life there is. i dont know if any of those devices tell you what the battery life is, they all have a useby date , between 7 and ten years from date of purchase.
the advantage of two way sat devices is the batteries are rechargeable... so you can reuse it, but you have to pay subscription fees but get the benefit of two way comms
Last edited by wayno on Sun 03 Nov, 2019 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby davidmorr » Sun 03 Nov, 2019 11:02 am

wayno wrote:2 cospas satellites specific to PLBs and EPIRBs


So these provide the GPS location as well as receiving the signal from the device?
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby wayno » Sun 03 Nov, 2019 11:06 am

they only provide a GPS location to the rescue services, not to the PLB device
they receive the signal from the PLB's
two way sat devices use different satellite systems
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby davidmorr » Sun 03 Nov, 2019 11:59 am

wayno wrote:they only provide a GPS location to the rescue services, not to the PLB device

Going back to my original question, does the PLB use the GPS system only, or other systems like GLONASS, and does it matter which it uses?

Cospars appears to be basically just a transfer mechanism between the PLB and the LUT, with some location ability for PLB's without built-in GPS units.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby wayno » Sun 03 Nov, 2019 1:43 pm

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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby Warin » Sun 03 Nov, 2019 3:50 pm

davidmorr wrote:
wayno wrote:they only provide a GPS location to the rescue services, not to the PLB device

Going back to my original question, does the PLB use the GPS system only, or other systems like GLONASS, and does it matter which it uses?


The PLB you buy should say what it uses .. if it does use anything itself for location. All the ones I see say GPS, no mention of anything else. I think you'd pay a little more for adding other location systems, not much but more. Note this will be the PLB itself, nothing to do with the rescue system as that works with a PLB that has no GPS.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby peregrinator » Sat 10 Jul, 2021 5:48 pm

The original post from Tortoise mentioned three well-known models, Ocean Signal RescueMe, KTI Safety Alert, and ACR ResQlink. KTI ceased operating several months ago. That leaves two contenders.

So I have two questions. (1) Are there now any other serious contenders? (2) Of the two models mentioned, is one deserving of greater recommendation than the other?

Note that I do not want two-way communication.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby davidmorr » Sat 10 Jul, 2021 7:16 pm

From a conversation with the fellow winding up KTI, the intellectual property was sold to a Norwegian company and a similar product should be on the market in about twelve months. However, my suspicion is that it will be more expensive as that was part of the reason KTI closed down.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby Warin » Sat 10 Jul, 2021 8:38 pm

wayno wrote:https://cospas-sarsat.int/en/system-overview/detailed-cospas-sarsat-system-description


It is unfortunate that the above link does not mention the 121.5 MHz signal that PLBs also put out. The 121.5 MHz signal is not used by the satellite system but for ground and air searchers who can use that under good conditions to locate the PLB. Yes the 406 models still put out this signal, at a reduced power level but still there. Why? Because of the existence of many 121.% MHz systems in existence... in all commercial aircraft for instance.

I'd still get the GPS model, does significantly reduce the search area. As for having other GPS type systems .. not worried by that .. would reduce the error and increase acquisition time, but the response time will be enough to cover the acquisition time and the search party should be able to cover the location error.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby davidmorr » Sat 10 Jul, 2021 8:50 pm

davidmorr wrote:After a number of incidents recently where a PLB was used or may have been needed, I need to get one.

Just as well I did. I needed to use it in early June and had a helicopter ride to hospital.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby icefest » Mon 12 Jul, 2021 2:29 pm

Paddy pallin will also price match (with shipping etc).
https://www.paddypallin.com.au/price-match

They stock the PLB1, and that way you can have the best of both worlds!
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby Nuts » Mon 12 Jul, 2021 5:47 pm

I wouldn't give PLB-1 another turn. The distributor was no help with battery replacement. You may have more luck depending on the backup you get from your particular retailer (if you do).

Had an incident in which the people borrowing the PLB-1 set it off. They were adamant that they had done so and had followed the instructions. Another walker called ES on a satphone. The rescue took place. The unit still tested ok but I contacted the distributor to have a battery replacement.. they said it had never been deployed..

Then, when it came to the expiry date the distributor insisted I go through the retailer, who had, in those years, stopped retailing.

So I pulled the PLB apart, there's pics back here somewhere. I'm not sure how other manufacturers achieve their IP rating but the little PLB-1 didn't appear to have any O ring seal and relies on close tolerances. The metal backing plate clearly has some oxidisation happening. Let's hope it was trapped humidity , out-gassing of some adhesive (anything other than not waterproof). It lived in a waterproof bag.

Anyhow, repeatable issues or not, that was enough. Other manufacturers to try.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 12 Jul, 2021 5:50 pm

Was in an identical position a few weeks ago in need of a new unit.

Searched widely on any KTI unit that might still be floating around but failed. Ended up still going with the Ocean Signal’s PLB1 on basis of smaller size and lighter weight. Found it for $299 on eBay through TentWorld and probably the best available price at the time. Locked in for a further 7 years.

Good luck!


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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby peregrinator » Mon 12 Jul, 2021 6:40 pm

Thanks for the various replies. GPSGuided, given what Nuts has written, did you get an explanation of the procedure for battery replacement?

I see Tentworld has $319 as the current price, but is unable to service online sales as the unit is out of stock. In which case, Pallin will not price-match.
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Re: Replacing my PLB

Postby Dexter » Tue 27 Jul, 2021 5:13 pm

Nuts wrote:I wouldn't give PLB-1 another turn. The distributor was no help with battery replacement. You may have more luck depending on the backup you get from your particular retailer (if you do).

Had an incident in which the people borrowing the PLB-1 set it off. They were adamant that they had done so and had followed the instructions. Another walker called ES on a satphone. The rescue took place. The unit still tested ok but I contacted the distributor to have a battery replacement.. they said it had never been deployed..

Then, when it came to the expiry date the distributor insisted I go through the retailer, who had, in those years, stopped retailing.

So I pulled the PLB apart, there's pics back here somewhere. I'm not sure how other manufacturers achieve their IP rating but the little PLB-1 didn't appear to have any O ring seal and relies on close tolerances. The metal backing plate clearly has some oxidisation happening. Let's hope it was trapped humidity , out-gassing of some adhesive (anything other than not waterproof). It lived in a waterproof bag.

Anyhow, repeatable issues or not, that was enough. Other manufacturers to try.


Just reading through this thread now, as I've been borrowing a PLB-1, and figured it's about time I bought my own. I would have thought the test functions would let you know if it's working or not?
What was your decision on a replacement? At the end of the day, for something like this in an emergency, I want to know it's going to work even if it's a few more grams.

I just don't think I walk often enough to justify something like an InReach subscription. Though, does it work as reliably as a plain old PLB if you don't have a current paid subscription active?
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