View Full Version : Personal Locator Beacons

Bill O
12-19-2006, 02:35 PM
This is a bit of a spin-off from the Mount Hood thread.

Does anybody own or thought about buying a PLB? It was only in the past few years that the government has approved them for land use and the size has been greatly reduced. ACR PLB (http://www.acrterrafix.com/)

In general, I have nothing against them. In a grave emergency it is probably the most reliable and effective tool for rescue. They certainly are for more than just mountaineers. The saga of the Kim family would have been a non-issue if they had a PLB. Then again if every city dwelling family had a PLB there would be other serious problems.

The biggest risk is a sense of false security a PLB might bring many people, and of course the possibility of unnecessary use. Many people might be reluctant to activate the PLB as many grave situations do not always present themselves as such. I'm sure the climbers on Mount Hood never thought of their situation as grave. Certainly one heck of an epic, but not grave.

Another problem I see is that most likely you will never get to use the device. Obviously good, but probably a little boring. With a cell phone you can always make calls to friends and family in the backcountry. And with an avalanche beacon you can always practice/train with the devices. Even after several years you can fire off your expired flares on the 4th of July. The most action your PLB is ever going to see is a self-test and a battery change.

Just some food for thought.

12-19-2006, 02:42 PM
Never gave PLB's a second thought. Not after I had heard some years ago that you can be located by your cell-phone.

rockin rex
12-19-2006, 02:56 PM
Remember a cell phone can track you where ever you go. Sometimes that is good sometimes that is bad. I don't have a cell phone for that reason and don't plan on getting one. : ) I like to stay hidden from the wife.

12-19-2006, 08:41 PM
i do SAR work and i think it would be better to have that device then a cellphone . cellphone service is not in all areas and cellphones do not last long ,where this device can work for a long time .

if i did this type of hiking it would pay for its self if they used it just this one time .

we has a search where there was some one that went into the woods to far and it got dark ,he had no flash light and got off the trail.
his phone had no services but he was a HAM radio operador and had a radio.
we used a triangulation with some home made devices to pick up his single when he keyed up .it tool us 4 hr once we got set up, that took 3 hr after the first call out .this was far away for some of us .

he was lucky

12-20-2006, 08:39 AM
what would wifred thesiger say? just check the last few lines of eric newby's book "a short walk in the hindu kush."

if'n ya don't know who wilfred thesiger is, ya should!:) :D :) :D

12-24-2006, 08:05 PM
Wilfred Thesiger:

He reserved the word "abomination" for cars and aeroplanes, and all his life resented the intrusion of any innovation post-dating the steam engine.

Don't really think he approve the use of a beacon? But he did write some good books.....then again, he thought some pretty bad things about America: "The long-term effect of US culture as it spreads to every nook and cranny in every desert and every mountain valley will be the end of mankind. " Nice guy.....I would have used a different individual?

Maybe some kind of rental units could be made available at "Check-in stations"....of course some sort of "security deposit" would need to be left to guarantee the return of a fairly expensive item. Of course, there would be limitations of how many units would be available, but with time and the rentals returning some funds....more could be bought. If nothing else, carrying one as a "piece of mind" would help a lot of novice hiking people. But that could be a negative....encouraging "wreckless abandon in bad conditions"......

Scott (now I'm confused-good or bad?) B

01-06-2007, 01:30 PM
Hi I would not depend on any technoligy for any rescue. Bring a Whistle and any basic tech you have and then bring a PLD .Maybe I am dumb for answering this post ! Probably. Self reliance is your first answer I would think, then depend on tech.
Happy Holiday's All ;)