|GPS Enabled PLB
Before this trip I had many opportunities to think about PLB's and
ELT's. Recently my thoughts were spurred to life again after once
again being reminded that 121.5Mhz
and 243Mhz ELT's will be unmonitored by Satellite in Feb 2009.
My previous position on ELT's was to install a 121.5Mhz unit for the
time being because manufacturers were not doing a good job bringing
their prices down. While I'm not disappointed with what I
installed, I also am all too aware of what could happen in a crash
situation with kids in the mountains, and how a long delay would not be
fun at all. With that in mind, I actually am quite pleased with this
purchase I made the week before the trip. Keep in mind that this
is NOT the cheapest PLB available, but it is the smallest and lightest
that I could find in this category, and I shopped it long and hard and
finally found it for $100 less than anywhere else on http://www.life-raft.com.
This gives a huge benefit over an ELT, in that IF we survive a crash,
this unit is portable and can be taken along on a hike by survivors to
civilization. Your 121.5Mhz ELT will give a HUGE search radius,
while this unit is GPS enabled internally, and it will send your
personal code and GPS position to a Satellite which will give them your
precise location...and considering you must manually activate it, when
the search party arrives, they'll be expecting to find survivors, which
will mean they'll working hard to get to you. If you're dead, a
pinpoint accuracy ELT isn't going to do much for you...but if just one
person survives, this item will help a lot, and at 1/2 the price of
buying a new ELT. Personally, I'd still like a new 406Mhz GPS
enabled ELT, but I will now definitely wait for the prices to come down
on those...and I can take this boating, camping, and hiking too.
Before the trip we spent some time with the kids showing them exactly
how to operate it, and told them that if we ever go down, after any
fire is over, this is what they are to find and do first.