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Runtoeat

PLB Comparisons - Are there any?

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A lot of articles I've seen are old enough to have badly out-dated data.  Are you just looking at "PLB", or the whole category.  There seem to only be a couple of viable PLB companies, with ACR/Artex being the main provider.

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Hi Tim.  I'm looking for individual PLB comparison.  I note that many forum members use the SPOT PLB and this seems to work well.  My friend has a ACR PLB and I don't think he pays any yearly amount for this but it also doesn't display one's route like the SPOT, which is a nice feature and something I might pay yearly subscription to have. Just trying to narrow down pros/cons on units before I buy one.

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That review is lacking.  The InReach and SPOT reviewed were not the current products.  PLBs and SEND devices are really totally different devices with totally different missions with a tiny overlap, in that they both can be used to alert authorities that you need help.   If you want a device that is used solely and only to summon help, get a PLB.  If you want something for tracking, or messaging, that can also summon help (possibly not as reliably), get a SEND device.  At this point, the InReach SE is a better SEND device, because it uses the Iridium network, and it has two-way messaging.  But it also costs more and the subscription is more.

 

The SEND devices are becoming more sophisticated.  One weakness has been the informal way requests for help are handled.  That is being addressed with the SEND standards that were recently approved.  Doug Ritter, a noted survival expert, opined that SEND devices may soon take over the whole rescue space, and that the PLB companies were scrambling to create SEND devices.  I'd have to agree.  If you could get a device that does more things, and still do the rescue part reliably, you'd probably buy it.  Doug Ritter's article

 

Some of the articles quote power of the transmitting radio as a factor.  While, on face value, it's true, what they don't mention is that the lower power units don't NEED more power, because their satellites are in a lower orbit (closer) and have more sensitive antennas.  Also, some articles besmirch the Globalstar satellite network, but their problems were solved recently by launching all-new satellites.  In fact, Iridium is about to launch an whole new batch of satellites, and introduce a bunch of new services aimed at consumers.  Article about new Iridium satellites and consumer push

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Tim, exactly the info I'm looking for.  Good distinction between the "SEND" and PLB which I really wasn't aware of.  I want to keep things simple yet have equipment that insures searchers will find me.  Looks like a PLB is what I will settle on for now.  Interesting story on Iridium.  I bought into the technology when they first launched their satelite array only to see it go into bankruptcy and watch the satelites drift in space for years, used only by those with remote communication needs.

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