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Old 07-08-2011, 11:50 AM   #15
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The "Spot" emergency locator beacons are $99/year for basic service, and the device costs $150 or so.
HMMM, I'll look into it again. Seems like it has come down in price. I sure wish they would offer an on/off ability like some of the satellite TV services have for Rv'ers now.
I'd bet they'd sell a lot more to everyday folks who only occasionally go remote.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:05 PM   #16
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These last few posts have prompted me to research locator beacons again. The Spot has many disadvantages. Reception issues, subscription, etc.
I am really interested in McMurdo FastFind 210.. It doesn't have any tracking features, but I am not really interested in that anyway. It does communicate on two frequencies; one for beacon (worldwide) and a lower frequency for local GPS locating.

Seems to be a much more serious unit if all I want is to use it in dire emergency. Anybody have input or experiences?

BTW it's $219 with no subscription. Battery is 5 years but must be sent in for a replacement.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:23 PM   #17
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Mojo,have you ever boated before? I have been in a few situations before where I had to fire flares,if your flares are up to date they burn out about the top of the arc.I`m talking about 12 gauge flares,I have never seen one come back down hot. Dave
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:30 PM   #18
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Mojo,have you ever boated before? I have been in a few situations before where I had to fire flares,if your flares are up to date they burn out about the top of the arc.I`m talking about 12 gauge flares,I have never seen one come back down hot. Dave
What about the smaller handheld coastguard approved small craft flares. That's what I pack away for canoe trips. They are a tube about 5" long. You strike them and they fire out of the tube instead of a pistol format. I've never had to fire one off. Just wondering.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:03 PM   #19
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Don't ever think because you are in good health you won't have an emerency! My wife and I were boondocking in PA and a bee stung me on the neck. I had been stung hundreds of times but this one got me. Fortunately we had unhitched. She rushed me to the nearest hospital, which took a while (good to have a GPS). My pulse was 200 and to make a long story shorter I ended up with a ICD (sort of a pacemaker) implant. The following year I had a blood clot in my leg and almost lost it because we were in the backwoods. We have not let either incident stop us. When we stop for the night I always find the nearest hospital with my GPS and leave the location plugged in. I have written out a flow chart for unhitching the A/S, hitching the A/S, and how to get underway if you are hitched and my wife has practiced it until she can do it in the dark. My wife is one tough cookie! We also have a CB radio which is probably a waste, but I guess we are paranoid. We both took first aid courses from the Red Cross. Some of the suggestions posted here sound excellent. P/S - It appears if Agent Orange might be the cause of my odd happenings. Remember that stuff?.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:39 PM   #20
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Don't ever think because you are in good health you won't have an emerency! My wife and I were boondocking in PA and a bee stung me on the neck. I had been stung hundreds of times but this one got me. Fortunately we had unhitched. She rushed me to the nearest hospital, which took a while (good to have a GPS). My pulse was 200 and to make a long story shorter I ended up with a ICD (sort of a pacemaker) implant. The following year I had a blood clot in my leg and almost lost it because we were in the backwoods. We have not let either incident stop us. When we stop for the night I always find the nearest hospital with my GPS and leave the location plugged in. I have written out a flow chart for unhitching the A/S, hitching the A/S, and how to get underway if you are hitched and my wife has practiced it until she can do it in the dark. My wife is one tough cookie! We also have a CB radio which is probably a waste, but I guess we are paranoid. We both took first aid courses from the Red Cross. Some of the suggestions posted here sound excellent. P/S - It appears if Agent Orange might be the cause of my odd happenings. Remember that stuff?.
This is so true. You need a plan and equipment. And equipment to back up the equipment. re. the prior postings, even if I get a locator beacon, I WILL still carry the flares. Death is final and I choose not to participate without a fight! I have a dry bag with survival gear for fire making, signaling, first aid kit, food, foil blanket compass, maps, etc. I always carry it anytime I am away from other people. And that isn't really too far. All it takes is a few hundred yards, an injury and confusion to put you on the front page. Knowledge and preparedness is the difference between you wrapped in a blanket stepping into the rescue vehicle and a getting in wrapped in a body bag.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:42 PM   #21
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Spot transmitter is about the best, cheapest. If you are interested in working at it a little and learning something new, ham radio is a very good bet. It my be someone 1000 miles away that makes the phone call for you, but it gets made none the less.

Even the federal government keeps it around.

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Old 07-08-2011, 06:51 PM   #22
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Spot transmitter is about the best, cheapest. If you are interested in working at it a little and learning something new, ham radio is a very good bet. It my be someone 1000 miles away that makes the phone call for you, but it gets made none the less.

Even the federal government keeps it around.

Best Regards,
Yeah, but I'm not carrying a ham on my back with batteries into the wilderness!

Maybe I'm missing the point of the thread, but when I "boondock", I'm using the AS as a base and taking trips on foot or canoe into the wilderness, usually overnight.

Spot has reception issues in cloud cover and in the forest and in canyons and does not operate on the 406 frequency, uses a commercial satellite which is only visible to the unit every 20 - 45 minutes.

The 406 frequency uses multiple government satellites with worldwide coverage virtually continuously.

True, the spot has some neat tracking features and can "phone home" but the reviews are spotty (no pun intended) on effectiveness and consistency of operation.

Cheapest? I don't think so. $99 plus $150 per year if you want the tracking feature. $30 more than the FastFind 210 at the end of the first year!
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:31 PM   #23
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Yes 25 years in Fort Lauderdale where I owned a boat and crewed on many a sailing trip to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Shooting off good and expired flares on July fourth, some do hit the water still burning or else the sparks do too.

If you lived in the southwest were we've had a dry winter and no rain to speak of, the last thing you want is some city dude firing off flares in the woods. And if you do come to the Colorado back country, I suggest you stop at any public lands office and pay the $3 to register for a CORSAR card so you are covered for expenses when search & rescue needs to come and save your a$$ if you get lost or need to be rescued. It's also worth the investment.

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Mojo,have you ever boated before? I have been in a few situations before where I had to fire flares,if your flares are up to date they burn out about the top of the arc.I`m talking about 12 gauge flares,I have never seen one come back down hot. Dave
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:46 AM   #24
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I use a "Spot GPS Messanger Device" - works with the satellites "Globally" and can be used for "Hey, I'm OK" to send the Cavalry". Some models are now only $100.00.

Click here for their website...

I have used Satellite Phones all over the world to include home here in the Zerkel National Forrest on the Continental Divide, the Spot devices are the best and alot cheaper...

The military and aviation use some of these same commerical satellites for their ELT beacons, unless you are extreme north (Arctic Circle) or extreme south (southern tip of Africa) you have realtime coverage!

And - they work better than a satellite phone when in trees with heavy canopy, between ridges, etc.
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:49 AM   #25
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My suggestion of employing ham radio as an alternative was simply to add information to the discussion. Obviously, this is not a solution for everyone or every situation. It does require some interest and effort on the part of the user to be effective. It is not completely off “off the shelf” solution. Those who require or prefer a push-the-button and help will magically appear device would not be interested.

As for the differences between the Fast Find ELT and the Spot unit, it’s not exactly an apple to apple comparison. The Spot allows one to send three different messages which are emailed or SMS to devices of the owner’s choosing. The service provider suggests an “everything is ok”, a “plans have changed but we’re ok”, and a “send help now” arrangement. So, with the Spot system one gets quite a lot more flexibility for just a little more money. The Fast Find is merely an emergency locator. No messaging allowed.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:44 PM   #26
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Ranger, That's the going rate among the three or four outfitters offering rentals in the area up there. Excessive....yes.
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:07 PM   #27
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My suggestion of employing ham radio as an alternative was simply to add information to the discussion. Obviously, this is not a solution for everyone or every situation. It does require some interest and effort on the part of the user to be effective. It is not completely off “off the shelf” solution. Those who require or prefer a push-the-button and help will magically appear device would not be interested.

As for the differences between the Fast Find ELT and the Spot unit, it’s not exactly an apple to apple comparison. The Spot allows one to send three different messages which are emailed or SMS to devices of the owner’s choosing. The service provider suggests an “everything is ok”, a “plans have changed but we’re ok”, and a “send help now” arrangement. So, with the Spot system one gets quite a lot more flexibility for just a little more money. The Fast Find is merely an emergency locator. No messaging allowed.
That's true, but as I said previously, all I want is the fastest help arrival in a dire situation. If you want the check-in features and laptop tracking for family and friends, SPOT is the way to go.

I went back and re-read many evaluations and information websites. SPOT is not as tied into emergency services nationally and internationally as PLBs. SPOT goes through a call center, DOES use different satellites (commercial, same satellite as satellite phones), than PLBs, EPRIBs use the COSPAS-SARSAT satellites which were designed and used for emergency response only (or other black ops which we can't know about SPOT is only 4 watts as opposed to 5 watts for EPRIBs. Spot operates on a higher frequency, which doesn't penetrate clouds and trees, etc as well as the 406 frequency.

Check this webpage. Review of the SPOT Satellite Messenger vs. PLB's

Reviews are about 50-50 on the SPOT as well.
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:04 PM   #28
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..... all I want is the fastest help arrival in a dire situation.....

The fastest help you can get is the result of a direct conversation - anything less gets you an investigation first - after that investigation is completed - and the needs are determined - then you get the help you need ....


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