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Old 07-08-2011, 05:42 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, 05:51 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.

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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, 09:31 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, 07:46 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, 08:49 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, 02:44 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, 03:07 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by jdalrymple View Post
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, 04:04 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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Old 07-09-2011, 04:51 PM   #29
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Asprin.
Worth remembering. No annual fee and very cheap to buy.

Living 45 minutes from a hospital I wonder about getting there in time and so, in the back country, it doesn't feel much different than home. Out west you can be on an interstate and be 50 or 100 miles from medical care. Strokes require fast treatment with drugs and yet some hospitals still don't use them routinely.

I can't worry about this too much lest the anxiety strokes me out.

What I do bring with us is powers of attorney for medical and financial issues. Some doctors will ignore a spouse's directions if they don't have PA's with them.

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Old 07-09-2011, 07:47 PM   #30
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Excellent pearls of wisdom Gene!
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:48 PM   #31
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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 ....


Jay
Not true! Read up.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:19 AM   #32
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Not true! Read up.
I slept on my response and feel bad that I was so short. Sorry.

What I should have said is, people in stressful situations or who are injured are notoriously poor "witnesses", just like crime eyewitnesses.
dialing a phone, trying to give accurate location, locating a map to relay your information, assessing the situation are all difficult and time consuming in an emergency.

I have had two instances where (as anal and prepared as I think I am) I had an emergency, recently. Although I was able to give details, it was inefficient. One, I witnessed a severe end-over-end roll over accident on a rural remote road with horrible injuries. The other, when my wife had a life threatening medical issue and 911 was called. When the adrenalin starts flowing and the pressure of a grave situation takes over, you need simple orderly tasks to accomplish. Perhaps a trained professional EMT, soldier, or law enforcement person handles these things more efficiently due to training and repeated experiences, but most of us aint those kind of folks.

A simple one button push, which will transmit "SOS" on two frequencies by satellite, GPS location, and keep repeating, is way more reliable than human panic.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:25 AM   #33
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Jay, I would also say that you have a valid point on the "investigation" first. When deciding on a Eprib or SPOT, it is wise to dig and find how the flow of information is handled. I have done this and really like the NOAA system better than a commercial "call" center.

The dispatch in either case is only as good as the info YOU put in your unit registration file on line, and you should keep it current for timely ans quick dispatch.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:04 PM   #34
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The dispatch in either case is only as good as the info YOU put in your unit registration file on line, and you should keep it current for timely ans quick dispatch.
You're right of course.

Each technology has its strength - and no technology does it all ....


Backcountry emergencies can represent quite a range:
  • Death
  • Life-threatening incident
  • Non-life-threatening incident
  • Lost member of the party
  • Fire reporting
  • Illegal act
  • Disabled vehicle/boat
  • Overdue - running late
  • and I'm sure a bunch more
They all suggest different responses - and for myself - I'm going to stick with the Sat phone - I like the direct two-way communication and the additional flexibility for other, less critical uses - but that is not to diminish the value of other technology in an emergency.

Thanks,


Jay
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Old 07-10-2011, 04:17 PM   #35
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Thanks for everyone's participation in my thread. There's been some great feedback and helpful thoughts from many of you. I'm not sure what technology I'll ultimately end up with for my next trip, however I now have something to go and research. I do agree that there is no panacea out there that would solve every emergency issue one could face in the great outdoors, but it does sound like there are some good alternatives. I'm also intrigued about messaging capabilities from the Spot Connect technology, although it would be awesome if you could also receive text messaging to your Bluetooth connected phone. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the tech wonks figure it out.

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Old 07-10-2011, 05:09 PM   #36
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I carry a ACR PLB. There is also the spot system.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:42 PM   #37
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I don't leave home without my Accusat 406 Pocketpro Personal Locator Beacon W/integral Gps. I adventure bike ride, fish all over the work... This is the way to be found and to get help. They will send you the information to register it and to load the contact information.

No ongoing sibscription is required.

Not only is the AccuSat Pocket Series the smallest and lightest PLB on the market, these personal locator beacons are fitted with high intensity LED strobe and 'Non Hazmat' batteries for simple, cost effective transportation, all contributing to the unique AccuSat advantage at a more affordable price.

The AccuSat PocketPro MT410G has the advantage of GPS location.

Features
  • 7 year battery life
  • 7 year warranty
  • Typical accuracy - MT410G: <45m
  • High visibility strobe light
  • Featherweight, compact and robust construction
  • Digital 406 MHz, 5 Watt transmission plus 121.5 MHz homing signal
  • COSPAS-SARSAT worldwide operation
  • National and International approvals
  • Self bouyant, waterproof design (exceeds IP67)
  • Suitable for marine, aviation and land applications
  • Complete with retention strap and protective carry pouch
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:02 PM   #38
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Experience

I have learned from experience that the better prepared you are the better chance of survival you will have. Purchase a camel pack (water and back pack in one) Pack the essentials. Always carry a knife and a first aid kit ( I love the smaller ones you can purchase from REI) Also purchase vet rap. It is used for injured horses. I also carry blood stop (sold in packages) Carry some kind of food rather it be nutrient bars or an MRE. Also have a hand held campus and a topo map of the area and know how to use it. Also know if you are on public lands what directions certain roads are, the ranger station etc. Older generations wouldn’t hurt to carry bayer aspen ( helps prevent heart attacks). Hope these tips help…
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:55 PM   #39
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I have learned from experience that the better prepared you are the better chance of survival you will have. Purchase a camel pack (water and back pack in one) Pack the essentials. Always carry a knife and a first aid kit ( I love the smaller ones you can purchase from REI) Also purchase vet rap. It is used for injured horses. I also carry blood stop (sold in packages) Carry some kind of food rather it be nutrient bars or an MRE. Also have a hand held campus and a topo map of the area and know how to use it. Also know if you are on public lands what directions certain roads are, the ranger station etc. Older generations wouldn’t hurt to carry bayer aspen ( helps prevent heart attacks). Hope these tips help…
Yup, all those things, plus fire starting equip, survival foil blanket, sutures, signal mirror, LED strobe which attaches to hat or coat, etc.

BTW, I settled on the McMurdo 210 w/GPS.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:02 AM   #40
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Risk Management- First Priority

When anyone, at any age, leaves the comfort of home and civilization, you are entering areas that are adverse situations to your life and survival. Common sense should dictate your ability to handle these risks.

Ask those hardy individuals who climb Colorado's 14,000+ foot mountain peaks about individuals who are unprepared and oblivious to the risks of being in a remote area. I have a friend who climbs the highest peaks in the world, and experiences the foolishness of humanity at various base camps. Even he would not climb Mount Everest from his base camp, as death certainly awaited him and his party to proceed further than they planned. Common sense saves lives. Even I am unprepared to go beyond my capacity to wandering at elevations that require ropes and climbing equipment. Common sense makes me adverse to risk taking, beyond my "experience and needs".

Boondocking at an established camp site away from the services of a major city is more risk than some people should experience, due to their or companion's health. Rockdocking is more remote, more difficult and increases this risk further. Establishing a trailer base camp and then backpacking into the national wilderness area increases this risk. YOU should KNOW your physical and mental limits and not depend on someone else you might be able to telephone for emergency help or aid. No doubt miles and hours away in good conditions.

Because you have a HDTV mounted in your trailer and a cell phone, these gizmos may offer to many individuals security, but it is an illusion of civilization. I have turned down "invitations" to Rockdock with individuals as they are incapable and unprepared for the exposure to risk.

There will come a time when my wife and I will be unable to travel into the far back country. We both understand when this time comes, we must decide if the risk is worth the adventure. In my case, it is. There is always risk involved in "camping", especially in the remoter locations. If you are unsure, you are not ready. Prepare for the worst and be comfortable when nothing happens. Within the forest, humans are just another part of the food chain. Understand this when you are "only" carrying mace, some brass bells and a walking stick for defense. Having a stroke at home or in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico could have the same result. If you have no common sense, go with someone who does, or who is willing to come along. Having a nice pair of hiking boots, does not meet this standard. If you are unprepared and prone to panic, you might want to stay in town at a RV Park and leave the risk to those that understand the consequences of one... mistake in judgement could be your last...
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