Author Topic: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?  (Read 4037 times)

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Offline wedocq

EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« on: February 09, 2011, 09:12:42 PM »
I am jumping into the market for an EPIRB. There seems to be a WIDE range of prices, but they all claim to do basically the same thing: they send a signal via 406 megahertz to a satellite which relays it to the corresponding local authorities. I am looking at the ACR Aquafix 406 PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) 2797 NH with built in GPS. It runs about $200, which is about as cheap as I can find for an EPIRB or PLB.  99% of my fishing takes place inside of 40 miles of shore, with  an occasional trip out 50 miles for tuna. Will something like this be adequate for me?
-Shawn
2002 21' Arima Sea Ranger HT  Suzuki DF175 4-stroke.
WEDOCQ= WE DO SEKIU! It pays homage to my Uncle Jay who died of cancer.

Offline BigMac

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 10:01:39 PM »
Shawn,

My research indicates the PLB is a good way to go.  Nice thing is that it's small and can go with you anywhere--hunting, fishing, hiking,etc.  The ones for strictly marine application are nice, but spendy, and aren't portable.

I'm currently going nuts trying to decide what PLB to buy.  Will need one for May halibut or my wife won't let me go (I wouldn't go either).  The ACR Aquafix has been discontinued, that's why it's cheaper.  Also one version doesn't have a GPS.  The gal at ACR was touting the AquaLink as the newest edition.  It does a lot of things and is priced at $345 at West Marine.  Today, at the Portland Sportsmans Show I was told be someone at Englund Marine that there was a newer, smaller model from ACR just about to come out that will be priced in the $200?? range.  It didn't sound right to me from what I'd heard before, but now I don't know what to do.  Probably keep asking questions and getting more confused.

If you get really dialed in on one, please post your decision.

Dave

Offline wedocq

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 11:26:10 PM »
Dave,
For my type of fishing, I agree with you, the PLB seems to be the way to go. The biggest downfall is it only transmits for 24 hours before dying. To me, that seems like enough transmit time for my purposes. I didn't realize that ACR aquafix has been discontinued. It does have built in GPS, which is suppose to be a big plus. I figure these low end units are disposable anyway. Once the batteries expire, its quite pricey to get them replaced. I found this particular unit for $170 online! ttp://www.manventureoutpost.com/products/ACR-AquaFix%26%23153%3B-406-Personal-Locator-Beacon-w{47}-Onboard-GPS-(2797.4NH).htmlIt has gotten good reviews, but a lot of people have said its bigger and heavier than they were expecting, which makes it hard to pin to your life jacket or keep in a pocket. I plan on keeping mine in a ditch bag. I hate cheaping out on safety, but it has got good reviews. Whatever PLB I get, I will post all the details here!
-Shawn 
2002 21' Arima Sea Ranger HT  Suzuki DF175 4-stroke.
WEDOCQ= WE DO SEKIU! It pays homage to my Uncle Jay who died of cancer.

Offline StreamFixer

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Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 04:29:36 AM »
WEDOCQ

24 hours transmit should do you quite well.  In our waters you'll not last much beyond an hour unless you are in an exposure suit ($600 - $100 each).  If you are not out of the water in less than an hour, you're not likely to care anyway....

StreamFixer
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Offline Vancouvertechie

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 12:29:59 PM »
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Offline CanvasGuy

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Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2011, 06:14:11 AM »
heres a used one on craigslist..

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/boa/2202767659.html :twocents:

Gary
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Offline wedocq

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2011, 01:08:40 PM »
Gary,
From the way I understand it, those "minis" on Craigslist are basically "homing beacons". They don't send a signal to a satellite, they send out a signal that can be can be pinpointed by a directional finder. So basically if you had the big expensive EPIRB mounted on your boat, that one would get the Coast Guard to the area, and this "mini" would be with you, allowing them to pinpoint your exact location (in case you were separated from the boat).
-Shawn
2002 21' Arima Sea Ranger HT  Suzuki DF175 4-stroke.
WEDOCQ= WE DO SEKIU! It pays homage to my Uncle Jay who died of cancer.

Offline Kimbrey

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2011, 01:24:49 PM »
I figure these low end units are disposable anyway. Once the batteries expire, its quite pricey to get them replaced.
-Shawn 
Shawn, even the bigger more expensive ones seem to be disposable or it has seemed that way through the years. We just replaced one because the hydrostatic release date had expired...couldn't buy a new release. It has a year left on the battery so I have it in the wheelhouse to grab as a second.  At other times when the batteries expired we would have to replace the unit because they didn't make a replacement battery.  It's almost a given anymore at least for us that you will have to buy a new unit when batteries expire. Probably a good idea anyway as our main one is exposed to the weather on top of the wheelhouse.

Kim
2005 Sea Legend --Sold--replaced with 26' Duckworth

Offline BigMac

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2011, 01:02:52 PM »
wedocq.

Just got off the phone with a guy from ACR.  There is a new product called RescuLink (sp?) that they expect to be available in April or May (tentative as they still need to get it licensed with the feds).  Compared to AquaLink it is cheaper (approx $275), and smaller, but doesn't float so needs a flotation collar, and has less capacity for messaging and gps checks. They will still continue making the AquaLink which he says is a good product, but they expect good sales with the RescuLink mainly because of the pricing.

Won't need the PLB until the halibut opener in May, so may wait for a while and see what you decide, but leaning toward the AquaLink ($245.00 at West Marine).

If you have any questions, his name is Mikele at 954-981-3333 x 2227.  He said to call him if I get a unit as he generally has coupons for 6 mos free messaging.

Dave


Offline dixiefisher

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2011, 07:30:58 AM »
thanks for posting this....I have been trying to ramp up for halibut this year....and this has been on my checklist.....275.00 seems like a reasonable price for the purpose.....
Paul Touchton

Offline wedocq

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2011, 08:50:47 AM »
This is what I went with.    http://www.acrelectronics.com/aquafix%5CAquaFixSpec.pdf  $170 at this  location http://www.schoutenenterprises.com/estore/  Ya I know it's not the latest and greatest. But it does do the important things the bigger, fancier ones do:
1) It transmits on the 406 frequency
2) Has built in GPS for better locating power
3) Transmits on the 121 frequency, which is a more localized homing signal.

Some downsides to this unit from reviews:
1) Must manually deploy
2) Battery life is only 24hrs once deployed
3) Unit is a little bigger and heavier than expected

Overall, the reviews I read for this unit were overwhelming positive. ACR has replaced this unit with the Aqualink. These are being blown out cheap on several online stores. Once they are gone, THEY ARE GONE!

-Shawn



2002 21' Arima Sea Ranger HT  Suzuki DF175 4-stroke.
WEDOCQ= WE DO SEKIU! It pays homage to my Uncle Jay who died of cancer.

Offline BigMac

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2011, 12:55:18 PM »
Shawn,

I found a website that was offering this unit for $200, and decided the AquaLink was worth spending more money as it allowed some "We're OK" messages and GPS fixes which the AquaFix doesn't.

At $170 the Fix is even more attractive.  For that price you could upgrade later with the one coming out (RescuLink) for about $275 and have two for not much more than the AquaLink costs now.

Probably better make a decision quick as these cheaper units will go pretty fast.

Dave


Offline BigMac

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2011, 05:42:42 PM »
wedocq,

The UPS man was by and delivered my new Aquafix GPS I/O P-EPIRB!

Now trying to get it registered but the website wouldn't take my info.  Have to call the NOAA # in the morning.

It's a bit bulky, but the price was very right and it does all the necessary things.

Did you get one??

Thanks for finding the good deal for me.

Dave

Offline wedocq

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 09:38:45 PM »
Dave,
So funny, just got mine too! For the money, I found it quite impressive. Reading thru the literature, they take this stuff super serious, which makes me feel a little more assured. Did you read that all it takes for the satellites to pick up a signal is to activate it for 2 secs? I am still reading up on how it works, but you can send "test" texts to family members with GPS location and a short message. I am happy that testing this thing involves more than turning it on and making sure the battery works :biggrin: That was something I was confused on before ordering, and feel much better knowing it's a full test, and you can tell before leaving the dock the satellites are picking it up. I really think for the money, you can't go wrong on this one!  I got the ACR ditch bag to go with it, so I don't really care how bulky it is!
2002 21' Arima Sea Ranger HT  Suzuki DF175 4-stroke.
WEDOCQ= WE DO SEKIU! It pays homage to my Uncle Jay who died of cancer.

Offline BigMac

Re: EPIRB Vs Personal Locator Beacon, your thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2011, 08:44:14 AM »
wedocq,

I've also been reading the owners manual.  It sure is a big improvement on the first EPIRB I bought in Hawaii in the '90's.  There was just an on/off switch and the only way to test the batteries was to set the radio to a certain FM channel, turn the unit to "on" for 2 seconds during the first five minutes of an hour!  Still it was well worth having.

Didn't know about the ditch bag.  Will have to look into getting one.

Dave