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ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
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Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby Amurph » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:49 am

My husband has a SPOT and activated his "SOS" when his friend broke his femur in January 2012. SPOT immediately notifed the authorities, worked with the local authorities and also called all the contacts on my husband's emergency call list. It worked perfectly. The helicopter used the GPS coordinates to find them in the backcountry and get as close to them for landing and transport. So, my experience with them has been excellent.

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Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby Duffus Kentucky Climber » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:37 am

I chose the EPLB over the Spot, because I am only concerned about rescue, not social media. The EPLB is only in case there is a problem using my Iridium SAT phone, which should be good in any outdoor situation, land or sea. I have no problem with redundancy when it comes to safety. But, as I have said, I am a wuss.
It looks like the ridge is just right up there!

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Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby yetibreath » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:04 pm

There is another huge plus with the PLB that doesn't get mentioned very often. Both the SPOT and the PLB use very short data transmissions to their respective satellites, but the PLB also transmits a continuous signal on 121.5 MHz. Consider this senario: a signal with GPS coordinates is received and the location appears to be near the summit of Longs Peak. If the coordinates are off by a few hundred feet (very likely in steep terrain) the actual location of the injured party could be on the summit, on Mills Glacier 1800 feet below, or maybe half way up the Diamond. This uncertainty is a huge deal for the rescue team. With the 121.5 MHz signal from the PLB, the rescue team, using portable direction finding equipment, can quickly determine the precise location even in darkness or stormy weather. It is not possible to use direction finding gear with the SPOT. Most of the major SAR teams in Colorado have direction finding gear. Right now, this equipment is in my car (and many other vehicles) ready for deployment at a moments notice.

Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby alpinenut » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:26 pm

Why would you buy the ACR SAR Link PLB over the ACR QLink 406. I don't get the feature differences :wft:

Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby Somewhat of a Prick » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:29 pm

Holy crap, old thread. I came in to respond only to find I was the OP... :lol:


Anyway, for those interested after a lot of research I got an ACR PLB.

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Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby GregMiller » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:31 pm

alpinenut wrote:Why would you buy the ACR SAR Link PLB over the ACR QLink 406. I don't get the feature differences :wft:

Can you provide links for comparison?

EDIT for:
Somewhat of a Prick wrote:Anyway, for those interested after a lot of research I got an ACR PLB.

How do you like it?
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby Somewhat of a Prick » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:37 pm

GregMiller wrote:
Somewhat of a Prick wrote:Anyway, for those interested after a lot of research I got an ACR PLB.

How do you like it?


Well I've never used it (thankfully), but it's extremely small and light and seems very well made. There is a test function on the device that I have activated and let me tell you...the built in strobe is BRIGHT. Damn near blinded myself. Based on the reviews and my own experience with one I would recommend it to anyone looking for a beacon.


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Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby GregMiller » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:56 pm

As far as I can tell, the SAR has a slightly longer battery life (35 vs 30 hours) and a more powerful transmitter (6.3W vs 5W). Don't see anything wrong with getting the QLink.
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

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Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby oldschoolczar » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:11 pm

If you are subscribing to 406link you get more "messages" with the SARLink. The "messages" are really just a test of transmission functionality but they can be used to communicate "I'm OK". I haven't pulled the trigger on buying one of these yet but I will soon. 406link seems like a good way to have some limited transmission of I'm ok messages and still having the best chance of rescue if the shite hits the an!

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Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby Klinger1986 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:18 pm

I know this is a little morbid, but I have to ask. Lets pretend that I am hiking and I fall off a cliff, which ends up killing me. Lets also assume that I never had the chance to hit the rescue button on the way down. If I have a spot locator, but never pushed the button, is it useless? What if I had an ACR PLB? Could SAR find me even if I never pressed the rescue button?
“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss

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Re: ACR PLB Vs. SPOT

Postby Jon Frohlich » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:31 pm

Klinger1986 wrote:I know this is a little morbid, but I have to ask. Lets pretend that I am hiking and I fall off a cliff, which ends up killing me. Lets also assume that I never had the chance to hit the rescue button on the way down. If I have a spot locator, but never pushed the button, is it useless? What if I had an ACR PLB? Could SAR find me even if I never pressed the rescue button?


In the case of an ACR PLB, no, there's no way for SAR to ever know you fell. There's no automatic activation.

In the case of a SPOT, if you have tracking on and someone is watching your updates eventually they'll notice you haven't changed position in a while. At that point it'd be up to them to call out SAR when they think it's an actual emergency.

In either case it's not a perfect system.

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