GPS Beacons?

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Webfoot
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by Webfoot » September 10th, 2019, 9:55 pm

RobFromRedland wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 3:49 pm
Aren't PLBs only good for like 5 years, though? I thought I've read that.
The battery is good for about that long and having it changed can be very expensive, like half the original price. There are cheaper options however.

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aiwetir
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by aiwetir » September 10th, 2019, 10:48 pm

I wonder if this is a fully Garmin developed and built product or if it was in the works from the DeLorme days. Not that either company should make crap, but maybe it just fell through the cracks at some point.
- Michael

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retired jerry
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by retired jerry » September 11th, 2019, 6:30 am

I let the InReach sit for maybe 30 minutes. It eventually finds the GPS signal. I agree, this is poor. My phone finds the GPS signal in maybe 1 minute.

The user interface for seeing messages is poor also. Confusing to see if a message has been replied to.

But, when I get to camp I just let it sit there for 30 minutes if needed. Eventually it finds satellites so I send message and wait maybe 10 minutes until it says message sent.

Then, next morning I'll turn it on again and get the reply from my wife.

Even though the device is screwy, it does send and receive messages and show my wife where I am. And I know the house hasn't burned down so I can continue trip. If a mountain lion ate me search and rescue would have a good idea where to look.

I agree it's frustrating to use a device that's so screwy and they could easily have made it much better.

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A. Hugh Jass
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by A. Hugh Jass » September 11th, 2019, 6:43 am

RobFromRedland wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 3:49 pm
Aren't PLBs only good for like 5 years, though? I thought I've read that.
The battery is guaranteed to work per the optimal specification for six years. That means it will transmit at full power for 30 hours at a full 5 watts during the six year lifespan. The battery will also power 220 self tests and 12 GPS tests during that time period.

If you need to use the device for SAR rescue, the company will replace the battery for free.

So, it's simple. Every six years just put yourself in a precarious position on, for example, Pilot Butte, and activate your PLB. Then you don't have to pay for a new battery ;)
Last edited by A. Hugh Jass on September 11th, 2019, 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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teachpdx
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by teachpdx » September 11th, 2019, 6:44 am

I've been using my SPOT Gen3 all summer now, and it hasn't had an issue finding GPS at all, except at the base of cliffs. I even get GPS in dense trees. Every check-in message has been successful. I had five minute tracking set on a recent five day backpacking trek and it logged nearly every point, and only drained the battery 10%. I'm happy (so far) with its performance.

The messaging functions are very limited (custom, check-in, help, and SOS) with no incoming messages, but that's fine with me. The only huge downside is the lack of a monthly payment plan. I got this full year for half off, and we will have to see if I can score any deals next year.

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mountainkat
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by mountainkat » September 11th, 2019, 8:57 am

retired jerry wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 6:30 am
I let the InReach sit for maybe 30 minutes. It eventually finds the GPS signal. I agree, this is poor. My phone finds the GPS signal in maybe 1 minute.
Does it always eventually work, despite the type of terrain, Jerry?

Mine seems to have problems in any area that isn't completely wide open, including pretty wide valleys with mountains on either side. For example, I was recently on the uber popular Phelps Creek trail (where Spider Meadow in Washington is) and had just come down from Leroy Creek Basin, and had a roughly 3 mile walk out. It was late, getting dark and I wanted to tell my husband that I was back on the easy trail. The inReach mini refused to get a gps signal. I left it on, and had it send a message without the coordinates. It never got a signal on that walk out, which was probably an hour or so. It finally found one and sent the message when I reached the car. Really frustrating and useless, except that I still had another hour drive out without a cell signal so my husband did at least know I reached the car.

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texasbb
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by texasbb » September 11th, 2019, 11:31 am

retired jerry wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 6:30 am
If a mountain lion ate me search and rescue would have a good idea where to look.
In the lion?

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Don Nelsen
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by Don Nelsen » September 11th, 2019, 2:49 pm

texasbb wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 11:31 am
retired jerry wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 6:30 am
If a mountain lion ate me search and rescue would have a good idea where to look.
In the lion?
:lol: :lol: :lol:
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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drm
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by drm » September 12th, 2019, 8:30 am

When I got my Garmin Inreach Mini, I also thought of a Spot, but I never heard of the ACR ResQLink. It didn't come in my online searches and nobody mentioned it to me. Everybody I know who has one has a Garmin Inreach of some sort and I was told that Spot had poor performance. I didn't get the Garmin for tracking so I don't particularly care about that, but if it can't connect to GPS, the SOS function won't work.

I checked out the ACR ResQLink and see that it is just a simple PLB, no communication, so you can't say what is wrong or why rescue is needed. I also see that you need to re-register it every two years, something I'm not sure I would remember to do. I would add that the Garmin lets you access a weather report for 50 cents, and I have used that with good results recently.

Here's the thing about the ACR - if it is just a basic PLB, how can you know if it is any better at connecting to GPS than the Garmin? Without tracking ability, the thing is basically dead weight until you actually use it. I only know my Garmin has trouble connecting because it is trying to do so pretty much 100% of the time because it is tracking (even if not doing so well).

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5th
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Re: GPS Beacons?

Post by 5th » September 12th, 2019, 9:06 am

I hiked from Ashland to Elk Lake last month, mostly on the PCT. My wife is used to me hiking long distances solo and isn't bothered by it much, but my 70+ y/o mom just moved here from Texas, and she was freaked out about me being "all alone out there" for so long. Of course, you have to be working at it to be alone out there right now, but I got an inReach mini with the month-by-month plan with unlimited texting to help mom relax.

In the end, I really like the device. If you give the GPS time, it narrows to something accurate. It helps for both GPS and sat msgs to stand it up in a spot with a good clear view of the sky. Everything works much less well if you lay it down or restrict the view of the sky. Mileages measured were off, but this is mostly due to 20-minute check intervals. When I set it to report every 10 minutes, the measured distances were more accurate (though still short).

I didn't expect it to do GPS duty tho. Just in an emergency mostly. I have Gaia on my phone and paper and compass to back that up (boy scout here). And if I was laying somewhere and was able to activate the SOS, I am comfortable that it would transmit an accurate enough location long before rescue got anywhere near me. If I needed it to fill in as a GPS, I would simply have to wait longer to get a good fix.

To me, all of the negatives were outweighed by the positives. And since I get a lot of solitude without looking for it, texting now and then was the "killer app" on this thing. It made planning a meet-up MUCH easier. It allowed my mom to send a positive and supportive message every morning and let me respond back so that she could achieve her real goal: I responded 'Polo' to her 'Marco' and she knew I was still kicking. ;) The long grind up Thielson in the pouring rain was easier because I was distracted sending a list of reasons the rain was a good thing without the use of the cell (clicketty-click). My wife and I could discuss the day-to-day and stay in touch during my 3-week absence. And all my family enjoyed watching my progress on the tracking website.

My only complaint? I wish I could send photos as well. I know, not even realistic at this price point, but I want what I want. :D

I like my mini. HYOH I guess. :)

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