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#215433 - 01/22/11 12:08 PM Question about emergency beacons
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3601
Loc: Ontario, Canada
A kid at my son's school brought some sort of an emergency beacon to school the other day. It was a very high pitched alarm, and it seemed like it was built into his winter coat. I couldn't really see it though, so it could have been a handheld personal alarm. It certainly got our attention, at least initially. After a few minutes it became just another misused suburban alarm - annoying. Probably another piece of paranoid parenting paraphenalia gone wrong.

It did get me thinking though. Is that how those built-in avalanch beacons work? He could activate it at will and it was super loud. Although easily abused, it could be a benefit in a lost/injured in the wilderness scenario. I have to admit though, I'd probably be more responsive to a whistle, unless it was being sounded in threes, in a known S&R situation, or if we were in a low traffic area like the backcountry.
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#215436 - 01/22/11 01:21 PM Re: Question about emergency beacons [Re: bacpacjac]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7066
Loc: southern Cal
The beacons with which I am familiar work on a radio frequency and are on a lanyard around your neck. When you begin your trip, they are turned on and they continually transmit. After the avalanche, the survivors and/or rescuers turn theirs to receive and systematically comb the area to determine where to dig to recover your body, the usual result.

I used one once, wearing it night and day for three weeks. I never had to use it, thankfully.
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#215441 - 01/22/11 01:40 PM Re: Question about emergency beacons [Re: hikermor]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3601
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Thanks hikermor! Think I'm going to start researching PLBs. I don't have one, but I'm increasingly thinking it might be good insurance. Of course, if i just activated by black berry again I'd mostly have my bases covered. I'm a recovering BB addict. wink
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#215454 - 01/22/11 04:25 PM Re: Question about emergency beacons [Re: bacpacjac]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1765
I think i'm read 3 things here:
- "personall alarms", loud and annoying alarm thingy. to 'scare' people off.
- Avalanch beacons, which transmits radio frequency, which other beacons can read in their 'find' mode. Depending on the model it will show how far and which direction another beacon is. Used by skieers/mountainers to be able to be found and to rescue others. No rescue will be alerted by these beacons, just make you easier to be found.
- Personal Locator Beacons, which uses satelites to alert emergency services.
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#215458 - 01/22/11 04:37 PM Re: Question about emergency beacons [Re: bacpacjac]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
I think the audible alarm aspect of this beacon makes it not a good fit as an avalanche beacon - snow is an excellent deadener (is that a word?) for sound. Bury your beacon under 4 feet of snow, and see how loud it is then. Plus there are the issues of activation - the advantage of radio waves is they travel through snow to receivers, and they can always be activated.

Also I'm skeptical of audible alarms for use when lost or separated. It may make sense when you are nearby, but depending on terrain and decibels the alarm may not go out as far as you think, and depending on power source, it may not operate for very long - plus it will be very annoying to the person trying to get rescued. A whistle seems to be a better compromise there. You can get tired and stop whistling, but start again when you get your breath back. Once the batteries are out on an audible alarm, its finished sounding for you.

This sounds more like a personal alarm, kind of a "Stranger Danger" type alarm for kids, that they can set off if approached by someone they don't know etc. ymmv

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#215479 - 01/22/11 11:48 PM Re: Question about emergency beacons [Re: ]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3601
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99

she's 17 months old....are already looking at some way of implanting a chip into their child or installing a panic button into all her clothing.


LOL! I hear ya Izzy! aint paranoid parenting great!
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#215530 - 01/23/11 05:00 PM Re: Question about emergency beacons [Re: bacpacjac]
comms Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
I think PLB's are absolutely important pieces of gear. And while some think otherwise I decided to get a SPOT2 GPS messenger and here is my reasoning. YMMV.

Living in the desert there are a lot of areas in my primary endurance training were there is zero cell phone service. Even a basic breakdown on a state route would necessitate a very long walk out, let alone getting anything on trail. So the Help & OK functions are nice back ups for me.

As we all know, we can get behind schedule on the trail. And on great days where I maybe just dawdled too long instead of hitting my turnaround time, I keep going knowing I will be late. DW can either get a text update from me when I'm heading back (preset) or go to the SPOT shared page for a real time update of my position.

Heck even when I am with a group and we just decide to kick back and watch the sunset after a run or swim out there, its good positive reinforcement for my DW to know I am okay b/c I haven't called in when I said I would.
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#215535 - 01/23/11 06:56 PM Re: Question about emergency beacons [Re: bacpacjac]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3601
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I'm starting to think along the same lines, comms. The Spot2 seems to have everything I need, and shouldn't rekindle my bb addiction. I just happen to be having a decade birthday this week. I think I'll buy one for myself and wrap it up from the family. wink
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#215536 - 01/23/11 07:07 PM Re: Question about emergency beacons [Re: bacpacjac]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3601
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I'm starting to think along the same lines, comms. The Spot2 seems to have everything I need, and shouldn't rekindle my bb addiction. I just happen to be having a decade birthday this week. I think I'll buy one for myself and wrap it up from the family. wink
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#215538 - 01/23/11 07:52 PM Re: Question about emergency beacons [Re: bacpacjac]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7066
Loc: southern Cal
Congratulations on turning 30!
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