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#281673 - 08/12/16 09:35 PM Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 review
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 909
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Very frustrating purchase for me. YMMV. You Americans hardly ever worry about the issues I encountered but I chalk this up to lessons learned. I point out these issues so someone else doesn't have to deal with them.

Never buy from an American company disguised as a Canadian company on Amazon.CA! The product shipped out of Seattle. The duty charges cost me an extra $77 I didn't count on, I should have refused the COD delivery. The whole purpose of the dot.ca site was to eliminate duty and import charges by having items ship within the country. This isn't even an American product but a UK product and manufacturer so I have an argument with Customs on this as US duties should not have been applicable at all! Note: after I purchased on Amazon I found out that I could have bought the unit $20 cheaper from an Ontario dealer and eliminated all of the issues I had so Amazon was definitely not the cheapest option at all. But since I already registered the unit and paid the duties it didn't make sense to return it and go with the other dealer.

2ndly, I tried to register the PLB and found out I couldn't in Canada because it has a US ID number. I had to register with NOAA in the US because re-coding with a Canadian dealer to be able to register in Canada will cost me a further ~$100 in fees. Sometime in the future I will have it re-coded, perhaps in 2 years when the re-registration in the US comes up. If the vendor wants to sell products like this in Canada they have to be aware that they need to sell appropriately coded hardware for the country they are selling to. In Canada, a coded beacon begins with A78, A79, 278 or 279. Make sure when you register that you use the ID# and the checksum# and provide next-of-kin contacts. The vendor should not have been allowed to sell this product in Canada and should not be allowed on the dot.ca site until they fix their retailing practise.

The product itself is fine being very compact (approx 30% smaller than other PLBs) - think of it being a bit larger than a mini-deck of cards and slightly smaller than a stack of business cards! It weighs 116gr. and is 77 x 51 x 32.5mm. The smaller the better as you are more likely to keep it on your person all the time.

The 406.040 MHz beacon alerts the authorities of an emergency and locates the signal to a 5nm (9.25km) radius, while the 121.5Mhz signal /w GPS allows SAR to pinpoint your location with 100m or better accuracy depending on you view of the sky. If you are down in a canyon the results are going to vary. It has 15m depth waterproofness but does not activate upon hitting water (that's what auto EPIRBs are for). A PLB is designed for manual activation on land or water surface and only sends a signal for a min. 24 hours vs the 48 hour standard of an EPIRB. A PLB (personal locator beacon) is registered to a person while the EPIRB is registered to a marine vessel and an ELT is for aircraft. If you are unconscious during your emergency then no manually activated beacon will help you; bring a buddy who can activate it then. I don't know why people get so hung up on that issue when deciding which unit to buy!

Testing is simple - extend the antenna, open the flapper and push the test button for 1 second. The number of red flashes it responds with tells you the battery strength. To test the GPS push the test button for 10 seconds. You are limited to a max. of 10 GPS tests because of the power drain. All tests should be done in the first 5 minutes of the hour so that the authorities don't see it as an emergency. The Manganese Dioxide (LiMnO2) battery(ies?) last 7 years. I purchased my unit in July 2016 and the date stamp on the unit is Dec 2023. The storage temps of the unit are -30C to +70C but the operating temps are -20C to +55C so you have to keep it out of the extreme temp ranges to maximize its abilities and battery life. If it is attached to your person where your body heat can warm it that should not be an issue.

This is not a toy. Do not play with the unit and set it off in non-emergency situations. There are stiff penalties for doing so.

This is not a 2-way signalling SEND device nor does it provide trip tracking. Once the signal is sent out, you can't retract the signal or communicate back to the authorities what the nature of your emergency is like an In-reach can. The In-Reach Explorer is basically a GPS first with SOS 2-way signalling added to it but is also more likely to have a drained battery and not be able to communicate than a PLB; it also does not have a beacon. It works on the Iridium network which is not flawless and even though they claim 100% global coverage that isn't exactly true. This is not a SPOT device which requires a subscription. In theory the ideal device should have the features of both the In-Reach explorer and a PLB, be pairable to your cell-phone and have separate batteries for the GPS/GLONASS and the PLB beacons AND be affordable. Perhaps some time in the future a company like Garmin or Magellan will create such a unit. smile

Dealer support in Canada should not be an issue as retailers are located throughout the country - in fact there are probably more Canadian retailers/dealers for this product than there are in the US because this is a UK product. Just my luck, there are no dealers in my province (for any PLBs) so my closest dealer is in Calgary.

The flimsy flapper button cover can be remedied with a rubber band or better yet a ranger band. What I did for the moment was after tying the lanyard on with the clip was to wrap the (included) lanyard around the flapper to prevent accidental opening. If you have the unit attached to your belt when walking through heavy bush the flapper could easily be opened accidentally or even ripped right off so you can see my idea of protecting the flapper as paramount. The downside is that it makes it a slightly more difficult to one hand operate with a ranger band on the cover. Also do not put heavy pressure on the flapper cover since that may accidentally press the emergency button which is not detented!

There are multiple ways of keeping the product on your person. It has a lanyard which can be used to fasten to your person (wrap it on a hook, button or belt). The rubber/plastic loop (included) integrated with the clip (included) can be threaded through your belt. The neoprene floater aid (included) can be belted on clipped on to your PFD. And of course being so small, you can simply put it in your pocket! My preference is to in-line attach on to my belt since it is so small it isn't noticed. I appreciated the antenna winder because it would have been a chore to push the antenna back into the unit.

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#281674 - 08/12/16 10:49 PM Re: Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 review [Re: Roarmeister]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3135
Loc: USA
Thank you for the detailed review.

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#281675 - 08/13/16 02:54 AM Re: Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 review [Re: Roarmeister]
Phaedrus Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2300
Loc: Big Sky Country
I need to pick up one of those!
_________________________
You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions. Naguib Mahfouz

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#281676 - 08/13/16 03:07 AM Re: Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 review [Re: Phaedrus]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6897
Loc: southern Cal
Another thank you for a fine review....
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#281681 - 08/13/16 08:45 PM Re: Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 review [Re: Roarmeister]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 218
Loc: Southern California
The Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB seems interesting.

Here's more information about it.

Another RescueMe Review

YouTube video: RescueMe product demo

Manufacturer's page - with downloadable manual
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)
(Ocean Signal PLB)

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#281684 - 08/13/16 10:32 PM Re: Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 review [Re: Roarmeister]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2749
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Thanks for the warning.

I've been dinged with the "customs processing fee" (which is actually a scam, since such items fall under free trade). But I didn't know that PLB registration was country-specific.

I have no respect for companies who use underhanded tricks to drive business. I hope you contact Amazon and ensure this seller gets a trip out to the woodshed.

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#281718 - 08/16/16 03:03 AM Re: Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 review [Re: Roarmeister]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1390
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Originally Posted By: Roarmeister
Very frustrating purchase for me. YMMV. You Americans hardly ever worry about the issues I encountered but I chalk this up to lessons learned. I point out these issues so someone else doesn't have to deal with them.

Never buy from an American company disguised as a Canadian company on Amazon.CA! The product shipped out of Seattle. The duty charges cost me an extra $77 I didn't count on, I should have refused the COD delivery. The whole purpose of the dot.ca site was to eliminate duty and import charges by having items ship within the country. This isn't even an American product but a UK product and manufacturer so I have an argument with Customs on this as US duties should not have been applicable at all! Note: after I purchased on Amazon I found out that I could have bought the unit $20 cheaper from an Ontario dealer and eliminated all of the issues I had so Amazon was definitely not the cheapest option at all. But since I already registered the unit and paid the duties it didn't make sense to return it and go with the other dealer.


I hope you contacted Amazon.ca in regards. I see the product you mentioned and added it to my shopping cart and there is no prompt of any import (duty) costs. I had something similar happen to me last year and I disputed it with Amazon and is apparently against their terms for the seller to not warn buyers that their purchase is import and subject to duty. As Dougwalkabout mentioned, that PLB should be duty free anyway. Contact Amazon. If they give you the runaround, email jeff@amazon.com (Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.) Believe it or not, he actually reads and acts (promptly) on customer emails.

Another link in regards to emails to Bezos.

_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#281789 - 08/23/16 02:32 AM Re: Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 review [Re: Teslinhiker]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 909
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
I don't think Amazon had anything to do with the application of the duties. When I checked the tracking log, I noted that it actually got to my city then somebody at the courier (Big Brown UPS) decided to send it to Winnipeg and they added the duties before sending it back to Regina! I sent in complaints to the seller and to Amazon without receiving a reply.

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