Personal Locator Beacon

It’s a gadget you don’t “need” until you need it, which is hopefully never. But in an emergency, ACR’s new SARLink personal locator beacon will be your best friend. The device has an onboard 66-channel GPS module that can transmit your latitude and longitude to search-and-rescue squads when needed. The company cites the 406 MHz PLB as being accurate to within 110 yards.

ACR SARLink.jpg


The 8.9-ounce unit is smaller and uses less power than other models, the company says. It comes with a lithium battery pack and can survive under 1 meter of water for 1 hour (or 10 meters for 10 minutes), the company cites. Charged up, it will transmit a signal for 24 hours straight in temps as low as minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit.

The SARLink is currently available for $500.

—Ryan Dionne

Posted by Cameron - 09/17/2009 01:44 PM

PLBs are for “experts” only, not mass market consumers, as they can lead to complacency and a false sense of security.

PLBs are not a necesity (like an avy beacon) and at $500 they aren’t cheap.

Bottom line: If you have $500 to spend, please spend it on a survival class before you spend it on a PLB.

Posted by Stephen B - 02/17/2010 08:49 AM

Cameron’s point is valid. These are not for getting you out of the woods because you’re tired. That said, there are people who should have them. Pilots and offshore boaters would be crazy not to take advantage of this technology. All aircraft, including small light single engine aircraft are required by regulation (law) to have a certified (expensive) emergency locator beacon installed in their aircraft. Prior to February 2009, these were 121.5 MHz transmitters that were monitored by satellite. This satellite monitoring was discontinued last year being replaced by the much more accurate 406 MHz ELT’s but the FAA has not required aircraft owners to replace their installed systems due to cost. The old systems still work but aren’t satellite monitored therefore leading to many hours if not days delay in successful rescue. Having one of these in your possession could save you and your passengers life.

Posted by John H - 08/22/2010 08:43 PM

I must be an “expert”. I haven’t taken a survival class, and don’t plan to. I have been backpacking in the Sierra Nevada for over 40 years and never go alone. Never needed an emergency response, but I can imagine circumstances in which one would be potentially life saving. For example, a serious fracture or a rattlesnake bite would be reason enough to activate the locator. As a matter of fact, we had a near miss with a large rattlesnake a couple of weeks ago. It was coiled and rattling on the trail. Fortunately, it didn’t bite anyone.

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