When hunting in remote locations, I have often thought it would be a good idea to carry a Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB for short.
Things can go wrong out there in the wild. Hunters can get lost or injured, which, especially with unfavourable weather conditions, can lead to life-threatening situations. My good mate Paul Lisignoli, as an example, once spent two perilous nights lying with a badly broken arm in the bottom of a steep-sided gully in New Zealand while helicopters flew all around looking for him. We all thought he was a goner! A PLB would have had him out of there in a snap.
In the past, the trouble with PLBs (which are for personal use only and not to be confused with EPIRBs) has been their size. Few hunters have used them because they have been too bulky to carry around in your daypack. Not anymore. Welcome to the rescueME PLB1.
I was shown the rescueME PLB1 by Rob Fickling from Moroka30 (also of Beyond the Divide TV fame) at a recent ADA meeting, and I have to say it is an impressive little unit. I’ve listed the technical specs below, but the key attribute of the rescueME PLB1 is its size. It weighs only 116 grams and fits into the palm of your hand – perfect for hunters to stash in their daypack until the day they need it.
To activate the unit simply pull out the retractable antenna, lift the flap that protects the ON key (the spring loaded flap prevents accidental activation) then press the ON key for 1 second. Once deployed, no matter where you are on land or sea, the emergency services will be on their way in a jiffy. The unit will send out a signal for 24 hours, and also has a strobe light to make it even easier for rescuers to spot you. Make no mistake though, the unit is for life-threatening emergencies only – it’s not for when you’re too tired to walk up the hill. Also make sure that your ambulance cover is always paid up as the cost of a rescue helicopter ride can be a shock to the wallet!
The battery of the rescueME lasts for seven years and the unit is covered by a warranty of the same length. Unlike other versions, there are no subscription fees for the rescueME PLB1, but you must register it online before use and provide various details, including a next-of-kin contact. This just lets authorities start checking things out while the helicopter is on its way – they want to be certain who they’re looking for.
At a retail price of $389, this compact PLB is extremely cheap insurance for making sure you come home safely to your family. The cost is the equivalent of $55 per year and even less if you replace the battery and continue to carry the unit. For further details, contact the guys at Moroka30.
Satellite TX: 406.040M Hz, 5W
Homing TX: 121.5M Hz, 50mW
Operation life: 24 h at -20c
Temp range: -20c to 55c
Weight: 116 g
Dimensions: 75 mm x 51 mm x 33 mm
Waterproof: 15 m for 1 h