New ACR RESQLINK personal locator beacon (PLB) - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Default New ACR RESQLINK personal locator beacon (PLB)

Just recieved my new PLB and thought I'd share some info about it. Its called the ACR RESQFIX and its touted as the world's smallest and lightest PLB. ACR is the biggest name in emergency beacons. I'm not sure how available this beacon is in Canada. I know that MEC only carries the McMurdo Fastfind.



You can see in the photo that its way smaller than my ACR AQUAFIX (which I used to carry only when really deep in the wilderness) and also the SPOT 1 which was the only thing I usually carried in the backcountry over the past 4 or so years. The Spot while good for checking in with your contacts with pre-set messages does not compare in a real emergency to a real PLB which is far more powerful and reliable and rescue is initiated through a central rescue centre (with a US registered unit I believe the signal goes to the US Coast Guard) instead of a private company's office. If you want to know more google "spot vs plb."

I bought my Aquafix in 2006 and battery is supposed to be replaced every 5 years even though the supposed "shelf life" is near 10 years. Don't want to take a chance with my life so I planned to follow the recommended replacement schedule. Problem is that replacing the battery is more expensive than buying a new unit. So I bought the Resqlink online through backcountry.com for $289. Paid about $700 for the Aquafix in 2006 so not only is the new unit lighter and smaller its also much much cheaper. Gotta love the advance in technology! Brought the Resqlink accross the border myself the other day and didn't have to pay any tax or duty. Love that Nexus lane.

Just mailed in my registration form to the NOAA (in the US) and I'm all set. The form (which is included in the box) is simple and can be completed in 5 minutes.




Here you can see just how small the Resqlink is. Amazing.



And it only weighs 146 grams! Barely noticable.

Found a $12 Lowepro padded camera case that fits it just perfect. Has a really solid belt loop if you want to carry it on your waist. It also fits very nicely into the smallest Pelican Case if you want the ultimate in protection for it.



I don't think there is any excuse anymore to not carry a PLB. This is truly breakthrough technology.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 03:03 PM
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 05:50 PM
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For Calgary members, it's possible to get ACR ResQLink at GPS City and GPS Central

http://www.gpscentral.ca/products/ac...k-plb-375.html

http://www.gpscity.ca/acr-resq-link-plb.html

Though it looks like they are currently out of stock.

I just went with the McMurdo FastFind because I had a big gift certificate with MEC.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 06:52 PM
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I just checked the local West Marine to see if they had a ResQLink. They did but it was a US model and they could sell it only to Americans living in the USA. Seems that there are different models for Canada and the USA. Has something to do with the registration.
Also, GPS City reports that they are no longer carrying this item in their Canadian store.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 02:33 PM
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Russian front
Per Billk's comment, I'm curious as to why you sent in a US registry form? Did you purchase the Beacon from the US? If so conact ACR directly and ask them to exchange the beacon for one that has a Canadian Identifier code on it and also to supply a Canadian registration form. If you bought it in Canada, I'm not sure why the distributor sold you a US coded beacon? Please clarify THX.

When Burnaby MPR Tel-Tech produced the first 406 PLB we were allowed to sell to other countries with special authority but the beacon had to be registered to the National Search Secretariat at the time and was provided for limited test situations untill approvals were provided for other countries from NOAA/NASA And Industry Canada.

And for everyone else considering purchasing a PLB. Make sure you purchase a Canadian coded beacon which comes with a Canadian registration form. ACR may not have the necessary approvals on this new model to ship CA coded beacons to Canada though. If they do then they should be able to offer a recoded beacon.

It's not a big deal, but if your US beacon pops on the radar sceen, then the Canadian MCC is probably going to bounce it back to the US MCC for verification of who the owner is. So it might make it a bit confusing for the first 5 minutes of the response time untill they sort it out. Either way they will respond.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
quote:ACR is the biggest name in emergency beacons.
eeyah, kind of debatable. They have been around along time especially from the Aviation side of things for ELTs whereas McMurdo has been mostly a Marine Nav/Comm based company. I'm not sure because they won't tell me, but I think McMurdo picked up the relationship of the old MPR SatFind program and renamed it FastFind. Northern Airborne Technologies had the contract for a while on the PLB but the market just wasn't lucrative enough due to the pricing point at the time. Negotiations with COSPAS-SARSAT and NOAA to approve a smaller package with 48hour battery time as apposed to 72hours brings the packaging and pricing point down significantly.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 02:46 PM
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As pmicheals suggests, there is no legal impediment to using an American-registered PLB (different than air and marine devices) in Canada or visa versa, in fact they don't have to be registered at all. The voluntary registration of PLBs is to assist in reducing false alarms by having first-contact info in their database. Once your PLB is triggered the system will respond regardless of registration. Even when verification is required, such as triggering your PLB while on an out-of-country expedition, those few minutes will not affect the much larger logistics of staging a rescue.

I've always registered mine and currently carry the RESQFIX...now that PDBs are this small there really is no excuse except maybe price...but considering all the other electronics now found in the backcountry, is that even an excuse?
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Trail Talk

The voluntary registration of PLBs is to assist in reducing false alarms by having first-contact info in their database. Once your PLB is triggered the system will respond regardless of registration. Even when verification is required, such as triggering your PLB while on an out-of-country expedition, those few minutes will not affect the much larger logistics of staging a rescue.
True but we often wondered whether or not we should have made the registration compulsory. Feedback from the SAR community suggested that making it compulsory could potentially lead to a reluctancy to use it when getting into potential trouble out of liability concerns. It was hard to work around freedom/rights issues when dealing with the wording. When applied properly (similar to filing a flt plan), that first contact info becomes very useful if you have supplied them with some form of Itinerary for your trips. But yes in general, it helps to determine that it's not going off in yours or someone elses basement.

Quote:
quote:I've always registered mine and currently carry the RESQFIX...now that PDBs are this small there really is no excuse except maybe price...but considering all the other electronics now found in the backcountry, is that even an excuse?
When you consider that the cost of the Original SatFind 406 PLB was almost the same cost of a category II EPIRB $1400 (ACR's proto wa running a touch lower) and the current price of a McMurdo is roughly $350 ACR's is $280 with no additional user fees, you're right there is no excuse.


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post #9 of (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 06:42 PM
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Thanks for the report! With a lot of people looking at different options, it's really interesting to hear personal experiences with the various options.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 11:11 PM
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I went through similar dilemma a year and a half ago:
https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...25&whichpage=1

I did end up buying the FastFind from MEC. So far I am quite happy with it. I have tested the GPS function three times and the battery twice, otherwise it comes along on all my trips and provides a peace of mind.

The price, weight and battery performance makes PLBs a reasonable and recommended equipment for anyone venturing out into the backcountry.

Personally I feel the PLBs are encountering a similar resistance avy beacons had when introduced but in few years most people will carry them. Ask Santa for one!
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 03-27-2015, 08:57 PM
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So I just bought the ACR ResQLink PLB from West Marine in Vancouver. I didn't think to check, but sure enough, it's a U.S. coded beacon.

So now the decision is, do I return it and look for a Canadian version, or see if I can locate a place that can re-code it. What a pain in the butt.

Anyway, just a reminder to check before you buy.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 03-28-2015, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guntis View Post
So I just bought the ACR ResQLink PLB from West Marine in Vancouver. I didn't think to check, but sure enough, it's a U.S. coded beacon.

So now the decision is, do I return it and look for a Canadian version, or see if I can locate a place that can re-code it. What a pain in the butt.

Anyway, just a reminder to check before you buy.
Just to reaffirm, the Canadian Beacon Registry FAQs (https://www.cbr-rcb.ca/cbr/presentat...tre/faq.php#Q5) are clear that registration will require a Canadian-coded PLB, HOWEVER, registration is not mandatory and will not affect the response to an emergency signal from a non-registered device!

In view of this, I don't think you should worry or leave it behind because of the US coding. What you do miss without registration is the contact info they would have on file, which may help confirm your itinerary or provide important medical background for those with such concerns.

And still (sorry for the tangent), one must be prepared for a day or more of survival on your own before help arrives.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 03-28-2015, 01:05 PM
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Got mine on-line from the Binnacle in Halifax. Slick unit! They had a promotion on when I bought it and much to my surprise a really nice pair of free binoculars arrived in the same shipping package. Also purchased my VHF radio from them years earlier. Really pleased with their service and free shipping. And they will do their best to price match. There are some good discussions on PLB's/SPOT's etc. on the Westcoast Paddler website. Happy Trails.
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