Take the 2-minute tour ×
The Great Outdoors Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who love outdoor activities, excursions, and outdoorsmanship. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There's some discussion here about SPOT vs. PLB. The article recommends that PLB's (Personal Locator Beacons) are more reliable than SPOT (Satellite Communications), a comment says this is not true, the result appears inconclusive.

Is there any significant difference in reliability between SPOT, PLB, and similar services?

(Personal use case: mountains at high latitudes, but I'm interested in generic answers)

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer 1

A SPOT will only work if you can see the sky. If you're in a deep canyon where there's not simultaneous line of sight to enough GPS satellites, it won't work. PLB's these days all include GPS, but GPS isn't needed in order to make the device work.

There seems to be some anecdotal evidence in real-world use that SPOTs are extremely unreliable: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=25583&skip_to_post=291623#291623

A SPOT will continue signaling for longer than a PLB.

You didn't ask about price, but the yearly subscription for a SPOT is a huge rip-off. You're paying for the features such as messaging and "I'm OK," which may reassure your family but will not do much for your safety.

SPOT and PLBs are for use on land. If you were going to be, e.g., sailing across the Pacific, you'd want a different, specialized device.

share|improve this answer
    
Could you please add a bit of information about international use to your answer? –  Steed Jul 17 '13 at 7:59
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.