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11

There are three criteria to be balanced in my thinking on the situation of when and if to activate a call for help to a rescue service: Do you have the skills and training to extract yourself safely from the current situation? Equally important is your assessment of what other means of communications are likely to be available in the timeframe your current ...


6

According to this article on Walk Highlands, from December 2011: Hillwalkers and climbers will be able to legally carry Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) from 12 January following a change in UK regulations. Previously the devices, which send out a distress signal identifying the user’s exact location when activated, could only be licensed for use ...


4

All of your situations look like emergencies, especially if you are alone. I read an article where the National Park Service was angry at use of PLBs because someone climbed a mountain and did not want to down-climb, or they were "tired" but seemed to not have nay other condition that would negatively affect their ability to walk out of the wilderness, or ...


3

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: ...


2

Here is how I would evaluate it. Are there any immediate life threats? Are you unable to safely move yourself to a place where you can be rescued, faster than help would arrive with a PLB activation? Are you unable to manage or stop the life threats on your own? If the answer to those questions is yes, then I would activate the PLB. I would define "life ...


2

Taking each one in turn: If the trailhead is several hours away you're not feasibly going to be able to get there on your own with broken bones, and may seriously injure yourself further doing so. Several hours away normally could turn into a lot longer if you're bitten by a rattlesnake, and again by attempting the hike rather than resting you're going to ...


2

The Wikipedia article has a lot of detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distress_radiobeacon. There's no fee. In the USA, the response comes from government agencies such as the Coast Guard. It does need to be registered, but registration is free and easy online. If you use it when there's not an emergency, you could be fined.


1

I think your criteria are all good, in that you should choose one that is suitable for the environments you will be adventuring in, but price is almost irrelevant, and unless you are hiking really long distances weight wouldn't worry me. For me, critical features would include: battery life signal range and coverage water resistance temperature ...



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