We all know that everything that we do in life carries risks. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a walk or a train ride, there are things that can go wrong and put you in danger.
A big part of survival and emergency preparedness is to prepare in advance for what might come in the future, as many possibilities as we can.
One part of this is with our gear and a piece I want to look at today is the PLB or Personal Locator Beacon.
These are very simple little devices that are designed to be used should you ever truly find yourself in a life or death survival situation.
This is no toy and as soon as you use it, help is going to be on the way.
People enter the wilderness for many different reasons. For me, I like to escape society, for others, it could be fishing, hunting, hiking, camping or any number of other activities.
Here we are going to take a look at some of the best personal locator beacons on the market today.
- 1 Best Personal Locator Beacons of 2020
Best Personal Locator Beacons of 2020
5. SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Messenger Personal Locator Beacon
If you want something that is going to potentially save your life one day then you want it from a well-known company in the outdoor industry and in at number 5 we have just that with the SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Messenger Personal Locator Beacon.
By carrying this little device you can ensure that even though you may be out of cell service, help is always available.
It uses satellite and GPS so that your family can track your journey progress. Should the need ever arise, pressing the SOS button will send emergency responders your call for help and exact location. This means that no matter the damage or if you can’t speak, this can save your life!
4. ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ Personal Locator Beacon
The ResQLink+ Personal Locator Beacon doesn’t require any monthly or yearly subscription but will require registration when you first get the product which is as simple of a process as could be.
One important feature about this personal locator beacon, especially if you spend time around deep waters is that it is waterproof and it floats.
This is a small PLB that will fit comfortably in the hand, is easy to use, and comes with a fantastic price tag. When you need something reliable and effective, the ResQLink+ Personal Locator Beacon is the way to go. Once activated, the built-in GPS will guide rescuers to within 100 meters of your location. It is also fully equipped with a strobe light that would make it easier to find you at night.
To activate this PLB just simply deploy the antenna and press “ON”. It has two built-in tests for the internal electronics and GPS functionality. It comes with a non-hazmat battery certified for six years and with a typical shelf life of 11 years.
3. goTenna Mesh Off-Grid SMS & Personal Locator Beacon
I was a little torn about this one when I first came across it but that was more to do with me jumping to conclusions than anything else. It looks really cool and stylish but to look at it, it doesn’t really “look” as capable as some personal locator beacons. Well, I was wrong!
The goTenna Mesh is THE personal locator beacon for those that like to head out in groups as you can create a network and keep track of each others positions.
Once you receive the PLB you will need to download the app so that you can pair your phone via Bluetooth. You will need to download the maps too. They can be used with any Android or iOS devices to send messages, chat and locations to other goTenna users within a 4 mile range. This is the same whether or not there is cell service or WiFi.
If you find yourself in trouble then this device will send out your call for help to any other mesh users in the area. The range and the signal strength both increase when there are more device users in the area.
2. Standard Horizon HX870 VHF Personal Locator Beacon
A couple of years ago I was clearing out the attic and came across an old Standard Horizon device that had been up there for tears. Flicked the switch and sure enough it powered up. While this may not be the same device, it is the same company behind it.
This is the perfect PLB for those working in our oceans and has Digital Selective Calling (DSC) capability. Pressing the red emergency button will alert the Coast Guard and other boaters to your position. It features built-in GPS which is incredibly quick and accurate. You can also make position requests for other boaters or set the radio to transmit your position to a specific person or to everyone.
As is needed from a good PLB for use around water, this Standard Horizon personal locator beacon is waterproof and it floats. It also has a man overboard function, group monitoring, water-activated emergency strobe light, and it receives NOAA weather channel and alerts. The compass, waypoints, and routes functions aid in navigation.
The Standard Horizon HX870 VHF Personal Locator Beacon will require registration when first received which will allow you to get your free MMSI number to program into the radio.
1. SpyTec STI GL300 Mini Portable Personal Locator Beacon
The SpyTec GL300 is not just a great PLB for taking along on our adventures but it could also be used to keep a track of your child or an elderly relatives location.
This is an incredibly accurate personal locator beacon which has absolutely no problem keeping track of your movements. The geofencing feature sends you a text or email alert when the person you are tracking moves.
It’s small, it’s powerful, it’s lightweight and it saves lives!
One thing that I did find strange at first was that this personal locator beacon doesn’t produce any sound at all. It doesn’t beep, nothing. This being said, if it was being used to track your elderly relatives without them knowing then you wouldn’t want it making noise anyway.
They do claim that the battery life is two weeks but that should never be trusted as it all comes down to how much use it gets. You can monitor the charge level on the tracking website. This PLB does require a monthly subscription from $25 a month though it is free to activate the device.