I’d been thinking about a serious rescue beacon (PLB) for a long time, perhaps leaning toward the DeLorme InReach, when the ResQLink arrived under our tree. The two-way communication feature was very attractive, but the requirement of a (hardly rugged and heavy) smartphone and the substantial subscription fee kept me from buying in.
We decided not to let the perfect in the way of the good, and I’ve kept the ResQLink. The NOAA registration online was quick and easy.
It’s measuredmass.com though, and weight matters on a device like this. It’s really just dead weight; unless you’re almost dead, then it’s useful. The box and website claim 4.6 ounces / 130 grams. What does it say on the scale?
143.8 grams (or 5.1 oz). That’s 11% high. Without more samples of the device, I can’t comment on product variation. The strap weighs 1.8 grams, so that isn’t the cause. For a product whose weight is an important feature, even 9% is a lot.
In defense of ACR, the 130 g number may reflect the number of significant digits they claim. g is equivalent to g, which would reasonably cover 143 g. But the 4.6 oz measurement would signal 4.6±0.1 oz, which is equivalent to 130.4 ± 2.8 g, which surely won’t cover 143.8 g.
I’m stoked on the product, and will update this page with whatever review I can manage (I hope not to need to activate it). It’ll go in the pack for a trip this weekend.
Edit: I decided to familiarize myself with the PLB a little more. Unlocking what I thought was just a button-guard lock yielded a ‘sproing!’ as the antenna popped free. It’s the black band that encircles the entire beacon. I’d been expecting the antenna to unroll from within the beacon or something. Nifty and simple design.
ResQLink antenna deployed. It’s big!
It’s good to familiarize yourself with and test any rescue equipment well before you’ll need to use it in the field. I’ll be carefully re-reading the instructions again tonight.
inReach SE (6.9 oz) works standalone. $12/month subscription. I pair it with an iPod 5g for a live topo or satellite map. The ‘Pod weighs about three ounces. Ten ounces total gets you a two-way sat communicator with emergency dispatch, Hi-Res GPS mapping, a pretty good small camera, and all the apps your little heart desires.
Cool! Two-way communication sure would be nice.
I decided to stick with the PLB on cost, weight, and the simple lack of connectedness that a one-way PLB preserves. Sometimes we go to the wilderness to get away from it all :).