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Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby BrianF » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:40 pm

snusmumriken wrote:However this might not be the whole story. I can see three distinct cases where the use of locator devices may actually increase SAR time and resources used.1. The SOS button is pressed without a true emergency.2. The device malfunctions, loved ones at home get worried, and the SAR gets called out to search when no actual emergency exists.3. Carrying the device leads to overconfidence and people attempt routes they otherwise would not feel comfortable doing.


1. I don't know about other models, but with my Spot it would be serious user error to press the SOS button accidently, it requires opening a small cover marked SOS to access the button, all other buttons are on the face. But if you mean that someone would call for help just because they have a device and are in a tough situation (like an unplanned bivvy) that otherwise they could get themselves out of or just suffer through; I am sure that has happened and will happen with increasing frequency as more people have the technology. It already has happened with cell phones, at least in my area. That is the best argument for two-way communication.
2. I have instructed my contacts to NOT call SAR if no OK is sent, for that very reason. But your scneario could happen without that kind of information for the contacts. The OK signal should not be used for Rlown's deadman switch use, as you say the device could fail, or in my case my memory might fail and I would forget to send an OK.
3. I am not sure at if this would be the case, I suppose it would depend on personality, the same might be true for bringing a partner.
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher



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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby papasequoia » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:09 pm

This:

Wandering Daisy wrote:I have previously objected to SPOT for three reasons - 1) cost, 2) weight and 3) too many people using it as crutch in place of experience. Cost has come down as has weight. Technology has trumped my two main reasons not to use the devise. It still is true that a number of novices will venture where they should not go thinking they can push the button and get "saved". ... I am of the generation that does not need constant communication, and kids are grown, husband fine with not hearing from me for 10 days.


And this, especially #1 and #3:

snusmumriken wrote:However this might not be the whole story. I can see three distinct cases where the use of locator devices may actually increase SAR time and resources used.
1. The SOS button is pressed without a true emergency.
2. The device malfunctions, loved ones at home get worried, and the SAR gets called out to search when no actual emergency exists.
3. Carrying the device leads to overconfidence and people attempt routes they otherwise would not feel comfortable doing.


Maybe it's just because I'm getting old, but when I started backpacking 45 years ago all of this was the stuff of science fiction. Back then we learned first aid, how to build splints, how to build a travois and other contraptions if you had a partner - and a lot more. Solo hiking was to get away from everything, and if you got into trouble you knew how to get out of it or you suffered the consequences and that was that. Now you just check for bars on the cell phone or push a button for a satellite signal to be sent so you are rescued. For some time now I've been having a knee jerk reaction against all of this technology and it is ticking me off that many of you are starting to convince me that I may have been wrong to resist. (the Borg?) :eek: I don't know what the answer is, I guess like Daisy and others I'm starting to reconsider. But I'll tell you one thing - there should be serious consequences for people who abuse this technology. Every time I read about someone who called in a rescue because they were too tired to hike out or some other similar story I just want to track them down and slap them silly. :soapbox:
Nature always wins
> miles = < people
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby riverwalker » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:13 pm

From OP
You register the PLB -- not sure if there's a fee for that, but there's no subscription fee.


There is no fee for registering your PLB. That is the main reason I went with an ACR over a SPOT. It was a one time fee of $200 and the battery is good for 5 years. By then technology will have advanced and it will be obsolete.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby SweetSierra » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:14 am

Speaking to BrianF's hypothetical scenerio in Ionian Basin, several years ago on a trip with my husband and another couple to Ionian Basin we had a similar situation occur. While camped at the lake beneath Wanda Pass on our final day in the basin, a man from a nearby camp asked us if we could help him as his friend in camp wasn't feeling well and couldn't hike over Wanda Pass. He was so glad to see us as he didn't know his hiking partner well (they had met up just for the backpack) and didn't know what he was going to do. He didn't want to leave him to hike out to get help because of the time it would take to get help and because his partner would then be alone.

His other option would be to stay with him until he felt better but his partner's condition could also worsen and he would have wasted precious time. At that time we carried a satellite phone and we told him we could call for help if he needed it. I think the fact we had a phone helped to reassure the sick man. The two men discussed it, and said they would try for the pass with our small band for company. We all headed up and they climbed up the right and steeper side of the pass and waved at us as we took the more central route. The last time we saw them, they were setting up camp at Wanda Lake. We were headed for Darwin Bench so didn't stop to talk. But I saw one of the men wave as we went by, so we felt his partner probably felt better. I've often thought about the choices that would have been made if we hadn't come along and how just the presence of other people as well as the Sat phone bolstered their spirits enough to try for the pass.

As George Durkee said in his comment about the woman who fell and wrote the book about it, she was extremely lucky that people happened to pass by in such a remote area. I recall that in her book the SAR team who came to her aid said she was much closer to death than she thought she was. Another day, and she wouldn't have made it.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby Flux » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:37 am

Once you get one, and hold it in your hand and see how tiny it really is, and then take it out back and send an OK check in, and then you get a text message and email with your lat and long on it in minutes, and then you look at it on the linked map and zoom in and it is within 20 feet of where you transmitted (most times exactly), you will wonder why you did not get one sooner.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:42 am

I totally empathize with the "Freedom" issue - if a soloist could accept the risks and then sign a paper that said NO RESCUE OR SEARCH no matter what, then it is just you and your decision. But, in reality, this is not going to happen. Even though my family is OK with not actually talking with me or knowing exactly where I am, I am about 99 percent sure that if I went missing they would call authorities and get a rescue started, even if that is not what I wanted. I do not use a GPS, do not take a cell phone. The only "gaget" I have is my i-pod shuffle that I take in shoulder seasons and listen to music or books on tape while in the tent, to mitigate the long and boring dark hours. Usually it is too cold to hold on to a book and the batteries for a head lamp outweigh the tiny shuffle. I would NEVER want to listen to music while walking, or if any daylight were left to explore. Believe me, taking SPOT for me is like listening to fingernails grating on the chalkboard. But, I hope I can learn to take the thing and then put it out of my mind that I really have it. We old dogs can learn new tricks.

As for safety in numbers, there are flaws in that concept too. In case of injury, if only one other is with you, then you have to leave the injured alone to go for help. Some cases, OK, others the injured really does need care. If a group does not really stick together, then a member can still go missing. In the old days, some groups actually carried walkie-talkies.

I think the desire to constantly communicate is a cultural thing. Nowadays, people seem to have the cell phone glued to their ear! I call our modern culture, the yak, yak, yak culture. I remember when we would not think of making a long distance phone call until the rates went down at some rediculous hour like 11PM! Then we would quickly say or peace in 3 minutes! But, I do not think those who want to stay in touch with the outside world via technology are "wrong", they simply are going to have a different wilderness experience than I am. Regardless of our leanings, we need to accept personal responsibility. That means not using SPOT as a substitute for experience and skill and those of us wanting "freedom" should not put others at risk.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby rlown » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:57 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:
As for safety in numbers, there are flaws in that concept too. In case of injury, if only one other is with you, then you have to leave the injured alone to go for help. Some cases, OK, others the injured really does need care. If a group does not really stick together, then a member can still go missing. In the old days, some groups actually carried walkie-talkies.



Actually I have my group carry walkie talkies. Not that they have them on.. sigh..

Our group always has a talk before each trip.. It is mandatory. The plan is to stabilize the victim and then leave. We know and agree on the risks. Even in a group of 2. I think a spot is great, esp if you can hit it for a friend. My point has always been that you might not be able to hit it for yourself.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby oldranger » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:12 pm

WD pretty much sums up my conflicts and philosophy.

Thanks

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby frediver » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:59 pm

Just wondering: Would a few Trail Junction Registers help out any? Sign your name describe new plans etc.
replace the register every season as needed. Just have a few central spots in the backcountry to leave a change of plans?
I do not like Spot or PLB's for all the reasons listed in the messages above.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby erranthkr » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:27 pm

I carry a Spot. Why?
1. Some level of peace of mind. Not necessarily mine, but my family's. If there's a way to lessen the concern that family and friends have when we enter the wilderness, then it's worth it.
2. Risk management. I take on additional risks when in the backcountry. The spot will not prevent accidents, and does not make me a better hiker, but I believe it increases my and, if with someone, my hiking buddy's chances of getting help if it is needed.

Personally, I think the first reason is probably the more important one.

Spot has a tracking feature where it sends a signal of your location every 10 minutes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pRAuZTSO_M). I had this option when I first got the Spot almost two years ago, but opted to turn it off earlier this year to save money. I will definitely add this feature again when I go on my next backpack.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby fishmonger » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:43 pm

used to have a Spot. Now I have a satellite phone, and it does everything the Spot didn't do.
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Re: Satellite Emergency Notification Devices: signalling gizmos

Postby frediver » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:50 pm

I have been followimg the Spot debate for a few years now and fr all I have read Spot works well enough but has had a few glaring failures, enough that I would not depend on that system.
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