Due to the recent discussions about the events surrounding the death of James Kim and his family's ordeal in the wilderness there has been some discussion on Personal Locator Beacons.
I mentioned on the Long Distance Riders List that I was going to look into a group buy on a good beacon. Here is the status of this project and what I am trying to do.
First the best device (in my opinion) is the ACR Terra Fix (www.acrterrafix.com). I am very familiar with ACR products, we have them on our tankers and I have carried them on all the recreational yachts I have been responsible for since 1978. I am happy to say that I have been rescued thanks to an ACR EPRIB and on a separate occasion an ACR firefly strobe.
The Terra Fix is a 406 device which means the signal is transmitted to satellites and bounced to NOAA who then coordinates the rescue. Because this is a 406, at the time of purchase you register the unit with NOAA including your personal information, any medical information and a contact number. In the event of activation of the beacon NOAA will call the alternate number. This can be an additional life saver as the rescue teams can be given information about what your were doing (riding a motorcycle perhaps) and other features such as the rider wears a HI-Viz Darien (yet another reason to wear the HI Viz).
At this time the retail price of the TerraFix is $599 w/o GPS and $699 with GPS. My thought is that the GPS is nice but perhaps not completely necessary. The scenario where the GPS would be useful is if you want off a road into a gully and were obscured from above. This is what happened to Jim Young, a rider who perished in Colorado a few years ago. It is up to the individual to decide which is better for your needs. Without the GPS the signal is triangulated by the satellites which gives a good fix, however there is some wait time involved. The GPS unit transmits a position faster.
Currently ACR is offering a $75 rebate for units purchased from a retailer before December 31. I am working with supplier of safety equipment that I have known for years on offering a little discount which combined with the rebate could make this a very good buy. Any arrangement I can set up will be direct between the purchaser and LRS (my vendor), I will get no fee, or kickback from this deal other than the chance of a more discounted unit.
What I need to do is get a feel for exactly how much interest there is in this program. It would be a one shot deal with the purchase having to be made by the end of this month unless the vendor wants to do it again. Even so this is an opportunity to combine a dealer discount with the rebate which will likely not happen again.
If you are interested please send a note to my hotmail address which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put PLB only in the subject line. In the body of your message please indicate you level of interest using the following scale.
1 Yes, make me a deal for better than the rebate and I am in.
2 It is something I would like to have and if the deal is good enough I am in.
3 I am interested but not sure if I will buy, please keep me informed.
If we put the deal together and the quantities are limited I will send the announcement e-mail to everyone who put 1 in the body of their message before the lists so they get first crack.
This information will be posted on the following lists / forums.
ADVRIDER.COM (Adventure Riders)
Feel free to distribute to other lists.
Secretary, BMW MOA
Iron Butt Association #250