If you have been following my blog, you remember my post about passing out and hitting my head one night while sick. Several folks made comments about setting up a way to have others local to you check in on you, nightly/daily check-in phone calls, etc.
None of these are perfect…if you like to boondock in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t someone you can ask to check on you. And if you’re a solo lady, that in of itself is a bit scary (asking someone you don’t know….). A daily check-in by phone can be difficult as well…you might be out of cell phone range is the first problem. The second is inconveniencing someone on a daily basis.
In one of my favorite motorcycle forums they have been discussing Personal Locator Beacon solutions.
“The PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is a pocket-sized emergency 406MHz beacon, a scaled down version of the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) that boaters and pilots, respectively, have had available to them for years.”
~ Landfall Navigation
These items were brought up in a boondocking session I attended at RV Life on Wheels recently. While a nice option, they are pricey…VERY pricey at $500-700 although there are no annual fees.
Recently some new products have come into the marketplace. One is the TracMe Beacon, only $99 and again, no annual fees. Note that this is not satellite communication and it does not automatically start a search & rescue operation. Not does it allow you to notify someone that you are okay. But it is one newer solution to be considered.
The new product now being discussed in The Motorcycle Tourer’s Forum is the SPOT Satellite Messenger. Priced at $170 by the manufacturer, it is in the affordable range. (The cheapest price I found was at Amazon.com, at under $135.) There is an annual fee of $99 for the basic services with a couple of upgrade options. But for the $99 you get a lot…
- ALERT 9-1-1:
Dispatch emergency responders to your exact location. Unlimited usage included.
- CHECK IN:
Let contacts know where you are and that you’re okay. Unlimited usage included.
- ASK FOR HELP:
Request help from friends and family at your exact location. Unlimited usage included.
This means you can easily use it to notify family/friends that you are okay. Run into a problem, then you can ask for help via the SPOT Messenger. And in an emergency you can send a message to the control center who can notify your emergency contacts for you.
It’s not perfect…like any satellite solution it needs a clear line of sight for the best signal. It can take up to 20 minutes to lock onto the signal. Too many trees or other obstructions and the signal may not go out. But if you have been using the CHECK IN feature, then your last location sent is available as a starting point.
Here are some reviews I found, Lets Go Mobile and Wild Snow, as well as a good FAQ page on the emergency service. One of the motorcyclists has sent check in updates to his blog! I really like this product and think it will only get better. I think I see one in my near future….
UPDATE 5/12/08: I have purchased a SPOT Messenger - see the link in the sidebar or click HERE for the best price including Priority Mail shipping.
Till next time - keep on rollin’,