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What works better…The SPOT™ Satellite GPS Messenger or the ACR SARLink™ 406 PLB?

   First, the question is really what you need and what is your price range of affordability. Both types of units have pluses and disadvantages, but the gap between the two is closing in. Especially on the two latest upgrades by both ACR SARLink™ and SPOT™ in the past few months now available.

    SPOT™ Satellite GPS Messenger has the advantages of being at an initial lower price compared to the ACR SARLink™ 406 PLB when first purchased. However, once the SARLink™ has been purchased there is no operating coast to operate the unit during an emergency. Where the SPOT™ requires an annual fee to be in service. So again, what is your budget?

    SARLink™ now has some of the same application functions that put SPOT™ to the forefront a few years ago. With tagging uplink for tracking on Google maps your location as you venture threw the back country. Or calling for help in a full emergency requiring immediate rescue, plus an option of just letting your friends and family know your OK. With this option of messaging and not just using the emergency 406 beacon. Then a small fee is required to activate this option. However, not necessary for standard 406 satellite rescue. But note if you use service for messaging with the SARLink™, it is about half the price of SPOT™ annual messaging service fee.

    So if I mostly stayed on dry land such as the wilderness areas of Colorado, then SPOT™ would be my choice. However, if I were to spend time on the water sailing from one Continent to another, then SARLink™ would be a better choice. Plus SARLink™ has a full line of Mariner and Aviation PLBs best suited for this application designed specifically for saltwater applications and plane down automatic triggering, if your plane crashes. And the SARLink™ 406 also utilizes the standard homing signal 121.5MHz so Search and Rescue on the ground can hone in on you for faster recovery. The Civil Air Patrol has been utilizing this method for decades to find victims on both land and sea.

    So if you are just a hiker or backpacker, then SPOT™ in my opinion, would work better for you. And with that said if I did both hiking and sailing, then SARLink™ would be my choice.

    However, do not disregard one over the other… both will do the trick when you need help! These reliable signaling technologies have saved more than 25,000 lives since 1982.

Again, what is your budget and what is your application.

By Scott Hensler 0/12/2013

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