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Anybody have recent experience with the SPOT or inReach products? I'm trying to decide if I want to get one of those, or an old school PLB. I don't really want/need the "update" functions - I'm usually trying to stay out of touch and away from tech. What I really want is something I can use if the SHTF and it is time to bring in the cavalry. The PLB products are still a little pricey, but you don't pay for a subscription. Any experience with the current product offerings would be appreciated!
What they don't tell you is that, if you don't cancel the service after the first year, it automatically renews the second year at $160.00 per year. You can't find the second year pricing anywhere, unless you look somewhere deep in the fine print after you purchase the device. I am very reluctant to deal with companies that have business practices like that.
ACR and McMurdo do real PLB's for $250-$300. That's got to be cheaper than SPOT in the long run unless you really need the tracking feature.
Quote from: badknees on October 14, 2013, 06:39:02 PMACR and McMurdo do real PLB's for $250-$300. That's got to be cheaper than SPOT in the long run unless you really need the tracking feature.Probably, but keep in mind that PLB batteries are life-limited to 10 years in storage and must be replaced by returning the units. I am not aware of any units have user-replaceable cells, though you can buy the batteries online. The batteries are not cheap. I have not decided yet whether to send mine back or attempt the replacement myself. However, given that a PLB is a last chance kind of device, tinkering with the innards on the kitchen table probably is not the best way to go.
My PLB (ACR) has a 5 year battery life. I just replaced it and it cost about $200 (battery and labor). I paid about $550 for it about 6 years ago.
Quote from: qkh178 on October 15, 2013, 06:59:14 AMMy PLB (ACR) has a 5 year battery life. I just replaced it and it cost about $200 (battery and labor). I paid about $550 for it about 6 years ago.Hmmm...that's more than my ACR will cost from what I remember (unit not handy to check again, but I could be recalling incorrectly). And, now that I think more about it, it does have a 5 year life (earlier comment about 10 years clearly in error).In the long run, maintaining a PLB still comes out ahead. After you amortize the initial cost of the PLB (which would occur in about 3.5 years compared to the Spot), the ongoing annual expenses for the PLB would average $40/year based on battery replacement vs the $160 Spot subscription. The bottom line for me is that the PLB is a serious tool for emergencies and the Spot is not.
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