406 Personal Locator Beacons Recommended For Backcountry Travel

Jan 14, 2014

The relatively small and cheap devices (which do not require a subscription) can signal authorities of a need for rescue, along with the user's precise location.

The ACR ResQLinks are perhaps the most popular 406 PLB's on the market. The cheapest units retail for a little over $250, and can send GPS coordinates along with a distress signal that will be received by NOAA and forwarded to the appropriate responding agency.

Earlier this winter season, the Alaska Air National Guard out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson participated in a successful search and rescue for a snowmachiner from Koliganek. 

After the search, the Air National Guard mentioned to KDLG News that they recommend backcountry travelers carry 406 personal locator beacons, which are similar to the EPIRBs used at sea and ELTs used by aircraft.

Several agencies say that 406 PLBs are often the fastest way to notify authorities of a need for rescue, and the GPS-enabled units can transmit very precise coordinates of where a person is at. 406 PLBs also relatively cheap to purchase, and do not require a subscription to use.

KDLG’s Dave Bendinger has more: