Forums: Climbing Information: Accident and Incident Analysis:
PLB/SPOT incident
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Accident and Incident Analysis

Premier Sponsor:

 


amarius


Nov 13, 2013, 11:38 AM
Post #1 of 10 (2963 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 111

PLB/SPOT incident
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

A few thoughts on the use of PLB/SPOT
Two climbers’ distress call


majid_sabet


Nov 13, 2013, 2:36 PM
Post #2 of 10 (2867 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 12, 2002
Posts: 8363

Re: [amarius] PLB/SPOT incident [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

amarius wrote:
A few thoughts on the use of PLB/SPOT
Two climbers’ distress call


what incident ?

anyone thinking that PLB and spot will lead rescuer to the exact location of distress call is a fool and asking for trouble. in fact, even if you get a call from spot and plb or similar devices , it means nothing. First off, once signal from these devices go out, the over passing satellite has to pick up the signal and in many cases,several sat must fly by to get an accurate course (triangulation and pin pointing the signal) where the signal is coming from. in mountain area, the situation becomes worsen cause radio signal bounces all over and if you are at top of a peak then signal can be picked up all over the surrounding areas.

to give you a better example , let's say you are in Yosemite valley and around mid Yosemite fall trail and you turn the device on. the signal may bounces anywhere in Yosemite including half dome and somehow the stupid satellite and low IQ worker who works for one of these spot device companies told that subject is in around half dome area and you send a team to locate the subject and wasted 3 hours of hiking to rescue a person with a heart attack and then 2 hours later the next sat confirmed (with better signal) that subject is near lower Yosemite fall . in reality, do you know how Long it will take to mobilize a team to go from one side of canyon to the other side ?

if you are a mountaineer then you know the answer but if you are weekend tourist with one of these gadgets in your pocket waiting to be rescued then good luck.













they may never find you


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Nov 13, 2013, 2:38 PM)


jjanowia


Nov 13, 2013, 2:51 PM
Post #3 of 10 (2858 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 20, 2005
Posts: 126

Re: [majid_sabet] PLB/SPOT incident [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Interesting. The article linked references the SPOT device, which as I understand uses their proprietary network of satellites.

Majid, do you know anything about the COSPAS-SARSAT 406Mhz distress beacons (like the ACR Resqlink series)? In terms of the limitations of signal bouncing in a unique environment? They're standard for marine use but I hadn't considered the issues of their use in more complex terrain (valleys, peaks, walls, etc).


majid_sabet


Nov 13, 2013, 3:33 PM
Post #4 of 10 (2845 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 12, 2002
Posts: 8363

Re: [jjanowia] PLB/SPOT incident [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (2 ratings)  
Can't Post

jjanowia wrote:
Interesting. The article linked references the SPOT device, which as I understand uses their proprietary network of satellites.

Majid, do you know anything about the COSPAS-SARSAT 406Mhz distress beacons (like the ACR Resqlink series)? In terms of the limitations of signal bouncing in a unique environment? They're standard for marine use but I hadn't considered the issues of their use in more complex terrain (valleys, peaks, walls, etc).

I just returned from a conference which included discussion on PLB spot and SARSAT and there is defiantly an improvement on the technology . First off, you have radio signal that send the signal from PLB or SPOT to SAT and internal receiver signal that picks GPS SAT signal and pin points your location.

if you are on a face of a mountain and turn a spot or PLB on, first, the GPS receiver inside the PLB/SPOT needs to gather info on where about you are then transmit this info or( pocket of data) up to over passing SAT in the sky. if PLB transmit signal without GPS coordination, the passing SAT will ask where you are and if PLB or SPOT does not have this data then SAT bye byes and goes off till next SAT comes over and again asks if GPS coordinates are available and if so, then coordination and radio signal as pair is matched and send by SAT to dispatch.

From there, the data is cleaned up and reviewed by either desk officers(gov agents) or privet low IQ agent in some privet company and relayed to rescuers. The big issue is accuracy of internal GPS signal off PLB or SPOT when it goes up to SAT. Since GPS signal comes off from another group of SATs in sky and then PLB signal transmit up to a different group of SAT in sky , almost anything is possible and this data can go off .

Now,In flat ocean with no mountains around,sending GPS and radio coordination over to SAT is totally different and probably more effective than mountains and canyons.

Even if you have accurate coordination and positivity people know where you are, in reality,there is no grantee on successful rescue but unfortunately, many companies are selling these devices and people are pushing their limit in tothe red zones on a wrong assumption that they can turn the switch on and expect a helo over their head in 30 min.

If you have one of these toys and decided to turn it on, make sure you get your plan B and plan C going at the same time cause that helo is not coming in 30 min.


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Nov 13, 2013, 3:37 PM)


amarius


Nov 14, 2013, 6:17 AM
Post #5 of 10 (2735 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 111

Re: [majid_sabet] PLB/SPOT incident [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
"What incident?"
Word incident is defined as "an event or occurrence". The blurb certainly qualifies as both an event and occurrence.

I understand that the message of the article was not emphasized enough. Simply put - if a person activates PLB/SPOT, they should not turn it off to "save batteries".

The biggest problem with GPS enabled PLBs and SPOT is that they are one way communication devices. That is - they are simple transmitters of signal, they have no way of knowing whether the signal was received and whether it was received correctly or not - one of the reasons why they keep transmitting for extended periods of time to increase the odds of satellites picking up their transmissions.



ACR has FAQs on how PLB operates and what happens when they get activated.

As to reaction times - it varies depending on location. A quick internet search yields an account of bear mauling in Alaska, and subsequent response. In short, in under 10 minutes SAR services new the exact location of incident, but failed to respond effectively due to organizational issues.


majid_sabet


Nov 14, 2013, 9:55 AM
Post #6 of 10 (2660 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 12, 2002
Posts: 8363

Re: [amarius] PLB/SPOT incident [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

amarius wrote:
In reply to:
"What incident?"
Word incident is defined as "an event or occurrence". The blurb certainly qualifies as both an event and occurrence.

I understand that the message of the article was not emphasized enough. Simply put - if a person activates PLB/SPOT, they should not turn it off to "save batteries".

The biggest problem with GPS enabled PLBs and SPOT is that they are one way communication devices. That is - they are simple transmitters of signal, they have no way of knowing whether the signal was received and whether it was received correctly or not - one of the reasons why they keep transmitting for extended periods of time to increase the odds of satellites picking up their transmissions.



ACR has FAQs on how PLB operates and what happens when they get activated.

As to reaction times - it varies depending on location. A quick internet search yields an account of bear mauling in Alaska, and subsequent response. In short, in under 10 minutes SAR services new the exact location of incident, but failed to respond effectively due to organizational issues.

well, there is two way device that just came to market and its been tested right now where you could text people and receive messages. works on similar concept and again, if you understand radio and how they operate, the radio signals are subject to disappearance at any given time therefore, you are back to plan B and plan C .

my advice to anyone using these sort of SOS devices is that do not count on them and SAR to get you out rather, count on your self-rescue and play it safe.


dagibbs


Nov 14, 2013, 10:42 AM
Post #7 of 10 (2642 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 30, 2007
Posts: 891

Re: [amarius] PLB/SPOT incident [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

My take-away: if you're using such a device, turn it on and leave it on.

Also, if they aren't designed to have a battery life of at least many hours, but preferably at least a day, then they aren't designed right.

Finally, if you are taking one with you, make sure it has fresh batteries, or is fully charged, at the start of your trip.


darkside


Nov 16, 2013, 10:51 AM
Post #8 of 10 (2454 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 14, 2001
Posts: 1687

Re: [majid_sabet] PLB/SPOT incident [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

majid_sabet wrote:
jjanowia wrote:
Interesting. The article linked references the SPOT device, which as I understand uses their proprietary network of satellites.

Majid, do you know anything about the COSPAS-SARSAT 406Mhz distress beacons (like the ACR Resqlink series)? In terms of the limitations of signal bouncing in a unique environment? They're standard for marine use but I hadn't considered the issues of their use in more complex terrain (valleys, peaks, walls, etc).

I just returned from a conference which included discussion on PLB spot and SARSAT and there is defiantly an improvement on the technology . First off, you have radio signal that send the signal from PLB or SPOT to SAT and internal receiver signal that picks GPS SAT signal and pin points your location.

if you are on a face of a mountain and turn a spot or PLB on, first, the GPS receiver inside the PLB/SPOT needs to gather info on where about you are then transmit this info or( pocket of data) up to over passing SAT in the sky. if PLB transmit signal without GPS coordination, the passing SAT will ask where you are and if PLB or SPOT does not have this data then SAT bye byes and goes off till next SAT comes over and again asks if GPS coordinates are available and if so, then coordination and radio signal as pair is matched and send by SAT to dispatch.

From there, the data is cleaned up and reviewed by either desk officers(gov agents) or privet low IQ agent in some privet company and relayed to rescuers. The big issue is accuracy of internal GPS signal off PLB or SPOT when it goes up to SAT. Since GPS signal comes off from another group of SATs in sky and then PLB signal transmit up to a different group of SAT in sky , almost anything is possible and this data can go off .

Now,In flat ocean with no mountains around,sending GPS and radio coordination over to SAT is totally different and probably more effective than mountains and canyons.

Even if you have accurate coordination and positivity people know where you are, in reality,there is no grantee on successful rescue but unfortunately, many companies are selling these devices and people are pushing their limit in tothe red zones on a wrong assumption that they can turn the switch on and expect a helo over their head in 30 min.

If you have one of these toys and decided to turn it on, make sure you get your plan B and plan C going at the same time cause that helo is not coming in 30 min.
Majid - while I agree your message about self reliability is a very good point and not necessarily relying on outside help could make a difference, I'm afraid you seem very confused on the two systems. You seem to use the terms Spot and PLB interchangeably when they are two different systems, utilizing different satellite networks, and different signal strengths. The two systems are great for different purposes. Spot is a 1 watt signal and excels for allowing tracking and progress via a web based system and private satellite network that allows you to inform select people of how you're doing to a limited degree.
Personal Locator Beacons (PLB's) will not do that. Instead they broadcast a 5 watt signal on both a GEOSAT and LEOSAT network. The GEOSAT constantly covers a high percentage of the earths surface with poor coverage at the poles. It will receive a rescue signal that allows a rescue to be initiated. The location however is only general and it is the LEOSAT system that will pinpoint the signal using doppler tracking. LEO coverage is such that every part of the globe is covered not more than 90 minute intervals maximum. Some PLB's also have a GPS capability and will piggyback the LEO/GEO signal to enhance rescue effort information. It is not however solely reliant on a GPS signal lock. Furthermore in addition to the 5 watt signal on the 406 MHz frequency, some PLB's will broadcast a second signal on the 121.5 MHz frequency allowing local SAR teams to home in on the beacon once in the area.

Now, from very recent and very personal experience, let me tell you one more thing. I activated a PLB when a partner was not breathing. That was in a storm that although a helicopter was airborne in less than 30 mins, it was unable to reach us because of weather. We revived the injured person and self extricated to the trailhead. There we were met by a full emergency team who assured us that the PLB activation was a good response allowing them to follow up on the injuries.

Spot or the alternate DeLorme systems are great tools for certain uses. They both need charged batteries or replacements in your pack. They increase safety margins and can be a huge boon to backcountry users.
On the other hand, to me at least, when the shit hits the fan and a life is seriously at risk - the single advantage of a PLB is to bring help. It does that single purpose on multiple systems and at a higher power that is more reliable than other systems better at other purposes. PLB's have a battery with a 5+ year shelf life and having no other battery use, will broadcast for 24 hours.

The two systems serve different purposes and you are wrong to assume they work alike or such terms are interchangeable.


dan2see


Nov 16, 2013, 3:56 PM
Post #9 of 10 (2427 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 28, 2006
Posts: 1497

Re: [darkside] PLB/SPOT incident [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Friends have activated their SPOT, so I know from their experiences, how valuable they are!
But I have never needed to activate my SPOT, so I have nothing to report personally.

However I lost my SPOT this September. I'm kinda embarrassed because it's probably sitting on the Stone Sofa, on Mount Baldy. I did go back up there and I searched the area, so I know a lot more about those gendarme rocks, cliffs, and trees. Maybe it's still there.

My problem is, suddenly I don't have a SPOT. And suddenly I have to be careful about where I go. Especially with winter coming. It means that, if I get stuck or lost, they might find my bones next summer.

Sure, I like being self-reliant, and skilled at mountain travel, and responsible for my decisions. But I like even better, the thought of getting back home, even if things go wrong unexpectedly.

Ha ha! get it? Unexpectedly! <phew>


dan2see


Nov 16, 2013, 4:29 PM
Post #10 of 10 (2420 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 28, 2006
Posts: 1497

Re: [darkside] PLB/SPOT incident [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

darkside wrote:
Now, from very recent and very personal experience, let me tell you one more thing. I activated a PLB when a partner was not breathing. That was in a storm that although a helicopter was airborne in less than 30 mins, it was unable to reach us because of weather. We revived the injured person and self extricated to the trailhead. There we were met by a full emergency team who assured us that the PLB activation was a good response allowing them to follow up on the injuries.

Hey Grant, was that the Ranger Creek snow-slide? Props to you all for managing this so well, on your own! I'm sure your success was due to your experience and training.

But what about that "concussion" on your other thread? Is that the same girl who was buried? If so, I can understand your concern.


(This post was edited by dan2see on Nov 16, 2013, 5:08 PM)


Forums : Climbing Information : Accident and Incident Analysis

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook