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McMurdo FAST FIND 220 Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) (45016)
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|Are Batteries Included||Yes|
|Screen Size||1 Inches|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||5 x 5 x 3 inches|
About this item
- 406/121.5MHz plb
- Easy to operate
- No subscription needed
- High brightness LED SOS light
- Minimum 24hr continuous operation
Consider this Amazon's Choice product that delivers quickly
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A personal location beacon (PLB) is a personal safety device designed to alert search and rescue services and allow them to quickly locate you in the event of an emergency, on land or sea.
Top reviews from the United States
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This means the product is effectively useless for international travel.
Finding a service center takes a little doing but after some investigative web work, I tracked down a place to inquire. The email was received the next morning with various service centers listed. A couple of phone calls and I had a place to send my dead PLB (220) for service. If it is the PLB that is dead it should be covered under the warranty, if its the battery, this can be replaced for around $125. That's right, $125 for a one year battery! That is around $85 for that battery and the rest is the labor and shipping. Keep in mind they estimate battery life at 6 years! Mine did not make 11 months. After this plays out I will either edit this or add an additional review.
What I don't like; the instructions aren't that clear, IMO, and no YouTube vids were helpful. I finally did manage to get a good test indication, verifying that the battery and the 2 frequencies are confirmed.
Registration with NOAA takes a few minutes, but is pretty straightforward.
All in all, an excellent value.
One comment that might be helpful to new purchasers: the unit requires a GPS verification to confirm it is working properly. The button used to do this is much harder to press than I expected. I almost returned the unit, but decided to give it one last try. There is a definite "click" when the button is pressed-push it hard until you feel it and don't let up until you have held it long enough.
Top reviews from other countries
I hike alone in areas such as the Lake District, Snowdonia, Peak District, Scotland, and on occasions in Europe. I enjoy the peace and solitude of being on my own in the wilds but that does come with risks. While I am confident with a map and compass, do not extend myself beyond my capabilities and am careful of where I venture if the weather is inclement accidents can happen. I have been very aware that if I did suffer an accident in a remote region my situation could be potentially very serious and also life threatening.
This device provides a means of contacting the SAR services from anywhere on the globe and as such supplies significant peace of mind, not just for myself but also for my family, in knowing that I have a much improved chance of summoning help should the need ever arise.
Do not be put off by the fact that this model is marketed primarily for marine use. Having spoken to the manufacturers about the differences this is exactly the same internally as the Ranger model which is marketed at overland use, and this one is cheaper!
A worthwhile purchase for the peace of mind it provides!
Operation is easy enough. pull up the "red cap" release and pull the whole cap assembly away from the main body. Unfurl the antennae, and press the On button which was previously covered by the safety cap/cover. There are plenty of YouTube demonstrations.
On the negative side, it comes fitted with a lanyard. I felt that the nylon cord looped through the FF220 could wear and break after time. Its also a bit short and not easy to fit over a helmet and goggles (so you have to take them off, if you forget to put on your FF220 first).
The Test button. OMG its ergonomically useless. Is the round bit in the middle, the test button? is the whole oval shape, the test button? The cartoon drawings in the instruction manual are not very clear. The test button itself is hard to press. A very hard press is required until you hear/feel a "click" and by pressing and holding, this activates the battery test. When attempting a GPS test, the feedback of LED flashes is not clear, according to the supplied booklet. According to the manual, what exactly is a slow flash? Testing the device involves a little "guesswork" in recognising a successful test. Do I really want to be doing this in an emergency situation in the wild? This should be clarified. My last gripe which is not a fault of the FF220, is the registration of the PLB. this can take many weeks (I was quoted 6-10 weeks when I registered online) and although emergency services will still be dispatched to your location if you activate the beacon, some planning is required if you want to make sure it's registered in your name, and also if the home/base country is not your current residence. Registering in your name will help avoid false alarms and the registered owner can be contacted in required. Maybe there is some online guidance to operate this successfully and reliably, but I may not have access to YouTube in the mountains, so this should be clarified in the supplied booklet. I hope I don't have occasion to use it.
Glad I read the manual before I left as would have been very annoyed to have this confiscated at the airport!