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Reviews > Health & Safety > Emergency and Survival Gear > ACR Electronics ResQLink > Owner Review by joe schaffer

ACR Electronics ResQLink
Owner Review
by Joe Schaffer

August 12, 2015

NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 67
HEIGHT: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
HOME:  Hayward, California USA

   I frequent California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; often solo. Summer trips typically last 5 to 10 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food related; about 5 mi (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); 1 to 4 mi (1.6 to 6.4 km) on snowshoes.

The Product:
        Manufacturer: ACR Electronics, Inc.
        Web site:
        Product: ResQLink Personal Locator BeaconACR in hand
        Purchased: 1/2013

My measures:
    weight: 5 1/8 oz (145 g) (includes wrist strap)
    height: 3 7/8 in (9.8 cm)
    width: 2 1/8 in (5.4 cm)
    thick: 1 3/8 in (3.5 cm)

Manufacturer specs:
size: 1.3 x 1.9 x 3.9 in ( 3.3 x 4.8 x 9.9 cm)
weight: 4.6 oz (130 g)
battery: Class 2 non haz-mat lithium
battery replacement: 6 years from purchase or 5 years from date placed in service; or after emergency use
battery life when activated: More than 24 hours; 30 hours typical
approvals: Cospas-Sarsat, FCC, Canada, R&TTE, Australia, New Zealand
power: 406 MHz
66-channel GPS-enabled personal locator beacon
No subscription fee
LED strobe
Free replacement if used for rescue
Unique identifying number
Battery not user replaceable; supports up to 60 operating tests, or 12 location (GPS) tests; and 1 emergency use

    This device is about the size of a thick flip phone. It is mostly smooth with very few corners. The top deployedhalf of the case is clear on the sides and about ACR backone-third of the top; and otherwise chartreuse. The "ribbon" antenna about 3/8 in wide and 1/32 in thick (10 x 0.8 mm) wraps around the unit, secured in a slot on the right side and a catch on the top at the end of the antenna. The catch is released by pressing down slightly on the antenna end. The antenna then flips to the slot. Slipping the antenna from the slot readies it for deployment. The base of the antenna is a swivel arm. Swiveling up the chartreuse arm raises the antenna to a height of about 11 in (28 cm) with the unit flat on its back. The two operating buttons are then exposed. These buttons are about 3/16 in (5 mm) in diameter; and are spaced about 7/16 in (11 mm) apart. One button has an engraved T to indicate test; and the other a circle icon to indicate on/off. The top of the unit case also has icons indicating the location of these buttons. The unit back has a decal giving instruction how to activate and deactivate the alert. As simple as the unit is to operate, it exceeds my capacities to remember and I carry a quickstart card. These are the high points:
    a) Activate: Flip up the antenna and press the on/off button for 1 second. Red or green light will blink.
    b) Deactivate: Press the on/off button for at least 3 seconds; no blinking light.
    c) Red flashing light (between and below the C and R on the clear part of the face) means only an alert is being sent.
    d) Green flashing light means GPS coordinates are being sent with the alert.

    The sole use of this device is to send an alert with GPS coordinates to Cospas-Sarsat satellites (different from general communication satellites.) Once received, the alert is relayed to a ground station, which transfers it to a Mission Control Center who then routes the signal to a local authority based on the GPS coordinates. The sender cannot influence the rescue coordinator's decision about which authority to initiate the rescue.

    I've carried the unit on 59 outings for a total of 291 days. I've never used it. When I bought it I expected to carry it only on solo trips, but it quickly became part of my emergency packet. I hope never to use it. I haven't even tested it. I was out with my partner showing her how to activate it. "Push this button," I told her, "and the helicopter will come." About 15 minutes later we began hearing the wop-wop-wop of what appeared to be a Marine helicopter coming toward us and I felt a rush of $5,000 panic. The coincidence scared me so much I'm even moclosedre afraid to push the test button to see if the unit works. I'll just continue to hope it does.

    In 56 years of backpacking I've seen two helicopter rescues (broken leg, rattlesnake bite) but never needed one myself. I never expect to. A close friend required rescue from a rattlesnake bite and that third instance got me thinking. I'm not quite as indestructible as I used to be, and every step taken is one closer to an immobilizing event. I'm often solo, and when not, I may not wish to bet my future welfare on a walk-out obtaining timely rescue. I fear rattlesnake bite, broken hip and ripped ankle in that order. The unit does not give cause to be any less careful; but rather consolation I won't have to wait for circling buzzards before I'm found.

    I bought this particular unit believing from my research that it does the most reliable job of sending an alert that will be received. While not certain, one of the three telephbuttonsone numbers I've registered should be able to confirm that I'm in fact in the area from which the alert emanates. With that confirmation, help should be sent very quickly; and even without confirmation help should be sent. I like that the unit has an identifier so the receiver of the signal knows the ID of the unit sending it. Over the life of the unit's battery, the fact that there is no subscription fee makes it half the cost of cheaper hardware that does require subscription. This unit only does the one thing (that I think it does better than other units)--send a signal to a satellite that will receive it. I expect that if I do have need, there will be other factors compounding the severity of the circumstance, to include transmission difficulty. I'd rather have the best chance of overcoming those circumstances than the convenience of other features that accommodate non-emergency communication.

Quick shots:
    a) small
    b) light
    c) inexpensive (compared to subscription devices)
    d) factory-recommended battery change

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Reviews > Health & Safety > Emergency and Survival Gear > ACR Electronics ResQLink > Owner Review by joe schaffer

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