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  1. #1
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    Emergency beacon

    I do a lot of my riding solo. I'm 61yrs old and recently broke my collar bone on a very secluded ride and luckily my wife was with me but it's common for me to be riding out of town where there is no cell phone coverage or back on a dirt road with no cell phone coverage and potentially no traffic of any kind for days so it's been suggested I get a emergency beacon kind of thing that I could set off to alert folks as to my whereabouts. Ideally it would show where I am at all times so in the event of something like a heart attack or other disabling accident I could be located even if I were unable to activate it myself.
    I haven't begun any research on this but I know there are such things on the market. Our family all has an iPhone app that lets us track each other when we are in cell phone range, if anyone bothers to turn on the app ...and that kind of feature would be great so my wife could note that I've been stopped for too long at some spot. You get the idea.
    Anyone with experience with such devices? Small enough to take when on a road bike but satellite based and not dependent upon cell phone coverage?

  2. #2
    Senior Member rica rica's Avatar
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    fyi some phone gps features are not cell service dependant, for example i use an old iphone (without cell service) for gps programs still. however, accuracy can be affected when it is just going off the satellite. of course since phones are different and apps are i would test this (you can test it usually by just disabling connections on your phone) before you need it!

    i know thats not exactly what you're looking for, but just in case you don't find something else that pans out

  3. #3
    Living 'n Dying in ū-Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    Sending Out an S.O.S.


  4. #4
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rica rica View Post
    fyi some phone gps features are not cell service dependant, for example i use an old iphone (without cell service) for gps programs still.
    Yes, he'll be able to know his exact location. But without cell phone service, he won't be able to tell anyone.

    What the OP is looking for is something like Spot Trackers. There's a monthly service fee, but I don't think it's outrageous.
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  5. #5
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Spot has a new phone:

    http://www.findmespot.com/en/

    Would be cheaper and more fun to ride with a buddy.

  6. #6
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    ThePolice.jpg

    I just happened to be wearing this t-shirt when I read this. It's from their last show ever at Madison Square Garden. They were Toast in the Machine, and the Fat Lady sang, and Sting shaved off his full beard in the middle of the show.

  7. #7
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    As others have pointed out, without cell coverage, having GPS coordinates doesn't do you a lick of good.

    If you don't have cell coverage, you're probably going to have to use a Personal Locator Beacon.
    These use the satellite rescue system at 406 MHz and it tells the network "emergency at this GPS location" Typically used by hikers and boaters for emergency rescue.

    They're about $300 and up.

    However, before going that route, you might want to check into what your financial liability is if you trigger it. Typically if a hiker triggers it, they're in deep sh*t, like they've broken a leg 20 miles from the trail head. It wouldn't be unusual for a helicopter to be dispatched. You may get a bill for $5000 for the emergency service, depending on how EMS works in your state.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  8. #8
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    If you have an iPhone and have "find my iPhone" enabled and your significant other knows your iTunes password, they can use that to ask your phone where you are -- no app or enabling of anything else required. Of course, the downside is ... your SO can tell wherever you are now at will and without you even knowing, which may or may not be a problem. Of course, it's dependant on having cell coverage, like most things are.

    The reality is -- most of what you buy off the shelf to do this is going to be cell phone network based. However, the SPOT mentioned earlier in the thread appears to use the GPS satellites to find out where you are, and other satellites to tell somebody about it -- no cell phone coverage needed. So that sounds like exactly what you're looking for. Sounds like the device is $120 and the service level that would cover your needs is $50/year.

    Now, if there is a bonafide emergency, your wife will file a missing persons report and the police will probably talk to the cell phone company and see where the last time your phone was "pinged" was and that may give them an idea of where to start looking for you -- but that will take a while to get going.

  9. #9
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    You can do all of that on the iphone with the free app - find my friends and you don't need to know anyone's password.

    But the point was that the OP said he was in an area with poor or no cell coverage. That means neither find my iphone or find my friends will work. THe only choice then would be one of the EPIRB based or satellite based products that are available. They work but the turn around time on rescue is going to be fairly long since there is an additional whole rescue infrastructure that sits on top of the 911 EMS local set up.

    J.

  10. #10
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    They work but the turn around time on rescue is going to be fairly long since there is an additional whole rescue infrastructure that sits on top of the 911 EMS local set up.
    I don't think I understand this. If your SPOT tracker calls not only 911 (which should be instantaenous), but also your relative and they call 911. In either case, I'd expect a delay of only a couple of minutes. What am I missing?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    I don't think I understand this. If your SPOT tracker calls not only 911 (which should be instantaenous), but also your relative and they call 911. In either case, I'd expect a delay of only a couple of minutes. What am I missing?
    SPOT makes a gadget that connects to this service center: http://www.geosalliance.com/whatisgeos.html through a satellite network.

    When your signal hits the center, it gets to a human "officer" who looks you up your device ID and then connects it to your profile. Then they figure out your GPS coordinates and what/who/where is the nearest SAR capability (Search and Rescue). It is not, for example, an automatically routed call to the 911 in the area. It might be, but it might not be. They likely will have little useful information on your condition. Figuring out which agency should do the rescue is often confusing for those familiar with the area.

    If you've ever called 911 in a remote area, you'll find that it's if it's not an accident on the road with a car that gets the standard police->ems->fire dept response, then you'll get shuffled from agency to agency until they sort out who owns it (it's a big budget hit). Remember, these guys at GEOS alliance don't know anything about where you are except from looking at a map with your GPS coordinates. That's the extra infrastructure. It's your gadget giving limited information to a dispatch center that figures out where you are and calls another dispatch center (911, LEO, etc... where you are) who then figures out to come looking for you. So it isn't going to be quick. You need to be prepared for an extended time on your own. And above all, it's not like your gadget initiates a computer generated 911 call to the guaranteed right agency automatically in seconds.

    AND it depends on a functioning GPS signal which can be a problematic depending on where you are. For example, if you're in a canyon or even under heavy tree cover, your GPS may not be able to get a fix. They're usually pretty good, but they are not at all foolproof. If the GPS location isn't accurate or available then all they know is that you are in trouble, or at least have pushed the button (and there have been inadvertent button pushes that have initiated unneeded rescues).

    So this works pretty well if you are camping in the wilderness or maybe on the ocean somewhere (although EPIRB might be better, but not sure) than if you are in a more developed area (i.e. you have roads) where the mutual aid or agency response might not be so clear cut.

    Nothing beats having a buddy and some level of communications that work. A buddy can administer life saving first aid (open an airway, revive you, stop serious bleeding etc...) that might give you a lot of time. If you're unconscious, you can't push a button.

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