ACR ResQLink 406 Personal Locator Beacon Review

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The ACR ResQLink 406 Personal Locator Beacon Can Save Your Life

Price: $325
Frequency: 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz with 66 Channel GPS
Fees: No Monthly or Annual Fees
Summary: The ACR ResQLink 406 Personal Locator Beacon is designed to alert SAR (Search And Rescue) when there is a serious emergency. With global coverage, this compact and lightweight PLB is an excellent SEND (Satellite Emergency Notification Device) device to carry in case of the unfortunate event of an accident.
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ACR ResQLink 406 Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a distress radio beacon that can transmit your location via satellite information to Search and Rescue organizations around the world. PLBs have been available in the US since 2003 and are directly responsible for saving lives. The ACR ResQLink 406 Personal Locator Beacon is the world’s smallest PLB and it has the potential to save your life.

ACR ResQLink 406 PLB
ACR ResQLink 406 PLB

The ACR ResQLink 406 PLB is ideal for boaters, pilots, and anyone heading into the wilderness. It’s about the size of a GPS and weighs less than your tasty bag of trail mix. As long as you have it with you, you’ll be able to send a distress signal in an emergency. Now you have peace of mind when things go wrong in the wilderness. In the event of a grizzly bear attack, broken femur, avalanche burial, or any other potentially fatal situation help is on the way when you use the ACR ResQLink 406.

PLBs are your best chance of rescue in the event of “grave and imminent danger” where self rescue is impossible. When the ACR ResQLink 406 is deployed it transmits 5 watts of power and sends a 406 MHz signal, an internationally recognized distress signal, to a worldwide group of satellites (COSPAS/SARSAT) that are monitored by NOAA and AFRCC. Then 66 channel GPS transmits your location within 100m. Search and Rescue is then sent to rescue you using the 121.5 MHz homing frequency. Along with the super bright LED strobe light for location identification at night, you’ll be rescued in no time.

Buy ACR ResQLink 406 Now

The ACR ResQLink 406 uses the 406 MHz to send an international distress signal, GPS to send your coordinates, and 121.5 MHz signal for SAR to find you. It can potentially notify search and rescue of your exact location in less than 5 minutes. The ACR ResQLink 406 has pole to pole coverage (unlike some messaging devices) which means you have a safety net everywhere on the planet.

ACR ResQLink 406 PLB
ACR ResQLink 406 PLB With Antennae Deployed

As someone who might need to call for help using the ACR ResQLink 406, here’s how it works:

  • Deploy Antennae and Turn 90 Degrees
  • Hold “ON” For 1 Second With Clear View Of Sky
  • Wait For Rescue

Don’t worry, if you forget there are clear directions posted on the device. The ACR ResQLink 406 will alert SAR in less than five minutes in the US. It’s up to you to perform first aid on any patients until SAR arrives.  That time frame is totally dependent on where you are located. The trusty antennae is cleverly designed to cover the ON button to prevent accidental distress signals. I throw a rubber band around mine to keep the antennae in place for extra security.

ACR ResQLink 406 PLB
Easy To Follow Instructions On Device
ACR ResQLink 406 PLB
Antennae Covers Buttons To Limit Accidental SAR Calls

The ACR ResQLink 406 is one of the most effective SOS devices available. It’s an expensive tool, but worth the retail cost of $325 (although you can find it cheaper below). It’s important to note the the ACR ResQLink 406 is only a distress signal, there are no messaging capabilities. If you want messaging devices you need to look at SPOT devices, DeLorme inReach, or satellite phones. All of these options are pricey and require a monthly subscription plan.

After purchase, the ACR ResQLink 406 is completely free to use. There are no annual fees so it ultimately costs less over time. The ACR ResQLink 406 is warrantied for five years from purchase, which is the same length of time that the class 2 high-powered lithium battery lasts. After five years, the battery must be replaced. On the ACR website they state, “If you use it, we’ll replace it free of charge.” That’s a pretty good offer.

ACR ResQLink 406 PLB
SEND and TEST Buttons

The ACR ResQLink 406 must be registered. In the US, it must be registered with NOAA every few years. Find out where you need to register your PLB in the ACR registration database. Registration is required by law. It’s ideal to purchase the ACR ResQLink 406 in your home country as they come with a preset country code. This code can be changed by an authorized service provider if necessary.

The ACR ResQLink 406 is built out of a durable, engineered polycarbonate blend in a high-visibility yellow. It’s a burly tool that lives in the bottom of my backcountry pack year round – usually in my backcountry ski repair kit. It weighs nothing, and it’s worth carrying because of the security it offers – you never know when a serious accident might happen.

ACR ResQLink 406 PLB
Part of My Backcountry Emergency Kit

Luckily, I have never actually had to call search and rescue for an emergency. The ACR ResQLink 406 does have a Self-Test function that ensures me that the device is fully functioning though. The device can Self-Test 12 times during the five year lifespan of the battery.

There is an optional subscription service upgrade called 406Link.com that allows users to send up to 220 “I’m OK” messages at a price. I’ve never used this service and see it as unnecessary.

This model of the ACR ResQLink 406 is waterproof down to 16′ for an hour and 33′ for 10 minutes, but it does not float. There is a newer version that is buoyant that you may want to consider if you will be on the water.

The key features of the ACR ResQLink 406 Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) include:

  • No Monthly Or Annual Fees
  • Easy To Use
  • Government Registration
  • Worldwide Pole-To-Pole Coverage
  • SAR Alerted In Less Than 5 Minutes In US

The only thing that the ACR ResQLink 406 Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is missing is messaging capabilities. It’s definitely only for serious emergencies, not for flat mountain bike tires or angry spouses.

The ACR ResQLink 406 Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is an excellent choice for any backcountry adventurer. Hopefully you never need to use it. Stay Safe Out There!

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ACR ResQLink 406 Personal Locator Beacon Quick Stats

  • Weight: 4.6 oz/130g
  • Battery Life: 5 Years
  • Satellite Network: COSPAS/SARSAT
  • Size: 1.3 x 1.9 x 3.9” (3.3 x 4.8 x 9.9 cm)
  • Made In USA

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