There’s one piece of gear that comes with me on all my backcountry missions whether it be splitboarding, hunting or even mountain biking, a ACR ResQLink plb. Arguably one of the most important pieces of backcountry gear you should always have with you is a 406 MHz emergency personal locator beacon.
ACR ResQLink Review
Now you might be thinking, I already have a beacon. However, this is not an avalanche beacon, a 406 MHz personal locator is used to alert Search and Rescue personnel to your location. Sounds rad right? One thing to keep in mind when a 406 MHz emergency beacon like the ACR ResQLink is activated not only will Search and Rescue know your whereabouts via GPS, the U.S. Air Force will too, and if you’re near the ocean the U.S. Coast Guard will see this signal as well.
Hopefully by knowing you’re interested in this technology as there will surely be a time where you find yourself in the backcountry outside of cell phone range. What happens when the shit hit’s the fan and there is nobody to call? All you have to do is turn on a 406 MHz emergency personal locator beacon and the troops will eventually be on the way.
The personal locator beacon I have been using for the past 2 years is the ResQLink. What’s great about the ACR ResQlink is its size. The thing is tiny (about the size of an old flip phone) and extremely powerful. It gives me and my family peace of mind considering I spend a good deal of my time in the backcountry solo accompanied by my dog. Regardless of how many people are in your party having a tool like the ResQLink seems like a no-brainer. Eventually, the shit will hit the fan and you’ll want to be prepared. Sure you might have a first aid kit, some stuff to do a splint and maybe a Wilderness First Responder cert or even a Woofer. But does that equal a quick heli evac or having a trained doctor show up on the scene?
ACR ResQLink Registration
So how does it work? Well, first of all when you buy any 406 MHz emergency personal locator beacon it has to be registered with the United States Government. It’s not as bad as is sounds though as the registration is through NOAA. They ask questions like where will you be using this? For what activities, who should they call in an emergency etc. This way in the event of an emergency when the 406 MHz emergency personal locator beacon is activated local Search and Rescue will have a good idea of who they are looking for, where they are located and what activity you are most likely doing.
To be completely honest I have never had to use the ResQlink ACR in the field, and when I was sent a unit to test it had very clear warnings. If you activate this and it’s not an emergency expect to get hit with some hefty fines. So I take it with me and pray that I never have to use this tool.
ACR ResQLink GPS
You might be thinking, can this accidentally be activated from just having it in my backpack? Not likely as there is an antenna that locks into place that needs to be manually unlatched before a second latch is opened to allow GPS communication. This beacon will show your location within 100m or 300 feet. Talk about pinpoint.
If somehow you accidentally turn one of these rescue beacons on, you should immediately call the numbers below: However, most likely you will be in the field not sitting in front of a computer.
U.S. Coast Guard at 1-757-398-6700
U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at 800-851-3051
One final thing to keep in mind, a ReQlink or any other 406 MHz emergency personal locator beacon should ONLY be used as an absolute last resort. Again all troops will be coordinating efforts to get you, so if you can call your local Search and Rescue or ski patrol. Start there, otherwise the freaking Army and Navy might just show up!
Is this thing expensive? Not really for $289 you can pick up a ResQlink at REI, and considering everyone you ski or ride with has an avalanche beacon, why not consider adding a 406 MHz emergency personal locator beacon too?
We recently put together a list of the best satellite messengers and personal locator beacons. Take a look to see more ACR ResQLinj coverage.