RE: EPIRB vs. VHF (followup)

From: David Veach (veach@LANQuest.COM-DeleteThis)
Date: Thu Apr 16 1998 - 13:27:06 PDT

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From: David Veach <veach@LANQuest.COM-DeleteThis>
To: "''" <>
Subject: RE: EPIRB vs. VHF (followup)
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 13:27:06 -0700
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To all: thanks for the replies.

Here's my conclusions after much web research today (haven't got much work
done though <grin>)

EPIRB - No, it's just not practical. Class B (the cheap ones) operate on a
freq. that's full of non-emergency signals and you can bet that here in the
Bay Area there's a lot of "noise". (maybe so much so that the monitoring
stations don't even pay attention to signals generated here?) This system
was obviously designed for open ocean operation with satellites detecting
the signals and relaying the "hit" to ground stations which then rely on
the registration information to begin an "incident investigation" and
inform the coasties. They will call the phone number(s) on your registration
to try to determine if the vessel is actually "underway" and what the planned
course is, who's aboard, etc. Assuming you _could_ register yourself as a vessel
you could still easily go hypothermic before this process ever got help
to you. The web site Jim provided below sealed this for me.

VHF - Yes. I can confirm help is on the way. As Jim mentioned below, you can also
summon help from other sources. Several of the models I've researched seem to be
(claim to be) waterproof. As someone else mentioned, this may not mean submersible.
The Standard Communications HX255S (the one on sale at West) has a 3 year guarantee
that says "If your Horizon radio fails for any reason, including water damage, during
normal use in the first three years, Standard will repair or replace it free, without
hassle or charges - period." I like how this sounds, I just need to confirm that
windsurfing falls under "normal use". the ICOM M1 looks good too. Then there's the
Uniden 940, very compact and only $179. I'll have to get in to West to compare them
all side by side.

Now that I've decided on VHF, I'm really interested in what we, as the windsurfing
community, can come up with as a protocol for our needs. Things monitoring at the
launch site, picking a channel for "buddy" communications, etc.

Thanks again, -d

> here's another safety equipment question for the group...
> This is the year that I'll drop the $$$ for a rescue
> device. The question is which one? Yesterday I got
> a sale flyer from West Marine and they are paying the
> sales tax on purchases this weekend in addition to their
> sale. Looks like it's time to do it.
> Does anyone have any experience with either of these two
> devices? They're both on sale at West.
> 1) ACR EPIRB "Mini" B2ILS Survival Kit $229.95
> manually activated
> audible beep (so you know it's sending)
> strobe/flashlight (cool, if it's a good enough strobe)
> small enough to fit in a fanny pack (I think)
> comes with a whistle (nice touch)
> 2) Std. Communications HX255S Handheld VHF $259.99
> 5 watt (5 watt, better than most I think?)
> 16ch priority scan
> 3 year waterproof warrantee (I guess that covers leaks?)
> Given that these two devices are about the same cost, I'm
> wondering which would be the best purchase for windsurfing
> rescue purposes. I think the main advantage of the EPIRB is
> that it provides the coasties a direct beacon to locate you.
> (This model also has a strobe which I think I must have so
> that saves me another purchase) Does anyone know if they
> constantly monitor that freq. and will automatically come
> for you if you turn it on? If I have to "signal" distress
> in order for them to come looking for the beacon then I'd
> have to carry both the VHF _and_ the EPIRB. If that's the
> case then I guess I'd go for the VHF and hope I can direct
> them to me.
> The advantage I see in the VHF is I'll know I've got help coming
> and I can talk to them about my situation. That would make me
> feel a heck of a lot better floating around alone than turning on
> a beacon and hoping somebody is tracking it. I'll still have
> to purchase a strobe. (Of course the VHF offers the opportunity
> to "chat" as more of us have it but that's not really a safety
> issue)
> I mostly sail the bay if that makes a difference. I think your
> in pretty deep, especially after dark, whether you're heading out
> the gate or drifting in the middle of the bay.
> I haven't heard much talk about EPIRB, what do you all think?
> I'd appreciate some feedback (especially about these two
> models since they're on sale) features I should be considering, etc.
> Thanks in advance, -dave

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