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High Tech Solutions for Wilderness Survival

Apr 2, 2008
If you venture into the wilderness and want to survive, you need to plan for a rescue team to assist in your return to civilization. There are a lot of high technology choices for signaling your position in the event of an emergency, bad weather conditions, illness, or unexpected injury. The latest assistance devices center around cellular telephone and satellite technology.

Land-Air-Sea GPS Systems for the Wilderness

We have all heard the stories of an expensive car being stolen from a parking lot, or through a car-jacking, only to find that the car shows up a few blocks away electronically disabled and tracked by satellite. The LoJack system has been popular for many years, but a new use of the same technology is giving a quick locator service with tracking information for skiers, hikers, rock climbers, and others to venture into the wild.

These new systems cost less than $250 a unit and will broadcast on 16 channels for two weeks on six AAA batteries. The systems come with a software package that can be loaded onto a computer equipped with an internet connection anywhere in the world, and they can get the GPS coordinates of the transmitter. In the case of an injury, avalanche, or on-water emergency, these devices can bring help soon enough to do some good.

406 MHZ Distress Beacon (PLB)

These personal locater beacons operate on a new frequency that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released for personal communicators and long-range emergency beacons. While there are devices that transport on both of these frequencies, only the long distance frequency is useful for an emergency beacon. Turn it on so law enforcement and rescue officials will know you are in trouble, and can receive your GPS location information. Most of these devices cost in the neighborhood of $450, and each member of the party ought to have a personal one in case of separation from the group.

SPOT Personal Satellite Tracker

At the time of this writing, the SPOT device is a unique one-of-a-kind item. It is a device that most people can afford ($169) with an annual service ($99) that is worth its value for the safety it provides. The unit is about the size of a mobile phone on a belt clip. It can send three kinds of messages using commercial satellite telephone service paid for by the annual service fee.

The device has three types of signals it can relay to your contact or rescue personnel. You register and decide who gets what message for the three functional signals the device can send. The first type of message simply sends your location and a message that you are okay. The second signal indicates that you are either experiencing trouble, or running late, and advises your designated receiver not to send help. The last message type is a "send help" message. With each type of message, the person receiving the message gets a GPS location, a Google Map of where you are, and your preprogrammed message.
About the Author
Cory Doggett owns and operates several websites specializing in survival and wilderness skills. Visit the Untolerable.com survival forums.
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