By Ben Ellison
ACR AquaFix PLBs
ACR just introduced two Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). Both 1.7"x5.7"x3" lifesavers can summon search-and-rescue help worldwide using 406 MHz, along with 121.5 MHz for final homing. The $640 AquaFix GPS I can also interface with any NMEA 0183 GPS, while the $750 I/O model adds an internal GPS. Thus either can locate you for rescuers faster and more accurately. These new models were unfortunately not part of the testing discussed in “EPIRB/PLB Update” on page 36, but seem to reflect lessons learned. For instance, several inches of their antenna bases are sealed in plastic, and GPS data acquisition can be tested along with the internal circuitry and the battery (which is user-replaceable). The I/O model also has the GPS interface, so it can be preloaded with a position to help the internal GPS start quicker if the going gets rough. AquaFixes come with a rubber holster for belt or harness mounting, as well as a carbineer loop, and there’s also an optional float bag with room for a handheld GPS.
ACR Electronics Phone: (800) 432-0227. www.acrelectronics.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.