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post #1 of 20 Old Dec 18th, 2006, 6:38 am Thread Starter
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Personal Locator Beacon possible group buy

This message was from IBMWR I am posting it here as some of you may be interesed in a group buy of a PLB, I know Rob Nye a little after us helping a down IBR participant. Rob knows what he is doing when it comes to this type of gadgets, he is honest you will not be dissapointed in a purchase he arranges
That is My humble opinion.
here is the message


To: Subject: [BMWMc] Personal Locator Beacon
From: "Rob Nye"

Greetings,

Due to the recent discussions about the events surrounding the death of
James Kim and his family's ordeal in the wilderness there has been some
discussion on Personal Locator Beacons.

I mentioned on the Long Distance Riders List that I was going to look
into a group buy on a good beacon. Here is the status of this project
and what I am trying to do.

First the best device (in my opinion) is the ACR Terra Fix
(www.acrterrafix.com). I am very familiar with ACR products, we have
them on our tankers and I have carried them on all the recreational
yachts I have been responsible for since 1978. I am happy to say that I
have been rescued thanks to an ACR EPRIB and on a separate occasion an
ACR firefly strobe.

The Terra Fix is a 406 device which means the signal is transmitted to
satellites and bounced to NOAA who then coordinates the rescue. Because
this is a 406, at the time of purchase you register the unit with NOAA
including your personal information, any medical information and a
contact number. In the event of activation of the beacon NOAA will call
the alternate number. This can be an additional life saver as the
rescue teams can be given information about what your were doing (riding
a motorcycle perhaps) and other features such as the rider wears a
HI-Viz Darien (yet another reason to wear the HI Viz).

At this time the retail price of the TerraFix is $599 w/o GPS and $699
with GPS. My thought is that the GPS is nice but perhaps not completely
necessary. The scenario where the GPS would be useful is if you want
off a road into a gully and were obscured from above. This is what
happened to Jim Young, a rider who perished in Colorado a few years ago.
It is up to the individual to decide which is better for your needs.
Without the GPS the signal is triangulated by the satellites which gives
a good fix, however there is some wait time involved. The GPS unit
transmits a position faster.

Currently ACR is offering a $75 rebate for units purchased from a
retailer before December 31. I am working with supplier of safety
equipment that I have known for years on offering a little discount
which combined with the rebate could make this a very good buy. Any
arrangement I can set up will be direct between the purchaser and LRS
(my vendor), I will get no fee, or kickback from this deal other than
the chance of a more discounted unit.

What I need to do is get a feel for exactly how much interest there is
in this program. It would be a one shot deal with the purchase having
to be made by the end of this month unless the vendor wants to do it
again. Even so this is an opportunity to combine a dealer discount with
the rebate which will likely not happen again.

If you are interested please send a note to my hotmail address which is
[email protected]. Please put PLB only in the subject line. In
the body of your message please indicate you level of interest using the
following scale.

1 Yes, make me a deal for better than the rebate and I am in.
2 It is something I would like to have and if the deal is good enough I
am in.
3 I am interested but not sure if I will buy, please keep me informed.

If we put the deal together and the quantities are limited I will send
the announcement e-mail to everyone who put 1 in the body of their
message before the lists so they get first crack.

This information will be posted on the following lists / forums.

ADVRIDER.COM (Adventure Riders)
BMW MOA
LD Riders
IBMWR

Feel free to distribute to other lists.


Best,

Rob Nye
Secretary, BMW MOA
Iron Butt Association #250

----------
Article Copyright (c) 2006 IBMWR and the author(s). All rights reserved.

Tom

'07 GS Adv (mine), '06 GS <(My brides)
(the only bmw's in the stable)

Last edited by tmgs; Dec 18th, 2006 at 7:02 am.
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post #2 of 20 Old Dec 18th, 2006, 7:13 am
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Real shame those climbers on Mt. Hood didn't have those!!!
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post #3 of 20 Old Dec 18th, 2006, 12:23 pm
 
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PLB is near the top of my shopping list and I sent a msg to Rob right after I saw his msg on Advrider but that thread has not seen any activity since.

So is this group buy going to happen?
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post #4 of 20 Old Dec 18th, 2006, 12:54 pm
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I hope the relatively high price will keep just anyone from buying them. My worry is that if they become relatively popular the frequencies will be inundated with signals making the usefullness of them less than wanted. Just like 911 phone calls, people will be setting them off for flat tires, etc.. When a lot of "wolf" cries start showing up on the frequency, response will be greatly reduced due to having to check every instance out, swamping the limited resources to do so.

Now if the government would levy big fines for setting one off when life or limb is not in eminent danger, maybe there is a chance this great SAR aid will not get trashed into near uselessness, like CB radios and 911 calls.

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post #5 of 20 Old Dec 18th, 2006, 1:13 pm
 
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While planning my cross-country adventure, I have considered looking into a PLB. But $500 buys a lot of gas.
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post #6 of 20 Old Dec 18th, 2006, 1:33 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messenger13
While planning my cross-country adventure, I have considered looking into a PLB. But $500 buys a lot of gas.
These are not really that useful for cross country riding on the highways, because you are not likely to get in a LOST situation where life or limb is in danger, and if you were to have a bad accident there are most likely people around or will be soon, and if you go off the road into a ravine, you are not likely to be able to activate the unit anyway.

These units are basically for people who are going off the beaten path into areas where there are few people, or out on large bodies of water. Certainly mountain climbing, deep forest hunting, cross country hiking/skiing, and way offroad GS type riding are prime examples where they would be nice to have.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.

Last edited by dshealey; Dec 18th, 2006 at 1:47 pm.
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post #7 of 20 Old Dec 18th, 2006, 1:41 pm
 
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Thanks for clarifying David.

I guess the edginess of crossing long sections of barren 2-lane is what I'm craving anyway. Why would I want a safety net for that?
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post #8 of 20 Old Dec 18th, 2006, 8:03 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mantan
PLB is near the top of my shopping list and I sent a msg to Rob right after I saw his msg on Advrider but that thread has not seen any activity since.

So is this group buy going to happen?
Not sure yet, I havn;t heard anything more, he will not forget though and will let us know, at least if any are interested let him know by filling out his questions and e-mailing them directly to him

The PLB is a good thing, the only drawback is like david says if people start using it for fixing flat tires

hopefully that will not happen, I would be for stiff fines for improperly using a PLB.

they are not just for the person that is going off into the desert though, there are plenty of roadways through rough terrain these could come in handy If the person is not killed instantly, which IMHO is not what they are intended for anyhow like a aircrafts black box.



You just never know when or where something could happen

Tom

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(the only bmw's in the stable)
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post #9 of 20 Old Dec 19th, 2006, 8:09 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messenger13
Thanks for clarifying David.

I guess the edginess of crossing long sections of barren 2-lane is what I'm craving anyway. Why would I want a safety net for that?
To be out alone in the blackness, the only light besides yours, is the stars.
In the heart of the wilderness, man and machine. Confident in yourself, the skills, and tools you have assembeled over the years. Be they tools of metal or tools of knowledge, you have reached the soul of the Motorcyclist.
Not many dare brave it, yet some crave it .
Rock
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post #10 of 20 Old Dec 19th, 2006, 8:14 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleRock
To be out alone in the blackness, the only light besides yours, is the stars.
In the heart of the wilderness, man and machine. Confident in yourself, the skills, and tools you have assembeled over the years. Be they tools of metal or tools of knowledge, you have reached the soul of the Motorcyclist.
Not many dare brave it, yet some crave it .
Rock
Sweet! Thanks Rock.
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post #11 of 20 Old Dec 19th, 2006, 2:16 pm
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Build your own.

There's in place a free, almost world wide VHF network to do just this. no air time charges. Once you've got your kit setup - no further costs. You can setup a 'tracker' yourself for under anywhere from $50 to $200+, depending on your own ability and resources.

I run 2 myself. One on the LT, one in my Ramcharger (down for upgrades at the minute). My total cost is about $400 for both systems.

Many of you already have a GPS receiver on your LTs. Add a $30 PCB (TinyTrack) and a 2nd hand VHF transmitter ($50 to $300 depending on what you want). Done. Automatic, real time, tactical position status and tracking. Usually with better coverage than commercial cell systems. MANY possible uses in the touring world for this kinda tech.

Yes - you can rig 'em up to have an 'emergency' beacon too. Some have tied their trackers into Air Bag or other 'problem' sensors. These then trip an Emergency Beacon that'll lite up most every APRS client in the world.

Only requirement is a Technical Class FCC ham license.

It's called APRS - http://www.aprs.org to learn about the 'inards' and see some coverage maps for the US. NOTE: Bob still uses DOS based maps for his site images. There are nicer ones available. See the screen shots at www.xastir.org for some examples of what can be done.

See my post from "way back when" in the GPS section of the 'Gadgets' forum.

Anyone wants to know more, there're literally hundreds of sites out there talk'n 'bout APRS. I'm happy to do what I can to answer questions.

Tate

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post #12 of 20 Old Dec 19th, 2006, 3:22 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleRock
To be out alone in the blackness, the only light besides yours, is the stars.
In the heart of the wilderness, man and machine. Confident in yourself, the skills, and tools you have assembeled over the years. Be they tools of metal or tools of knowledge, you have reached the soul of the Motorcyclist.
Not many dare brave it, yet some crave it .
Rock
What Joe said!!
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post #13 of 20 Old Dec 19th, 2006, 9:25 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zotter
Many of you already have a GPS receiver on your LTs. Add a $30 PCB (TinyTrack) and a 2nd hand VHF transmitter ($50 to $300 depending on what you want). Done. Automatic, real time, tactical position status and tracking. Usually with better coverage than commercial cell systems.

I'm happy to do what I can to answer questions.
1. How tough is it to run this off of a Garmin 2710?

2. The TinyTrack website has a combined PCB + VHF xmtr rated at 300 mw. In the 2 meter band, 300mw isn't much power. What receives these signals?

3. Does your TinyTrack transmit constantly while your bike is running? Or do you turn it on periodically?
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post #14 of 20 Old Dec 19th, 2006, 10:05 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawg
Real shame those climbers on Mt. Hood didn't have those!!!
Just saw on CNN Anderson Cooper 360 that similar devices were available for rent at Mt. Hood for $5.

Ted

Camarillo, CA
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2007 R1200S - Black - Sold
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post #15 of 20 Old Dec 20th, 2006, 5:52 am
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If the radio and the TinyTrack are powered on when you power up the bike, then when ever you turn the GPS on you will be active. The TinyTrack will beacon every so often and show your new position.

The connection from the USB port on the 2710 to a 9 pin serial connector on the TinyTrack I believe.

APRS recievers are generally co-located with amateur radio repeaters or individuals that have set up APRS receivers at their homes or businesses so that they have connection to the Internet. If the receiver has good ears, then 300mw is all you need. I've talked to Hams as far away as 50 miles on a good repeater with only 500mw of signal.

Remember, you have to have a minimum of a Technician Class license to use APRS. This is a NO CODE license.

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post #16 of 20 Old Dec 20th, 2006, 10:18 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleRock
To be out alone in the blackness, the only light besides yours, is the stars.
In the heart of the wilderness, man and machine. Confident in yourself, the skills, and tools you have assembeled over the years. Be they tools of metal or tools of knowledge, you have reached the soul of the Motorcyclist.
Not many dare brave it, yet some crave it .
Rock
You have nailed it Rock!

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post #17 of 20 Old Dec 20th, 2006, 11:22 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midwilshire
1. How tough is it to run this off of a Garmin 2710?
I don't know that particular GPS receiver myself. As long as it has a serial output, RS-232, of NMEA data - easy. If it's a USB only, it gets a tad problematic as most APRS devices aren't USB based - yet. It can be done, I'm told. But I've not done it.

Quote:
2. The TinyTrack website has a combined PCB + VHF xmtr rated at 300 mw. In the 2 meter band, 300mw isn't much power. What receives these signals?
In the US, there's a nationwide system of Digipeaters (Digital repeaters), most all the Interstate, US Highway and most State Highway corridors are covered. These digipeaters will carry your posit reports to an Internet Gateway. There, it's fed into the APRS-IS - allowing for worldwide viewing of your posit data. Yup, to see a tracker, all you need is a web browser. The US nationwide APRS frequency is 144.390. Idea is you will not need to know anything particular about any area you ride into. One your tracker is setup, It'll "just work" no matter where you go.

Over all, it's said the APRS system has better coverage than cell phones. You can get a feel for the coverage available from this graphic. It's from Feb of 05.

For more detail in a particular area, you'll want to use an APRS client connected to the APRS-IS to 'scout' out an area.

Remember that today's cell phones put out a max of 500mw - most less. 300mw on VHF isn't much. These TT units are an exception to most APRS gear. Most folks run at east 5 watts - some as high as 45 or 50 - but I think that's a tad extreme myself. Not to mention that on a motorcycle with antennas mounted as they usually are on an LT, you're exceeding the FCC RF exposure guidelines. Special for your Pillion. There are situations that warrant higher power, but they're few and far between.

On my LT I use an HTX-202 (an older Hand Held 2m rig). It puts out either 1.5 or 5 watts. Only time I push it up to 5 watts is if I'm 'way out there' someplace. It also has it's own battery pack that's kept charged by the LT. I can run the whole system off the 202 if "something" happens to the LT's power system.

With that 300mw TT setup, I'd be tempted to put in a 15 to 20ish watt amplifier for motorcycle use.

Quote:
3. Does your TinyTrack transmit constantly while your bike is running? Or do you turn it on periodically?
The TT and most modern APRS encoders use something called 'SmartBeaconing(tm)'. It literally watches your speed and course changes and adjusts it's beaconing rate accordingly - while also ensuring it's complying with FCC ID rules. So, if you're out on a straight Highway, it may put a posit out once every 10 minutes or so. But, if you're in town, moving 20 to 40 mph and turning a lot of corners. It'll send out a posit at every corner. You can read more about SmartBeacon(tm) on the HamHUD site

SmartBeacon(tm) paramters are user adjustable - so you can 'tune' it to what you're using it for.

Tate

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post #18 of 20 Old Dec 20th, 2006, 11:48 am
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Wonder if the system can be used to issue citations for speeding? That is a an LEO is notified ahead to pull you over for speeding in a certain section (posit to posit).



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post #19 of 20 Old Dec 20th, 2006, 11:54 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_R
Remember, you have to have a minimum of a Technician Class license to use APRS. This is a NO CODE license.
Yup - you do have to have a ham license as this system uses the Amateur 2m band (144.390Mhz). But - very soon now, all license classes will be 'No code'. R&O was published yesterday. Should go into effect around Valentines day, I think.

Tech class license means passing with %70 or better a 35 question multiple choice exam. You can take a 'dry-run' at the test here

Tate

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post #20 of 20 Old Dec 20th, 2006, 12:02 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaffyK
Wonder if the system can be used to issue citations for speeding? That is a an LEO is notified ahead to pull you over for speeding in a certain section (posit to posit).
That's actually a question I've heard sevearl times! I don't have an authoritative answer. So far, it hasn't happened, that I know of. But there are a few stories about of folks using tracking data on the APRS-IS to get citations dismissed.

Since APRS isn't certified by or for LEOs - or something, they apparently are reluctant to issue a citation based on APRS. But I'm guessing they could use it to 'get ahead' of you and then use their own gear to clock ya. Maybe one of our LEO types could chime in on the idea. But, remember - you built it yourself. You know where the 'off' switch is.

Usually what happens is my buds in town here 'catch' me and keep me 'aware' of my less than wise actions.

IANAL, YMMV and TUDA

(I think I owe the OP a new thread, by now.)

Tate

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