PLB (Personal Locator Beacons) and / or SEND (Satelite Communicator).

The purpose of this document is to explain some of the differences between the two technologies and what device may be the most suitable for each application.

Explanatory note – PLB /SEND – short summary of differences – pros and cons

“PLB or SC?”

Why a PLB or SC

  • it can save your or someone else’s life
  • accidents do occur in areas without GSM coverage (90% of the world


  • to help rescuers find survivors within the so-called “golden day”[ii]
  • brings you peace of mind
  • allows tracking[iii]
  • useful when boating, skiing, hiking, windsurfing, climbing, etc.

PLB & SC – in common:

  • transmit your GPS location and your personal information
  • has GPS accuracy less than 100 meters with clear view of the sky
  • transmit emergency signals for at least 24 hours
  • function in very cold temperatures -4°F (-20°C)
  • function at high elevation
  • minimum 5 year lithium batteries (MOB1 7y)
  • self-testing of circuitry, battery and 406 MHz transmission
  • single hand operation
  • works at land or at sea

PLB    Personal Locator Beacon

Description  1- way global reliable SOS beacon


  • A PLB has three levels of integrated signal technology – GPS positioning, a powerful 406 MHz distress signal, and 121.5 MHz homing frequency –
  • the PLB quickly and accurately relays your position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites.
  • the 406 MHz signal is monitored by COSPAS/SARSAT (SARSAT is an acronym for “Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking”)
  • each PLB is equipped with a unique identifying code which is a 15 digit alpha-numeric code.
  • this code is transmitted in the electronic burst to the satellites and is linked to a computer database to provide your name, address, phone number and any pertinent information such as medical problems, to search and rescue personnel


  • a PLB has to be registered with national authorities – in the case   Switzerland OFCOM There is a unique    registration fee of CHF 105
  • no subscription fee


  • ACR ResQLink+ – worlds smallest floating PLB.
  • ACR ResQLink
  • Ocean Signal rescueME PLB1 – worlds smallest PLB


producer model
 acrlogo ACR ResQLink  resqlink front - 270
 acrlogo ACR ResQLink+  resqlink + front-270
 Ocean_Signal_Logo_square_400x400 Ocean Signal PLB1  PLB-product-shot

Marine Electronic Sarl is Swiss distributor for Ocean Signal Ltd and ACR Electronics Inc.

SC: Satellite Communicator

Description  2-way global SOS, tracking and communication devise with monitoring of location


  • uses Iridium, a commercial network containing 66 satellites with global coverage.
  • transmission during 100hrs (tracking every 10 minutes)
  • send and receive SMS
  • tracking and monitoring
  • confirmation of SOS signals
  • emergency calls/emissions are routed to an organisation named GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center headquartered Houston, USA.
  • Satellite messenger devices are less “powerful” (1.6W versus 5W for PLB)[iv] than PLBs and works better with an open view of the sky to transmit successfully.
  • A built-in strobe light provides visibility during night rescues
  • Unlimited access to downloadable maps


  • DeLorme inReach SE – (see technology above)
  • DeLorme inReach EXPLORER – has all the features of inReach SE, plus built-in navigation capabilities, routing, navigation to waypoint, barometric altimeter, digital compass, connection to Smartphone
SC: Stellite Communicator–
  inReach SE+  
inReach EXPLORER+  
inReach MINI


  • inReach has to be registered with GARMIN (the producer)
  • alternatively it can be registered with us
  • this can be done directly on-line or by using our services the monthly fee varies depending upon requirements (minimum 25.- / month)
  • The subscription can be cancelled or put on hold at 30d notice


  • PLB & SEND are both registered with the coordinates of the owner. (user)
  • these coordinates include the country of registration.
  • Irrespective of country where the SOS has been triggered, provided the devise is registered to a Swiss owner – REGA will be alerted and will coordinate the SAR (Search And Rescue) – albeit not directly intervene other than in their “territory” Switzerland and French Alps.            


  • Recommended selling prices October 2015 –
  • for current prices please contact info@rescue-ME.ch or refer to www.resque-ME.ch                                                                              
Make Article # Model CHF
GARMIN INRE – 002 inReach SE+ 385.-
GARMIN INRE – 003 inReach EXPLORER+ 430.-
ACR PLB-375 – 2881 ResQLink+ (buoyant) 405.-
ACR PLB-375 – 2880 ResQLink (standard) 385.-
GARMIN INRE – 007 inReach MINI 385.-
Ocean Signal OS – 121 PLB1 385.-

Prices subject to change without notice.


  • One technology / alternative is not “better” than the other!
  • The choice is a matter of the user’s preference and needs.

Such as:

  • 1 or 2-way communication
  • SMS ability
  • tracking ability
  • PLB may have a better transmission in wooded terrain
  • one time cost or subscription
  • weight


  • PLB has the ease of use 100% reliable SOS function “rescue me”
  • SC has the same plus messaging and tracking
  • EPIRB – same functionality as PLB but bigger and made for use onboard vessels.
“Technology” SEND PLB

inReach SE


ResQlink Ocean Signal PLB1
Global coverage green tick green tick
SOS green tick green tick
2-way messaging green tick red not OK
2-way SOS green tick red not OK
Tracking & sharing green tick red not OK
Message delivery confirmation green tick  red not OK
Free from subscription – variable cost red not OK green tick
weight 230g 140g 130
battery life (shelf-life) 5y 5y 7y
There are other models in the market such as SPOT, McMurdo, and Kannad etc. Our preferences, for a number of reasons, are without any doubt the ones mention in this report.GSatMICRO is currently undergoing tests and may be added at a later stage.
[I] Source IRIDIUM
[II] (the first 24 hours following a traumatic event) during which the majority of survivors can usually be saved.
[III] inReach
[VI] Source OutdoorGearLab

“PLB or SEND”       PDF_icon

SEND description   PDF_icon

PLB description      PDF_icon