Purchasing a New Zealand coded Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

The Importance of Purchasing a New Zealand Coded Personal Locator Beacon

Avoid Unregisterable Australian PLBs Sold in NZ

Introduction: When it comes to personal safety during outdoor adventures or emergencies, having a reliable Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is crucial. However, it has come to our attention that some online stores in New Zealand are selling Australian-coded PLBs at lower prices, misleading consumers about the importance of having a New Zealand coded beacon. We aim to shed light on why purchasing a New Zealand coded PLB is essential for residents of New Zealand and provide insights into how these beacons work.

Understanding PLBs: Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are compact emergency distress beacons designed to transmit distress signals manually. They are essential for individuals engaging in outdoor activities or traveling in remote wilderness areas. PLBs are widely used by hikers, mountain bikers, kayakers, mountaineers, and anyone venturing into the wilderness. Additionally, they have gained popularity among coastal and offshore sailors, especially for night sailing.

Beacons and their Functionality: PLBs operate on a satellite network with excellent coverage across the New Zealand Search and Rescue Region and Worldwide. These devices typically have a battery life of up to 10 years. While their signals can penetrate light foliage and clouds, they require a line of sight to the sky and satellites for optimal performance. Newer models are GNSS-enabled, meaning they can send the user's precise location to the rescue team.

Choose a New Zealand Coded Beacon: Each beacon is coded to its country of origin, but allowing it to be used worldwide. However, registration is only possible in the country for which the beacon is coded. Choosing a New Zealand coded beacon ensures that your emergency information is held by the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), enabling faster response times from emergency services.

Beware of Australian-Coded Beacons: It has come to our attention that some online stores are selling Australian-coded beacons in New Zealand, claiming that it makes no difference in terms of rescue and registration. However, this is misleading and dishonest. If you purchase an Australian-coded beacon, you will have to register it in Australia, which can lead to delays and complications during emergencies in New Zealand.

The Working Mechanism of Beacons: When a PLB is activated, it starts searching for GPS satellites to obtain the user's location. Simultaneously, it transmits a 5-watt signal on 406MHz, along with a unique identification code and GPS coordinates, to dedicated search and rescue satellite systems. These systems include LEOSAR (Low Earth Orbit Search and Rescue) and GEOSAR (Geosynchronous Search and Rescue), which pick up the signals and forward them to a Local User Terminal (LUT). The LUT processes the information and sends it to the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), initiating a search and rescue operation.

The Importance of Registration: Registering your PLB is not only a legal requirement in New Zealand but also crucial for ensuring a quicker and more targeted response from search and rescue personnel. By registering, you provide RCCNZ with essential details about yourself, your emergency contacts, and your activities or trip, which helps coordinate a more effective response.

Tips for PLB Usage:

  • Register your PLB before heading out.
  • Understand how to use the PLB by reading the instruction manual.
  • Carry the PLB on your person, not in your backpack.
  • Ensure a clear line of sight to the sky when activating the unit.
  • Once activated, leave the PLB on and do not turn it off unless it was a false alarm.

Conclusion: In conclusion, purchasing a New Zealand coded Personal Locator Beacon is of utmost importance for residents of New Zealand. It ensures that your emergency information is registered with the appropriate authorities, leading to faster response times during

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.