Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc [sp

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby photohiker » Mon 19 Oct, 2009 5:15 pm

Nuts wrote:How does the phone number link? Is it set for the phone or linked to the sim. Im guessing the number is phone linked?
I have been paying $30pm for years, have known about this for a while, though have been hesitating as we sometimes do use the phone for long conversations (15-20mins sometimes). I suppose that the 000 would still connect without sim credit? or is it a $10 credit +debit style plan?


15-20 minutes. ouch!

Phone number is linked to the sim. I have the attitude that the satphone is an emergency device so not that worried about call costs. The $10 casual sim does not include any calls, so you pay through the nose when you use it (goes on the phone account). Prepaid NextG sims do not work in the satphone. I should actually test it again as it's been a while, will do so and report back when the charges hit.

If you use the phone regularly, it would be worth exploring options like the prepaid sims available in the US with blocks of minutes that can be renewed as they run out or as they expire. I have a bunch of info on that here somewhere, sing out if you're interested and I'll dig it up.
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Ent » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 8:30 am

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby photohiker » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 9:23 am

Brett wrote:Sort have lost faith in KTI as this has been the story for over the last year that I have been looking and longer for others, I.e. the unit is just two months off. I think this is the maximum amount of time that they figure that people like me will wait. Basically as others have done if you have a need for a PLB then the GME 410G appears to be the best unit to actually have in your hand rather than "vapourware" marketing hype. As you can read I am very, very disappointed in KTI and their inability to fix a date.


Brett.

It's fine for you to lose patience and buy an alternative product, it's for your own safety after all, and you cannot use it if you do not have it. On the other hand, I wouldn't be assigning blame or any sort of buyer manipulation to the delays and the reporting of them. My understanding is that KTI are being requested to jump through progressively tighter hoops to gain approval. If you understand the term 'Gatekeeper' I reckon that KTI is being excluded from the market by this process not because their unit is not up to scratch, but because the approval process is biased towards the existing players. Been through it in another industry with similar circumstances and let me tell you it's pretty much hell for the newbie.

Now I could be wrong about this, but there is a certain smell about it that I recognise...
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Ent » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 9:47 am

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Jellybean » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 9:53 am

Hi,

I can understand the frustration in the delays in being able to buy the new KTI but, having seen a friend go through an approval process for a new product in another industry, I agree with Michael on this one. The manufacturer has no control over time lines and delays in this situation, they just have to jump through the hoops that are repeatedly put in front of them and hope, at the end of the day, that they get the approval.

Given the new KTI PLB apparently has nearly 50% better battery life and warranty than the GME (which also seems like a good option), I'm prepared to wait until it's release and hire in the meantime if required. A bit of a pain but I think worth it in the long run.

Cheers,

JB

N.B. In Terms of "coming clean" - if the delays are due to the approval process and this is what they are advising potential customers, I'm not sure what else they can say?
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Nuts » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 10:54 am

photohiker wrote:15-20 minutes. ouch!

Phone number is linked to the sim. I have the attitude that the satphone is an emergency device so not that worried about call costs. The $10 casual sim does not include any calls, so you pay through the nose when you use it (goes on the phone account). Prepaid NextG sims do not work in the satphone. I should actually test it again as it's been a while, will do so and report back when the charges hit.

If you use the phone regularly, it would be worth exploring options like the prepaid sims available in the US with blocks of minutes that can be renewed as they run out or as they expire. I have a bunch of info on that here somewhere, sing out if you're interested and I'll dig it up.


Ahhh, thanks for that. Yes, iv'e seen those us prepaid cards. May need to look into it :wink: Its rare to have a long conversation but it does happen... Im sure its got to be better than the 360pa (actual useage would still be less than the 300+ difference in price)
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Ent » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 11:40 am

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby photohiker » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 12:46 pm

Brett wrote:Sorry but KTI or the standards body have some explaining to do.


Think about it. If KTI are having to navigate the wringer to get approval, what do you think would be the result of blowing the whistle on it? Instant approval? I doubt it, more like instant back of the queue. They are between a rock and a hard place. If its the standards body logjamming the process, you can bet they have a very good suite of reasons why it has taken so long, and none of it would be their fault.

Even if the whole process is above board, it could still take a long time to traverse approval because there will be multiple specifications to be tested and the nature of the bureaucracy. As soon as a unit fails a test it will have to go back to engineering to be rectified, tested and then re-submitted. Given delays at each stage even a single failure could involve months before the unit moves onto the next test. (if it passes, or even if the test specs have not been altered to some new standard)

If KTI or others did start demanding 'explanations' you can bet the approval process would get put on hold pending results of investigations. More delay to market.

I understand your frustrations Brett, but it just doesn't work that way. KTI is stuck until they can extract an approval. After that, they will be wanting to sell units to cover costs as soon as possible rather than attack the body they will need to apply to for ongoing certification and approval of their other products.
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Ent » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 1:20 pm

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby tasadam » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 2:46 pm

KTI have been having problems for a long time.
THIS post in another topic has the extract from an email sent to me by KTI.

If I were KTI I would be keeping accurate records of how many enquiries they get, and then when the unit is approved, take it up with Consumer affairs or whatever to have a go at the approval process for lost revenue.

My knowledge of the problem, from a phone conversation with KTI, was that they had a unit ready for approval which met all the requirements. The approval process is something like it gets sent to France or UK or somewhere for initial testing, then after about 6 weeks a massive report is generated, and that all gets sent over to Canada for scrutiny before approval.

While the approbal process was underway on their unit, the rules changed. So the whole process in place was canned and they had to start again, forcing a complete redesign. Something similar happened again, and they only had a minor change but had to start the process again.
Beyond that I don't know what the delay is but it's been about 10 months (and as such, my recollections of the above could be inaccurate).

My advice would be to ask them.
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Ent » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 3:21 pm

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Nuts » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 3:48 pm

It wouldnt be a stretch to imagine that perhaps the reason the price of the GME units initially went up had more to do with knowing the opposition was being held up

Anyhow, I asked, this is the latest:

"T hese products are currently in the COSPAS-SARSAT approval process which must be completed before they can be sold. Unfortunately COSPAS-SARSAT have changed their performance requirements twice since compliance testing began necessitating modification to the product design and complete restart of testing. Sample product is being tested at the moment and our current outlook is for stock release January 2010. Once approved we will be selling this product direct from our factory as well as distributing through outdoor stores around Australia and at that time we may be able to advise which stores in your area may be carrying stock. We can add your details to our list of those to contact when the product becomes available.

We plan to release the Mini-Sat at a RRP of $499 and the Mini-Sat-G at the RRP of $649. These prices include GST."
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Jellybean » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 4:09 pm

Brett wrote:Um? One would expect such "confusion" to have delayed all such as GME so were GME lucky or what? ......GME claims to be Australian owned and manufacturing here so why can they succeed and KTI fail so badly. I some time back contacted KTI and got an email saying "real soon" about two months and that was many many months ago. What KTI say is rather contrary to GME's experience so not as sympathetic as if GME was in the same boat. Um?

The price drop on GME also make them a cheaper alternative to KTI's last mentioned price where before the price was near the same thus making the longer warranty and battery life appear attractive. Still have the issue with battery replacement costing so much as making it cheaper to bin the unit at the end of five/eight years. The big issue is the units need to be certified for Australia so little option exists if you want a PLB.

Cheers Brett


Brett,

The short and simple answer is that GME were approved prior to the approval process being changed and KTI were unfortunate enough to get caught midway through and are now being subjected to a completely different approval process. Given this, it is unreasonable to keep comparing GME and KTI with regard to their approval, it's like trying to compare apples with oranges.

At the end of the day the consumer cannot do anything about it. We either buy something else, hire, and/or wait for the KTI to be approved and make a decision then based on the final specs.

Cheers,

JB
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby photohiker » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 4:47 pm

Brett, also bear in mind that the existing players GME + various others already had their approvals and products on the market. Were these units recalled? Did they stop supply while they ran their products through the new approval process? Sure doesn't sound like it. Likely their units would fail the testing if they were resubmitted. Perhaps they continued to sell the approved units while they re-engineered the unit to gain updated approvals. This is all speculation, but without knowing what the spec changes were and their effect or not on the actual performance of the beacon we are left wondering if it might be worth waiting for the KTI as when it does hit the market it may well be the best performing unit out there. The price is certainly pretty good.

I like jumping for the underdog. I'll wait for the KTI and hire/borrow as needed until then.
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby tastrax » Tue 20 Oct, 2009 9:47 pm

I also seem to remember that GME ( or Standard Communication Pty Ltd) also got a fairly hefty government grant for PLB research development. This may have put them ahead of the rest. I have been searching the web for the information but cant find it anywhere - maybe I was wrong?

406 has been around for a while but the task to get them into a smaller package and keep the power up for the required amount of time is probably what has caused grief for the smaller designers, especially if the rules keep changing.

Some more background here (but not much detail on actual specifications - for that you would need the standard)

http://agencysearch.australia.gov.au/se ... ofile=acma
Cheers - Phil

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Ent » Wed 21 Oct, 2009 9:33 am

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Nuts » Wed 21 Oct, 2009 9:47 am

You worry too much grasshopper :D If you need one, just buy, your not going to have an earth ending difference between them and they will give the 5-8 yrs before obsolete, lost or unfashionable. If you dont necessarily need to buy one I dont see how it could be a drama getting to the hirees.....?
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby photohiker » Wed 21 Oct, 2009 9:50 am

I also have to admit that I am not that fond of GME from my experiences of them when they used to be the Australian agents for Garmin - they were particularly annoying to deal with.

I suspect GME have a lot of margin on their PLB's. When Garmin took over their own distribution in Australia, the price dropped. Dramatically. Proof or otherwise of that will happen when KTI finally makes it to market, but I think there will be a miraculous price reduction to match or beat KTI. :)

Brett. Points can be moot. Mute is something you do with the remote :)
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby tasadam » Sat 24 Oct, 2009 6:56 am

My KTI email from a few days ago -
Prototypes are presently in the later stages of type approval testing at a COSPAS-SARSAT approved laboratory. Once this testing has been completed there remains a process of scrutiny by the COSPAS-SARSAT secretariat which is expected to take at least 30 days. After that we can finalise our tooling and commence manufacture. On the weight of these factors we are aiming to release product late January 2010.
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby photohiker » Sun 25 Oct, 2009 7:24 am

photohiker wrote:
Nuts wrote:How does the phone number link? Is it set for the phone or linked to the sim. Im guessing the number is phone linked?
I have been paying $30pm for years, have known about this for a while, though have been hesitating as we sometimes do use the phone for long conversations (15-20mins sometimes). I suppose that the 000 would still connect without sim credit? or is it a $10 credit +debit style plan?


15-20 minutes. ouch!

Phone number is linked to the sim. I have the attitude that the satphone is an emergency device so not that worried about call costs. The $10 casual sim does not include any calls, so you pay through the nose when you use it (goes on the phone account). Prepaid NextG sims do not work in the satphone. I should actually test it again as it's been a while, will do so and report back when the charges hit.

If you use the phone regularly, it would be worth exploring options like the prepaid sims available in the US with blocks of minutes that can be renewed as they run out or as they expire. I have a bunch of info on that here somewhere, sing out if you're interested and I'll dig it up.


Ok, here is the charge for the satphone call. I tried to make it exactly one minute, but it ran a few seconds over. 30 second billing increments by the look of it.

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Nuts » Thu 29 Oct, 2009 8:29 am

Thanks P/H, I'm going to be getting another Satphone soon and will try it with a sim. Those charges do apper higher than on the telstra plan (around $2 per minute (with minimum time) from memory). Definately a better option if its hardly ever used.
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby photohiker » Thu 29 Oct, 2009 9:26 am

Roger that.

Found a PDF somewhere on Telstra's website called mobilesat.pdf that details charges. Screencap of the relevant bits below. Looks like 40c connection plus $2 per 30seconds which would make the charge $6.40 for that call. No idea why we got a discount. haha. :)

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Nuts » Thu 29 Oct, 2009 9:44 am

Hmmm, either my memory fails or the charges have shot up....either is plausible....
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby photohiker » Thu 29 Oct, 2009 10:42 am

Nuts wrote:Hmmm, either my memory fails or the charges have shot up....either is plausible....


I think your memory is probably spot on. If you are on a Telstra Satphone plan, the rates would be a lot cheaper. The rates I posted are what Telstra advertises for casual mobile sim use in a satphone. For instance, a TMS30 satphone plan includes $10 worth of calls, and they are charged at $0.50 connection and 0.99c per 30 seconds. Higher plans include more calls and lower the rates - cheapest TMS125 includes $85 of calls with 0.30 connect and 0.43 per 30 seconds.
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby tasadam » Sun 08 Nov, 2009 10:33 am

Well I bit the bullet, went into Tamar Marine (thanks Brett) and bought the GME MT410G. $549, and as of yesterday they had 4 left.
Their sign amused me - due to the booming Aussie dollar or some such... These things are made in Australia and I'm sure the booming Aussie dollar won't make $200 difference in overseas sourced components alone.
That aside... I registered online, painless enough, and a place to type in all the info about where you're going. Log back in any time to update your trip.

While I was kicking about on the AMSA site, anyone with one of the old 121.5 PLB's might be interested in this -

http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/usage.html#whatif

From 1 February 2010, use of a 121.5 beacon will be illegal.
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Sun 08 Nov, 2009 11:21 am

Yup well done! I got one from the marine shop in Hobart a few months ago for the same price. They can order them in by request, only takes a few days!
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Ent » Mon 09 Nov, 2009 9:15 am

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Nuts » Sat 21 Nov, 2009 5:37 pm

Well, satphone aside, I've been spotted.... I bought one of the spot units to do some testing, see how they perform.
So far, all I can say is that it is easy to set up, user friendly. It picked up a signal very quickly and had relayed the tracking info back very quickly. If it performs in a similar fashion every time, i'd be more than happy to rely on the beacon capabilities. I realise that the system they use has been subject to testing here (caniball run etc) though I would like to judge its performance from many different areas and terrain. As we also carry the satphone, its not such a commitment, though it should be interesting to see the message testing and tracking results (especially at any times when the satphone struggles)....
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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Ent » Tue 24 Nov, 2009 4:16 pm

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Re: Emergency Help Devices - EPIRB/PLB, Sat Phone, SPOT, etc

Postby Nuts » Tue 24 Nov, 2009 4:41 pm

Hiya Brett, Low Earth Orbit, so no it isnt the same as the irridium network. In comparison with a 'conventional' plb i'm not convinced it is a big disadvantage in use. I put the fact of constant tracking ability into the equation and to my way of thinking they could offer similar capacity in an emergency situation..... The tracking function, however, has other advantages for us (as well as the novelty of) knowing exactly where someone/a group is :wink:

They have released a newer model and they are getting cheap (+$100-150 pa for service).

Not sure if this info is available (comes from the 'logged in' site) but heres their FAQ:

http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=1700

Judgement reserved on 'all tassie' use but good service so far (and ideal for our situation :wink: )
I'm not sure of the role that angles/limitations would play in real world general use (gorges etc), perhaps negligible overall difference to other plbs?

Anyhow, as I said, the testing shows them ok for our use though it will be an ongoing process of testing their 'all-round' capability. It will probably conclude just before irridium release their own system (with Sat phone and or NextG) :roll: :wink:
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