Why personal locator beacon not listed in an EDC prep on this site?

hi! do y’all know why a personal locator beacon (like this one) isn’t listed on some “EDC prep” on this site?

I recognize that at $300 this is cost prohibitive, but it seems crucial for any situation where I’d need medics but don’t have cell service.

The most “common” example I can think of is that I get into a car accident and need a medic but have no cell service because I’m on some swath of highway without it.


  • Comments (28)

    • 6

      I don’t think I would carry that around with me as an EDC prep, because where I go everyday is within cell service and I always have my phone on me and plenty of other people around. But I can see it being valuable for the situation you describe in your last paragraph of being out somewhere without coverage.

      Have you used one before or have one currently?

      • 5

        I haven’t used it yet, but I got one for backpacking and now I keep it in my car because I figure that’s more useful than sitting in my home 😅

        I am sometimes in other people’s cars though, so I’m considering getting a second one for my EDC. 

    • 7

      I carry one, plus I have a marine one because we are divers.  I also get travel insurance that includes extraction when I travel to places like the South Pacific.  

    • 4

      Good morning Lowell,

      Re: “crucial”, “any situation”,

      Can’t answer re TP.com website – or other sites.

      Could you use a PLB if you have hand injuries preventing the opening of the antenna  and pushing the button ?

      If you need medical help there could also be others needing medical help.  There is not that much of a support structure. I do not rely on external assistance as much as my personal preparedness. Some groups “preach” to never travel alone.

      There are some spin-off types for maritime work that when, for example, falling overboard, the distress beacon AUTOMATICALLY gets activated. 

      • 3

        If both of my hands are so seriously injured that I can’t pull out an antenna and push a button, I figure I’m SOL anyway, right?

        If I have severe bleeding, and my hands are that inoperable, and I’m alone, isn’t that game over? I carry a FAK in my EDC with things to stop bleeding (quikclot, bandage, pressure bandage, tourniquet) but if I can’t use my hands and am alone then I don’t see how I’d survive anyway. 

        Am I missing something here? 

    • 10

      1 Many preppers want privacy and security first and foremost, they dont want finding. its why many dont use cell phones that can be tracked or vehicles with built in GPS systems.

      2 Many preppers dont live in remote areas that would see them needing such a device

      3 Many preppers are seriously concerned about tracking technology and its possible abuse by the state.

      4 Many preppers prefer CB radio / Amateur / Marine radios for emergency calls.

      5 They do have a vital role in certain circumstances such as people travelling in remote areas, expeditions, boat users, light aircraft users

      6 I know preppers in SA and australia who carry Elints and Epirbs as well as long range aussie CB gear and cell phones when they go to the outback

      • 6

        That’s a neat point about radios! I had figured that wasn’t radio I’d be getting wouldn’t have anywhere near the range of a PLB, but I haven’t actually looked into this at all, so I’ll def do that first before grabbing another PLB for my EDC.

        To be clear, carrying a PLB in my EDC is moreso prep for myself or another person being injured outside of the range of cell service (or radio service?), but society still existing as usual and EMS still being available. 

      • 7

        I like these small emergency ham radios with DIY roll up  wire Dipole antenna, they have a decent range, There are some preppers in the UK who use these emergency back pack set ups to talk to others many hundreds of miles away. the technolgy is above my paygrade 🙂


      • 5

        whoa that does look interesting! i don’t think it’s a viable alternative to a PLB for EDC tho, this looks much larger and weightier than something I’d put in my EDC

      • 6
      • 2

        Hi Bill! I’ve just looked over Beginner’s guide to amateur (ham) radio for preppers and BaoFengs are fine radios, but they don’t have hundreds of miles of range.

        From these articles, it seems clear to me that a PLB, not a ham radio, is the clear choice for EDC.

        A ham radio is a better choice for a more widespread emergency, but for summoning EMS when not in-range of cell service, a PLB seems superior.

        According to the CDC, injury is the leading cause of death for folks under 44 (me), and so I think following 80/20 here leads me to a PLB over a ham radio.

        I’m planning on (another) rescueME PLB1 because “It is affordable, requires no paid subscription, and is half the bulk of its next closest competitor.”

        Please let me know if I’m missing something here!

      • 3

        @Bill, some additional context re the points you’ve laid out:

        – I live in Seattle and (pre-COVID) would somewhat regularly be out of range of cell service, either on a day hike, a backpacking trip, or just driving to these or some other town. Spending time in the outdoors like this is I think good preparation for many of the survival supplies TP recommends for GBs. So although I don’t live in a remote area, in the interest of emergency preparedness I would like to be able to summon EMS even when I cannot do so from my cell phone.

        – 99% of the time, I’m not concerned about being tracked by the State. I regularly use the internet to communicate with my friends, family, and community members. In the event that I become more concerned about State tracking, I can always ditch my PLB or any other trackable device. The State exerts regular violence against my more vulnerable neighbors, and I believe the pros outweigh the cons here in enabling me to connect with community members who are interested in addressing the survival needs of our community.

    • 8

      PLBs are fine if you feel the need to have one (and aren’t financing it with a credit card etc). We just got a SPOT a few days ago for some additional field testing, for example, after an elderly family member triggered one in a rural area and it did NOT send the expected alerts to the contact tree. 

      The only reason you don’t see much about them on this site yet is because they’re further down the priority list compared to things like first aid or radio, and we’ve been focusing on the 80-20 before getting into the more niche stuff.

      But it’s totally cool if you use one — they just seem too narrowly valuable and not worth the cost for most people. Obvious exceptions are elderly/disabled people who live alone or people who spend time in very isolated areas without normal network coverage.

      If you want to help start the official guide to the best PLBs, you / the community are welcome to and we can get the page up! Just make a forum thread about it and start building the list of products etc. If we do it in-house, it will be a while until we get there.

      • 7

        I do super appreciate the 80/20 approach this site takes! The next step for me is to read up on radios and evaluate to what degree they can replace a PLB. I’ll start with the below!

        1. https://theprepared.com/survival-skills/guides/beginners-guide-amateur-ham-radio-preppers/
        2. https://theprepared.com/gear/reviews/handheld-ham-radio/ and the articles linked therein
      • 7

        What about  Radio / Sat phone combos?


        IC-SAT100_250x777IC-SAT100 Icom & Iridium Satellite PTT TransceiverThe IC-SAT100 utilises SATELLITE PTT (Push-To-Talk) which is a two-way radio system that uses the Iridium® satellite network. It can be used as a communication tool in remote, isolated areas where there are no mobile phones or landline network infrastructure. Even if terrestrial network infrastructure is rendered unusable by human or natural disasters, SATELLITE PTT can provide a stable back-up, independent from other networks.

        One-to-Many Communications
        Unlike satellite phones, IC-SAT100 users can immediately start talking to all the radios in the same talkgroup, with just a push of the transmit (PTT) button.

        Wide Area Global Communication
        The Iridium® satellite network covers the entire earth, including both poles, and can provide wide area global communications anywhere on the planet*.
        * Depending on the country or region, carrying and/or use of the IC-SAT100 may be prohibited.

        Real-Time, Low-Latency Communication
        Using 66 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Iridium® satellites, the IC-SAT100 provides low-latency communication, and broader, more reliable network coverage, compared to Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) satellites.

        Emergency Call Function
        The ‘Orange’ key on the top of the radio is an emergency button. You can transmit an emergency call via a specific talk group by pushing and holding down the button, just like a PMR/LMR radio system.

      • 3

        Do you have experience with this device? I’m super new to the game and am not familiar.

      • 4

        We had em in the military, not cheap, but good if you are going FAR from the beaten track IE jungles, deserts, the antartic etc. Many preppers get heavily into Ham radio (cept those folks with privacy concerns) . Home base station, vehicle rig and a portable hand held rig for back packing. The wiser ones fir their hand portables with hugely uprated antenna to get much better range.

        Many preppers buy CB/ Amateur combo units or Amateur / PMR FRS combos.

        COMMS Baofeng UV5R plus Nagoya NA771SMA

        Comms Abbree folding tactical antenna

      • 7

        While I’ve never used a combo ham radio + sat phone, the idea is interesting, especially if you can easily turn the satellite service/subscription on and off. That way you can turn it on before going on an international trip, for example. 

      • 7

        Good afternoon John,

        Something important re Sat phones and mentioned international trip:

        For India and China use, these countries only allow Inmarsat phones.  Iridium and the others are unlawful.