Typically, when a superior piece of equipment makes its debut, I pounce on the opportunity like a cat on a catnip-stuffed mouse. Especially, when the new gear is significantly smaller and weighs less than what I am currently using. This was not the case last year, as my injury kept me out of the backcountry, and subsequently out of the market for new gear, no matter how appealing.
With my return to the Adirondack backcountry all but inevitable this month, I had a recent change of heart and finally went ahead and did it.
After those many months of wringing my hands and agonizing over this decision, I went ahead and bought the ACR ResQLink personal locator beacon (PLB). This PLB will replace my old ACR MicroFix, purchased way back in 2007. The ResQLink is about a third of the weight and at least two-thirds the size of the MicroFix, resembling a cellphone than a PLB, with a total weight of only 4.6 oz.
The MicroFix battery needs replacing as of back in October 2012, but since I sat out the entire prime backpacking season last year with a knee injury, I never did anything about it. Since only a trained professional should change the battery, I would have to send the unit out for the replacement. Unfortunately, the lowest cost replacement I could find was over $100. Given the new ResQLink is lighter weight and just twice the cost of the battery replacement, I decided to go with the ResQLink.
I reviewed the ResQLink, sight unseen, in the Adirondack Almanack many moons ago when it was first available for purchase. Despite this, I was not prepared to be that impressed when the little bugger arrived recently. This PLB is so very small; it even fits into my little palm. The only criticism I can think of is that they should print the false alarm phone number on the back label, just in case it comes in handy to avert an unnecessary search and rescue.
The ResQLink makes its maiden voyage with me later this month when I venture back into the Pepperbox Wilderness for the first time in two years for the Onondaga Audubon Society’s Birdathon. Hopefully, I will not have an occasion to use it, but just in case it will be available. At least as far as deadweight goes, the ResQLink will be significantly less than the old MicroFix.
Now that the ResQLink will accompany me on my bushwhacking jaunts, what do I do with the heartbroken MicroFix? I hate to abandon it so, but the advantages of the ResQLink are too great to do otherwise. As far as I can tell, I have three options. Throw the darn thing out, replace the battery and use it as a back-up, or try to sell it.
Throwing it out really is not much of an option. The things still works, it just needs a new battery. In fact, the self-test indicates everything is fine. Plus, I have no idea whether such a thing should be thrown out in the garbage. I would probably have to wait for one of those electronic recycling days to dispose of it responsibly. Since it still works, I think I will pass on this option.
Using it as a back-up seems somewhat unnecessary, especially since part of the reasoning of getting the ResQLink was based on the new unit’s cost vs. that of battery replacement. Also, when would I possibly need a back-up PLB anyways? The ResQLink’s battery is good until 2019, and by then they will probably have PLBs the size of a fingernail.
That leaves selling it. This is what I finally decided to do. I hemmed and hawed about whether to put it on GearTrade or eBay for a while, before finally deciding to go on the better known eBay. Plus, a MicroFix just recently sold on eBay for $64, and I figured the disappointed losers on that auction might be still in the market for a used (but in great condition) PLB.
If you are in the market for a used PLB, and like the MicroFix, take a look at mine currently selling on eBay. But hurry, the sale ends soon.
I just hope it ends up going to a good and loving home.
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