GME MT610G Personal Locator Beacon – don’t leave home without it (review)
While I was vaguely aware of things called locator beacons, I never really thought much about needing one. The GME MT610G is a new product focused on enabling your rescue – wherever you are.
Now, this cannot be a full review of the GME MT610G PLB as I have no intention of jumping overboard to test it and annoy Air/Sea Rescue. BTW more ta 50% of Australian rescues involve a GME brand PLB.
And I need to highlight that GME is a 60-year-old Australian company employing 180 staff. Much of its gear is made right here – helping to keep jobs onshore. That includes UHF CBs and Emergency beacons made for our harsh country. And it means you can speak to the people who design and make it if you need advice.
What is the GME MT610G PLB?
- Website and manual
- A personal locator beacon manually activated by you – not an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) registered to a boat and water-activated, although they do similar things
- A 72-channel GPS receiver with an accuracy of <100 metres
- Housed in an IP68 dustproof and waterproof (10m for an hour) that also floats upright and has a high-viz flashing light and high-viz colours. Light and small at 88 x 66 x 36mm x 160g
- Six-year guarantee and seven-year battery life with a minimum of 24 hours transmission time
- 406Mhz 5-Watt transmission and A 121.5Mhz homing signal
- Two-stage activation to minimise false alarms
- System test, battery test
- The battery is GME replaceable (2 x CR123A) as it needs new seals and waterproofing
- No ongoing subscription cost
- Uses the Cospas-Sarsat with a typical <15-minute response time. Register the beacons with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. This covers use on land or sea around Australia, and you can register for New Zealand and global use
It is not for frivolous use but to initiate a process of alerting authorities to a potential rescue situation or where you fear for your life or safety. Authorities will always attempt to contact the user via mobile phone before assessing the need for action. But if you activate it, they will come!
- Yachting – crew members should have one of these each as well as a life jacket (a two nautical mile limit from the coast for PLBs)
- Recreational boating from tinnies to <12m pleasure craft – if you don’t have an EPIRB, this is an excellent substitute, especially if you boat alone. Jet ski and rock fishing users take note.
- Civil Aviation – as it uses satellites, it can report distress or potential crash site
- Off-roading in cars or bikes – the potential for tip-over or bog
- Mountain biking – high potential for a crash and need for rescue
- Busk walking – lost, injured, medical condition or unconscious
- Camping – in case of flood, fire, or imminent harm
- Grey Nomads – breakdown in out of the way places
- Remote or dangerous work zones, e.g., forestry, towers, mining sites, dams etc
- Farmers with large properties
- Mountain climbing
If you shrug at cost – $379 – ask yourself what price you put on your safety.
Cybershack view – don’t leave home without it
I live on the water at the NSW Central Coast. As you can imagine, there are a lot of boaties around. Without fail, these Brisbane Waters and Hawkesbury River boaties (5-10m) did not have PLBs (or EPIRBs). Once they saw it, they were off to get one. Their collective response was that $379 was probably both the most valuable yet the cheapest thing on the boat! While you imagine that such waters are safe you would be surprised at the number of life-threatening incidents.
We usually rate devices out of 10 based on established test paradigms – we have none covering PLBs. It is very well-made, a fair price, has higher specs than similar units, and being an Australian product, it gets a 10/10.
Cybershack GME MT601G Personal Locator beacon