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Emergency Satellite Devices for Motorcycle Travel

Emergency Satellite Devices for Motorcycle Travel

1. What Are Emergency Satellite Devices for Motorcyclists?

An emergency satellite device is a tiny gadget used to send a signal for aid via satellite. The signal sends your exact location to the nearest service center, which will try to send help your way as soon as possible.

2. Need for Emergency Satellite Devices

Emergency satellite devices are used by motorcycle riders to contact help if faced with a life-or-death situation. Such situations include getting into an accident in an isolated area or running out of food and water in the wilderness. Do not use these devices if you lose your way or cannot find nearby food establishments. 

3. Types of Emergency Satellite Devices

The three types of emergency satellite devices include the following:

Types of Emergency Satellite Devices

3.1 Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs)

Personal locator beacons (PLBs) transmit an emergency signal even in areas with weak phone signals. This device can only transmit signals during emergency situations in one direction. Once the emergency signal has been received, the response team will come to help you. PLBs have the longest-living batteries of all emergency satellite devices. PBLs do not require charging because their batteries can last for five years. When these devices run out of battery, you will have to take them to their manufacturers to change the batteries.

PLBs send signals to the global satellite system, then to the response network, and finally to an emergency service which will send aid to the motorcyclists.

When using PLBs, it is recommended you register with local assistance authorities. PLBs can work without registering them with local authorities, but the response time will be longer. Motorcyclists must also be careful when buying PLBs online or from sellers in other countries. While PLBs can send a signal worldwide, these devices are programmed to work best in a specific country. If you buy this device from another country, you will have to spend money on reprograming it.            

3.2 Satellite Messengers

Satellite messengers can also send emergency signals in areas with poor phone signals. But these devices are more popular and functional since they can be used to exchange messages and include a GPS.

Satellite messengers use GPS and commercial satellite networks to provide location and communication respectively. If a motorcyclist needs help, they will send a signal to the headquarter of the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Centre near Houston. This message is then sent to local search and rescue agencies while maintaining communication with the motorcyclist waiting for a response.

Satellite messengers have rechargeable batteries and require a subscription to function. This device can send a signal worldwide but needs a clear view of the sky to do so. 

3.3 Satellite Phones

Satellite phones can send audio messages and ensure a steady line of communication. Satellite phones send signals to emergency services and receive responses more quickly.

Satellite phones are rechargeable, can be connected worldwide, and require a subscription to work. Satellite phones are also versatile since different models can include other features like GPS. To send for help, the satellite phone must be under an open sky. 

4. How Do Satellite Devices Work?

A satellite device uses a satellite's communication system by connecting to a satellite orbiting around the Earth. Satellite devices are designed to send and receive signals from nearby satellites via their antennas and receivers. The satellite then transfers the signal to responders, directing them to the location of the person who sent the SOS signal.

5. Difference Between a Satellite Device and a Cell Phone

Satellite Device Cell Phone
Uses a satellite communication system to transmit messages Uses cell towers
Signal coverage is not limited to a specific area with cell towers Signal coverage is limited to specific areas with cell towers
Can only communicate or send a SOS signal Have other features besides communication
Longer battery life Limited battery life
Expensive Cheaper

6. How to Choose Emergency Satellite Devices?

Listed below are factors to consider when buying an emergency satellite device before a motorcycle tour.

How to Choose Emergency Satellite Devices?

6.1 Means of Communication

Before purchasing an emergency satellite device, you must decide how you wish to communicate in case of an emergency. If you only need a device that can send an emergency signal, it is best to get a PLB. If you want to send a message to your family or friends, you will need a satellite phone. If you wish to have a conversation with family or friends, buy a satellite phone capable of audio calls. Satellite phones are the most helpful during emergencies as you can provide emergency service with descriptions of your location and any injuries.  

6.2 Reasonable Prices 

PLBs are the cheapest option due to their low base prices and not requiring subscriptions to function.

Satellite messengers cost more than PLBs due to being able to send text messages. They also need a subscription and a relevant account service. After purchasing, satellite messengers require monthly payments for them to function. The subscription can end up costing more than a mobile phone. Users must pay a few cents to send text messages with a minimum of 160 characters.

Satellite phones allow riders to converse with emergency service operators in real-time. This makes satellite phones the most expensive option as they require monthly subscription payments and include additional features like Google Maps.

Also Read: How to Find A Perfect Motorcycle Ride Using Google Maps

6.3 Signal Strength

Almost all emergency satellite devices work best under an open sky. Different devices connect to different satellite networks. These satellite networks work differently and use different signal strengths depending on the region.

The four best emergency satellite networks include the following.

  • Globalstar is the best satellite network in the U.S. but has weaker signal strength at higher latitudes.
  • Inmarsat or Globalstar have good signal strength in the U.S., except in remote areas.
  • Iridium can send and receive signals worldwide.
  • COSPAS/SARSAT uses 47 satellite networks that allow it to send and receive signals worldwide, but it works best in North America, Europe, and Russia.    

6.4 Ease of Use

Emergency satellite devices are built to be easy to use as a rider may not be in a condition to operate a complicated device during an emergency. Most emergency satellite devices have a SOS button that transmits a signal to an emergency response center. But some devices must be connected to a cell phone, then you have to scroll through a menu to find the option to send a message. For such devices, always make sure your phone is charged before going on a ride and practice connecting the phone to the device

6.5 Charging Capacity

Depending on the emergency satellite device, it may have a short battery life that requires frequent charging. If you do not want to have to recharge your device, get a PBJ. PLBs have the longest battery life (five years) than other satellite devices. But PLBs cannot be recharged. Once you have set them off, now you have to send them to manufacturers to change the battery.

Satellite messengers require frequent charging due to having more functions to run. Satellite messenger batteries run out of power faster due to messaging and navigating. It is best to not use a satellite messenger except when necessary to conserve power.       

6.6 Easy to Carry

Emergency satellite devices come in the size of a cell phone, allowing you to carry and easily access them from your jacket or pants pockets. Though varying in size, satellite phones are the biggest option.   

7. FAQs

7.1 What is the Difference Between a Satellite Phone and PLBs?

Answer: PLBs connect to satellites run by the government. Meanwhile, a satellite messenger works on a private network. PLBs can only send an SOS, while satellite phones have other functions like navigation and audio calls.    

7.2 Do All Satellite Communicators Require a Subscription?

Answer: No, PLBs do not require a subscription. Only satellite messengers and satellite phones need a subscription to work.

7.3 What is Satellite Texting?

Answer: Satellite texting means sending written messages using satellite signals from a place where other network coverage does not work. These texts are transmitted to satellites in the form of radio waves. 

8. Conclusion

Emergency satellite devices allow you to transmit SOS signals in places where mobile signals do not work. In case of an emergency, motorcyclists can send a call for help to an emergency response center.

Emergency satellite devices come in different types. Some can only send emergency signals, while others can also send text messages or make audio calls. Before choosing an emergency device, You should research the size, battery life, signal strength, and cost of each emergency satellite device.

It is best for every motorcyclist to have an emergency satellite device on hand during long rides. Only use these devices for life-or-death situations, not minor inconveniences. 

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