With the FCC approval of the new ACR Electronics ResQLink, personal locator beacons (PLB) have now shrunk to truly personal sizes. It is a bit amazing that a device the size of a really small cell phone can have the power to send rescue signals to satellites up in space (okay, they’re polar orbiting satellites and are only about 500 miles up, but still) and have the space to incorporate a GPS reciever, the radio circuitry to broadcast on both 406 and 121.5 MHz and a powerful enough battery to run it all.
The reduction in size and weight is certainly impressive. The small package allows each crewmember to unobtrusively carry their own rescue beacon (the idea behnd the PLB designation). But perhaps this is as small as these devices should get? If they get much smaller, it’s going to become really easy to lose them!