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Secondhand McMurdo fast find 406 Personal Location Beacon

Does anyone have an opinion as to how much it would cost, and would it be worth it, to update this PLB?


There's no way I can afford a $500 new PLB. I do some 5-day backpacking trips, lot of shorter hikes in WA, some backcountry and XC skiing, so I get why packing this would be a good idea. Got it from an estate and it surely needs new batteries, and may need to be transferred from the original owner's name.

If it might have become unreliable over time, or cost would be prohibitive, or there are other reasons why it might be a dumb idea I'm all ears. Seems like a good thing to keep off the landfill though.

Thanks, REI! 

4 Replies

You should reach out to the manufacturer. They can look up the device by serial number to determine if it has ever been activated. You will also need to go through them - or a certified service center - to replace the battery, as well as to re-register the device to you. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@bootsy Thanks for reaching out!

You are correct that a PLB is a good idea as an extra layer of support in the backcountry should you need it. Additionally, you are wise to think through these questions in advance. We wanted to add a couple of things to @REI-BrettF's good insight:

If you need to brush up on your first aid knowledge, those articles are a great place to start. We also recommend and Wilderness First Aid course or a Wilderness First Responder course.

Hopefully this helps, thanks!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

You might find this evaluation interesting and worthwhile, although it is of a modeel 210 Fast Find:


I would second thee admonition to be well versed in emergency procedures.  Just because you can quickly send out an emergency signal with your accurate location does not mean that aid will come quickly - that happens only in movies.

Many factors influence SAR response and not all of them are favorable.  It is best if you can initiate a good response on your own (stop the bleeding, at least).

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I appreciate it, John. That helps a lot.