406 MHz EPIRBs and PLBs; Avalanche transceivers

Outdoor activities can be dangerous. People have been badly hurt or have died in accidents, severe weather conditions, or due to medical conditions where medical assistance was not available. Taking an emergency device on your trip can help to reduce some risk.

Part 1 - Should I use an EPIRB, a PLB, or an avalanche transceiver?

Important decision! Each type of device is suitable for different situations. Remember, though, that carrying or activating an emergency device cannot of itself guarantee a timely response.


image of fastfind PLB image of KTI PLB image of KTI EPIRB
McMurdo Fastfind KTI SA2G KTI SA1G EPIRB

An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is an emergency beacon designed to float in water and operate for a minimum of 48 hours.

A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is an emergency beacon for personal use, designed to operate for a minimum of 24 hours. PLBs are often carried on land, when in remote areas, or on a boat/vessel that is carrying an EPIRB, to provide additional safety for individuals. If you are not required to carry an EPIRB, carry a PLB: they are much smaller and lighter.

Digital (406 Mhz) GPS-enabled beacons determine their location prior to transmitting this location and the beacon's unique reference number. This signal is received and actioned by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) in Canberra, ACT.

Avalanche rescue transceivers and related equipment

image of Mammut Barryvox transceiver
Mammut Barryvox transceiver

In some places there is a risk of avalanche, and people can be buried under the snow. One of the ways that someone in this situation can be found is by using avalanche transceivers to locate the person.

An avalanche transceiver is carried by someone (in the supplied chest harness) and set to the 'send' mode. In order to find a person who has one of these transceivers, the searcher sets their transceiver to the 'search' mode. The transceiver helps the searcher focus their search. The search can then be fine-tuned with avalanche probes, and finally, snowshovels are used to recover the patient.

Please refer to the Barryvox user manual (opens in a new tab).

We offer the Mammut Barryvox rescue transceivers for collection in Melbourne CBD and Cheltenham. We also offer an "avalanche pack" which includes the Mammut Barryvox transceiver, a snow probe, and a snow shovel.

Key points
Snow sports are dangerous. People have been badly hurt or killed in avalanches. Learn safety techniques - undertake an Avalanche Safety course. Always respect the conditions.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions - there are special instructions for users who have a pacemaker. Ensure that a transceiver is functioning properly prior to use.

Transmitters and magnets will interfere with the performance of an avalanche transceiver. Don't carry other transmitters within 30cm of an avalanche transceiver. Disable non-essential phones and smart watches when you are using an avalanche transceiver!

What about Satellite communications?

We don't offer satellite phones. However, the ZOLEO ZL-1000 Satellite Communicator is a great alternative.

image of ZOLEO ZL1000 Satellite communicator
ZOLEO ZL-1000 Satellite communicator

This excellent device allows you to send messages and one-press check-in messages via the Iridium network.

More detailed information is available on the ZOLEO product website (opens in a new tab).

Part 2 - How much does it cost to hire an EPIRB, a PLB, or an avalanche transceiver?

You can hire an EPIRB or PLB for as little as $50.

Item 2 days 3-7 days 8+ days
PLB or EPIRB 50 55 Ask us
Avalanche pack (1) 110 130 Ask us
Avalanche transceiver (2) 75 95 Ask us

(1) An avalanche pack comprises an avalanche transceiver, a snow probe, and a snow shovel.
(2) The Mammut Barryvox transceiver requires 3 AAA Alkaline batteries. You should fit 3 new batteries prior to use of the transceiver.

Prices do not include delivery and are as at May 2024.
In addition to our hire fee, we require a deposit, refundable upon return of the equipment.

Special offers:

Larapinta Trail NT - walker transfers and food drops
Our affiliate in Alice Springs can provide and deliver food containers to Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek/Serpentine Gorge, and Ormiston Gorge. Transfers are also available between Alice Springs and those locations. Please visit Larapinta Express website (opens in a new tab).

Customers of -

Get a discount off our hire fee if you have purchased anything from one of these businesses in the 60 days prior to the date you collect your hire beacon. Just show us your receipt!

Part 3 - Where can I collect an EPIRB, PLB, or an avalanche transceiver?

Collection and return is possible at the following locations:
Adelaide Glenunga
Alice Springs Alice Springs
Darwin Berrimah
Hobart Hobart CBD
Melbourne Cheltenham
Perth Duncraig
Sydney Haymarket
Other areas - shipping via Australia Post: additional costs apply.

Part 4 - How to hire an EPIRB, a PLB, or an avalanche transceiver

  1. Ensure that your planned activity is within your ability.
  2. Consider whether you should purchase travel insurance.
  3. Please contact us either by our on-line enquiry form, by phone, or email.
  4. We will confirm availability.
  5. We will ask you to complete and send us our beacon registration form/agreement - see link at the bottom of this page.
  6. We will provide instructions for the payment of the hire fee and deposit, and collection of the beacon/transceiver.
  7. Where required, we will register your trip with AMSA.
  8. Once you have collected your device, please refer to the beacon user manual extracts (accessible from our home page) or the Barryvox manual.

Want to know more?

Download: Beacon registration form/agreement (.docx)