ACR iPro, a GPS EPIRB with a screen
The GlobalFix iPro GPS EPIRB that ACR introduced at MAATS has at least two valuable innovations, the most obvious one being that one-inch digital display. While the EPIRB doesn’t need the screen to operate, it can provide reassuring and useful info. When you self test the unit, the screen will show the results and even suggest servicing if needed. If you actually activate the unit, as was being simulated here, the screen will give your GPS coordinates—handy if, say, you’re also calling in the distress situation via sat phone—and advise you on correct deployment. That’s what was happening in this shot. The iPro supposedly has an improved GPS receiver, but it wasn’t happy inside the Las Vegas Convention Center. So the scroll across its screen read something like: “GPS…WEAK…IMPROVE…SKY…VIEW.” Nice!
Now the iPro’s screen won’t get you rescued faster, but its external GPS input might. The unit has a neat waterproof optical interface which marries to a NMEA 0183 cable that you’d wire to some fixed GPS source on your vessel. The cable even has a little LED that will go green if it sees valid location strings going by. The idea, of course, (as with some models of the AquaFix PLB) is that the iPro will thus be able to send a correct position the instant you activate it, instead of having to wait for its internal GPS to cold start or the SARSAT satellites to calculate a Doppler fix. The iPro also has a newly designed LED strobe that looked good, and the whole package is significantly smaller than its GlobalFix predecessors, which it will purportedly replace…without an appreciable price bump. All nice! But that won’t happen for a while, and right now the following verbiage applies:
This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.
As for Vegas, well, it’s easy to identify with this little dude checking out the world’s largest chocolate fountain: