Any thoughts? McMurdo vs. ACR EPIRB - SailNet Community

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Old 01-10-2009
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Any thoughts? McMurdo vs. ACR EPIRB

I'm buying a new EPIRB and am debating whether to get the McMurdo SmartFind Plus G5 or the ACR GlobalFix iPro. Both have an internal GPS, are 406 units with 121.5 homing, etc. Both have 5 year batteries. The ACR is "fancier" with a second GPS hookup that slaves to your onboard GPS (we're already wired for this with an older ACR that slaves) for immediate broadcast without the internal GPS having to determine your location. It also has an LCD screen that gives you the EPIRB status both during self-test and real activation. Any thoughts on which unit to get? The price difference is negligible.
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Old 01-11-2009
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My experience

I have had two ACR 406 units, the first I purchased for a crossing in 1996, the second for another in 2002. In 2007 I pulled my 2002 Globalfix which worked about 90 minutes then failed but was useless anyway as registered to another vessel courtesy of ACR and NOAA, still waiting to do a postmortem on unit to ascertain why stopped working as if it had the USCG would have come after us regardless of unresolved conflict. The older EPIRB we believed lost when rogue wave sheared overything on deck away, without GPS and an 11 year old battery saved the day. This unit enabled a fix almost as fast as the GPIRB as while both worked they gave the same location. There have been problems with the McMurdo in the past more serious than antennae issues but I suspect they have been resolved. The market leader remains ACR, all manufacturers are foreign owned but at least ACR builds in US, as I have told another sailor who had a problem with his ACR unit I believe, subject to the upcoming postmortem, I would still purchase an ACR but make sure it is faullt tested and check the registration at least once a year or before embarking in blue water, additionally, you can record your sail plan in some country databases. DO NOT COUNT on the unit self test nor the service stations who are only allowed the change battery - likely the case for McMurdo also but not sure.
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Old 01-12-2009
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I'd go with the ACR, since it is able to give you more information due to the LCD panel than the McMurdo. They're pretty solid units, and more information is always better than less. For instance, once you're in the life raft and if you have contact with the SAR folks via a satellite phone, with the ACR you can read off the lat/lon from the LCD display. With the McMurdo, you don't have that option.
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