In the summer of 1991, while Microwave Monolithics Incorporated (MMInc.) was completing a contract with NASA to develop a super efficient power amplifier that could be useful in next generation emergency locator beacons, Jared Negrete, a young boy scout, was lost on a hike to the 11,500 ft. summit of Mt. San Gorgonio near Los Angeles. Despite extensive search efforts Jared was never found. The son of MMInc's founder was in the Cub Scouts at that time, thus he felt a strong personal loss when the story surrounding Jared broke in the media. MMInc. followed the story closely, and decided to continue work in this area and develop an advanced emergency locator beacon that could help prevent such unfortunate endings in the future.
This development effort culminated in the MicroPLB™, which is a miniature COSPAS/SARSAT Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) designed to be carried by hikers and others involved in potentially dangerous activities. When activated in life threatening situations anywhere on earth, appropriate rescue personnel are almost immediately notified of the emergency, as well as the identity of the individual in trouble and the location of the activated beacon. Rescue can safely be accomplished in hours often sooner than the emergency situation would even be reported.
After considerable delay, PLBs were approved for sale in the U.S. starting July 1, 2003. It is expected that far more unfortunate people lost in these mountains, or anywhere else in the world, will be rescued in a safe and timely manner. It is expected that the MicroPLB™, inspired by Jared's loss, will help in this endeavor.