Avionics News September 2019 - 56

Follow the manufacturer's instructions
Beacon manufacturers have worked diligently with
SARSAT to both educate their customers as well as provide
the 121.5 MHz frequency ceased. The 406 MHz frequency
tools and guidance to users about their product. With each
is the only frequency dedicated solely to the international
beacon, whether it is a PLB, EPIRB or ELT, there is a
COSPAS-SARSAT system. In order to correctly test a 406
process for proper maintenance and testing of the beacon.
beacon, follow manufacturer procedures and use the test
These procedures are put into place in order to reduce false
function located on the device. This will fully test the beacon
alerts as much as possible.
and can be done at any time of the day. Turning on the
Before a beacon is maintained, the best practice is to
beacon or activating it in a way other than the recommended
consult the owner's manual, or contact the manufacturer to
test will activate the SAR system. If there are any questions,
ensure proper usage of the beacon. This process is equally
do not hesitate to contact the
important to pass along to individuals
manufacturer of the distress beacon
who acquire beacons secondhand.
to ensure proper procedure.
Not only must they be worried about
the age of the battery inside the
Registration
beacon, the new owner must also be
An important aspect of
equally aware of the consequences for
THEY RISK THE LIVES OF
positively affecting false alerts/
false alerts to help reduce the overall
non-distress beacons is through
THE RESPONDERS; THEY
number of false alerts.
registration. When a beacon is
RISK THE LIVES OF OTHER
purchased or changes ownership
Disposal of old beacons!
POSSIBLE VICTIMS; THEY
hands, it must be registered or
The last thing to discuss here
RISK THE MATERIALS USED
updated. Registration is free
about
false alerts/non-distress
TO CONDUCT SEARCH
and easy to complete online at
beacons is disposal. It is not
AND RESCUE; THEY ARE
beaconregistration.noaa.gov.
uncommon at the USMCC to
AN UNNECESSARY AND
The importance of registration,
receive a distress alert that
AVOIDABLE STRAIN
especially in the case of transfer of
turns out to be at a trash dump.
ON SAR RESPONDERS.
ownership, cannot be understated.
Improper disposal of a beacon
When SAR forces are mobilized
can be easily avoided by paying
after a beacon transmits, there is a
attention to the manufacturer's and
simultaneous effort to contact the
the vendor's recommendations for
owner and/or the emergency contact of the beacon listed in the
beacon disposal. This involves removing the beacon's
registration. If that registration is not up to date, then the actual
battery and is best done with recommendations about
beacon owner/emergency contact is not notified of the distress.
the specific beacon.
This causes SAR forces to deploy limited SAR assets to an
False alerts put lives at risk and costs millions of
area where there may or may not be an active SAR event.
dollars annually. NOAA SARSAT is working to educate
Rectifying this aspect of the non-distress alerts
and inform the users of 406 MHz beacons to ensure
is straightforward. Once your beacon is purchased,
that everyone who works tirelessly to save lives of
register your beacon. If the beacon changes ownership,
users are not placed in needless danger. For more
then de-register the original owner and have the new
information, visit NOAA SARSAT at sarsat.noaa.gov.
owner register the beacon. If the distress beacon
changes ownership in any way, either through sale,
A final note
theft or disposal, it must be updated in the registration
If you have accidentally activated a beacon but do
to reflect the change. Keeping the registration database
not need assistance, please contact the appropriate RCC
updated is integral to limiting the amount of nonright now (day or night) to cancel the search efforts.
distress beacon alerts received by the system. If
For ELTs and PLBs, contact the Air Force RCC at
ownership stays the same but the platform/aircraft
1-800-851-3051.
changes, update that information in the database, as
For EPIRBs, contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 1-855well. The process is easy, and it is the law.
406-USCG (8724). q
406 MHZ DISTRESS BEACONS FALSE ALERTS
Continued from page 55

IN SHORT, FALSE
ALERTS RISK LIVES.

56

avionics news

*

september

2019


http://beaconregistration.noaa.gov http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov

Avionics News September 2019

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Avionics News September 2019 - Cover1
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Avionics News September 2019 - Cover3
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