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Thread: If you have an EPIRB, you need to read this

  1. #1
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Default If you have an EPIRB, you need to read this

    I posted this in the power boating forum, but it seems impportant to post here, as well:

    Just ran across this today.

    Obviously (most) everyone knows about the upcoming switch to digital TV signals next month, but I'd never heard that EPIRB signals must go digital, as well (I assume the switch-overs are related...but even if not, this still seems critical

    http://www.military.com/news/article...=1186032366581

    I'm anything but an expert in this kind of thing (that's why I didn't try to summarize any of the article)...perhaps others who know more can help explain it better. I haven't looked at my handheld unit yet, but I imagine the specifications decal on it will say what kind of signal it transmits -- to know if it's still usable (and legal to use).

    In any case, it seems only wise to check your EPIRB to make sure it's still going to do what you bought it for.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Yeah, I read about that last week.
    Seems there's going to be a run on EPIRB sales now.
    I wonder if the CG has money invested with the manufacturers of them.

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    It seems kind of surprising that there hasn't been more of an education effort about this, especially given the amount of boating that goes on up here in AK.

    The article said that the decision to make the transition was made 2 years ago. I have no idea when manufacturers began transitioning the units...if it started beforehand, or only after...

  4. #4

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    Don't get hung up on the term "digital". If you have a 406 beacon (EPRIB or PLB) the satellites will pick up the signal. The article is somewhat confusing, but the main point is that the satellites will no longer pick up the older beacon's that transmit on 121.5 or 243.0 Here is NOAA's SARSAT website. http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/ It should answer any questions you might have.

    Mike

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Thanks, HC...do you know if the manufacture of these "older" units been phased out, and how long ago?

  6. #6

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    I believe that the sale and manufacture of 121.5 EPIRBs was stopped in 2003 and by 2006 the Coast Guard required only 406 EPIRBs. The 406 signal is and always has been a digital signal, so you don't have to worry about when you bought your beacon as long as it is a 406 type.

    Mike

  7. #7
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    That is old technology man. All the new plb's that I have seen are ready for the change. I have the ACR Terrafix w/gps. The newer ACR Microfix is slick. Smaller size is the main difference. Good to post this kind of info though. If there are any older models sitting around with dust on them, they will be sold cheap. Hopefully people will do their research if they see a $100 plb
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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