Changes to EPIRBs from 2009

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 10, 2003 at 12:43
ThreadID: 5379 Views:2844 Replies:2 FollowUps:0
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Just thought people might like to know about pending changes to EPRIBs. Plenty of time though, cause the current crop goes up until 2009. This post was on another (fishing) forum.


This is the answer I received from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the short answer is nothing changes for another 6 years or so, i.e. 2009:


Thank you for your query.

The rumours are correct that satellite processing of 121.5/243 MHz alerts will cease from 1 February 2009. The reasons for the cessation of processing are more to do with the high rate of false alerts, particularly in the United States and Europe. Nevertheless, it means that from 1 February 2009 we will be relying on the far better and more reliable, albeit more expensive, 406 MHz digital distress beacons.

Australia has been working hard over the last five years to have specifications changed to allow the introduction of lower cost components that should result in lower retail prices for the beacons. We are likely to see the fruits of our labours toward the end of the year with the introduction of an Australian designed and made 406 MHz EPIRB at less than $600 with the price likely to drop further as Cospas-Sarsat changes the specifications required.

Although lower cost, the beacon is shaping up to be as good as any EPIRB currently on the market with all the same advantages of identity signals, greater accuracy, swifter resolution of position and greater reliability. Lower cost PLBs are expected to be on the market within twelve months of the EPIRBs although other manufacturers may move more quickly by using existing technology and varying features to reach a lower cost.

AMSA expects the States and Northern Territory to update their regulations with regard to carriage of distress beacons to reflect the change from 121.5 to 406 beacons as the costs reduce.
Steve Langlands
Planning and Coordination Adviser
Planning & Business Support
Emergency Response
A Division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

Level 3, 25 Constitution Ave
Canberra ACT 2601

Tel: (02) 6279 5743
Fax: (02) 6279 5757
Mob: 0427 880 110



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Reply By: tim - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2003 at 15:26

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2003 at 15:26
This is correct
They will have a chip in them that when it goes off they will now your name,address,boat ect depending on what you are doing.
AnswerID: 22214

Reply By: BurnieM - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2003 at 16:04

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2003 at 16:04
Not quite.
They have a serial number which needs to be registered with the National controlling authority (probably AMSA).
Currently more than 70% of the 406 EPIRBS in the US are not registered.
In a way this may just be transferring the false activation problem from one frequency to another.

They are in the process of modifying the international standards.
The main reason current 406 EPIRBS are so expensive ($2000 plus) is because they must have extremely precise and frequency stable (across a wide temperature range) transmitters.
The new standards will allow less stable transmitters but include a GPS for more accurate position and cost is likely to drop.
AnswerID: 22216

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