New EPIRB technology, couple of questions

Submitted: Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 16:32
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I do a bit of solo travel from time to time and now thinking about buying a GME MT410 EPIRB (406 MHZ).

First question. If I purchased it now, would it work (prior to the 1 February 2009 changeover)?

Secondly, If (for example) there was a car accident and the occupant couldn't get out. Would the signal pass through the bodywork of the vehicle?

What I like about the MT410 is it's compact size and it's accuracy to less than a 5 km radius.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Regards

Kim
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Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 16:43

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 16:43
Kim,
Ihave asked about your first question and the answer is yes.As to your second question Iwould also say yes as the info from the sattelites pass through glass and with all the glass area in a car there should be no problem.Alot of gps systems are mounted(aerial included) under canopies in boats with no problems.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 16:51

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 16:51
I agree that 406MHz signals will have no trouble escaping through the windows, although position accuracy could be worse and it would take longer to get an accurate fix.

Readers should be clear that not all 406MHz EPIRBs have a GPS receiver built in - the standard units have a position accuracy of 5 km, but it could take up to two hours to get a fix this accurate (even with the aerial fully out in the open.).

The more expensive 406 EPIRBS have a GPS built in so that when the first satellite passes in range, your postion will be transmitted to 5 to 50 metre (if you are in a very poor location) accuracy.
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Reply By: KiwiAngler - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 17:43

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 17:43
Just a quick note for those who may not know

The GME 410 does not have the GPS built in
it is the GME 410G that has it

Typical accuracy
MT410G: <45m
MT410: <5km
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 17:45

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 17:45
ooops

looks like I was too slow with that info :-))

Oh well at least you acnnot say you weren't told - TWICE - LOL
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Follow Up By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 18:11

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 18:11
Mike

I'm a bit of a dill with techology stuff. Why would I need a GPS EPIRB if I already have a seperate GPS?

Regards

Kim
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Follow Up By: George_M - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:03

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:03
Kim

My understanding of these units is that they transmit two signals - the primary signal on 406MHz that is detected by the satellite, and a 121.5 MHz signal that is used by whoever is looking for you once they get to your general area.

The GME 410G has an inbuilt GPS (the GME 410 does not), which presumably sends more accurate position details to the satellite, thus making it easier for you to be found by the search party.

Have a look at http://www.ja-gps.com.au/epirb_mt410_plb.htm

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Follow Up By: George_M - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:06

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:06
...or here.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:41

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:41
As has already been mentioned - Yes, you can use it now.

Will it work inside a vehicle - It might. The beacon has to 'see' as much sky as possible to have the best chance of being picked up by a satellite that may be very low on the horizon. They are limited when in a canyon and this is the same when there is a lot of metal around them.

When you activate a beacon and a satellite picks up the signal it will be instantly relayed to a rescue centre. However, it requires 2 passes of a satellite to 'fix' your position. If you had a beacon that has an inbuilt gps your position will also be instantly sent to the rescue centre.

Be aware that if you do not have a beacon that has an inbuilt gps then in a worst case situation (position of satellites etc.) it could take up to 4 hours to 'fix' your position.

Your 406 beacon transmits a one second burst of information to a satellite every 50 seconds. It also transmits another signal (121.5 MHz) so that an aircraft can home in onto your beacon. This second transmission signal should be in open air and 'seeing' as much sky as possible or it could be difficult to home in on. I know of several cases where a searching aircraft lost the signal several times during tracking as the beacons were placed in a poor position. In one case the beacon was up against the wall (outside) of a tin shed. The tracking signal could only be heard when the aircraft was north of the beacon. In another case the beacon was in a steep sided valley so searching aircraft could only 'hear' the signal when they were almost overhead.

You have asked important questions. If you have any more queries let me know as I can get the information from the people who direct the searches for these beacons every day (yes, everyday).
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Reply By: Footloose - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:49

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:49
Kim, your epirb should be the last ditch device. I have the old pocket sized 121 meg one. Better than nothing.
Why not have a sat phone in your survival grab bag? Your life is worth much more than the cost. AND you get rescued faster, which could be handy with a broken leg or snakebite etc.
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 20:00

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 20:00
Footloose

I am sure that you are aware of the following:

From February 2009 the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system will no longer process the 121.5 MHz frequency used by most distress beacons. The distress frequency used by the satellite network will be 406 MHz.

I really am just tagging it on the end of your post in case someone who doesn't know decides to buy a 121.5 unit 'cheap off e-bay'

But having said that if it was cheap enough you would still get 12 months use from it :-)))
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 20:11

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 20:11
Yep, that is indeed the case. But commercial and some light aircraft will still monitor 121 meg. Exactly what they will do upon receipt of an emergency signal remains to be seen, as it will no longer be processed by the sats.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 20:41

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 20:41
Gidday Footy

As you probably know I can get a lend of a Sat Phone from the local Telstra manager when I want it (although he's a bit bleep off with me at the moment with Broadband issues).

The EPIRB unit I'm talking about is very small and ideal for wandering off into the bush for a bit of shooting. Given that I'm no spring chicken anymore, it could be a fair investment.

As an aside, are you up around Cairns way?

Regards

Kim
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 00:31

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 00:31
"But commercial and some light aircraft will still monitor 121 meg. Exactly what they will do upon receipt of an emergency signal remains to be seen, as it will no longer be processed by the sats. "

- exactly what they did before COSPAS_SARSAT. Localise the location of the beacon as best as possible using Acquisition and Loss of Signal with increasing receiver detuning.
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 07:28

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 07:28
As I suspected.
"There's a beacon down there somewhere, lets fly around and see if we can locate it. Hmm...more attenuation, more attenuation. Ah got it. Its somewhere in...........Western Australia!"

Given that very few EPIRB activations are set off by emergencies on land, one would have to question whether the new EPIRBS are simply a cost cutting measure, despite their supposed advantages.

It will be interesting to see how many travellers actually invest in the new technology. AFAIK there is little on the market to replace the old pocket sized 121 meg units.
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 07:49

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 07:49
Hi Kim. No, I'm around the Gold Coast area.
That epirb is only good for another 12 months till they change the system, then it becomes pretty useless unfortunately.
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Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 09:57

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 09:57
Footloose there are alot of pocket Epirbs on the market.

Our GPS enabled Epirb is about the size of a small camera case.

I don't think it is a matter of investing in technology but more a case of investing in you and your families future.

Again what price do people put on LIFE......it seems most on this forum and 4wdriving in general puts a humane life as being very CHEAP!!!!!

With the amount of money people spend on their 4wd with C&AP like ARB this and TJM that and look at my 10 inch lift kit .....oh stupid me thats right you don't get bragging rights for personal safety gear do you.

Our Epirb with GPS cost us $570.00 and we don't have to spend a cent on it over the next 7 years...... $82.00 a year is cheap insurance for me and my familys life.

Thats right I don't need one ......it will never happen to me?

Regards Richard
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 10:08

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 10:08
" "There's a beacon down there somewhere, lets fly around and see if we can locate it. Hmm...more attenuation, more attenuation. Ah got it. Its somewhere in...........Western Australia!" "
- If it was this bad for all the rescues done to date using 12.5 EPIRBs, there's be a lot more dead people who hadn't been found. The ONLY way people were found before COSPAS SARSAT were using the signal strength method (very few aircraft have DF capability on VHF). Even with COSPAS SARSAT the satellite only locates to 20km so local aerial searching is still needed. The only reason 406 EPIRBs have 121.5 is to allow local aerial searching.



"Given that very few EPIRB activations are set off by emergencies on land, one would have to question whether the new EPIRBS are simply a cost cutting measure, despite their supposed advantages. "
- 406 Beacons have identified transmissions making it much easier to use other info to identify the victim/ false alert.
- 406 Beacons are pulsed allowing several nearby beacons to be localised.
- 406 beacons put out higher power.
- 406 beacons canm have GPS receivers built in to allow exact localising on the first reception.



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Follow Up By: Footloose - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 10:39

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 10:39
Olcolone, I'll bet its a fairly larege camera case :)) What make and model is it please?
Mike, "The ONLY way people were found before COSPAS SARSAT were using the signal strength method (very few aircraft have DF capability on VHF). " Very true. And fewer helicopters. Try hanging out of the door of one with a 121meg beam...I have and it sucks. Also it doesn't always produce the desired effect.
In fact the majority of accidental activations had to be searched for using ground based mobile DF. Quite expensive.
And we DID lose quite a few people using EPIRBS, sadly, although usually in time critical situations.

Let me state that I have always been a huge proponent of EPIRBS, and have always found that many 4wders and walkers were not. Sadly, a few coroners agreed whole heartedly with me. I'd have loved to see them as compulsary in hire 4wds, instead of an optional extra. Fat chance !

I think that one poster was right on the ball, until they come with sexy stickers , no way will some people buy one.


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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 11:27

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 11:27
A company has donated ten GPS 406 EPIRBs to be held at Police Stations in teh Blue Mtns for FREE loan to bushwalkers.

Last I heard they were still sitting in the Police Stations, waiting for the beaurocrats to agree on a procedure for issuing them.
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Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 11:45

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 11:45
Footloose, here is a link to the GME site and the one we have is a GME MT410G.

http://www.gme.net.au/epirb/mt410.php

Dimensions 135 mm (H) x 71 mm (W) x 38 mm (D)

I think they should increase 4wd rego by $2000 and then if you buy a Epirb the price is reduced by the cost of the Epirb and same for sat phone and HF.

Was up the Flinders Rangers over the long weekend and spent a couple of days with friends , one a tour operator from Quorn and the other person a manager at the resort and she was saying about 2 adults and 2 kids who decided to go for a walk in the pound about 2 mths ago.......32 Deg and 2x 1.5 liters of water between them....didn't tell any one where the were going.....well they got lost ended up walking out of the otherside of the pound into never never land, after 2 days one of the adults just happened to be in the right place at the right time managed to get a phone signal and phoned 000 for help.

Adelaide police phoned Hawker police who phoned our friend at the resort asking about the lost people...she knew nothing about it before the police called her, the search and rescue involved people on foot and the rescue helecoptor from Adelaide to find them about 30 odd K's from there start point.

These type of people I have no time for.

How much for the rescue in money and time was wasted.

If the had a UHF handheld and a Epirb what would the outcome be.

Our other friend who runs tours out of Quorn said he saw the vehicle parked in the car part but no one knew anything about it.

If the didn't get phone coverage they may of not been found or the worst case leaving the pound in body bags.

They had a young guy the other afternoon at 4.30pm wanting to go on a 7 K trek to a lookout with only 1 lt of water and no light dressed in thongs, tee shirt and shorts.....it took them over an hour to tell him he was not going to do the trek and why......he was bleep about it so he went and got a coffee, jumped in his car and drove back to Sydney (don't ask me why).

Are these people stupid?

Im a very very strong beliver of being prepared and money does not come into it...again its my life and the lives of other Im play with.

Im sure alot of peole think it won't happen to me or it will be OK someone else will come along and help us or we are ONLY going 20 Kilometers from here...not far to walk back (in 35 Deg. + heat) if anything happened.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 12:47

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 12:47
I am amazed at the number of people who equate "preparation in case things go wrong" with "planning to fail" and use that as an excuse not to spend money on emergency equipment or to carry it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 14:19

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 14:19
As VISA would say $400,000 on a house, $60,000 on a 4WD, $6000 on a large screen plasma....$0000 on life! PRICELESS.

The people to blame aswell are the people promoting the outback to cityslickers.....like the Flinders Rangers "only 4 hours from Adelaide on sealed roads"......yeah right just the same as giong to one of the national parks 30 minutes from the Adelaide CBD.

People laugh at us because of what we carry when away, we go away about 20 times a year.

A Epirb with GPS, sat phone, hf radio,uhf and Next G (I Know) for comms.

A good GPS and maps incase we get lost.

A couple of Eflare, A major trauma first aid kit and a smaller one,an eye wash bottle, 2 fire extinguishers, a fire blanket and 3 hi vis vests for safety incase something happens.

Full recovery gear and large tool kit, Toyotas never break down, a hi lift jack with tyre lifter, a shovel, saw, pry bar and 2 axes incase someone else needs them.

40 liters of water and food for 3 days incase we get stuck or can't find a take away place.

An no I am not a ex boy scout.

Regards Richard

This is getting of topic now!





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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 18:02

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 18:02
Kim,

One important thing that has not been mentioned is that with the new 406Mhz EPIRB's, you register your details on the Web.

Then, should you need to "set it off" the authorities will know who it is and whether you are land based, or otherwise. They can also contact your nominated "next of kin" who may confirm you are on a remote trip in the general area that the signal is coming from. This will help eliminate false alarms.

Oh and the 410's, with or without the GPS, also have a strobe light you can use for visual location at night.

I am going to spend the extra and get the MT410G with GPS.
The GPS in this case will broadcast the coordinates of the current location, thus giving extremely good accuracy.

Bill


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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 18:16

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 18:16
>I am going to spend the extra and get the MT410G with GPS.

Agreed. For the $150 price difference it's not worth mucking around.

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 18:20

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 18:20
Gidday Sandman

Yes, I'm aware of the registration procedure. If my daughter was ever contacted, she'd probably tell them I've been dead for the last thirty years, then hang up! LOL

I've always been a bit surprised that David has never done a deal with manufacturers to provide safety equipment (given the size of this site).

Thanks for your help.

Regards

Kim

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Reply By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 18:25

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 18:25
Have a look on Ebay for the MT410G through a Ebay member called uhf_gps_plusmore listed in the Barossa in SA, Mike has a shop in Gawler called Contact Communications and has been there for about 15 years.....he offer great service and surport and the pricing is good about $570+

Regards Richard
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