Sending "I'm OK" message using a standard Emergency Beacon

Submitted: Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:00
ThreadID: 76680 Views:4609 Replies:5 FollowUps:11
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If you press the TEST button on your PLB it sends a message which is encoded so it won't be seen as an emergency call, but it's still repeated by the satellites.

A company is now looking at setting up a commercial service based on receiving these TEST messages and then SMS or email messages to people you have nominated.
406link

If your PLB has GPS, the message will also link to a map showing where you are.

I can't see this service going on for too long - if everyone sends TEST messages from their PLB a couple of times a day, the satellites will get heavily loaded and there is a greater chance of Emergency calls not being relayed by the satellites.
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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:22

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:22
One thing I've learnt is don't test those suckers around any electronic kit like speakers or computers.... they send out a fairly powerful signal... will light up any speakers nearby...
AnswerID: 407896

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:45

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:45
An Emergency Beacon puts out 5 watts on 406 MHz - exactly the same as the maximum power from a UHF CB on 477 MHz.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 19:54

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 19:54
How will they affect pacemakers?

I am not allowed to have my mobile phone anywhere near my chest. Especially in the coat pocket.

?????
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:25

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:25
Mike , why is it that I see a basic fault in the instructions on the link you provide ? 'point the Aerial to the equator ect' ,,, break the seal and point the Aerial ! Yeah right ! Moving the Aerial from the safety sealed position activates the unit .... Nothing to do with the test function at all ,, the test function is to ensure the batts have still got power , no signal sent.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:54

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:54
You'd better check your Beacon - I can pick up the transmission on a monitoring receiver when I press the TEST button on my PLB.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:09

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:09
Which is how far away ? Bit like testing a pair of uhf hand helds , 1 in the r/hand and the other in the l/hand ,, Mike we know that you know your stuff but in this instance you are wrong , even their maps show NO coverage for AUS.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:15

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:15
Take a deep breath . . . read what I wrote.

I have never once suggested it works in Australia now.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:37

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:37
Mike ,read what I wrote , ,Is your beacon test over a worthwile distance from your reciever , or just in the same room ? No? And yes you are correct that you did not state that it works in Australia , pointless .
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:52

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:52
Oh Mike , did you bother to check the coverage they are offering to cover for your $39.95 or the " extras" at $59.95 , ? NONE is applicable to AUS.
AnswerID: 407907

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:56

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 17:56
Even when they start monitoring the Asia satellite over Singapore, it will
have limited coverage as it's 20 degrees above the horizon in South Eastern
Australia.

So if you don't have a clear view of the sky 20 degrees above the
horizon to the Northwest, your signal won't be received. Perhaps the worst
aspect is that you have no idea if your signal was received or not.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:11

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:11
Mike its as above , tits on a bull for usefullness in Aus.
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 20:07

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 20:07
Alloy,

They are looking at GOES-10 (satellite) access and coverage from my understanding. "Coming soon" is the standard phrase......the bull is having an operation. ;-)

Andrew
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Reply By: Anotheone - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:39

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:39
When you press the test button on an epirb/plb it does transmit, the satellites can detect it but it will be discarded because of the test code. Although the discarding will use up processing functions on the satellite.

The test itself isn't designed as such to communicate with the satellite (as in it isn't checking it can communicate with it), which is why there is not a requirement to deploy the aerial.

406link will require you to deploy the aerial, which if you have ever used some brands can be a pain afterwards (breaking the seal can make it difficult to keep it in place)

The real consideration about this service is battery life. Every time you use it (or test your beacon) you are using up battery power. Manufacturers provides guides to how often you should test your beacon, so it will retain enough power to transmit for at least 24 hours (48 for epirb, 24 for PLB) when you activate it in distress.

406link is a service by ACR, but is available for all beacons (may be dependent upon beacon type TBC). Of interest is that the latest ACR beacon (which has an okay button built in) only allows you to test GPS functionality up to 60 times over the life of the battery.

Even if coverage is extended to Australia, I would recommend that you check with your own manufacturer before taking it on. The battery life is going to be a real consideration

There is also some info at (look for "Self-test function")
http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/beacon-testing.html

Regarding the power, yeah the 406 component transmits at 5W, the 121.5 component is much less (0.1 to 1w is average)
AnswerID: 407917

Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 22:15

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 22:15
It might be better to keep your epirb as an epirb, and consider Spot if you want to send 'I'm OK messages'
AnswerID: 407957

Follow Up By: Member - Boeing (PER) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 23:17

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 23:17
Agree Bob, It's an epirb, which has a function to say I am in trouble no variables involved.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Mar 09, 2010 at 00:57

Tuesday, Mar 09, 2010 at 00:57
As i see it, why would anyone want an EPIRB if they have a Spot Messenger? Am i correct in understanding they will send an emergency signal with the same status as an EPIRB signal (repeating until cancelled as received) as well as send home I'm OK messages? Two for the price of one as i see it.

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