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  Personal Locator Beacon Device On Sale Now

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Author Topic:   Personal Locator Beacon Device On Sale Now
Buckda posted 08-20-2010 11:01 AM ET (US)   Profile for Buckda   Send Email to Buckda  
BOE Marine has a special right now on the Aquafix ACR personal locator beacon device for [$229]. Those of you who might be interested should check it out as this is a pretty good price on this item!
David Pendleton posted 08-20-2010 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
It's actually $229.00. Defender has them slightly cheaper. Both have limited quantities.

I just ordered one from BOE. I hope it's here by next Friday.

SJUAE posted 08-20-2010 04:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
I got one from WMJ marine a few months back when they were $299; I still [have] to register it here. A price of $229 is a good deal. Check date of manufacture as from memory it's a five-year shelf life on the battery. Regards
Steve
jimh posted 08-20-2010 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
What frequency does the personal locator beacon transmit on? If I recall there was a service at about 121-MHz and then again at harmonics of that frequency which were reserved for such a locator. This raises the question: who among us has a direction finding receiver to locate such a beacon?
SJUAE posted 08-20-2010 11:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Jim

Distress data transmit 406 MHz signal and 121.5 MHz GPS homing capability on the ACR AQUALINK PLB-350B

Regards
Steve


jimh posted 08-21-2010 06:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Steve--Thanks for the information on the 121.5-MHz personal locator homing beacon signal frequency. I imagine the search and rescue agencies must have direction-finding receivers to listen for and locate the homing beacon.
K Albus posted 08-21-2010 07:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Jim, there is a system of satellites which constantly monitors for the 406 MHz distress signal given off by PLBs and EPIRBs. If the satellites detect a distress signal, the information is relayed to the appropriate Search and Rescue Organization which then responds to the situation. The 121.5 MHz signal is only used as a homing signal in the near vicinity of the PLB or EPIRB. More information can be found at the COSPAS-SARSAT webpage: http://www.cospas-sarsat.org/index.php
jimh posted 08-21-2010 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks, Kevin, for the explanation. I was aware that the 121.5-MHz beacon signal was a homing signal and was intended to be useful for local search and rescue agencies to use by searching with radio-direction-finding receivers. I was just curious about the availability of 121.5-MHz direction finding receivers, and who might have one. I do not recall ever seeing a recreational boat with an installation of a 121.5-MHz direction-finding receiver.

I am somewhat familiar with radio-direction finding. As a young boy I would spend Sunday afternoons with my father, driving around in our 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible, participating in "Hidden Transmitter Hunts" conducted using Amateur Radio transmit frequencies. We used the car radio, modified to tune up to the 1.8-MHz amateur band from the 1.5-MHz broadcast band, and a World War II surplus direction-finding loop antenna. The antenna was painted olive drab and came in a heavy canvas bag.

Direction-finding using radio beacons is really quite an old fashioned technology. It goes back to the earliest days of radio. A much more modern approach to locating a person in the water using a radio beacon technique would be to use the Automatic Identification System (AIS) approach. A person in the water with a GPS receiver and a personal AIS transponder could be located by any vessel in the area with an AIS receiver. I suspect that in the very near future many recreational vessels will be equipped with AIS receivers and be able to display AIS targets on their chart plotter display. Adding an AIS receiver is the next upgrade I plan to make to the electronics on my small recreational boat.

K Albus posted 08-21-2010 09:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
There are Radio Direction Finders commercially available to the public for tracking 121.5 MHz signals, but they are fairly expensive. The ACR Vecta 3 Radio Direction Finder retails for around $1,500: http://www.acrelectronics.com/product2.aspx?sku=2869

With regard to AIS vs. PLB, a PLB is meant to be kept attached to your person. If you fall overboard and your boat remains underway, the AIS system on your boat isn't going to do you a lot of good. PLBs are also useful for land-based activities such as wilderness hiking or camping.

David Pendleton posted 08-21-2010 11:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
quote:
This raises the question: who among us has a direction finding receiver to locate such a beacon?

Who among us has a helicopter? Or a Safe Boat? Or a satellite constellation?

quote:
PLBs are also useful for land-based activities such as wilderness hiking or camping.

This is why I've decided to replace the EPIRB I currently have on my boat with this PLB. I also plan to use it while snowmobiling and winter camping.

SJUAE posted 08-21-2010 01:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Jim

I have AIS RX on my SH 2100 GX VHF as you know I did not get it interfaced with my 2 HDS-5 chart plotters so I may get a duplexer sometime to resolve this as I like listening to traffic around me whilst trolling and seeing locations on the HDS units was an enhancement for fun

However, when I was looking into AIS, PLB,s etc I decided not to get a full TX/RX AIS unit after reading up on them it seems class B units are often fitrered out buy the Class A systems operators and so would almost render them useless as a reliable safety system and less effective than DSC/channel 16 automated SOS on your VHF IMO

AIS RX and radar would be a better solution for those that need it for navigation

As David notes a PLB is a much better all round device for small boats and on land activities

Regards
Steve

jimh posted 08-22-2010 09:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In mentioning AIS as an emergency locator device, I was thinking of something that would be deployed overboard, not something that stayed on the boat. Here is an example:

http://www.mcmurdo.co.uk/products/product.html?product_type=18& product_sector=3&product=107

This is a new category of emergency locator beacon known as AIS SART (Search and Rescue Transponder).

SJUAE posted 08-22-2010 04:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Jim

An interesting new device not sure of it,s range though radar SART are around 8 miles. I think your DSC VHF will do better

You still need an EPRIB but if there are other 300t ships around at least they can find you and not just rescue services.

A bit pricy at 700USD for a small boat

Regards
Steve

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