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Old 29-06-2011, 02:12   #1
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Is a beacon a device or a signal ?

I am from Germany and so my English needs some assistance.
When teaching LRC the EPIRB beacon is for me a _device_ sending out GPS etc. information.

Now I am preparing some assistant lessons for sailors - supporting them for the HAM examination.
In Question T8B5: What is a satellite beacon?
The answer D:
A transmission from a space station that contains information about a satellite.

In my understanding the beacon is a device, in this case the satellite itself.
Or is beacon the _information_ the device is sending out?
Thanks, Wilhelm
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Old 29-06-2011, 03:19   #2
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Re: Is a beacon a device or a signal?

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Originally Posted by crui1948 View Post
In Question T8B5: What is a satellite beacon?
The answer D:
A transmission from a space station that contains information about a satellite.

In my understanding the beacon is a device, in this case the satellite itself.
Or is beacon the _information_ the device is sending out?
Thanks, Wilhelm
I think the answer is badly phrased and should be something like this

"A satellite beacon is a device in space that transmits information."

The satellite would not normally transmit information about itself - it transmits information that can be used for some purpose, such as position calculation.
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Old 29-06-2011, 10:02   #3
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Re: Is a beacon a device or a signal?

The answer is correct as worded. The beacon is the RF transmission. It is what is transmitted. It is the signal. The information. The satellite is the device. In English a "device" is an object, a machine, a radio, or something like that.

And the satellite does transmit information about itself. Specifically, it transmits where exactly it is, and what time it has, and the GPS device uses this information to determine its own location.
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Old 29-06-2011, 10:11   #4
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Re: Is a beacon a device or a signal?

I think the answer is incorrect. Here is the entry in a dictionary :

Beacon - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The beacon is the device, which sends a signal - be it light in the case of a fire on top of a hill, or radio signals in the case of a satellite. The radio signal is no more a beacon than the light from a fire is.
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Old 29-06-2011, 10:27   #5
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Re: Is a beacon a device or a signal?

The word "beacon" has two meanings. It is most properly a device that generates a signal (radio, light, etc). This is the dictionary definition.

It is also commonly used to refer to the signal itself.
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Old 30-06-2011, 09:59   #6
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Re: Is a beacon a device or a signal?

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
The word "beacon" has two meanings. It is most properly a device that generates a signal (radio, light, etc). This is the dictionary definition.

It is also commonly used to refer to the signal itself.
Hallo Paul Elliott,
thanks to find a reference in a dictionary.
Can you give me a source for that.
I tried some wikis, but they told me a beacon is the signal.
and
"When teaching LRC the EPIRB beacon is for me a _device_ sending out GPS etc. information."
I want not to confuse my LRC students when they take a course for the HAM License.
Thanks, Wilhelm
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Old 30-06-2011, 17:53   #7
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Just to be perknickidy a EPIRB does not send out GPS signals. A GPIRB does however. But as of now EPIRBs are more common

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Old 30-06-2011, 19:28   #8
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Re: Is a beacon a device or a signal ?

Hi Wilhelm,

Sometimes it is necessary to select the "nearest correct answer" in multichoice questions. Beacons give position information.That maybe light,radio or visual.



Regards Wilhelm Goodward
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Old 30-06-2011, 19:34   #9
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Re: Is a beacon a device or a signal ?

Is it juiced (battery operational) and in the right place (with you when you need it)?

Then I wouldn't split hairs on the nomenclature...

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