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Old 22-06-2008, 18:38   #16
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[QUOTEso no one is going to be flying planes taking much notice of some "strange" tone/tones received on 121.5. That is if they are even monitoring 121.5 - ][/QUOTE]

Wrong, every time we hear an ELT signal on 121.5, we advise Air Traffic Control and they take it from there. Also, as stated before, aircraft are capable of 2 way comm with vesseles in emergency if they have the handheld 121.5 VHF radios.

If I was going to cross an ocean in my sailboat, I would bring along a 121.5 VHF comm radio.
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Old 22-06-2008, 19:07   #17
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Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
Wrong, every time we hear an ELT signal on 121.5
That is now, there will be NO ELT signals on 121.5 MHz from Feb 2009 - in fact in many countries there are no ELT's on 121.5 already. The ICAO deadline for aircraft to changeover WAS 1 July 2008 and many countries imposed that date on domestic private too.

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If I was going to cross an ocean in my sailboat, I would bring along a 121.5 VHF comm radio.
That is an entirely different thing again, you are now talking telephony. For telephony there are plenty of options other than marine VHF, HF or EPIRB that might prove to be useful.

But, while I have no idea about the USA most countries I've had anything to do with ANY aircraft dispatched for oceanic search can work CH16 and it is a fact that most oceanic rescues are conducted from ships.
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Old 22-06-2008, 19:25   #18
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epirps

All,
121.5Mhz IS an international distress freq for any service. no change to the use of this freq within any spectum plan. All 121.5Mhz epirps are rich in 2nd harmonic sigals & can be heard in the mil 243 ie 121.5x2 The 406 is digital with 121.5AM modulation. Aircraft will continue to monitor 121.5. You cannot "licence" a VHF handheld or any radio for use within the aeronautical band on a boat unless you have a need to be licenced for commnication with aircraft.(and that would only be a fixed frquency & not one which could be changed to 121.5 unless engaged in SAR work) so if you want to carry any radio you do so with legal risk. It is more likely that an unmodulated carrier on 121.5/243 Mhz will get more attention than the present tone heard from the retiring equipment. i.e. 121.5 will become more a voice dependent channel.

No way around it get a 406mhz EPIRP

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Old 22-06-2008, 20:23   #19
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121.5 will allow none SAR aircraft that may be in the area to locate and or assist in your rescue as SAR arcraft may not be as close to you .
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Old 23-06-2008, 03:41   #20
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I am only answering the question of, 'Will anyone notice a 121.5 signal...'

Here is a link that address the aviation aspect of it. As it is not required for US aviation to make the same change as US boating to a 406 transmitter... the answer is basically - Yes - someone will probably hear you.

Lots of folks will still monitor the freq. Here is a link that is easy to understand... with emphasis on the first paragraph about the FAA...

About Avionics

In part, so you don't have to hit the link, it states:

February 1, 2009: Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) operating solely on 121.5 MHz will no longer be received by SARSAT (the international search and rescue program). Only TSO-406 ELTs will be monitored by satellites after this date. All 406 MHz ELTs must be registered with NOAA prior to installation (47CFR87.199) and re-registered every two years. See NOAA's ELT FAQ webpage and the GPO's website to view 47 CFR. The FAA has not yet mandated conversion to 406 MHz ELTs. The Forest Service (FS) and the Aviation Management Directorate (AMD) will follow the FAA's lead on 406 MHz ELT implementation. The FS and AMD still accept TSO-91a and TSO-406 ELTs on interagency aviation contracts.

~my opinion~ Since the aviation industry has not changed over, yep, it will be monitored in the US territory's. Additionally, all US military aircraft monitor the freq as well.


One last thing... According to the US FCC, any frequency is authorized in an emergency, which seems to conflict with some previously listed rules in this thread. (governments in action I suppose)

BTW~121.5 sucks. Very few aircraft have the capability to DF (direction find) the signal. It's a tough nut to crack... Really bad way to go.

I was flying a 172 at 3,500' when the Value Jet went into the swamp in southern Florida years ago. I picked up the signal 85 miles north of the crash site and reported it to a local airport tower. My aircraft had no way of indicating any direction towards the signal whatsoever. Just that fact that is was being transmitted.
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Old 23-06-2008, 06:11   #21
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...The FAA has not yet mandated conversion to 406 MHz ELTs....
That is stretching the truth...

The FAA has not mandated 406 ELT's for SOME aircraft.

ALL Part 91 aircraft (so all US aircraft) operating outside the US are mandated to carry 406 ELT's.

ALL Part 135 aircraft (so all US aircraft in commuter and on demand operations) with air worthiness certificates issued after 1 July 2008 wherever operating are required to carry 406 ELT's.

You don't mention the US aviation industry recommendations that all aircraft not covered by the above seriously consider voluntarily changing due to the security of the 121.5 MHz system being compromised from 1 February 2009. That is they are being recommended to follow the ICAO requirement.
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Old 23-06-2008, 08:02   #22
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That is stretching the truth...

ALL Part 91 aircraft (so all US aircraft) operating outside the US are mandated to carry 406 ELT's.
Could you please provide a reference for this?
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Old 23-06-2008, 08:20   #23
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Could you please provide a reference for this?
See:
14CFR91.207
Section

and
TSO-C91a
http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgTSO.nsf/0/e2b1e589c98200f886256dc900695b8c/$FILE/C91a.pdf
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Old 23-06-2008, 09:55   #24
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See:
14CFR91.207
Section

and
TSO-C91a
http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgTSO.nsf/0/e2b1e589c98200f886256dc900695b8c/$FILE/C91a.pdf



I've seen the TSO (written in 1985) This is just the standard for compliance.

I'm asking to be enlightened (cite the FAA reference) on the requirement stating all Part 91 aircraft... outside the US... required...406...
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Old 23-06-2008, 10:08   #25
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Thanks for such varied responses

Wow, ask a simple question on Cf and end up with a great and varied conversation. Thanks everyone for responding.

A quick assessment of responses shows that some opinions were given (as requested), some rules were quoted (or linked to), some discussion on comparisons made between new and old beacons - not actually part of the OP but a reasonable conclusion to draw - and to finish with opinions on ELT carriage on aircraft.

Rather than fill this page with multiple quotes, I will make general comments on the various responses.

Gord's link to the USCG News seems clearcut that one mustn't operate (activate?) an old marine beacon. I am assuming this is actually a rule (or even law) in the US but possibly it is just guidance. This is in stark contrast to the postion taken by AMSA in Australia (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) which is the governing body in Oz for such matters. It is clear from their website that one can still activate an old beacons. They also make it clear it won't do you much good as it is very unlikely to initiate a SAR response http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/digital_vs_analogue.asp

MarkJ makes a point that an MOB beacons are not much help unless one has some sort of DF equipment on board (more on that later). Of course, a 406 PLB on a MOB does raise the alarm in a general way through the COSPAS SARSAT system even if the skipper hasn't noticed anyone missing .

Sandy (and others) make a valid point that DF'ing any beacon is a difficult excerise and I have to agree. Most (almost all) of the aircraft DF (homing) I have installed or repaired is very basic and even with the best equipment, the process is time consuming. This is a good reason to have a 406 beacon incorporating a GPS fix.

While CSY's experience with re-certiying an old beacon is probably common, these old beacons are still being sold today in Oz - at increasingly discounted prices - no surprise there.

Bill makes the point of false activations will still continue even with the new beacons and I can attest to that here in Perth. I personally know of five 406 activations in West Oz over the last year and four of those were false or inadvertent. Of those four, one was unregistrated and resulted in a limited SAR response until the beacon was located at a yacht club. As an aside, one of the false activations was a beacon fitted to a SAR aircraft that was returning from a training flight while another was a $4,000 beacon that I was testing in situ (correctly). It malfunctioned due to very light corrosion and very small amount of moisture (condensation) in a connector. The result was the beacon could not be switched off after the test and by the time I had removed the beacon and isolated the battery - about 3 or 4 minutes, the RCC in Canberra was aware of the transmission and had begun the analysis phase of the SAR plan. A quick phone call resolved the situation.

As to carrying a airband radio on board (even handheld), I really think this is very much a limited 3rd or 4th option fallback arrangement.

Firstly consider the legal aspects - as I understand Australian law (especially the Radio Communications Act) - I don't THINK owning an airband transmitter is illegal however transmitting with it is UNLESS life or property is in grave and imminent danger AND all other methods of obtaining help have been exhausted. The onus of proof resides with the person using the transmitter that such use is warranted in this instance.

Secondly marine VHF and HF would "normally" get a response while a 406 beacon would certainly initiate a SAR response. As Midland points out, all SAR aircraft have marine VHF anyway however I can see there might be a rare situation where voice communication mid ocean with an high flying international aircraft may be your last chance of raising a SAR response.

Back to my original post, it would seem to me that activating an old beacon is unlikely to generate a SAR response (which Gord pointed out in the first reply and is confirmed in the AMSA website above) and yet is still a legal option (in Australia at least).

Given these conditions I wonder if a 121.5 beacon could be useful in some MOB situations if one had suitable DF equipment on board. Envisage a off-shore MOB situation where the unluckly one is overboard (with PFD and old EPRIB) and is out of sight. Formulating a workable search pattern is going to be a very hit or miss affair for the average cruising yacht. However perhaps with a portable 121.5 receiver and a good directional antenna (mounted or hand held), an azmuith bearing to the MOB (say +/- 30 degrees) may be possible and would be a good starting point for recovery of the said MOB. I am still working on the design of a cheap(ish) DIY receiver and possible directional yagi antenna.

Of course, such a system would still work with a 406 beacon but using a 406 beacon WILL generate a full blown SAR response even if you are well off shore and is possibly not warranted in many cases.

I note that the use of a EPIRB (again in Oz at least) is a method of last resort and should only be used after all other methods of communication has failed (radios, phones, mirrors, flags and what have you). http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/useage.asp

Is the USCG take on this aspect similar?

Activating an old beacon to facilitate a MOB recovery in certain situations might actually be helpful and seems to comply with current regulations IMO.
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Old 23-06-2008, 10:48   #26
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Wotname said it all. The last possible reason to not destroy a 121.5 epirb is if it is small enough to wear, has a good battery, and is within range of a proper functional DF. To expect to be detected by an airplane when you are more than 20 miles off shore is a false hope. Neither can transoceanic jets seven miles up be expected to detect and respond to a beeper on 121.5. At best, they can report hearing it the next time they are withing range of competent authority. Again a false hope. Could you talk to a jet with a handheld? Yes, if you had one, and could see the jet. But the question is about old epirbs, not buying a new way to call for help, especially when all the world wants you to use a 406 instead! Lets face it. Billions have been spent to make early detection, early location, and coordinated international response to an emergency at sea a reality. Why in the world would you want to do it some other way?
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Old 23-06-2008, 12:37   #27
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Quote:
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... I'm asking to be enlightened (cite the FAA reference)...
The first link should be enlightening.
Code of Federal Regulations:
TITLE 14--AERONAUTICS AND SPACE
CHAPTER I--FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
PART 91--GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES--Table of Contents
Subpart C--Equipment, Instrument, and Certificate Requirements
Sec. 91.207 Emergency locator transmitters.
Goto:
Section
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Old 23-06-2008, 19:47   #28
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I'm asking to be enlightened (cite the FAA reference) on the requirement stating all Part 91 aircraft... outside the US... required...406...
US registered aircraft Will Not be able to fly outside of the USA unless they comply with the ICAO requirements which are as I set out.

There is a reference on the Flightdocs.com site to the requirement in their compliance listings service if you are a non believer, but I would have thought it would spring from simple assumption myself.
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