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Old 26-07-2013, 19:21   #31
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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post

There isn't a 48 hour requirement for epirbs or PLBs. Merely that IMO GMDSS compliant epirbs have at least 48 ability

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Did I write SOLAS? Meant GMDSS, sorry
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Old 26-07-2013, 19:27   #32
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Just finished NOAA registration. I think they are going to mail me a decal that is valid for 2 years and should be attached to the PLB which shows an area to stick it to. I guess I have to redo or confirm the registration every two years. I never had these requirements with my EPIRB so this all changes with your country of registration.
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Old 26-07-2013, 20:06   #33
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Re: EPIRB Registration

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
We're heading for the Rocky Mountains so we might get cold yet Colorado here we come; got a metal detector and gold pans ready to haul in the motherload
I don't think they have Waffle Houses out there...

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Old 26-07-2013, 21:16   #34
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Re: EPIRB Registration

I bought my yacht from a german natioanl, and i cannot transfer the eprib rego into my name or register it in Australia. Itneeds to be reprogrammed at a cost of several hundred dollars.
A big problem?
Cheers from Keith.
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Old 27-07-2013, 01:56   #35
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I bought my yacht from a german natioanl, and i cannot transfer the eprib rego into my name or register it in Australia. Itneeds to be reprogrammed at a cost of several hundred dollars.
A big problem?
Cheers from Keith.
Exactly why I decided to retire my EPIRB and buy this PLB instead. If I would be crossing oceans all the time I would buy a new EPIRB but all we do is coastal and crossing a sea now and then. The good thing about a PLB (and also the DeLorme InReach SE) is that you have it on your person and can use it even when you find yourself alone and floating lost at sea. We never had that direct personal safety available before.
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Old 27-07-2013, 02:12   #36
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Re: EPIRB Registration

Thanks Jedi. I also have two of those accusat epirbs, with the built in gps and strobes, for myself and the crew. We wear them when at sea.
Also one other epirb, fixed inside the companionway, registered to me.
The german one is in the grab bag, it still works.

Also, the crew on watch wears a standard horizon waterpfoof/floating vhf, with a dsc function and built in gps, has a direct emergency call that shows the location of man overboard on my chart plotter and sounds an alarm on the ships vhf as well.

Makes for peace of mind?
Cheers from Keith.
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Old 27-07-2013, 03:12   #37
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Re: EPIRB Registration

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Exactly why I decided to retire my EPIRB and buy this PLB instead.
Thanks Nick, I am thinking the same way.
I have started a new thread here:

PLB

You are always up with the latest equipment so some feedback would be great.
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Old 27-07-2013, 04:37   #38
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Re: EPIRB Registration

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
............

I did enquire about of re-coding the EPIRB, but with delivery the cost was similar to new EPIRB, presumably by the time it has been opened up and the seal broken etc.......
I can't comment on whatever model you are referring to but I do know that some current models without any external connectors can be reprogrammed without being opened up or having any seals broken. Presumably magnetically coupled or wireless

Quote:
Originally Posted by venturing seagull View Post
.........
3 The EPIRB could have passed the self-test but still failed to operate correctly. The self-test is purely internal to the EPIRB. No transmission is made at all, so it is not a test that checks the entire system.
Totally incorrect; at least for the dozen or so models that I am familiar with. They all transmit at full power during the self test process. AFAIK this is a COSPAS SARSAT requirement. The initial bust of 406 Tx at turn on is fully coded with the exception that part of the initial string of code is inverted. The COSPAS system recognises this inversion as a test message so it does not trigger a SAR response. This also happens with a genuine (ie not self test) transmission. It is only the second and subsequent busts (approximately 50 seconds after turn on and then continuing about every 50 seconds thereafter) that is coded as an "active" transmission.
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5 The antenna would not be checked by the self-test as there is no transmission. There have been failures of antennas in the past ..... cracking of the rubber antenna casing leading to corrosion of the internals. No antenna .. no message.
Again, the models I am familiar with do a VSWR check as part of the inbuilt self test and again I understand this is a COSPAS requirement (but I might be wrong on this aspect)
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6 The condition of the battery is not properly checked during the self-test. The batteries generally produce the required voltage even though they may be short on capacity. They are known to self-discharge at much higher rates in warm weather .... and the NINA spent a lot of time in the tropics at around 30 deg C, more if the unit housing was heated by the sun or engine......
Partially disagree
The self test does monitor the battery voltage during self test (while Txing at full power) and the limits are quite tight. The battery chemistry is well understood and this is a pretty good indicator that the capacity of the battery is still sufficient to meet the stated battery life at rated temperature band. Additionally, many (all?) models monitor the operational time and will fail a self test if accumulative time of 1 hour is exceeded. Each self test is counted as a full 1 minute of operational time thus the unit will fail a self test after 60 self test cycles. This is why self testing should not be more frequent than monthly.
I do agree that storage temperature is important and that excessive temperature can be encountered if incorrectly positioned; however +70 C is a common storage maximum which means the unit can be stored at +70 C for its service life without ill effects. It is hard to imagine any circumstance on a yacht where this could happen. For that matter -30 C is a common minimum storage temperature and again this isn't going to exceeded on any yacht I have encountered.
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8 What are the effects of weather condition on EPIRB transmissions, especially when operated in bad conditions from a liferaft or in the water?
Almost nil, this is their standard operating environment. I could be persuaded there might be intermittent signal dropout in very severe tropical storms but these are short lived events.

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SO : NO COMMS DOES NOT MEAN "NO SURVIVORS"
Agreed
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Old 28-07-2013, 04:46   #39
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Re: EPIRB Registration

Thanks for the corrections to my post.

So the unit is allowed to transmit but with a message encoded to signify it is a test. The satellite ignores that message ... i.e. the EPIRB is not equiped with a receiver to essentially get a handshake. This could not take place anyway as the test burst is less than a second and it would be just luck if a satellite station picked the message up anyway.

You are also saying that the antenna is tested as well.

Is their any situation that you are aware of where an EPIRB can pass the self test and not operate successfully in a distress situation?
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Old 28-07-2013, 04:59   #40
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Re: EPIRB Registration

Quote:
Originally Posted by venturing seagull View Post
Thanks for the corrections to my post.

So the unit is allowed to transmit but with a message encoded to signify it is a test. The satellite ignores that message ... i.e. the EPIRB is not equiped with a receiver to essentially get a handshake. This could not take place anyway as the test burst is less than a second and it would be just luck if a satellite station picked the message up anyway.

You are also saying that the antenna is tested as well.

Is their any situation that you are aware of where an EPIRB can pass the self test and not operate successfully in a distress situation?
The self tests are picked up by satellite...for a fee you can have a test message relayed to you.

This EPIRB Test Service Offers Peace of Mind - Features, Boat Reviews and Boat Tests - Boats.com
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Old 28-07-2013, 05:31   #41
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Re: EPIRB Registration

It seems that not all EPIRBS are tested in the same way.
From BEACON MANAGEMENT AND TESTING SITE
"
Please note that some older models of Beacons do not transmit a 406MHz self test burst, so they cannot be tested in this way. In addition some current models of Beacon incorporate features (e.g. a rolled up one time only use antenna) that reduce their radiated power output during a Self Test and therefore these beacons do not transmit a signal that is strong enough to reach the satellites (Note when the antenna is correctly erected these Beacons radiate at full power the same as any other Beacon).
"
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Old 28-07-2013, 06:16   #42
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Venturing Seagull: sorry to say so, but you sound like somebody who is trying to convince himself that there is no need to buy a new EPIRB because they are no good. This is not the forum to do that. EPIRBs are in fact very reliable and I have never heard of one that did not work when needed. When you do the self tests and replace the battery in time, these units work and save your a$$ when needed.
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Old 28-07-2013, 07:41   #43
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Re: EPIRB Registration

Quote:
Originally Posted by venturing seagull View Post
It seems that not all EPIRBS are tested in the same way.
From BEACON MANAGEMENT AND TESTING SITE
"
Please note that some older models of Beacons do not transmit a 406MHz self test burst, so they cannot be tested in this way. In addition some current models of Beacon incorporate features (e.g. a rolled up one time only use antenna) that reduce their radiated power output during a Self Test and therefore these beacons do not transmit a signal that is strong enough to reach the satellites (Note when the antenna is correctly erected these Beacons radiate at full power the same as any other Beacon).
"
You had some valid points that obviously manufacturers have solved or are working on...guess if you really value your life it's time to buy a EPIRB that can be checked and get real time feed back whether it costs more or not.
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Old 28-07-2013, 15:44   #44
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Re: EPIRB Registration

I am lucky enough to have one that transmits gps and does send the message off to the satellite.
I wasn't aware until now that there was a facility to have the test message verified at the other end. This would be a very important validation for me as I think internal checks alone are not enough.
It is important for people to realise that EPIRBS are being constantly developed and so is everything else down the line to the SAR organisations.
It is my belief that EPIRBs should be RENEWED at the end of their battery life, not just serviced.
I still have questions to ask about their reliability .... and NO I am not nearly convinced that they are 100% reliable so don't jump into a life raft expecting to be beamed up to safety. There was even a guy in the UK who refrained from swimming to his RIB that was 100m away after being bounced out, because he trusted his beacon to get him help. He was 11 miles from land in cold water, but with an immersion suite on.
This is a very valuable thread. It may save lives. BUT it is important that the readers realize that however vociferous a statement and however well intentioned, it may be wrong.
Tradewind's statements above with respect to NINA stand as her EPIRB is believed to be one of the older type.
If I get any more important information on EPIRBS, I will attempt to verify it before posting ..... but if I can't verify them I will say so as some contributors here seem to have access to better information.
As I say, this has been very valuable. Thank you all.
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Old 29-07-2013, 08:04   #45
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Re: EPIRB Registration

Quote:
Originally Posted by venturing seagull View Post
Thanks for the corrections to my post.

You are welcome

So the unit is allowed to transmit but with a message encoded to signify it is a test. The satellite ignores that message ... i.e. the EPIRB is not equiped with a receiver to essentially get a handshake. This could not take place anyway as the test burst is less than a second and it would be just luck if a satellite station picked the message up anyway.

In essence - yes. The detail is more complex - as always. Not all EPIRBs are tested the same way. Some just fire off a single bust of 406 while others are tested by turning the unit on for several seconds. However all units have the following characteristics when activated in anger. The 406 transmitter fires off the initial bust of data with part of the data inverted. This is received by the bird (satellite) and returned to an earth station where it is recognised as the first bust and thus is considered as a test. The transmitter then goes into a cycle where it transmits its data string about every 50 seconds for at least 24 hours. Each bust of data is about 400 to 800 milliseconds in duration. It is this second bust and all subsequent transmissions that are treated as live.

You are also saying that the antenna is tested as well.

In the units I work with - yes, I can't vouch for all units but I believe (but don't know for sure) that this is a COSPAS requirement.
Have a look here and read the full specifications for yourself
C/S T.000 Series - Technical


Is their any situation that you are aware of where an EPIRB can pass the self test and not operate successfully in a distress situation?

Yes, when the unit fails! Not trying to be smart but an EPIRB is just an electronic device and as such, can fail without warning. Having said that, I used to inspect, bench test and certify maybe 30 or 40 units a year. I have seen only one failure and even then, it did not pass it's self test. They are very reliable

I have seen several ELTs (aviation version of the EPIRB) fault due to HIRF but even then, they failed in a fail safe manner. They would turn on OK but could not be turned off without opening up the unit and disconnecting the battery.
Quote:
Originally Posted by venturing seagull View Post
It seems that not all EPIRBS are tested in the same way.
From BEACON MANAGEMENT AND TESTING SITE
"
Please note that some older models of Beacons do not transmit a 406MHz self test burst, so they cannot be tested in this way. In addition some current models of Beacon incorporate features (e.g. a rolled up one time only use antenna) that reduce their radiated power output during a Self Test and therefore these beacons do not transmit a signal that is strong enough to reach the satellites (Note when the antenna is correctly erected these Beacons radiate at full power the same as any other Beacon).
"
True. You must remember EPRIBs have been around a long time now and technology is way ahead now than when they were first introduced. I suspect though that almost all units in current service self test in the manner previously described. Certainly any manufactured in the last 10 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by venturing seagull View Post
I am lucky enough to have one that transmits gps and does send the message off to the satellite.
I wasn't aware until now that there was a facility to have the test message verified at the other end. This would be a very important validation for me as I think internal checks alone are not enough.
It is important for people to realise that EPIRBS are being constantly developed and so is everything else down the line to the SAR organisations.
It is my belief that EPIRBs should be RENEWED at the end of their battery life, not just serviced.

Yes, totally agree, especially given the 6+ years of certified battery life available these days

I still have questions to ask about their reliability .... and NO I am not nearly convinced that they are 100% reliable so don't jump into a life raft expecting to be beamed up to safety. There was even a guy in the UK who refrained from swimming to his RIB that was 100m away after being bounced out, because he trusted his beacon to get him help. He was 11 miles from land in cold water, but with an immersion suite on.
This is a very valuable thread. It may save lives. BUT it is important that the readers realize that however vociferous a statement and however well intentioned, it may be wrong.
Tradewind's statements above with respect to NINA stand as her EPIRB is believed to be one of the older type.
If I get any more important information on EPIRBS, I will attempt to verify it before posting ..... but if I can't verify them I will say so as some contributors here seem to have access to better information.
As I say, this has been very valuable. Thank you all.
I would venture that the storage of EPIRBs on some vessels leave a lot to be desired and this could lead to reliability issues. I don't care how well made it is claimed to be and how well sealed it is, my EPIRB is stored out of direct sunlight, in a splash free zone and not subject to vibration.

I understand this is not always possible but if ideal storage conditions can't be met, then more frequent inspection and testing should be undertaken.

As an aside and slightly off topic (but IMO still relevant) here is an example of what can go wrong.

Some years back, an ELT manufacturer produced a 121.5 MHz unit with user replaceable batteries (D cells). Trying the capture the cheaper end and DIY market I guess. They specified what batteries must be used but of course, many owners never read the manual (surprise surprise) and just used whatever batteries available at the local supermarket.

I inspected dozens of units where the batteries had leaked due to the high temperatures reached inside the aircraft when parked for days in tropical areas with daytime temps in the mid 40s C.

However several cases occurred when the battery pack shorted out and melted the entire plastic battery case off the transmitter. The problem turned out to be that the case was designed for Duracells manufactured in the USA. Some owners used Duracells (with the same part number) that were manufactured in Europe. The diameter of the European cells were ever so slightly larger (metric vs imperial) and these wouldn't fit into the case unless forced (likely really forced). The insulation on the outside of the cells was compromised and with enough vibration in flight, it would wear through and short out. Finally the manufacturer had to issue a notice stating only USA manufactured batteries could used
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