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Old 06-03-2014, 09:56   #1
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EPIRBs - The Differences

Hi there,

I'm looking to buy an EPIRB, but I'm a bit lost. I know the different types of EPIRBS, the different classes,...

But still, there is a huge price difference that seems to come out of nowhere. Two EPIRBS with the same functions can be hundreds of dollars apart. Sure build quality is one thing, but does it differ that greatly?

Take for example the following EPIRB:

Safelink SPORTPRO+ GPS

It seems like a "full-option" EPIRB, but it can be had for 335$ new in the box, shipped to your door.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:25   #2
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Re: EPIRBS - the differences

Thats an excellent price!

Buy it.

Where are u buying it from? I need a new one later this year
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:29   #3
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Re: EPIRBS - the differences

One of the things to be careful of is batteries, are they available? Can you change one? Price?
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Old 06-03-2014, 14:18   #4
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

Ebay...

Batteries are good for 7 years, replacement to be done by a dealer. I don't think this will be easy as its made for the australian market. However, at that price might as well just get a new one from the next generation.
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Old 06-03-2014, 14:23   #5
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

Be careful with the country it's registered to. See my post on this from a day or so ago
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Old 06-03-2014, 14:38   #6
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

It certainly ticks most (all?) the right boxes. Kannad is a major beacon manufacturer and I have yet to see a poor quality product from them. They are a major supplier to the aviation beacon industry FWIW.

Not sure if you are correct in saying that it made for the Aussie market but I may be wrong there

Some of the finer details between different units are things one often doesn't think about like "How often is the GPS position transmitted". This for instance, has a bearing of current drain as so to get battery life from smaller batteries, some manufacturers drown grade this aspect. So while still selling a GPS embedded unit, it isn't necessarily as good as a another GPS embedded unit.

So units will transmit the GPS position every five minutes, other every 20 minutes etc. Some of the earlier ones only transmitted the GPS position once or twice and then the GPS was shut down however I haven't seen this (IMO poor design) for some years now.

AFAIK, there are still some units that will shut down the GPS aspects after 24 hours - again to improve battery life.

Cost isn't always a good indicator here. IMO recency of design is a better indicator.
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Old 06-03-2014, 14:39   #7
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Be careful buying an EPIRB from another country as I think they have to be coded for your country of registration.

I'm in Aus and just purchased a new manually activated GPS equipped Epirb with a 10 year battery life online for $299 delivered which I thought was pretty good. My current Epirb expires this month, and while it was one of those "battey replacement included with sale" deals, the company that sold it has now gone and the new distributor has a list of fine print that requires one to jump through hoops to get the battey replaced for free.

A long s the epirb is approved, I think that they need to be compared on features only. I notice automatic activated units are quite a bit dearer than their manual counterparts, but not sure if that is of use on a small boat. I prefer to keep ours in a grab bag that stays close in the really rough stuff anyway. I do like the Gps feature however, as even a few square kilometers of ocean is a lot of water to cover on a search.
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Old 06-03-2014, 14:41   #8
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steel sails View Post
Be careful with the country it's registered to. See my post on this from a day or so ago
Regards
Paul
Very true although in this case, I understand Kannad products can be reprogrammed at the distributor level (but not at the dealer/retailer level).

It does pay to check this aspect out!
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Old 06-03-2014, 14:50   #9
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

I wrote them an email. I'll post their reply here.
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Old 06-03-2014, 14:57   #10
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

Just to be clear, they have to be programmed for Belgian use in my case, anything else that needs to be done then? Does it need further programming?

I'm unsure I'll be able to find a dealer here that will do further programming on it since I bought it elsewhere...

I have all the certificates, but I haven't ever used one before.
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Old 06-03-2014, 15:08   #11
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

Some info a bit backwards.

EPIRBs are supplied from the manufacturer with a inbuilt " hex" code. Into that code the manufacturer codes the country code . Hence if you buy a US epirb you can register it with US epirb registry. If you buy an Australian epirb the you have to register it there.

The dealer merely performs a secondary programming feature for example programming in the MMSI. ( some registries require that)

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Old 06-03-2014, 15:12   #12
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

But would it work when it's got say an Australian hex code? Does that make a difference in the way it would work? The system is designed to set up a rescue operation from the nearest possible command center anyway...
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Old 06-03-2014, 15:13   #13
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
Just to be clear, they have to be programmed for Belgian use in my case, anything else that needs to be done then? Does it need further programming?

I'm unsure I'll be able to find a dealer here that will do further programming on it since I bought it elsewhere...

I have all the certificates, but I haven't ever used one before.
Kannad headquarters is in France I believe!

I am not familiar with Belgian but usually a retailer in any particular country will only stock beacons that are coded for that country. This can become a problem when one buys a beacon from another country.

Usually the beacon has to registered in the users home country with their Maritime authority or their RCC (Rescue Co-ordination Centre) or the like. (ie Belgian for you) but the beacon will always operate anywhere (registered or not).
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Old 06-03-2014, 15:15   #14
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

So it's just a matter of having the paperwork in order?
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Old 06-03-2014, 15:16   #15
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Re: EPIRBs - The Differences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
But would it work when it's got say an Australian hex code? Does that make a difference in the way it would work? The system is designed to set up a rescue operation from the nearest possible command center anyway...
Yes it will always work!!!

The country code is just a function so that the station first receiving the transmission knows which country's database to go looking in to find the details of the owner and emergency contact details and so forth.
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