We have a 10-year-old 406 EPIRB
from ACR, model 2759. The other day, we tested the unit by moving the switch to TEST, waiting for the beep and releasing it. No response -- so, time to renew or replace the unit.
We were about to fly back to the States anyway, so we dismounted the EPIRB
from its bracket and put it in our duffel. The driver had to push to get the duffel into the small La Paz
taxi, then slammed the trunk lid on it. Ten minutes later, as we were paying the cabby, we received an urgent call from our daughter in California
. She had just gotten off the phone
with the US Coast Guard, which had received a notification that our EPIRB had just gone off! I called the Duty Officer and assured her that we were not in trouble (luckily, I had the unit with me so I could read the number off to her). I then checked, and as I had thought, the yellow plastic tab, that must be removed or dissolved before the ON switch works, was still securely in place. I removed the screws attaching the base to the sender and disconnected the wires to the battery
, as instructed by the USCG Duty Officer, and all was well. (Of course, doing this supposedly voided the warranty.)
So, good news -- the USCG EPIRB system proved to be fast and efficient, getting word to our designated point of contact (my daughter) incredibly quickly. Bad news -- the 2759 can go active when it's maltreated, even without the yellow safety
tag being pulled or the unit being submerged.
This unit is no longer supported by ACR, but if it can go off without being activated, can other units? The USCG Duty Officer told me this happens occasionally, so we're not the only people to experience it.