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Old 25-05-2015, 00:39   #31
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

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Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
It actually uses AAA batteries, according to the owner's manual. I find it odd that a "1.5v" Li from Energizer wouldn't work, they're designed to work in anything that an alkaline battery works in, but I guess the SH radios are too sensitive to voltage. Too bad, those Li batteries are advertised to be 1500 mah and keep their charge for 20 yrs!

One could always buy a couple of extra factory battery packs and vacuum bag those. Maybe recharge and reseal every couple of yrs. They're not as cheap as AAAs, but certainly worth it if it helps one get saved.
I can say from experience that lithium batterys (AA's, not AAA's) do not work in the HX851. I couldn't believe it myself, but was straightened out be people on this forum. Not before I bought a bunch of the expensive lithium AA's

The solution is to buy fresh alkaline AA's and vacuum pack them, which is what I did. Since they much less shelf life than lithiums, you have to rotate them.

The radio will not operate full power with the battery tray in.

But extra rechargeable Li-Ion packs is also not a solution, because they self-discharge. You don't want a self-discharging rechargeable battery in an emergency device -- too easy to forget to charge it. The only realistic alternative to the battery tray and AA's would be an external 12v supply and a charging cradle. A couple of 6v lantern batteries, maybe -- something like this: Duracell CopperTop MN918 6V Alkaline Large Lantern Battery. This would give you a couple of recharges of the regular internal battery so the ability to operate full power (6 watts). The SH charging cradle will accept up to 16 volts, so maybe better to buy two of the 7.5 volt lantern batteries. That would give you 80,000 mah @ 15 volts versus 1380 mah @ 7.4 volts of the internal battery -- many recharges, at low cost, and fairly long shelf life. Hmmm.

I would be interested to know if anyone has come up with a good solution to this, as it troubles me. You really want a working DSC radio in the life raft, if God forbid you end up in it.
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Old 25-05-2015, 02:10   #32
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

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I can say from experience that lithium batterys (AA's, not AAA's) do not work in the HX851. I couldn't believe it myself, but was straightened out be people on this forum. Not before I bought a bunch of the expensive lithium AA's

The solution is to buy fresh alkaline AA's and vacuum pack them, which is what I did. Since they much less shelf life than lithiums, you have to rotate them.

The radio will not operate full power with the battery tray in.

But extra rechargeable Li-Ion packs is also not a solution, because they self-discharge. You don't want a self-discharging rechargeable battery in an emergency device -- too easy to forget to charge it. The only realistic alternative to the battery tray and AA's would be an external 12v supply and a charging cradle. A couple of 6v lantern batteries, maybe -- something like this: Duracell CopperTop MN918 6V Alkaline Large Lantern Battery. This would give you a couple of recharges of the regular internal battery so the ability to operate full power (6 watts). The SH charging cradle will accept up to 16 volts, so maybe better to buy two of the 7.5 volt lantern batteries. That would give you 80,000 mah @ 15 volts versus 1380 mah @ 7.4 volts of the internal battery -- many recharges, at low cost, and fairly long shelf life. Hmmm.

I would be interested to know if anyone has come up with a good solution to this, as it troubles me. You really want a working DSC radio in the life raft, if God forbid you end up in it.
Are you sure they're AA batteries? The owner's manual clearly states AAA in several places, never mentions AAs.


As for multiple battery packs, the solution is simple: rotate them through regularly and keep all units fully charged. I have 6 packs for my digital camera, they all get rotated through and charged about once per month. I can charge 3 batteries at a time, one in the camera, and 2 in a double charger. If I only had 3 packs, they'd get recharged about once every 2 weeks. If disaster struck, the radio would have a fully charged battery in it, plus 1 battery fresh off the charger and the last one with 1-2 weeks storage on it, probably over 95% charged. Lipo batteries don't self discharge that quickly.

I always have multiple battery packs for all of my rechargeable stuff. I think I have 10 LiPo batteries for my Ryobi tools alone.
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Old 25-05-2015, 02:15   #33
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

Speaking of VHF DSC radios, does anyone have any experience with the Icom M92D? It looks pretty attractive with DSC, GPS, noise cancelling on both sides, and probably a host of other features I don't even know about.
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Old 25-05-2015, 03:18   #34
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

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Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
Are you sure they're AA batteries? The owner's manual clearly states AAA in several places, never mentions AAs.


As for multiple battery packs, the solution is simple: rotate them through regularly and keep all units fully charged. I have 6 packs for my digital camera, they all get rotated through and charged about once per month. I can charge 3 batteries at a time, one in the camera, and 2 in a double charger. If I only had 3 packs, they'd get recharged about once every 2 weeks. If disaster struck, the radio would have a fully charged battery in it, plus 1 battery fresh off the charger and the last one with 1-2 weeks storage on it, probably over 95% charged. Lipo batteries don't self discharge that quickly.

I always have multiple battery packs for all of my rechargeable stuff. I think I have 10 LiPo batteries for my Ryobi tools alone.
Yes, you're right -- they're AAA's.

Rotating rechargeable batteries could be ok, but are you really going to always do it?

The thing about emergency gear is you never know when you might need it. There are many items of it and it's hard to keep up with all of it. It's generally not good to have to rely on some item of it being charged, rotated, etc., all the time. Much better if it's sealed up in the grab bag with long shelf life, ready to go. It's bad enough that the handheld is used for other things and is not kept in the grab bag. This greatly increases the risk that you could end up in the raft without it.

The HX851 has pathetic battery life in any case. One fully charged battery wouldn't really be satisfactory. I have a whole bunch of alkaline batts vacuumed packed in the grab bag, but this is also not completely satisfactory.

It would be great if someone would make a DSC handheld specifically for emergency use, with a high capacity single use (not rechargeable) lithium battery.

There are GMDSS emergency VHF sets, but they are horrendously expensive, and don't have DSC.
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Old 25-05-2015, 04:34   #35
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
.....
It would be great if someone would make a DSC handheld specifically for emergency use, with a high capacity single use (not rechargeable) lithium battery.

There are GMDSS emergency VHF sets, but they are horrendously expensive, and don't have DSC.
These are not DSC or GPS but are low cost, Li and designed for purpose:
Sea Air & Land Communications Ltd. - 11-83 Marine Band Search and Rescue Communicator
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Old 25-05-2015, 15:29   #36
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

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These are not DSC or GPS but are low cost, Li and designed for purpose:
Sea Air & Land Communications Ltd. - 11-83 Marine Band Search and Rescue Communicator
Cool, but DSC is a key function for this application.
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Old 27-05-2015, 00:48   #37
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

Had a phone call from someone today from KTI in my attempt at trying to work out why you can't get fully 'manuel' epirbs in the US. If that's the case. And so far no answer. In Australia AMSA prefers manuel apparently because iof the number of false alarms caused by automatic units getting wet. But there is no regulation about it. Hence in Australia we can get any sort.

However, in Australia PLB's are not permitted to broadcast 'p' which American units broadcast.

So, if it is indeed correct that 'manuel' activated units are not sold in the US, then it will be someone from there to clarify why that is the case.
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Old 27-05-2015, 05:11   #38
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

All the units I looked up are the most popular consumer brands. All brands offer Cat 1 and Cat 2. Cat 1 is a fully automatic EPIRB designed to launch itself when submerged (typically a meter or so) and start transmitting automatically. The Cat 2 units appear to be the exact same electronic unit without the hydrostatic release kit. So a manual only unit would be a one off design that could not be used with a release to make it Cat 1. The USCG really promotes Cat 1 as the preferred solution unless there is a problem with auto deployment due to overhead obstructions. So I could guess the reason for no manual only units is a matter of higher cost to have a low volume selling unit in the product line.

False alarms have been addressed by having the water contact activation held in standby by the cradle that holds the unit in place. The cradle has a magnet or some other mechanism for disabling the unit. Thus it will not activate unless it is wet and out of its cradle.
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Old 27-05-2015, 05:30   #39
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

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All the units I looked up are the most popular consumer brands. All brands offer Cat 1 and Cat 2. Cat 1 is a fully automatic EPIRB designed to launch itself when submerged (typically a meter or so) and start transmitting automatically. The Cat 2 units appear to be the exact same electronic unit without the hydrostatic release kit. So a manual only unit would be a one off design that could not be used with a release to make it Cat 1. The USCG really promotes Cat 1 as the preferred solution unless there is a problem with auto deployment due to overhead obstructions. So I could guess the reason for no manual only units is a matter of higher cost to have a low volume selling unit in the product line.

False alarms have been addressed by having the water contact activation held in standby by the cradle that holds the unit in place. The cradle has a magnet or some other mechanism for disabling the unit. Thus it will not activate unless it is wet and out of its cradle.
That may be the answer. Your uscg push the Cat 1 and hence manufacturers produce that unit fir the U.S. market as they sell more. Our amsa possibly promote the completely manual versions and therefore they sell more of them here.
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Old 27-05-2015, 07:02   #40
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

^^ RC, don't forget that our US friends have made an art form out of the concept of "automatic"

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Old 28-06-2016, 12:24   #41
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

With all the talk of EPIRB's in the recent thread regarding the tragedy of the father and 3 teenagers lost just a couple dozen miles offshore SW Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico...I thought some might wish to learn more about EPIRB's, PLB's, etc...
And, more importantly, how they (and the COSPAS-SARSAT system) work!!

So, here's a bump up of a thread from last year...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 28-06-2016, 15:34   #42
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

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That's why I'll keep the old (registered) EPIRB as well....the battery is probably still marginally good for another few years :-)

Bill
I also keep my old ones however a word of caution.

A few years ago there was a story doing the rounds down here in the state of Queensland in Australia that an "authority", during a safety equipment check, asked the boat owner whether he had any other EPIRBS than his still legal one aboard. When the owner replied he did, as he was aware that even though expired the device still had useful battery life, the "authority" asked to see it and when it was produced the "authority" issued an infringement notice to the owner for having an expired EPIRB.

The story has credibility as unfortunately fines now constitute a significant portion of some "authorities" revenue.

I still keep my expired EPIRBS and flares so that I have the expired in the dingy whilst on passage but I am certainly never going to admit so to any "authority".
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:00   #43
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

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I also keep my old ones however a word of caution.

A few years ago there was a story doing the rounds down here in the state of Queensland in Australia that an "authority", during a safety equipment check, asked the boat owner whether he had any other EPIRBS than his still legal one aboard. When the owner replied he did, as he was aware that even though expired the device still had useful battery life, the "authority" asked to see it and when it was produced the "authority" issued an infringement notice to the owner for having an expired EPIRB.

The story has credibility as unfortunately fines now constitute a significant portion of some "authorities" revenue.

I still keep my expired EPIRBS and flares so that I have the expired in the dingy whilst on passage but I am certainly never going to admit so to any "authority".
I'm not at all famililar with Queensland legislation, but this 'story' smells to me.

Whether you have expired flares, or epirbs on board is irrelevant, as long as you have up to date flares and epirbs. And of course epirbs need to be registered every two years. At least down here, I'm not sure of any offence there is for carrying an expired, unregistered epirb.

And throughout AUSTRALIA fines go into internal revenue. They don't go back to the 'authorities' at all. I give you though that the motivation behind some 'authorities' such as police is that with good 'stats' come good funding at budget time, hense the frequent push.
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:12   #44
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

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. . .

Whether you have expired flares, or epirbs on board is irrelevant, as long as you have up to date flares and epirbs. . .
In France and other European countries, you can get a stiff fine for expired flares or not in date life rafts (I don't know about EPIRBs), whether or not your have unexpired ones on board.
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Old 28-06-2016, 18:19   #45
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Re: EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

Wanna laugh? Flare sale was seriously restricted around here some time ago because of some soccer incidents.

You need your yachtsman or higher license and a police permit to aquire a restricted number of flares. Complicated process you go through every x amount of years and you get a heavy fine if you don't have them or if they are expired.

It's like half the law pushes you to have flares and the other halve tries to stop you having them.

I gave up 10 years ago. I just go and buy them in Spain over the counter and pray I'm not caught transporting them to my boat or I'll end up in jail.

Once onboard, the Coast Guard is happy and I'm legal.

Go figure...

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