Can I track an EPIRB signal from my nav station? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-26-2008 Thread Starter
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Question Can I track an EPIRB signal from my nav station?

We're getting ready to buy EPIRBS -- the 406 MHz variety -- and have heard a rumor that the signal can be tracked on the boat's chart plotter. But I haven't found solid information to back this up. In case of MOB, we want to be able to home in on the EPIRB's signal and get to the person lickety-split.

Anything to this? Or is it just a dream?

Thanks
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-26-2008
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While I hate to say an absolute "No" in connection with electronics...

I think the rumor is wrong. You can track the VHF 121.5 MHZ element of an EPIRB transmission but not on a chart plotter. You need something like an Vecta2 Directon Finder (ARC Electronics.). I'm not sure that I would spend the money.

Raymarine has the LifeTag Wireless MOB System, but that only connects with a Seatalk Plotter. There may be a workaround to connect to other Plotters. Its not an EPIRB type transmitter.

But I might be wrong, and would be curious to hear of such a system.



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post #3 of 12 Old 06-26-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canvasmaker View Post
We're getting ready to buy EPIRBS -- the 406 MHz variety -- and have heard a rumor that the signal can be tracked on the boat's chart plotter. But I haven't found solid information to back this up. In case of MOB, we want to be able to home in on the EPIRB's signal and get to the person lickety-split.

Anything to this? Or is it just a dream?

Thanks
I don't think you can track an EPIRPS signal on a plotter, but you can track VHF-DSC with the right plotter setup.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-26-2008
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IIRC, the 406 MHz signal is trackable if you have a link into the COSPAS/SARSAT computer system... AFAIK, it is not trackable by consumer grade gear.

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post #5 of 12 Old 06-26-2008
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Most (all?) modern EPIRB's transmit on both....

406 MHz (COSPAS-SARSAT) with your registered, digitally-coded distress signal, and 121.5 MHz (SAR homing frequency).

ACR sell a direction finder that can give the direction of a 121.5 MHz signal;



See my previous comment.



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post #6 of 12 Old 06-26-2008
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BTW, if you've got a MOB, chances are pretty unlikely they'd have an EPIRB with them, unless you threw it overboard when they went over the side. EPIRBs are registered to a specific vessel and are fairly bulky—a bit bigger than a coffee thermos...

What you're probably thinking of is a PLB, which is much more compact, but serves much the same function, but is registered to a specific individual.


The 121.5 MHz SART signal from both either a PLB or an EPIRB can be tracked using a directional antenna, similar to what GTOD25 has posted... but it won't generally show up on a chartplotter, nor does it have enough information to plot it on a screen of any sort, since the antennas that you can generally buy will give direction but not range AFAIK.

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post #7 of 12 Old 06-26-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
The 121.5 MHz SART signal from both either a PLB or an EPIRB can be tracked using a directional antenna, similar to what GTOD25 has posted... but it won't generally show up on a chartplotter, nor does it have enough information to plot it on a screen of any sort, since the antennas that you can generally buy will give direction but not range AFAIK.
Note that it will show up on a modern (GMDSS-equipped) radar display though..

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post #8 of 12 Old 06-27-2008
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I believe the 121.5's are going away next year....anyone hear of this?

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post #9 of 12 Old 06-27-2008
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Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon (EPIRB)

This explains all;

Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon (EPIRB) - USCG Navigation Center



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post #10 of 12 Old 06-27-2008
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121.5 MHz EPIRBs are going bye-bye...not SAR Transponders.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerryrlitton View Post
I believe the 121.5's are going away next year....anyone hear of this?

Jerry

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