As from 1st
February 2009 the analogue emergency beacon signal will no
longer be picked up by the international satellite system.
If you carry an PLB emergency beacon, Personal Locator
Beacon as a safety device, you will need to upgrade it to a
newer digital beacon.
The new 406 MHz
beacons can identify their owner as each beacon transmits a
unique code. Registering your beacon with AMSA, Australian
Maritime Safety Authority, will mean the organisation
will know exactly who you are, what make model, colour &
registration number of your vehicle, your contact details,
including your HF callsign, sat phone number, mobile
telephone number & whether you have UHF capability.
The old analogue
system could take up to 90 minutes to transmit a signal & in
some cases could be up to five hours before rescue services
were alerted to direct rescue to a 20 kilometre radius. The
new digital system can determine the location of someone in
distress in a 5 kilometre radius within minutes.
Between January &
March 2008, 141 distress beacons were activated & 108 of
those signals were inadvertent, malicious or the source
could not be located, all of which wasted precious rescue
There are 3 types
of beacons available.....
* Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) used
in ships and boats;
* Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) used in aircraft; and
* Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) for personal use by
bushwalkers, four-wheel drivers, other adventurers on land,
employees working in remote areas, and crew in boats and
Don't throw your
old emergency beacon in the bin. They have been known to go
off accidentally. Battery World stores will accept your old
beacon for disposal. Alternatively, most retailers of new
beacons will accept your old one for disposal.
A Personal Locator
Beacon is no subsitute for proper communications when
traveling into the remoter regions of our great outdoors. HF
radio or sat phone is nodoubt the safer option. A Personal
Locator Beacon is one way communications only, which means
once you set it off you don't know how long it will be until
resecue arrives, if at all.