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So who needs one of the new GPS based ELT's, other than me?


Guest Andys@coffs
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Guys

 

Its time to get one of the new GME (Australian designed and built) MT410G ELT. THe old MT310 I have is battery time expired and not worth paying for a new battery for a few more months of useful life.

 

The new MT410G is based on the 406Mhz band which is future proof. The older 121.5Mhz beacons will no longer be monitored by satellite after feb of 2009 and therefore basically useless unless you can guarentee to fly, and crash under an RPT route.

 

For those that dont know the 406Mhz band has some technical advantages over 121.5, on detection a satellite can pinpoint the area down to a much smaller locale than was possible with 121.5. the newer beacons on the 406mhz band also transmit a digital signal rather than analogue and as such info about the beacon, the person and craft it is included in the transmitted signal. Expect a phone call on your mobile if you inadvertantly trigger a 406Mhz beacon almost immediately

 

Finally if you buy a 406Mhz beacon with the optional GPS fitted to it, your exact location, within 10m or so is sent to the satellite and as such there is no "go and find him" phase, rather its a go directly to him and bring him back. As such, with the GPS option, the satellite gets all it needs within about 20 mins (I orriginally said seconds and while that may be true in some cases you need to wait until the non staionary satellite has line of site to the beacon 20mins will generally more than do) of the beacon being activated. a non GPS optioned beacon still needs the satellite (non geostationary) to go over the top and analyse the doppler shift to pinpoint your location. As such while a beacon is detected, and they will know who and what, they wont know where for some time. To me the benefits of the GPS addon are so clear and compelling that I wont consider a non GPS optioned beacon More details here http://www.gme.net.au/marine/PDFs/EPIRB_fact_sheet.pdf

 

So, the reason for this email is to see who else is interested in getting one so Ian can chase up a price based on a large number buy rather than just a one or 2 buy.

 

With RAA having a member base of 8000 plus now, and most of those having almost useless 121.5Mhz beacons I expect that the demand for these will be high around 2nd half of next year / Q1 2009 . In otherwords leave it too late to get one and you may have to fly without a beacon while the huge demand in Feb09 is dealt with.

 

If you are interested, please reply with numbers, and whether you would want one without GPS:;)1: or with GPS;), noting that the with GPS is probably going to be $150 or so dearer.

 

Andy

 

 

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Yep count me in (with GPS). I obviously hope to never use it but, if I had to, I wouldn't want to be sat in the middle of nowhere wishing I spent the extra $150

 

John

 

 

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I am looking to get a second one as I go to some fairly remote areas and have more trips planned. The choice for pocket size units is somewhat wider than a year ago with the GME unit available and the KTI unit apparently close. It seems to me that the type should be looked at fairly critically as there appears to be some variation in performance.

 

http://www.equipped.com/406_beacon_test_summary.htm

 

http://www.equipped.com/406_beacon_test2_toc.htm

 

Is it wothwhile considering some form of testing?

 

 

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I used the GME item as indicative, if there is a better solution then so be it. My drivers are though, if there is an Australian designed and built item, and its cheaper then why wouldnt you (bit like a jabiru really :big_grin:).

 

I do know that what ever we all settle on, it needs to be designed for Australia (which means that it identifies Australia as the country in the beacon message to the sattelite).

 

Buying a cheap unit from the USA is no use as you cant register them with the Australian authorities.

 

Andy

 

 

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Well presented case for a good cause Andy, thanks. I will opt for the (GME) personal unit with GPS. Or KTI - did not know made Melbourne.

 

Thanks again, Decca.

 

 

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Just spoke to KTI and their new GPS Mini Sat 406 should be certified in about 6 weeks now - I have been waiting since March for it to get approved.

 

Note that the KTI is made down here in Melb.

 

 

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I am looking to get a second one as I go to some fairly remote areas and have more trips planned. The choice for pocket size units is somewhat wider than a year ago with the GME unit available and the KTI unit apparently close. It seems to me that the type should be looked at fairly critically as there appears to be some variation in performance.http://www.equipped.com/406_beacon_test_summary.htm

 

http://www.equipped.com/406_beacon_test2_toc.htm

 

Is it wothwhile considering some form of testing?

Just bear in mind that the testing at the link above was done a few years ago now (2005) when the concept of the digital 406Mhz beacon was newish and real EPIRBS were thin on the ground. Its like comparing the first DVD player to market with one that has come a number of years latter. On the GME website they talk about some of the problems the early 406 Beacons had with excessive battery usage due to a crystal oscillator temp controlled oven etc.

 

Andy

 

 

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Count me in, not for the MT410G (it's big and aimed at boaties), but for the personal one whenever it's released. As I understand, its been promised for a long time, but hasn't yet been released. Avalon this year had many sellers stalls featuring the personal one, but they were all apparently just dummy cases for show only.

 

 

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Just bear in mind that the testing at the link above was done a few years ago now (2005) when the concept of the digital 406Mhz beacon was newish and real EPIRBS were thin on the ground. Its like comparing the first DVD player to market with one that has come a number of years latter. On the GME website they talk about some of the problems the early 406 Beacons had with excessive battery usage due to a crystal oscillator temp controlled oven etc. Andy

406 not a problem. The problems revolve around the short term stability of the oscillator (jitter) which is one of the reasons for improved resolution (in non GPS mode) which can be a bit awkward especially for handheld units. There have been some changes in the specs and in 2002/3 the GPS requirements related only to the codes transmitted and EMC, nothing to do with the GPS performance problems shown in the 2005 tests.

 

Things were going on then, when we looked at it AusSar had some very optimistic stories about how quickly sub $500 units would be available. Rumour has it the French for some reason held up cheap chipsets for some years.

 

 

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Count me in, not for the MT410G (it's big and aimed at boaties), but for the personal one whenever it's released. As I understand, its been promised for a long time, but hasn't yet been released. Avalon this year had many sellers stalls featuring the personal one, but they were all apparently just dummy cases for show only.

John

 

The 410 is the small personal one, perhaps your thinking of the 401, which is a big beast. details on the 410 here http://www.gme.net.au/epirb/mt410.php.

 

From the specs page from the 410, (here http://www.gme.net.au/epirb/mt410_specifications.php) the dimmensions for the 410 are 135 mm (H) x 71 mm (W) x 38 mm (D)

 

To be pedantic, all EPIRBS are the small beacons, P= personal, the 401, and others of the same size tend to be called ELT's. To be super pendantic the starter of this thread, ie me, shouldnt have used ELT in the thread title when he meant EPIRB.

 

Andy

 

 

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Guest pelorus32

Mega Pedantic

 

JohnThe 410 is the small personal one, perhaps your thinking of the 401, which is a big beast. details on the 410 here http://www.gme.net.au/epirb/mt410.php.

 

From the specs page from the 410, (here http://www.gme.net.au/epirb/mt410_specifications.php) the dimmensions for the 410 are 135 mm (H) x 71 mm (W) x 38 mm (D)

 

To be pedantic, all EPIRBS are the small beacons, P= personal, the 401, and others of the same size tend to be called ELT's. To be super pendantic the starter of this thread, ie me, shouldnt have used ELT in the thread title when he meant EPIRB.

 

Andy

Not quite Andy:

 

Electronic Position Indicator Radio Beacon = EPIRB. This is the marine beacon and is not the personal style beacon - the 401 is an EPIRB;

 

PLB = Personal Locator Beacon. This is what you are actually talking about - the one you are carrying on your person. It may be specific to air, land or sea or may be designed for all three - The 410 is a PLB;

 

Electronic Locator Transmitter = ELT. This is the one that's permanently installed in an aircraft and designed to go off automatically with shock loads.

 

406 MHz beacons when they became available first about 8 or 9 years ago were very expensive. This had a lot to do with volume but also to do with the applicable standards for the beacons. The Australian standards were modified to allow for lower cost 406 beacons. The first beacon to utilise these new standards and to hit the market was the GME MT401. That beacon came on the market in 2004 at around $600 compared to $1600 or thereabouts for the beacons designed to the original standards.

 

The MT410 is the replacement for the old style MT310 which was a 121.5/243 MHz PLB. I've got three of the MT310s and I never go on deck at sea without one on my person. I never fly cross country without one either.

 

As you rightly state 2009 is the deadline of the older beacons. Interestingly the 406MHz beacons generally transmit on 121.5 as well, not for satellite but for aircraft homing during the search.

 

When you do a Marine Radio Operators Licence you have to learn this stuff...-:(

 

As for size the old MT310 was 150mm by 23mm by 60mm and nicely shaped to go into a sleeve pocket. All of the 406 PLBs I have seen are much bigger. That's the one major drawback.

 

Regards

 

Mike

 

 

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