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GPS-enhanced EPIRB standards found lacking

Old 04-21-2004, 06:03 PM
  #1  
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Default GPS-enhanced EPIRB standards found lacking

Here is a quote I was just sent conserning EPIRB I just thought all should be alerted.

The standards “fail to take into account the real-world conditions that
often exist when beacons are activated,” the study found.
EPIRBs (emergency position-indicating radio beacons) are the marine version
of the radio transmitting units that use satellite technology to locate an
individual or boat in distress. They have been in use for nearly three
decades, although the personal locator beacons were first cleared for use
in the continental United States last July.
As a result of the testing, West Marine, the nation’s largest retailer of
boating equipment and accessories, said it is offering customers full
refunds or exchanges on two units manufactured by McMurdo Ltd., the British
electronics firm. The units are the McMurdo G4 406 MHz GPS EPIRB and the
McMurdo Fastfind Plus 406MHZ personal locator beacon.
Both “failed to reliably acquire a GPS location ‘fix’ under operational,
real-world conditions,” according to a statement distributed this afternoon
by BoatU.S.
Buyers who “paid a premium” for the added security of GPS pinpoint position
locating “are apparently not getting what they paid for and are operating
under false expectations,” BoatU.S. said in the statement.
West Marine said it is making its exchange or refund offer while working
with McMurdo to “resolve the issues” raised in the testing, conducted by
the Equipped to Survive Foundation.
McMurdo and ACR Electronics of Fort Lauderdale dominate the market for the
GPS-equipped units.
BoatU.S. says six units from three manufacturers were tested. All allowed a
Doppler location to be derived — considered “a minimal acceptable level of
distress alerting.” However, the statement went on, “The purpose of
GPS-enhanced 406 MHz beacons is to save precious rescue time by supplying
much more precise location information via their own GPS-derived location.”
Those locations, the statement said, are achieved through geostationary
satellites — “ever present in the sky — rather than waiting for an orbiting
satellite to appear in view and then obtain a less accurate
Doppler-computed location.”
BoatU.S. Foundation president Ruth Wood said the six beacons were tested
aboard a life raft and were floated in the water tethered to an inflatable
or held by a swimmer in moderate 1- to 8-foot swells. “The study showed
clearly that not all these beacons operated equally,” she said in the
statement.

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Old 04-21-2004, 09:32 PM
  #2  
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Location: Sarasota, FL
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Default RE: GPS-enhanced EPIRB standards found lacking

I wish we knew which one worked the best in the test.......
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Old 04-21-2004, 10:49 PM
  #3  
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Location: Raleigh & Holden Beach NC
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Default RE: GPS-enhanced EPIRB standards found lacking

Here ya go....



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