Afterburner Al wrote:
As promised in the episode...a link to the EAA Radio interview with Jeff Shoup on the 25th Anniversary of NOAA-SARSAT and the new 406 ELT.
You can listen here
thanks Fareed, much appreciated. Just listened to the audio clip, and things happened in pretty much the same way as UCAP #113, with Jeb mentioning PLBs just at the very end of the ELT-focused segment.
Two thoughts from someone who, being also a ham radio and satellite expert, knows a little better than average the topic under discussion.
1- as Jeb mentioned (and Jeff Shoup did too!) the true big breakthrough in the switch to 406 MHz is the fact that we now move from an old-fashioned analog signal, only trackable by means of using doppler-effect from LEO (low-earth orbit) satellites like the NOAA-KLM series (whose primary mission is weather imaging), to a brand new and much more intelligent digital modulation that also includes the identity of the ELT/PLB/EPIRB that has started to look for attention.
This is *huge*! Not only the digital 406 MHz can be tracked by GEO (geosynchronous) satellites which are always there, but also the identity of who is in distress can be ascertained right away and phone calls to the appropriate contact people can be made.
Because the truth of the matter lies in the fact that the vast vast majority of 121.5 MHz distress signals caught by the LEO satellites turn out to be false positives! And this is why SARSAT/COSPAS is shying away from analog, simply because so many false alerts exists with 121.5 MHz. Cry wolf, cry wolf, and when finally the wolf comes, nobody will believe you any longer...
2- Jeb and Dave also mentioned that new 406 MHz ELTs can also be hooked up to the on-board GPS system, so that upon activation there will be already a position sent together with the identity, and that will further narrow down the search to a much smaller area compared to non-GPS-assisted 406 MHz (let alone analog 121.5 MHz). I have a PLB which has this feature too, and also have integrated GPS. So the moment I should turn on the alarm (PLBs are manually activated) an initial lat/long will be sent, and by the time the GPS receiver internally located in the PLB will pick up the location, a new an updated set of coordinates will be sent to the GEO satellites for broadcast down to the Rescue Control Center.
My ultralight plane here in Italy does not require nor have an ELT, but I always carry with me the PLB, even on short flights. You never know. The best $600 I spent, hoping to never have to use them... weird!
Thanks for another great episode! I liked the An-2 references, as I said in another thread on this forum I flew on An-2 as skydiver pax in Cuba, and even get to sit on the right seat during cruise for a while...