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EPIRB - New Zealand

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) are used in ships, boats and now on land.

EPIRBs are designed to float in the water to optimise the signal to the satellite.

An EPIRB has a lanyard that is used to secure it to something that is not going to sink so that it can float free. Once activated, an EPIRB is required to operate continuously for a minimum of 48 hours. 

When a distress beacon is activated, it transmits a signal that is detectable by satellites. As the satellites orbit the Earth, they ‘listen’ for any active beacons and report their position to rescue authorities in either Australia or New Zealand.

An earth receiving station that receives beacon signals relayed by COSPAS-SARSAT satellites, processes them to determine the location of beacons, and forwards the signals to a mission control centre (MCC). The MCC servicing New Zealand is the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre, located in Canberra. 

Beacons developed for the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system operate on 406 MHz and use digital technology that allows the beacon to transmit a unique code (HexID or UIN) to identify the beacon. These beacons also transmit on the analogue 121.5 MHz frequency to allow final stage homing in by aircraft.

 

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