[LINK] saved from disaster by cell phone

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Tue Mar 13 11:56:13 AEDT 2007

At 08:30 AM 27/02/2007, Jan Whitaker wrote:
>>>... A radio beacon not much bigger than a cell phone helped save 
>>>three climbers stranded overnight in a whiteout on Mount Hood. ...

There are several type of radio distress beacon available. Some are 
tracked by specialized satellite networks run by the USA and Russia. 
These units are more robust and reliable than mobile phones (and are 
designed to be waterproof).

These devices are called Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons 
(EPIRBs), Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) and Personal Locator 

Low cost units use an older analog system transmitting on 121.5 MHz. 
These are subject to false alarms and are being phased out. But they 
are still commonly sold in camping supply stores (I bought one a few 
years ago for about $400). It may take several hours for the beacon 
to be located by satellite.

More expensive (more than $1,000) units transmit a digital code on 
406 MHz (optionally with a GPS position) 
<http://astore.amazon.com/epirb-20/?node=2>. The units identify the 
owner and so reduce false alarms.

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                http://www.tomw.net.au/
Visiting Fellow, ANU      Blog: http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/atom.xml  

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