New Rules Transition Emergency Location Transmitters to 406 MHz
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | Comments

The FCC accelerated the transition to 406 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) in a fourth report and order. ELTs are radio beacons that are carried on board aircraft and triggered in the event of a crash or other unplanned downing.

The commission authorizes these devices to serve as an effective locating aid for survival purposes. For years, the ELTs operated only at 121.5 MHz, with their transmissions monitored by an international satellite-based system — the Cospas-Sarsat system — that could determine their location over most of the world’s major air and sea travel paths.

By 2010, however, the Cospas-Sarsat system limited tracking of ELTs to a newer type operating primarily at 406 MHz, thus eroding the utility of the 121.5 MHz ELTs as an effective locating aid. By accelerating the transition to 406 MHz ELTs with the rule changes, the FCC said it will enhance the ability of search-and-rescue personnel to locate and bring aid to the victims of plane crashes.

The full report and order is here.

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