Ocean Signal Requests Waiver for New Standard for Personal Locator Beacon
Wednesday, May 01, 2019 | Comments

The FCC requested comment on a request filed by Ocean Signal for waiver to permit the equipment authorization and use of a personal locator beacon (PLB) that incorporates automatic identification system (AIS) functionality in compliance with a recently published Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) standard.

A PLB is a small portable transmitter intended to provide individuals in remote areas a means to alert others of an emergency situation and to aid search-and-rescue personnel to locate those in distress. PLBs must conform with the version of RTCM Standard 11010 that is incorporated by reference in the FCC’s rules. RTCM published a revised edition that permits AIS alerting in addition to homing on frequency 121.5 MHz.

Ocean Signal believes that PLBs designed to the new RTCM standard will provide users with enhanced safety, as the addition of AIS in PLBs will provide increased location accuracy and enhance the ability of rescuing resources to locate persons in distress. Consequently, it seeks a waiver to permit equipment certification and use of PLBs with AIS alerting pursuant to the revised RTCM standard prior to that standard being incorporated into the commission’s rules.

Comments are due May 30, and reply comments are due June 14. The full notice is here.

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