Check your EPIRB

Satellite frequencies change early next year

The RYA are advising EPIRB owners to check their unit is up to date, as satellite processing channels are changed.

From 1 February 2009, the 121.5/243 MHz satellite processing service will be terminated.

From that date, all EPIRBs and PLBs that transmit on 121.5/243 MHz will cease to be monitored and for the most part will become redundant.

RYA Cruising Manager Stuart Carruthers explains: “All modern beacons transmitting on 406 MHz, will not be affected by the change.

“However some of the older ones transmit on 121.5/243 MHz and following a number of issues and the negative impact caused by large numbers of false alerts on SAR Services, the decision was taken to discontinue monitoring this frequency.

“The important thing is that people check their beacons and make sure that they are not redundant. From a safety point of view, this is paramount.”

However, 121.5/243 will continue to provide a short range homing signal once an initial call for assistance has been made.