July 17, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

Old distress beacon destined for scrap heap inadvertently sparks emergency call out off Jersey’s south coast (France)

TWO amateur radio operators helped to bring a search-and-rescue mission to an end after an old maritime distress beacon destined for the scrap heap inadvertently sparked an emergency call-out.

Signals from the personal locator beacon – which alerts the authorities to an emergency at sea – were picked up by a passing satellite at about 10am on Friday.

But because the ageing beacon was not GPS enabled the satellite could only give an approximate location within 20 km of the device – in this case north-west of the Minquiers reef.

The Channel Islands Air Search plane and RNLI all-weather lifeboat were sent out to search the area, and attempt to detect the device’s ‘homing beacon’ transmitted on 121.5 MHz frequency, which would enable them to pinpoint its location.

At the same time, Jersey Coastguard contacted the Jersey RAYNET group of amateur radio operators and asked them to determine if a 121.5MHz signal could be detected on land in the area of La Collette recycling centre, as they had received information that the personal locator beacon had been discarded.

Read more – Jersey Evening Post: