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Which model of GPS enabled EPIRB is right for me - GlobalFix or RapidFix?
RapidFix™ 406 - Benefit of speed

GlobalFix™ 406 - Benefit of simplicity

The RapidFix™ 406 and GlobalFix™ 406 are the next generation of 406 MHz EPIRB. Because they transmit your LAT/LON coordinates to SAR forces, they add a whole new dimension to the satellite-aided search and rescue system. The RapidFix™ 406 is connected to your onboard navigation electronics through an NMEA 0183 interface and provides a position fix within seconds of being activated. The GlobalFix™ 406 has an internal GPS receiver that initializes within minutes. Both save precious time when it matters most.

Both 406 MHz EPIRBs use GEOSAR satellites that are in geostationary high-earth orbit and can instantly relay emergency transmissions. With your location known from the moment the first signal is received–a matter of seconds with the RapidFix™ 406 or a matter of minutes with the GlobalFix™ 406–your signal can be quickly routed to the closest appropriate rescue agency.

A GPS-enabled EPIRB eliminates the waiting time required for the traditional low-earth orbiting LEOSAR satellites to obtain a fix. On average, the waiting time is about 46 minutes. Those extra minutes can be critical in saving lives, particularly in the case of a medical emergency or a rescue in frigid waters. In a recent test off the coast of Miami, a GPS-encoded signal was routed through GEOSAR and the USMCC to the appropriate SAR facility in less than 2 minutes. Rescue craft were launched within 10 minutes. Conceivably, in a near-shore situation, help could be on the scene in the time it previously took for a LEOSAR to obtain a fix. That's significant progress in the lifesaving process.

A Choice of Technologies

The RapidFix™ 406 connects to an active NMEA 0183 data source (your vessel's primary GPS), and updates its current position data every twenty minutes. You can initiate a self-test to confirm it has current position data. From the moment you turn your GPS on at the dock until you need the RapidFix™ 406 in an emergency, the RapidFix™ 406 is ready to transmit LAT/LON coordinates along with your UIN within seconds of activation. It is best to choose a mounting location in an area convenient for routing the interface cable. RapidFix™ 406 can be used with a hand-held GPS.

The GlobalFix™ 406 is completely self-contained. Upon activation, it transmits the 406 MHz signal as any 406 EPIRB does and will continue to do so as long as the EPIRB is on. Its amazing internal 12-channel parallel GPS engine begins acquiring coordinates. It is capable of a cold start initialization within 1.5 minutes; this time lapse is even less in ideal conditions. GPS signals can be difficult to acquire during a cold boot, especially in less than ideal conditions. The GlobalFix™ 406 will try to gain a position fix for 15 minutes, then will conserve battery power for 20 minutes, then will begin trying again and will keep trying intermittently until it gets a fix. GlobalFix™ 406 incorporates the latest in GPS technology. There are none better. Once acquired, GlobalFix™ 406 incorporates your coordinates in the 406 MHz signal. It is convenient to store in a life raft or emergency gear bag. Just turn it on in an emergency. There is no installation or set-up necessary.

Both the RapidFix™ 406 and GlobalFix™ 406 are available in either Category I, automatically deployable, or Category II, manually deployable, models. They are equipped with a self-test feature that confirms operation as well as battery condition and GPS position data. The units are self-buoyant and need no flotation collar.

The bottom line on the pair is that now you have a choice of options to fit your particular needs. The RapidFix™ 406 has the benefit of speed in getting your coordinates out, hence it is the fastest EPIRB on the planet. The GlobalFix™ 406 has the benefit of simplicity. It is compact and needs no electrical installation.