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Does my EPIRB require any ongoing maintenance other than periodic battery replacement?

Simple Maintenance For Important Equipment

An ACR EPIRB is one of the most basic pieces of safety equipment on any boat cruising the great lakes, offshore or any large body of water. You are clearly one of the more responsible of boat operators if you own or are considering purchasing an ACR EPIRB. However, you also need to be a responsible EPIRB owner. While ACR's EPIRBs are designed to be highly reliable under the most demanding of circumstances, it is considered wise to test them regularly and to service them per the manufacturers recommendation.

In an emergency, you are relying on your ACR EPIRB to transmit an emergency signal capable of being heard by aircraft, which may be 100 miles or more away, and by satellites orbiting over 500 miles above the earth. There are three things you can do to make sure your ACR EPIRB will put out its life-saving warble when you need it: The first is to read the owners manual when you purchase the EPIRB, the second is to always make sure your batteries are "in date", and the third is to regularly conduct an operational test on the unit to make sure it is actually broadcasting.

Category I & II EPIRBs that transmit over 406.025 MHz and 121.5 MHz are required to have a more thorough self test feature. ACR's Satellite 406 TM EPIRB has a micro processor on board that will fire up the transmitter, oscillator, formulate a test signal, set off the strobe light and finally broadcast a live test transmission. The micro processor checks to see that all the operational elements test positive and then it gives confirming beeps and flashes. The micro processor will not give off the appropriate confirming beep or flash if any element fails to perform and the user should take the beacon to an authorized service station for evaluation.

Class A & B EPIRBs that transmit over 121.5 MHz and 243.0 MHz are required to have an LED light that will flash when the unit is turned on. Unfortunately, the LED does not tell you with absolute certainty that the unit is actually transmitting a signal capable of being heard by Search And Rescue aircraft and satellites. The only way to be certain is to test the beacon while it is operating.

Operational transmission testing of a Class A or B EPIRB may only be legally executed during the first five (5) minutes of every hour and only for three tone or one operational transmission second. During the first five (5) minutes of every hour you can verify that your EPIRB is actually transmitting by turning it "On" near an FM radio tuned to 99.5 MHz. Placing the EPIRB a few inches from the FM radio will allow it to receive the signal and broadcast the familiar "warble" through its speakers if the EPIRB is transmitting properly. Conduct this test only during the first five (5) minutes of each hour as indicated above!

Being a responsible boat owner includes being prepared for unforeseeable emergencies by carrying an ACR EPIRB on-board and having an emergency plan. Being a responsible EPIRB owner includes knowing how to work your ACR EPIRB and knowing that it will work. Please e-mail ACR for answers to questions or for information on other safety products manufactured by ACR Electronics, Inc.