EPIRB testing by ARG Tester and EPIRB Tester Mini

This article illustrates the procedure of inspection of an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) operating via COSPAS-SARSAT system by means of two different Testers : ARG Tester manufactured by Sartech and BEACON Tester Mini (or simply BT Mini) manufactured by Musson Marine. We suppose it would be interesting from the point of comparing different approaches to the procedure of testing offered by different manufacturers.

We have an EPIRB and we are going to provide test routine and confirm that it will help if any emergency situation at sea.

EPIRB Test by ARG

The task is to measure the frequency, power level and decode Cospas-Sarsat message content. All procedure should be carried out in accordance with IMO Circular 1040.

Let’s start the test.

EPIRB Test by ARG

First of all, check the batteries expiration date and replace if necessary.

And also make the same for hydrostatic release unit.

Start the testing

We turn ON the testers and switch them to the proper test modes. First we will check Cospas-Sarsat channel.

Turn ON ARG Tester to measurement mode, and wait for signal.

EPIRB Test by ARG

To turn ON BT-mini we go to Menu, select Perform tests, choose proper mode – 406MHz channel and wait for signal.

EPIRB Test by ARG

I place our EPIRB to the distance of 1 to 5 meters, as recommended by tester’s manufacturers.

And I turn it ON to the test mode, which is strongly recommended for the testing purposes. 

EPIRB Test by ARG 

Here we see that both testers received the signal successfully.

EPIRB Test by ARG 

Homing 121.5 MHz channel test

All right, the 406Mhz channel testing is completed, so we go on and check the homing signal.

We switch the testers to the proper test modes – 121MHz channel.

EPIRB Test by ARG

From the recommended distance of 1 to 5 meters we turn ON the EPIRB (to test mode as well), and first of all we hear audio confirmation of signal presence. 

Both Testers received the signal successfully.

EPIRB Test by ARG

Let’s check the results of EPIRB testing.

We go to the view menu of ARG Tester, select the saved message in memory to check the content. We see:

- frequency

- Country code

- complete Cospas-Sarsat message in HEX format

- 15 digits HEX ID

- Call sign

- MMSI code

- Protocol type

EPIRB Test by ARG 

EPIRB Test by ARG

- confirmation of homing signal presence.

- valid check of the BCH code

EPIRB Test by ARG

Now we check what BT Mini ‘ve got. Go to Test results, open saved test result and you see:

-       Frequency in kHz

-       Power level in dBm

-       Complete message content in HEX format

-       Country Code

-       EPIRB operation mode

-       BCH Code verified

-       Message format

-       Protocol type

-       MMSI Code

-       Time of preamble and total transmission time.

EPIRB Test by ARG

Homing channel parameters:

-       frequency in kHz

-       power level in dBm

EPIRB Test by ARG

EPIRB has passed the inspection successfully and can be used in emergency situation.

Both testers provide the test routine well and we hope you can profit from this article, having understood the advantages of both devices.

EPIRB Test by ARG 

News

16.05.2016

Guidance on AIS devices agreed

The Sub-Committee endorsed a draft Safety of Navigation (SN.1) circular providing information to seafarers on the display of AIS-SART, AIS Man Overboard (MOB) and EPIRB-AIS devices, for submission to the MSC for approval.

03.04.2016

GMDSS modernization on agenda

The modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), e-navigation implementation and new and amended ships’ routeing proposals are among items on a busy agenda as the third session of IMO’s Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communication, Search and Rescue (NCSR) gets underway (29 February-4 March).