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Evolution of AIS Testers

Category: AIS

According to SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 18.9, the automatic identification systems (AIS) must be tested annually: “The test shall be conducted by an approved surveyor or an approved testing or servicing facility. The test shall verify the correct programming of the ship static information, correct data exchange with connected sensors as well as verifying the radio performance by radio frequency measurement and on-air test using, e.g., a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). A copy of the test report shall be retained on board the ship”.

In our historical review, you will find out what the first AIS testers were like, what they were able to do, and what are the features of modern AIS testers. However, the singular is more suitable here, since there is only one tester with such a narrow specialization in today's market. 


GMDSS Blog: category General

Evolution of testers for GMDSS radio equipment

Category: General

The protection of human life at sea has reached a new level over the past three decades, - since 1992, the phased implementation of the GMDSS (the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System), developed by International Maritime Organization (IMO), began. The principles of the GMDSS are defined by the Regulations of Chapter IV of the International Convention SOLAS-74, as amended in 1988.

By this time, satellite communication systems were widely used, providing fast and reliable communication regardless of distance, as well as narrow-band direct printing telegraph equipment, which replaced the Morse code. A digital selective calling system (DSC) was developed, which made it possible to turn away from keeping a listening watch on the VHF channel 16 (156,8 MHz) and MF frequency 2182 kHz.

By 1999, all vessels falling under the SOLAS convention (passenger vessels, as well as all cargo vessels over 300 gross tonnage) had been re-equipped in accordance with the requirements of the GMDSS.

Thus, the types of radio equipment that should be installed on modern vessels are as follows (depending on the sea area):



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GMDSS Blog: category EPIRB

Evolution of EPIRB Testers

Category: EPIRB

The phased implementation of the GMDSS began with the mandatory equipping of vessels with satellite beacons. Its introduction made it necessary to manufacture EPIRB testers.

IMO required the inspection of emergency beacons to be mandatory. According to its requirements, EPIRB testers must provide accurate measurement of the parameters and performance of the emergency beacon in volume of:

Annual testing of 406 MHz satellite EPIRBs (Resolution MSC.1/Circ.1040/Rev.1 Revised Guidelines on annual testing of 406 MHz satellite EPIRBs adopted on 25 May 2012);

Shore-based maintenance of satellite EPIRBs (Resolution MSC/Circ.1039 Guidelines for shore-based maintenance of satellite EPIRBs adopted on 28 May 2002).




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Emergency positioning beacons are one of the most important equipment on board. In case something goes wrong, one of them is of great ...

Our customers and friends know that this year we presented the new great multifunctional tester MRTS-7M that provides testing of AIS, ...

This video illustrates the procedure of inspection of an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) operating via ...

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GMDSS Blog: category AIS

Why proper AIS testing is so important?

Category: AIS

An essential maritime safety tool Automatic Identification System (AIS) serves for exchange of real-time safety and navigation information between AIS equipped vessels within VHF range of each other. This information might be helpful for avoiding hazardous situations at the sea.

AIS transmits a bunch of static, voyage-related and dynamic data which should be encoded properly. It is essential for the accuracy of the information it exchanges. 

An incorrect or even inconsiderate operation of safety equipment may lead to the accidents like what happened on Mississippi River near New Orleans in January, 2020


You may be a young surveyor, starting your marine survey career, or a highly experienced inspector remembering first Futronic tester. ...


SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 18.9 states: “The automatic identification system (AIS) shall be subjected to an annual test. The test ...


These ‘MSLS’ or ‘MOB’ devices and systems are intended for very short-range crew retrieval applications. The MSLS ...


AIS is included in the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, and large ships began fitting AIS in July 2002. AIS transmits, ...

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GMDSS Blog: category GMDSS Radio

Evolution of MF/HF/VHF GMDSS Testers

Category: GMDSS Radio

The MF/HF/VHF radio stations with DSC (Digital Selective Calling) are an essential component of modern communication systems operating within the GMDSS.

DSC is used for initial calling of ship and shore stations for the purpose of further communication by radiotelephone or radiotelex. This system involves the transmission of short formalized messages, represented in encoded form using binary characters in the MF, HF and VHF bands.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires all GMDSS equipment be regularly tested and maintained. Therefore, the inspection of the MF/HF/VHF radio stations is mandatory. 

Each type of such equipment must meet the requirements of SOLAS, as well as the relevant technical demands and standards. They are developed by recognized international organizations such as IMO, ITU-R. 



Marine communication has long history and continues developing to this day. For the last years this field have been changed and innovated ...


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Portable two way VHF radiotelephone equipment is used for communications between survival craft and rescue vessels. It may also be used for ...

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GMDSS Blog: category SART

Evolution of SART Testers

Category: SART

The search and rescue radar transponder (SART) is an important part of the GMDSS intended for locating ship or survival craft at sea when it is in distress. 

SART is a small, battery powered, omni-directional radar receiver and transmitter, it can be detected by ship or aircraft radars operating in the frequency band 9.2-9.5 GHz. On receiving a signal from the radar, the device transmits a series of response signals. These signals will be seen on radar screen as a line of 12 dots extending approximately 8 nautical miles away from the SART’s position along its line of bearing. This unique radar signal is easily recognised and allows the rescue vessel or aircraft to locate the survival craft. 

The carriage of the SART on board ships is mandatory, according to IMO requirements. IMO also requires that SART, as a part of the GMDSS, be regularly tested. If the radio survey reveals a malfunction, the vessel may be detained at port.



The Search and Rescue Radar Transponder as a part of GMDSS is a subject to annual test during radio survey. The annual testing of ...


Since 1 January 2010, AIS – Search and Rescue Transmitters can be carried in lieu of Search and Rescue Radar Transponders on vessels ...


Search and rescue radar Transponders (SARTs) are the main means in the GMDSS for locating ships in distress or their survival craft, and ...

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