Radio Survey

Annual testing of Cospas-Sarsat EPIRB by Futronic Test Box

Category: EPIRB

Today we will perform the annual testing of Cospas-Sarsat EPIRB as it is required by SOLAS convention. The volume and order of the tests are described in IMO Circular 1040 and we will follow it.

Checking EPIRB

We have 3 testers today: Futronic made by Danphone, and two testers made by Musson Marine Ltd: Beacon Tester and Beacon Tester Mini.

The task is to measure the frequency, power level and decode Cospas-Sarsat message content.


Radio Survey / Inspection

Category: General

Radio survey is a set of testing services provided for a vessel to verify and confirm its readiness and safety for navigation in appropriate sea area. The condition of the ship and its equipment shall be maintained to conform with the provisions of the SOLAS regulations to ensure that the ship in all respects will remain fit to proceed to sea without danger to the ship or persons on board.

Radio Surveys should be carried out in accordance with SOLAS Convention, reference is made to the “IMO Resolution A997(25) - Survey Guidelines Under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification, 2007”.

Radio Survey

It is stated that initial and annual radio survey, issuance, renewal and endorsement of Safety Radio Certificates Survey of radio installations on SOLAS ships should be carried out in accordance with the rules laid down in IMO resolution A.948(23).

The radio survey should always be performed by a fully qualified radio surveyor who has adequate knowledge of the IMO`s relevant Convention, particularly SOLAS and associated performance standards, and appropriate ITU Radio Regulations. The radio survey should be carried out using suitable test equipment capable of performing all relevant measurements required by these Guidelines.


Performance Standards for GMDSS equipment

Category: General

When we carry our the annual performance test of the GMDSS Test equipment the main task is to check whether the equipment operates as expected by predefined standards.

The GMDSS Equipment should be so constructed and installed that it is readily accessible for inspection during Annual Safety Radio Survey and onboard maintenance purposes.

If equipment is not operating and the faults are discovered during survey the ship can be delayed in port.


SOLAS IV/15.8 says:

«While all reasonable steps shall be taken to maintain the equipment in efficient working order to ensure compliance with all the functional requirements specified in regulation TV/4 malfunction of the equipment for providing the general radiocommunications required by regulation IV/4.8 shall not be considered as making a ship unseaworthy or as a reason for delaying the ship in ports where repair facilities are not readily available, provided the ship is capable of performing all distress and safety functions.»

Thus it is srtongly recommended to test GMDSS equipment and carry out performance tests to be sure it complies with following Performance Standards.


How to Conduct a GMDSS Inspection (FCC version)

Category: General

The GMDSS replaces the ship-to-ship safety system that used manual Morse code with a ship-to-shore safety system that uses satellite and automated terrestrial communications systems. The GMDSS requires ships to carry various types of communications equipment depending upon the voyages of the ship rather than the gross tonnage. The GMDSS also requires ships to comply with certain functional requirements.

The GMDSS rules are found in subpart W of Part 80 [Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Part 80] and are applicable to the appropriate tonnage and operational areas of Passenger and Cargo vessels.

Under the Communications Act, Fishing vessels are considered to be Cargo vessels and, all these vessels are the subject to Radio Inspection.

To provide a GMDSS inspection the engineer must obtain an appropriate license for Inspectors.

In the course of survey carrying, the inspector should draw-up a report of Inspection. 

A report of Radio Inspection provided can contain a Radio Technician's Remarks.

It is suggested that one copy of appropriate report be
left onboard and one copy be kept with the Surveyor.


Servicing and Testing of Search and Rescue Radar Transponder (SART)

Category: SART

The Search and Rescue Radar Transponder as a part of GMDSS is a subject to annual test during radio survey. The annual testing of SART is recommended due to SOLAS regulation IV/15.8.

The purpose of an annual testing is to determine that SART is operational as defined in appropriate performance standards for Survival Craft Radar Transponders for use in Search and Rescue Operations, IMO Resolution A.802 (19).

Also Marine Orders require that a radar transponder must be inspected, tested and have its batteries replaced at intervals specified by its manufacturer.

SART Testing

Aboard ship, each SART shall be examined at least once a month to check how secure it is its mounting and for signs of damage.

It is not necessary to test the SART aboard ship routinely.

It is recommended not performing any ‘self-test’ whilst at sea, and if in port, the port authority should be advised prior to activation. Some SART’s “self-test” is in fact a live test, and inspection of the SART’s manufacturer’s manual will clarify this.

GMDSS Testers All in One

AIS Tester

AIS Tester

AIS Tester is professional equipment for surveyors to provide mandatory annual testing of the Class A and Class B AIS mobile stations and AIS-SARTs in accordance with requirements of IMO and SOLAS. Complies with with IMO circular letter “Guidelines on annual testing of the AIS unit MSC.1/Circ.1252”.



BEACON TESTER enables professional checking of all types of maritime emergency radio beacons that operate in COSPAS-SARSAT system like EPIRBs, PLB. Provides mandatory annual EPIRB testing in accordance with IMO Circular MSC.1/Circ.1039, 1040.

Beacon Tester Mini Wi-Fi

Beacon Tester Mini Wi-Fi

EPIRB Tester Mini w/ W-Fi is the newest device appointed to check the maritime distress beacons (EPIRBs, PLBs) operating via COSPAS-SARSAT system. This device is really lightweight and is capable to operate via Wi-Fi with any smartphone, tablet or laptop. Its operation complies with SOLAS regulation, IMO 1039 and 1040 Circulars.



GMDSS Multi Tester MRTS-7M is designed to carry out the mandatory periodical or annual surveys of all rage of GMDSS equipment: AIS Stations, EPIRBs, MF/HF/VHF Radios with DSC and NAVTEX receivers. Finally, it's all-in-one now.