Annual testing of Cospas-Sarsat EPIRB by Futronic Test Box

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.

Visual inspection

First of all we need to carry out the visual inspection of EPIRB to be sure it has no damages, check the lanyard firmly attached and not tied. Then we need to perform the SELF-TEST routine as required to be sure the beacon is operable. We press the test button and wait for signal:

Checking EPIRB

Checking EPIRB

First of all we need to carry out the visual inspection of EPIRB to be sure it has no damages, check the lanyard firmly attached and not tied. Then we need to perform the SELF-TEST routine as required to be sure the beacon is operable. We press the test button and wait for signal:

We see it indicates it’s ok. But we will check it.

Test instruments

We need to perform electrical tests to confirm the EPIRB is operational as defined in appropriate performance standards. And for these purposes we require the suitable test equipment - EPIRB Tester.

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

Checking EPIRB

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

Start testing

First of all lets turn on all of our testers and switch them to proper test mode. 

Ok, let’s start with Futronic. We need to go the EPIRB TEST menu, select the proper frequency.

OK, now it’s ready to perform tests.

Checking EPIRB

Let’s do the same with Beacon Tester of Musson Marine. We are going to test menu, select by antenna, then proper channel. Ok, it’s ready too.

Checking EPIRB

Checking EPIRB

Finally, let’s turn On the Beacon Tester Mini. We need to select Press Perform tests menu and just press START NEW TEST button. Ok.

Checking EPIRB

All our testers are ready for the measurements. Now we need to take the beacon and turn it on to emit the signal.

We placed the EPIRB on recommended distance of 1-5 meters. Now we take the beacon and turn it to the SELF-TEST Mode what is strongly recommended for testing purposes.

And now we are waiting for its signal. Here we are. We see that all 3 testers received the signal successfully.

Checking EPIRB

Lets check the results

Futronic test results

Lets check Futronic for the decoded and measured data. Here are:

- Frequency and power level

- 15 Hex beacon identifier

- Country code and message type

- Protocol type

- MMSI Code, and beacon number on the vessel

- The homing device is present

- And additional data 

Beacon Tester results

Now lets check the BEACON Tester results. We see the decoded data of Cospas-Sarsat message:

-       Beacon Hex ID

-       Protocol type

-       MMSI Code

-       Country Code

-       Beacon number on the vessel

Checking EPIRB

Lets check the electrical data:

-       Power level in dBm

-       Frequency in kHz

-       Complete message content in HEX format

-       Phase meanings

-       Time of preamble

-       Total time of transmission

Beacon Tester Mini test results

Finally lets see what we have on Beacon Tester Mini:

-       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

-       Homing channel present

-       Time of preamble and total transmission time

Checking EPIRB

Homing channel test

Now we have enough data about Cospas-Sarsat channel, but lets check the homing channel. Lets switch the testers to proper test mode.

Lets turn the EPIRB on to test mode.

Lets check the results. We see the measured frequency and power levels of homing signal on all three testers.

Checking EPIRB

Also we hear audio confirmation of Homing channel presence.

Battery and HRU checking

At the end do not forget to check the battery expiration date and replace if necessary.

Checking EPIRB

Also, check the expiration date of hydrostatic release unit and replace if necessary.

Checking EPIRB

Test results 

We think we have enough data required to create test reports to confirm the EPIRB passed the annual test and can be used in emergency situation.

BEACON Tester test report

Let’s create the test report by BEACON Tester of Musson Marine.

Checking EPIRB

To do so we need to connect it to PC by means of USB; then to run the software.

Checking EPIRB

Then we need to download the data from the Tester. Ok. We see the tests results we have measured previously:

Checking EPIRB

And further action is to create the certificate of 406MHz EPIRB annual testing. Just name the file and save it on your PC.

Checking EPIRB

Checking EPIRB

Futronic test reports

Unfortunately having tried for a long time and applying much efforts, we failed to connect the Futronic Tester to a computer. As we have too old version that needs to be updated and we cannot do it. So the test report has to be made by hands.

Beacon Tester Mini Test reports

Now let’s proceed with Beacon Tester Mini. It’s very easy to create the test report and we can do it on the fly, as connection to PC is not required.

Checking EPIRB

Just complete the fields with vessel name, state the battery and hydrostatic release unit replacement dates and press Annual test Report.

Checking EPIRB 

Here it is:

Checking EPIRB

We will print it later. 

Final

Hope this manual was useful for you. Thanks for attention.

GMDSS Testers All in One

BEACON Tester

BEACON Tester

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.

Sarsat Beacon Monitor 406

Sarsat Beacon Monitor 406

Cospas-Sarsat Distress Signal Fixed Receiver (hereafter as Sarsat Beacon Monitor 406 – 406MHz emergency radio beacon monitoring system) is intended for 406MHz emergency radio beacon rapid signals reception, decoding and positioning. The equipment is destined to reduce rescue operation time.