The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) recently announced that the International Cospas-Sarsat Program plans to terminate the 121.5/243 MHz satellite alerting
on February 1, 2009. The U.S. National Search and Rescue Committee
, the International Maritime Organization
, and the International Civil Aviation Organization
has requested the termination of this program due to the high number of false alerts and the negative impact on 121.5/243 MHz emergency beacon users and search and rescue responders. The intended effect of this action is to migrate the public from the 121.5/232 MHz emergency beacons to the more reliable and accurate emergency beacons operating at 406 MHz.
Users of Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs), Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), or Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) operating on 121.5/243 MHz should eventually begin using devices that operate at 406 MHz if they wish to continue having their beacons detected by satellites under the auspices of Cospas-Sarsat. Users who continue operating devices on 121.5/243 will not have their signal processed by Cospas-Sarsat and, as such, could have their beacon detection be significantly delayed or not received at all.