Emergency Procedures resources

Emergency Procedures

Distress beacons


Self-test function

All COSPAS-SARSAT type approved 406 MHz beacons include a self-test mode.

All 406 MHz distress beacons can be tested at any time using the self-test functions without any notification to RCC Australia.

The self-test function performs an internal check and indicates that RF power is being emitted at 406 MHz and at 121.5 MHz, as applicable. The beacon will provide an indication of the success or failure of a GNSS self-test.

The self-test mode signal is not processed by the satellite equipment.

Operational testing and remote cockpit activations

While a functional test of a beacon can be performed via the beacon’s self-test capability the use of the remote aircraft cockpit activation switches results in operational activation of the ELT. Remote cockpit activations are performed on initial installation and during ongoing maintenance of the ELT.

In order to comply with these ELT maintenance requirements, operational testing of a 406 MHz ELT from the cockpit of an aircraft may be undertaken by maintenance facilities, provided the test duration is no longer than five seconds and is undertaken within the first five minutes of the hour. RCC Australia (see below) and the ATS centre for the location of the test must be advised of this operational test.

The test duration must be restricted to five seconds so that there is no potential for an operationally coded 406 MHz digital burst transmitting and thus generating a false alert. The duration of the 121.5/243 MHz homing transmission, which will also be activated as part of this test, must also be restricted so as not to generate false alerts via ATS.

RCC Australia

t: 1800 641 792

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