[aprssig] Emergency beacons

Keith VE7GDH ve7gdh at rac.ca
Sat Apr 19 13:44:49 EDT 2008

Earl KD5XB wrote...

> What's the general thought on emergency beacons?  Looking at
> <http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/emergency.cgi> I see two stations
> in the past 24 hours are listed -- one in Belgium and one in the
> Indian Ocean. Do we treat these as legitimate or false alarms?
> The one shown in the Indian Ocean could very easily be in the
> southeast if the lat/long had + instead of -, and it was picked up
> by KE4BXF-10.  Maybe a programming error or something?
> The one in Belgium is a digi.

Anyone can take action that they deem fit, but someone local to the area
would probably know what was appropriate. However...


First, the callsign is "WIDE2" so it's pretty much impossible to tell
which station it is. Next, the path includes TCPIP, so it could have
come from anywhere. I don't know why the beacon includes
"Mic-E/M7/EMERGENCY" because it isn't in MIC-E format. What are the odds
on being exactly 0 N ? While the position shows to be 441 miles SE of
Sri Lanka, it isn't anywhere near KE4BXF-10. I would suggest asking that
station where it got the report from. The emergency beacon claims to be
at 00 00.00N / 082 20.16E while KE4BXF-10 is at 27 21.03N / 082 31.51W
in Florida. Like you mentioned, if the longitude was changed from east
to west, at least that part would be close to where KE4BXF-10 is
located. If I was in Florida, I would probably contact the coast guard,
explain that some things in the report don't add up, but at least alert
them to the possibility of it being an emergency. The report doesn't
include a proper callsign, and most of the position given is probably
bogus.... probably not 0 N and probably not east longitude. You
certainly wouldn't want to pass along a flood of bogus reports, but it
might be worth at least alerting the authorities. The person passing
along the information has "done their duty" and the coast guard (presume
that is whose jurisdiction it would fall under unless it turned out to
be on land) can at least take a cursory look at 082 20.16W a bit north
and south of KE4BXF-10s location and then file the report until such
time as any new information becomes available.

Bogus or not, KE4BXF-10 is probably in the best position to offer an
explanation by asking where he got the report from... RF or TCPIP.

It's unlikely an emergency report from a digi is legitimate, but someone
in Europe could contact the owner of ON0LRG-2.

73 es cul - Keith VE7GDH
"I may be lost, but I know exactly where I am!"

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