ACR ARTEX

The Science Of Survival


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ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal Highlight Enhanced Life-Saving Benefits of their MEOSAR-Compatible Beacons

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ACR Electronics, Inc. and Ocean Signal are highlighting to all boaters how the life-saving capabilities of its distress beacons and the importance of including an EPIRB and PLB in their safety kit are significantly enhanced due to Cospas-Sarsat’s next-generation Medium-Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) system.

Revolutionising the search and rescue process, 24 EU launched Galileo navigation satellites will carry second generation SAR transponders for the Cospas-Sarsat system at Medium Earth Orbit altitude to supplement the existing LEOSAR (Low Earth Orbit) and GEOSAR (Geostationary Orbit) systems. The increased number of satellites offers much faster signal detection, greater location accuracy, strengthened coverage and greater reliability to improve alerting times for distress beacon owners in emergency situations.

All ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal beacons, including the ACR GlobalFIX V4 and GlobalFIX iPro EPIRBs, the ACR ResQLink PLBs, plus the Ocean Signal SafeSea E100 and E100G EPIRBs, rescueME EPIRB1 and rescueME PLB1, are compatible with the next-gen satellites, ensuring they will offer the near instantaneous signal detection and transmission enabled by the global MEOSAR satellite transponders and upgraded ground-station components.

Estimates indicate that when using the next-gen network, anyone activating a GPS-enabled ACR or Ocean Signal EPIRB or PLB can expect their beacon to be located within 100 metres (328 feet), 95% of the time, within 5 minutes of the distress signal instead of taking up to the one to two hours typical with the current LEOSAR and GEOSAR system.

Chris Hoffman, Chairman of the RTCM (Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services) Board of Directors and chair of the RTCM Special Committee SC110 on Emergency Beacons, said: “As the representative of beacon manufacturers within the Cospas-Sarsat community, we work closely with companies like ACR and Ocean Signal to ensure that the needs of end users are taken into account when developing these new systems and enhancements.”

Hoffman, who is also Director of Technology Strategy for ACR Electronics, added: “The new MEOSAR network is poised to have a huge impact on search and rescue and will ultimately result in more lives saved. In the light of this ground-breaking update in technology, we want to ensure that anyone who spends time at sea is aware of the development and the value it adds to beacons, so they can make an informed decision about why they should carry an EPIRB and a PLB.

“The ACR and Ocean Signal 406 MHz distress beacons have been meticulously designed to be compact, reliable, and easy to use, carry and maintain. Critically, they are MEOSAR compatible, so users can benefit from this unfolding revolution in search and rescue, with even more power at their fingertips to ensure they and their friends and family can reach the rescue authorities quickly and easily, and stay safe out on the water.”

When complete there will be 72 MEOSAR satellites positioned at Medium Earth Orbit altitude, over six times the number of existing satellites in orbit. MEOSAR relays more beacon signals to ground stations using a technique known as ‘bent pipe’ which is an average of 46 minutes faster than LEOSAR. The network of ground stations, called MEOLUTs (Local User Terminals), along with multiple antenna systems, results in close to 100% reliability and near instantaneous global coverage.

MEOSAR satellites are compatible with the existing first generation Cospas-Sarsat technology. The Galileo satellites will also allow second generation alerting technology to be introduced such as the ability to send a return link signal in the form of a confirmation message back to beacons acknowledging that the signal was received.

The first rescues demonstrating near real-time signal detection using a MEOSAR satellite have already been documented, with the new Cospas-Sarsat system expected to reach full operational capability in 2020-21. When the system is fully operational, there will always be multiple MEOSAR satellites in view, subject to clear visibility of the sky, enabling fast alerting and location independent of waiting for a pass of a LEOSAR satellite.

Since 1982, the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite SAR systems has helped to save more than 40,000 lives by pinpointing the location of emergency distress beacon signals.

Today’s EPIRBs and PLBs by ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal are compact and user friendly with an exceptional battery life. They are now an affordable product for inclusion in any boat’s safety kit. EPIRBs are available for under $400 and PLBs priced in the mid $200s.

For further information about ACR Electronics’ products, visit www.acrartex.com, and for Ocean Signal’s products, visit www.oceansignal.com.

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Top 5 common misconceptions about 406 MHz beacons

Top 5 common misconceptions about 406 MHz beacons

1.  I Thought Beacons cost over $1,000?
Not any more, EPIRBs start at just $399.99 and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) start at just $259.99.  Here are few things you spend on your boat/outdoor gear each year that cost more and won’t save your life:  Gas for your boat, bait and beer, fishing rods, tents, scopes and amunition!

2. Isn’t my boat too small for an EPIRB?
Every boat should have some kind of 406 MHz distress beacon.  If you have a small boat like a kayak, SUP, canoe, bass boat or even a pontoon boat, consider a Personal Locator Beacon.  If you are going offshore, an EPIRB is the right beacon.  Smaller boats typically prefer the manual release category 2 bracket, while larger boats enjoy the automatic release and activation of a category 1 bracket.

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3.  How can an EPIRB or PLB help me go boating, hiking, fishing, etc., more?
Does your wife/husband/fiancé/mom/kids/Etc. ever worry about you going offshore, into the woods, or off the beaten path?  Sure they do!!!  Introduce them to our beacon technology and educate them on how it can save you should something unexpected happen while you are away.  We like to call this Peace of Mind, and when they worry less, you get outside more!!

4. EPIRBs and PLBs are only for if my boat sinks, My boat won’t sink!
EPIRBs and PLBs are for more than sinking boats. They are for life threatening emergencies.  We have survivors that have had medical emergencies, have come across someone else that needs assistance, boat fires, snake bites, we have even had two different incidents with boats hitting whales.  The fact is, anything can happen, EPIRBs and Personal Locator Beacons are designed to ensure you get home safely no matter what mother nature has in store for you.

5. I Hate Subscription Fees and I don’t want another one!
So do we.  406 MHz beacons don’t require any service subscriptions.  They work directly with the Cospas-Sarsat satellites which are government run and are a direct link to Search and Rescue.  There are no subscriptions required, the only thing required is to register your beacon with your national authority (it’s Free).  We do offer an option testing subscription service called www.406link.com (USA Only), but its optional only if you want to receive testing confirmation via email/SMS text message.


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Aviation History Month – my story by:ARTEX Director of Sales, Jeffery Geraci

In the spirit of Aviation History Month Here is my aviation story by: ARTEX Director of Sales, Jeffery Geraci

With November being Aviation History Month, I had the honor of presenting the history of ELT and ARTEX to my fellow employees.  As I researched and prepared the briefing, it prompted reflection on my own personal aviation history.  Attaining flight is such an intriguing combination of physics that completely infected my imagination.  My journey started as many young boys did, with a glider and then a rubber band powered model.  Back in the 60s the Guillows Company provided many youngsters the ability to build and launch their flying dreams.  My first powered craft was Piper Cub.  In its maiden flight, a shirtless 10 year old found that speed and ground proximity were a disastrous combination for a balsa wood airframe.

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First Piper Cub flight, 1970 – Farmington Hills, MI

Having witnessed a flying machine of my own construction take flight, my passion for flight would lead to larger aircraft with gas engines and radio controls.  My first radio controlled aircraft was a “Falcon 56” and it was a beautiful yet forgiving aircraft to fly.  At 13 years of age I was all in for flight.  As the Falcon flew over me, I looked up and said to myself, how do I get in the cockpit?  My career path was set and in just 4 more years, I would be an aviator.

Falcon 56 Airframe, 1972 – Farmington Hills, MIteen JG

Falcon 56 first flight, 1973 – Farmington Hills, MI

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My parents signed the early entry form required for a 17 year old to join the military.  The selection process for enlisted aircrew was competitive but due to my exceptional vision and depth perception, my dream was realized.  I was selected for the KC-135 Tanker boom operator position.  Boom operators maneuver a flying boom to “connect” with a trailing aircraft and perform in-flight refueling. Before an aircrew can attend training for the specific type of aircraft, the selectee must attend survival schools.  Water, prisoner of war, ground and Arctic survival schools were required. In addition to learning the skills of survival, the schools provided another means of eliminating the less dedicated.  In 1978, during my water survival school students would float in Biscayne Bay, Florida for hours to simulate the ocean bailout.  We used flares, dye and strobe lights to signal each other.  My first experience with ACR Electronics Inc. was utilizing a very well made bright orange strobe light.   Little did realize that ACR and I would cross paths again 35 years later.

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August 1979 publication of Airman Magazine picturing water survival training

After completion of the survival schools my first ride in a tanker took place at Castle Air Force base, Merced California in 1979.  We flew many missions refueling all USAF aircraft types.  I was photographed in Airman Magazine, August of 1979 for a C-130 mission.

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August 1979 publication of Airman Magazine, C 130 Mission

My first base posting was Wurtsmith AFB, Oscoda Michigan.  Although we rotated aircraft often, number 38038 was a frequent selection for our training.  This particular aircraft was a newer  KC-135 manufactured in late 1960.  Most tankers were manufactured in 1957-59.  I was 19 years old the first time I flew on this aircraft. We are both 57 now and I am not sure who will live longer, 38038 or me!   I still recall the sound of the J-57s with water injection.  The sound in the cockpit was deafening as the pilot pushed the throttles forward.  I still recall the feeling of speed as we raced toward the end of the runway.  The pilot would call out “S-1” which meant we passed the speed threshold of not being able to stop, we were dedicated to takeoff.  I flew in the jump seat often and had the best view of the cockpit being in between both pilots

In 1983, I became an instructor Boom operator.  Part of the training was to fly co-pilot for 2 touch and go landings just in case there was a need to fill in.  I had acquired 25 hours in a Cessna 172 but the tanker flew like nothing I had experienced.  I will never forget the takeoff sequence of pushing up the engines and steering with the rudders after 80 knots.  Being seated up front made the speed more intense as we powered past 140 knots.  I pulled back, assumed a steady 15 degrees of climb, got the gear and flaps up.  Just like the Falcon 56 model used to climb, but I was inside this bird.

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USAF 38038 with Jeff Geraci onboard – October 1980

I completed 2 tours in the USAF but did not make it a career.  The lure of private sector income and running my own business moved me on.  I always looked up when I heard an aircraft overhead.  I know how that feels I thought to myself.

My aviation career would be revived in 2000 as I sold my business and took a position with a Michigan company called Advanced Data Research (ADR).  Based upon a commercial device, we developed the first version of the electronic flight bag.  Our customers were corporate flight departments worldwide.  I was back in cockpits helping to determine mounting locations for the computers.

Fast forward to 2013 and good friend, Mike Schmidt calls me and asks what I am doing.  Mike and I worked at the flight bag company and recently had taken position at ACR Electronics in Fort Lauderdale Florida.  Mike helped me secure a position with ACR in September of 2013.

Speaking of history, the mission at ACR is to make sure pilots and their occupants do not become history.   ACR and ARTEX share a long and important lineage of making a difference to those in trouble.

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ARTEX History Presentation November 2017, Fort Lauderdale, FL


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Leading ELT supplier ACR Electronics backs 2016 Hudson Memorial Fly In to promote the importance of beacons for aircraft owners and operators

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Sponsor of the annual event, ACR Electronics is using its first major aviation project to endorse the use of devices such as ARTEX ELTs (Emergency Locator Transmitters), ACR PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons), signaling devices and other safety accessories.

Both ACR’s PLBs and ARTEX ELTs relay emergency signals to the Cospas-Sarsat system, which since its inception in the early 1980’s has provided distress alert information to Search and Rescue centers. This relay has assisted in the rescue of nearly 40,000 people in 11,070 different distressful situations worldwide. Specific to aviation just last year there were 21 people rescued in 11 incidents alone*.

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Why a hunter decided NOT to activate his personal locator beacon

A lone hunter who decided not to activate his personal locator beacon despite breaking his foot deep in the New Zealand bush is urging fellow hunters and trampers to learn from his mistake and use their PLB in an emergency.

Hunter PLB NZ

Tim Edge, from Ashhurst, is raising awareness about the importance of carrying and activating personal beacons after his ordeal following an accident in Manawatu’s Pahangina Valley where he was chasing a stag.

Despite carrying an ACR Electronics ResQLink PLB, Tim admits he was too embarrassed to call for help and thought he knew the area well enough to get out on his own. Instead, he spent more than two hours trying to find his way to the forest/farm land boundary through dense bush and rough terrain.

Luckily, he was rescued by Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Trust and airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital after his dad contacted the authorities, but Tim knows that his actions could have had serious consequences.

“I would like to use my experience to bring some awareness to other hunters about when to use their PLBs and also highlight the work of the rescue authorities,” said Tim. “Although things worked out safely in the end, my mistake was in leaving the safety of my camp in an opening clearing where winch recovery would be easy. I re-entered dense bush, injured, to try to get myself and my gear out, which were the wrong things to do. If anything else had happened while I was making my way out, it would have been a lot worse. At the time I thought it wasn’t serious enough and I was too embarrassed to use the beacon. I had all the right gear, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t use it. My message to other hunters and trampers is to not let a sense of pride prevent them from calling for rescue if their life is in danger.”

Tim broke his foot after falling down a bank when he slipped while carrying a full pack of venison back to camp and called his dad to let him know he was injured. He managed to make it out of the bush to farm land just as the helicopter arrived.

In addition to other gear, such as extra food and water, a tent and GPS, Tim was carrying the compact ResQLink™ by ACR Electronics which would have alerted rescue services when activated. Ideal for all hunters, trampers, hikers and a range of other activities on land and at sea, the ResQLink is a buoyant, GPS-enabled rescue beacon designed which quickly and accurately relays your position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites.

Front View (ResQLink)


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ACR Electronics and Their Boating Safety Partners Remind You APRIL 6th (Wednesday 4/06) is “406Day”

406Day_Postcard4x6_WEBONLY with all websites

“406Day” is a time to celebrate lives saved and create awareness on the responsibilities of 406 MHz beacon ownership.

 April 6th was proclaimed “406Day” by ACR Electronics, Inc. in 2013. It is a time to celebrate the over *40,000 lives saved by using 406 MHz beacons and the Cospas-Sarsat Satellite system. The day is intended to create online awareness on the benefits and responsibilities of owning a 406 MHz beacon; such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) or Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs).

What started off a few years ago as just a photo share contest on social media, has now become increasingly relevant as there are two items of legislation relevant promoting 406 MHz beacon ownership. On the national level, a bill was introduced offering an IRS incentive to persons who purchase a beacon. In Florida, Governor Scott recently signed a bill which, on average, will give boaters an average of a 15% to 20% discount on their boater registration fee annually *with proof of proper NOAA registration.

“406Day” has not only created **social media buzz but has also created useful content and has opened meaningful dialogue regarding safety precautions in the boating industry. ‘406Day’ should continue to grow with strategic partners in the multiple facets of the maritime industry, who have made the day what it is today,” shared Nichole Kalil, ACR Media Specialist. “406Day occurs during spring when most of the nation is gearing up for summer boating, the timing to share boating safety messages is perfect”, she added.

Some of the past and present “406Day” boating safety partners are as follows: National Safe Boating Council, Bonnier Group, AustinBlu Foundation, NOAA, Active Interest Media Group, USCG, OAR Northwest, George Poveromo, Sea Tow, Liquid Fire Fishing Team, ACA Paddle Sports, Boat US Foundation, Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Parade, and West Marine.

*Source: Since the mid 1980’s 406 MHz beacons have saved approximately 40,000 lives worldwide. To learn more about 406 MHz beacons please visit NOAA’s website at: www.sarsat.noaa.gov.

**On social media search and post using: #safeboating #406Day and #savedbythebeacon

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