Sunday, August 10, 2008

GME MT403FF EPIRB Review

An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is used to alert search and rescue service in the event of emergency. It does this by transmitting a coded message on the 406MHz distress frequency. This message is relayed via satellite and earth station to the nearest rescue co-ordination centre

EPIRB is designed for use when the safety of the ship and crew is endangered and there is no means of communication. An EPIRB can save life and the lives of other on board by leading a air/sea rescue to the precise location. In the past, extensive and lenghty searches have been carried out for missing craft, sometimes to no avail.

GME is not a well known EPIRB manufacturer but recently my company bought one of this. I not quite used with this brand and its operation and hence a learning experience for me also. GME is based in Australia. The package is sturdy and well arranged.

To remove the EPIRB from the auto release housing, hold the outer cover while using free hand to rotate the yellow lever anti clockwise. Without releasing the lever, remove the cover completely away from the fixed part of the housing that holds the beacon. Firmly grasp the beacon and withdraw it from the hosing

To refit back, orientate the beacon such that the side displaying the "Emergency Activation" instructions faces outwards. Insert the head of the beacon between the two retention arms ensuring that the base of the beacon also engages into the housing supports. Commence replacement of the outer cover firstly engaging it at the base over the metal retention tongue. Apply firmly pressure above the yellow lever to press the cover home.

For manual activation, lift the switch cover to open. Slide the "ON" slider switch fully forward. The unit will initially self test, after 2 seconds the flashing strobe and beeps will indicate the beacon is operating. Close the cover to secure the switch.

For water activation, deploy the beacon in water if sea conditions permit. The unit will initially self test, then shortlyafter the flashing strobe and beeps will indicate the beacon is operating.

For manual deployment, unwind the cord and secure the EPIRB to survival craft to prevent loss. When activated, the beacon will transmit the strongest signal to the satellites when floating in water, well clear of surrounding and overhanging objects and the antenna is vertical

This is the first time I see a EPIRB with a stainless steel antenna. My main concern is the antenna is so exposed that it will rust over time and the antenna will break.

The battery have a life span of 6 years. I am indeed surprised as most EPIRB battery has a 5 year life span. Another nice feature

The EPIRB HRU is located behind the housing. Thank God it is the Hammar H2O HRU, which is a common brand and easily sourced.

The EPIRB HRU date is permanently displayed at the front of the housing. This make life easier during inspection as there is no need to open up the housing to verify the HRU expiry date. As the HRU need to be replaced every 2 years, I have an issue on how to update the display here for the new expiry date of the the HRU unit.

The battery expiry date is also permanently displayed at the side of the housing. Hopefully the battery replacement pack came with the new expiry date sticker to update this.

In a nutshell, GME MT403FF is compact and easy to use with longer battery life span. There are a few minor issues which I highlighted above but I'm sure it can be overcome with a little effort.

2 comments:

Fernando C. Zamora said...

nice info bro on navigational equipment. things like this one are helpful to the safety of maritime activities. that's technological advancement that we should all enjoy...see ya around bro.

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