406 MHz distress beacons operate on the Cospas-Sarsat System.
Cospas-Sarsat is an intergovernmental organisation originally established by four member countries, Canada, France, USA and the former USSR. Cospas-Sarsat now has 41 member states that contribute to the system.
The Cospas-Sarsat System comprises of:
- All 406 MHz distress beacons (PLBs, EPIRBs & ELTs)
- Search and Rescue payloads on satellites in low earth orbit and in geostationary orbit that detect the active distress beacons.
- Land based receiving stations spread around the world (including one in New Zealand) to receive the messages related from the satellites.
- A network of Mission Control Centres (MCCs) to distribute the distress alerts and location information to the appropriate search and rescue agencies around the world.
The mission of the Cospas-Sarsat programme
To provide accurate, timely and reliable distress alert and location data to help Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities assist persons in distress.
Advantages of the Cospas-Sarsat system:
- It is an international non commercial system
- Multiple fail safes and redundancy are built into the system
- Your 406 MHz distress beacon will work anywhere in the world, the Cospas-Sarsat system will work out the best rescue authority to send the distress call to.
For more technical detail on the Cospas-Sarsat system visit cospas-sarsat.org