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PLB question for the SAR teams

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  • PLB question for the SAR teams

    I carry a PLB that, when activated, will also transmit the 121.5 MHz homing signal. I understand that aircraft monitor the 121.5 MHz frequency. But, flying by at 100+ knots, would make precise location of beacon very difficult.

    My question is: do ground SAR teams typically carry a handheld 121.5 MHz receiver, OR are you only using the GPS coordinates that have been transmitted by the PLB?

    When the going gets tuff, ask yourself:
    "What would Ernest Shackleton do?"

  • #2
    You might want to review the PLB and ELT/EPIRB beacons here:
    and the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) information article

    No NY SAR team that I know of routinely carry or monitor 121.5, although an individual amateur ham operator team member may carry their own capable radio, but that is not a routine practice. I don't know if DEC rangers do have that capability programmed into their radios or not, but I do not believe that field rangers do so during any routine SAR incident. You might call Ray Brook to ask if you really need to know.

    The usual procedure as I understand it is that the rescue monitoring organization, NOAA or some other, upon receipt of a distress signal will notify DEC dispatch with best known GPS coordinates, who then in turn contact the Forest Rangers who are on duty in the proposed search area. They will also first attempt to call by phone (if possible) the subject, and dispatch will perhaps ask for a cell location verification ping for the subject's mobile phone. One or more rangers will proceed by foot to the best known location to effect personal contact and possible rescue if needed. If successful, usually that is as far as it goes. If unsuccessful after the first operational period (at least overnight), determination will be made if additional SAR resources may be needed. Local area SAR teams may be called, or the call may go out more generally to the NYS Federation of SAR Teams (NYSFEDSAR.ORG). It takes a while for those volunteers to show up and to go through the Incident Command process set up by Rangers at a command operations site established near the scene, typically at a fire hall or the like.
    "Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do you will be certain to find something you have never seen before." - Alexander Graham Bell