Commercial, Personal/Corporate, Products

Heli-Expo Show Day: Greater Beacon Use Spurs Need for Decoders

By Staff Writer | March 1, 2008

RISING USE OF DISTRESS BEACONS is driving increased interest in the Techtest range of homer-decoders, with particular interest coming from East Asia and southern Europe.

Search and rescue aircraft manufacturers are increasingly seeing the benefits of reasonably priced homer-decoder systems, according to Techtest. Those systems make use of the latest technology in distress beacons. Techtest is one of the HR Smith Group of Companies and is a world leader in the manufacture of emergency locator transmitters, personal locator beacons, and homing systems.

The rapidly growing use of emergency distress beacons, including the Cospas Sarsat 406 MHz frequency, has given an opportunity to improve the functionality of search and rescue aircraft homing capabilities. Techtest has introduced a range of homer-decoders that make full benefit of this increase in technology.


The 406-series Airborne Homer-Decoder combines the benefits of the latest "phase comparison" homing technology with innovative functionality that decodes message data transmitted on the 406 MHz SARSAT distress frequency.

This decode capability allows a SAR aircraft to monitor in real-time identification and location data from activated emergency transmitters, thereby bringing significant improvements to the information picture for SAR crews. It allows them also to distinguish between multiple transmitting beacons, for instance. The 406 homer-decoder can also detect 121.5 MHz, 156.8 MHz and 243 MHz signals.

The full system comprises the homer-decoder LRU connected to only three antennas. This is then interfaced to one or two display units or can be integrated into the onboard EFIS display using either ARINC 429 or MIL-1553B architectures. This helps reduce aircraft integration costs and provides the end user an extremely cost – effective solution to 21st century homing.

Specmat Technologies, part of the HR Smith Group, is exhibiting at Heli Expo (Booth 3703).

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