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I’ve occasionally had ATC ask about ELT signals that were reported as they (I assume) triangulated.  Today I was VFR and picked up a very localized ELT.....in other words....very strong in a one square mile area and then weak in all directions outside of that. Could not see anything  in the wooded area. I cold called the nearest local airport tower who passed it on to Approach.  I assume they call CAP or  try to triangulate.  Is anybody familiar with the formal process that occurs?  Are these reports always followed up by....someone?  Is there a way to determine what the outcome is...some kind of public CAP log or ???  

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If its a 406 combined with the 121.5 beacon you heard then the SATSAT folks called the registered phone number(s)  within 5 minutes to determine if its a false alarm or not. I've only seen it go for false alarms so don't know details beyond that, but after the emergency contacts are exhausted without learning the status of the plane, I assume they next check the airport where the aircraft is based and then go from there. Knowing the N number makes a big difference. 

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Think I have it sorted out.  Using FlightAware....I was able to track the aircraft I thought it might have been.  The reason iTunes 121.5 to begin with was because I was watching potential conflicting traffic who dropped off the screen and never appeared visually.  Thought we were going to same airport....we were not....he was doing a procedure turn to another.  Coincidentally, there was an off runway excursion by another aircraft the day before.  My theory is that the ELT was set off and not discovered and was emitting. I suspect the week signal from battery running down and my top mounted antenna made it appear it was off airport.  Can’t fully explain it, but best I can come up with.  I did follow up with the local tower and they informed me that they handed it off to Center controllers and they didn’t know more.  So, I’ll never know the full story, but I feel comfortable that there is nobody out there waiting on rescue.  Still disappointed that an ELT can be going off without much sense of urgency.  Guess it reinforces the 406 ELTs.  I may need to revisit this....but my old Narco 10 keeps going.....but maybe nobody out there to listen for it...

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6 hours ago, PeteMc said:

A lot of boats have them.  Possibly a yacht or sailboat with engine trouble and out of radio range.

That I didn't know (but then I don't know anything about boats!).......Thanks

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4 hours ago, skykrawler said:

If it's anywhere near a control tower they know it because they always have a dedicated radio on 121.5 and the volume set high.  That's why it's courteous to call them before testing, even at the top of the hour.  Reduces the startle factor.

 

Totally agree. It is tough when flying a plane with Guard as a toggle-on and it going off due to a unscheduled test. Well worth the call to tower prior.

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3 hours ago, irishpilot said:

Totally agree. It is tough when flying a plane with Guard as a toggle-on and it going off due to a unscheduled test. Well worth the call to tower prior.

I spoke to the tower manager the next day and he mentioned the check on the hour.  In this case the signal was before the hour and it was going off for at least the 20 or 30 minutes I was in the area.  The nearest tower was about 8nm away and they were not receiving it.  What was ultimately disappointing is that i don’t think there was any proactive response to it....or none that I will ever be aware of.  Even if it was a false alarm, I would think they would want to shut it off.  I would certainly hate to think if this were a real accident and nobody came looking.

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3 hours ago, takair said:

 I would certainly hate to think if this were a real accident and nobody came looking.

Shouldn't be a concern if you have a 406, if so its only few minutes before Cospas-Sarsat is verifying and looking for you.

But there has been no surveillance since 2009 for the 121.5 ELTs and it'll take more than a beacon going off and at least several hours before any one starts looking.  A $500 406 ELT fixes that.

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