rogue emergency beacons (121.5)

Iain McFadyen mcfadyenusa at
Thu Jan 19 01:10:53 CST 2006

Here's a story about a rogue emergency beacon in the UK. Reminds me of the
poor guy in Oregon, whose brand new Toshiba LCD flat-screen TV caused a
scramble of the emergency services too. 

Here is the snippet from the RSGB newsletter


A Coastguard helicopter was scrambled at the cost of tens of thousands of
pounds on 14 January after a rogue radio signal from a faulty digital TV
set-top box in Portsmouth sparked a sea rescue mission. The defective set-top
box transmitted a signal on a frequency reserved for emergency distress
beacons at sea. This “mayday” call was then picked up by a satellite and
passed on to the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre at RAF Kinloss,
Scotland , which in turn contacted the Coastguard in Portsmouth . 

The helicopter that was scrambled scoured the seas around Portsmouth for
stricken people for two hours before experts discovered that the signal was
coming from dry land. The source of the signal was eventually traced to a
set-top box in a house in Portsmouth . The faulty box is now being
investigated by telecommunications regulator Ofcom. 

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