Emergency Locator Beacon

[Editor: There was an article in the November 2003 issue of the MRCMC Newsletter that covered the construction of a similar beacon from parts available at Radio Shack etc. That version only worked with FM PPM radio systems. The one listed here works with AM, FM PPM and PCM systems, and costs less than building it yourself. Note that the prices are Canadian $$, but manufacturer will ship to the US if you send them a check for US funds using the same dollar amount.]By John Winstanely

You are flying high and over to far side of the field, practicing those maneuvers. Your engine quits, and you can’t make it back. You land in the rough… somewhere over there. You think it’s there. You look. It’s not there. Several hours and 10 club members later, you find it. Success!! But it took you soooo long. There has got to be a better way.

Enter the Emergency Locator Beacon, by Arrow Manufacturing in Hamilton, Ontario. They have created a line of ELB’s (Emergency Locator Beacons) for every model application.

   If the above scenario was repeated, but with the ELB installed, all you would have to do is turn off your transmitter. The ELB will let out a very audible scream, that will guide you to your downed craft.Installation of any one of their ELB’s (one is made for small craft, and one is made for giant scale) is simplicity itself. Simply plug the unit into any available channel on your receiver. Mount it in any available space, (Arrow recommends the tail section) and you are done. That’s it. The solid state unit weighs less than 2 ounces, and uses negligible battery power…until it’s needed that is.
ELT-P shown (and is available)
    We tested all available versions of the unit, with a very straightforward test. We mounted the small model version in my trusty Falcon 56. I turned on my transmitter, then my receiver. All was well. I took the plane into the bush, and placed it in a remote but accessible location. I walked back to the pits. Total distance was about 300 feet.I asked some club members, who were watching me at the time place my plane out in the bush, to go out and find my plane. It took them nearly 10 minutes to find the plane, and they saw where I put it!!

I then turned off the transmitter, and you could here the shrill pitch of the peizo buzzer. The buzzer sounds off a about 7000 hz, which is right in the middle of the human hearing range. The buzzer sound was clear, loud, and very apparent. You could even hear them over the sounds of overhead models flying. A new batch of searchers was sent out to hunt for the plane. It took them about 2 minutes to recover my Falcon 56. Awesome!!

    The ELB’s are well designed. They are totally solid state for long life and some hard knocking. One of the best part is the price. The small model unit, costs about $16. The large model unit costs $24. The difference of price is not in the electronics, but in the buzzers themselves. The large model unit, has 2 buzzers and runs off its own 9 volt battery supply. It weighs a little more (3 ounces with battery) but in a larger type aircraft, this weight is inconsequential.
ELT40-P shown (being discontinued soon)
    Another benefit of these ELB’ is for range checking your transmitter. When you do your usual field range check, simply keep walking until you hear the buzzer. Now you know for certain, if everything is working. One other benefit is if you turn your receiver on before your transmitter, the buzzer should sound. This is good. If it doesn’t sound, there is a good chance someone is using your frequency. Time to double check the frequency board and the flight line. You may have saved someone elses model from a rekitting, due to your mistake.These ELB’s are bargain basement insurance. They are well constructed, inexpensive, and simply the best units that I have seen from any manufacturer.

Just the Plain Facts

Product – Emergency Locator Beacon
Mfg: Arrow Manufacturing
25 Depew St.,
Hamilton, Ont. L8L 7H7
Cost: ELT-P – $15.99 (CDN)
ELT40-P- $23.99 (CDN)

Hits – Every plane should have one. They are cheap and easy to install, and it will save your plane one day.

Misses – none

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Reprinted by permission from the August issue of MODEL Aviation CANADA

[Editor: To order the ELT-P, make a check (from a US bank) for $15.99 per unit, payable to Arrow Manufacturing and mail it to
Arrow Manufacturing
25 Depew St.
Hamilton, Ontario
Canada L8L 7H7
and attach a note containing your name and shipping address and that you want to buy the ELT-P]