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FCC Seeks More Comments on 121.5 MHz ELTs

January 17, 2013 - The Federal Communications Commission is reopening a prior ruling on 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) to generate additional comments on the their appropriate treatment under Part 87 FCC Regulations.

In the Third Report and Order, which resulted from a January 10, 2011 proceeding, the FCC amended Section 87.195 of its rules to prohibit the certification, manufacture, importation, sale or use of 121.5 MHz ELTs. It adopted this amendment because, among other reasons, the international Cospas-Sarsat satellite system, which relays distress alerts to search and rescue authorities, stopped monitoring frequency 121.5 MHz on February 1, 2009.

The FCC is seeking additional comments on the proper timing and implementation of a 121.5 MHz ELT phase-out and transition to 406 MHz ELTs..

Specifically, the FCC is requesting comments regarding the following potential actions:

  • No FCC certifications on new models of 121.5 MHz ELTs in light of the superiority of 406 MHz ELTs.
  • Prohibiting further certification of 121.5 MHz ELTs immediately upon the effective date of any 121.5 MHz ELT rule amendments adopted as a consequence of this Third FNPRM.
  • Prohibiting continued manufacture, importation and sale of existing 121.5 MHz ELT models beginning one year after the effective date of any 121.5
  • Adopting a specific date to prohibit the continued use of 121.5 MHz ELTs in service.
  • The costs associated with a mandatory transition to 406 MHz ELTs.

Comments may be filed electronically by accessing the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) or the federal eRulemaking portal at Filers should follow the instructions provided on the website for submitting comments. EAA will be filing comments in support of the continued use of existing 121.5 MHz ELTs before the close of the comment period.

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