406 MHz Training Beacon Requirements
CAP has recently fielded 406 MHz training beacons to each wing in order to support more realistic training, especially for those training with airborne Becker and Rhotheta direction finding units. Though these beacons have been setup with the test protocol so that they will not inadvertently activate other rescue resources normally, there is always a chance of problems occurring as we cannot fully prevent the satellites from recording data completely. In order to avoid any potential problems, it is each wing's responsibility to provide proper notification in accordance with NOAA's requirements. NOAA's guidance and documentation required can be found on their Emergency Beacon Testing webpage.
Notification is not a hard process, but CAP personnel must schedule training with these beacons like all other system users. Please review the U.S. SARSAT Program Steering Group Beacon Test Policy, and be sure to schedule your training with these beacons accordingly with the Air Force Program POC, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, at: AFRCC.Console@us.af.mil with sufficient lead time for them to approve. Please use their Beacon Test Request Form required to schedule a test.
Please note that all training exercises using a 406 MHz training beacon are expected to be coordinated at least 48 hours in advance with the SARSAT US Mission Control Center (USMCC). If a request is received within the 48 hour window, the request may not be approved. This also assumes only 1 to 3 of these beacons will be used. If 4 to 6 beacons will be used then 30 days notice is required; no exceptions. Using 7 or more are not authorized. Whoever is coordinating the training for your event must submit the test form noted above via email to our program POC, the USAF - AFRCC. There is not an exception for CAP, and we are actually specifically mentioned in the policy, so it is critical that CAP members follow this guidance. The AFRCC has confirmed that once they approve the event, CAP is cleared to use the beacons on the event, and will close the loop with the USMCC. Also, please note that during periods of limited manning, anticipated peak operations, or during scheduled system maintenance tests exercise use may not be authorized. We suggest you make requests with sufficient lead time and consider having backup dates if your request cannot be supported.
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