Defense Media Network

Rhotheta: Detect – Locate – Rescue

Personal locator beacons (PLBs) and Emergency Position Indicating Rescue Beacons (EPIRBs) in Rhotheta’s crosshairs


Article Courtesy of Rhotheta International, Inc.
Our motto is “Detect – Locate – Rescue.”
At Rhotheta, we closely follow the news about personal locator beacons (PLBs), emergency
position indicating rescue beacons (EPIRBs), and emergency locator transmitters (ELTs),
keeping them in the crosshairs of our professional VHF and UHF radio direction finders (V-
Cellphones, however, cannot be tracked by our RDFs, even though some boaters try to use
them in an emergency — too often unsuccessfully, for several reasons.
Fortunately, more PLBs are being used by individual boaters, effectively supplementing the
safety provided by the EPIRB assigned to their boat.
In 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Search and Rescue Satellite
Aided Tracking (SARSAT) system helped rescue 330 people from potentially life-threatening
situations throughout the U.S. and its surrounding waters. “Of the 330 U.S. rescues, 195 were
water rescues, 29 were from aviation incidents, and 106 were from events on land,” NOAA
said. Alaska had the most SARSAT rescues with 55, followed by Florida with 52 and
California with 37.
Rhotheta RDFs — airborne, marine, stationary, and portable models — are Cospas-Sarsat
capable and play an important role in many such rescue operations. The airborne RT-600
exhibits 20-plus years of proven performance with USAF-AUX CAP and U.S. law
enforcement, as does the shipborne RT-500-M and RT-300 for U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian
Coast Guard, and other agencies worldwide.
Compared to GPS-based beacons, an RDF does not depend on other infrastructure and there
is no delay between when the beacon activates and when the direction finder determines a
bearing — meaning no waiting for a GPS fix.
Now, are there enough PLBs being used by boaters out there?
In its public board meeting last Oct. 19, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
discussed the capsizing of the liftboat, Seacor Power, off the coast of Port Fourchon,
Louisiana, on April 13, 2021. Of the 19 people aboard the vessel, six died, seven are missing,
and six people were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and other vessels.
The NTSB reiterated a recommendation to the U.S. Coast Guard to require all personnel
employed on vessels in coastal, Great Lakes, and ocean service be provided with a PLB. The
NTSB also recommended the Offshore Marine Service Association notify members of PLB
availability and value.
At Rhotheta we like to say our RDFs are of inestimable value for making maritime activities
safer, and certainly many organizations consider RDFs an essential mission tool.However, our true success comes when PLBs and EPIRBs are being carried and get activated
in a timely fashion to allow the rescue of personnel and recovery of assets.

About Rhotheta
The competitive advantage of Rhotheta RDFs lies on their high-quality, proven performance;
excellent price-performance ratio; short lead times; quick turnaround times; and prompt
product support.
Rhotheta actively cooperates with other marine electronics manufacturers to modernize the
integration of RDFs to their networks and is advancing its direction finder technology by
introducing software defined radio (SDR) technology.
Rhotheta aims to continue being a reliable supplier of innovative RDF technology worldwide.
For more information, please contact Rhotheta International at 954-495-8700 or, or stop by Booth #958.