BD406 Beacon Decoder

BD406-(011)_h_00_retA Game Changing Technology for Search & Rescue Operations

Becker Avionics announces the introduction of its new 406MHz emergency beacon decoders: the airborne BD406 and the portable PBD406.

The portable PBD406 beacon decoder includes an airborne BD406 housed in a ruggedized case, a rechargeable battery, a 406MHz RX portable antenna, and a GPS RX portable antenna.

The BD406 and the PBD406 are unique and high performance tools for SAR organizations to quickly find people in distress.

The BD406 is for use in fixed installations, and the PBD406 is for multiplatform and portable use. The units have been designed specifically to decode, track and navigate to 406 MHz COSPAS-SARSAT type approved beacons which transmit emergency signals encoded with GPS position. These beacon decoders can decode all types of COSPAS-SARSAT messages and extract the beacon GPS position from location protocols. Thanks to an embedded GPS receiver, the beacon decoder calculates all navigation data necessary to go to the beacon (bearing, distance to target, estimated time of arrival, etc…).

The need to detect, locate and navigate to downed aircrew, mariners and adventurers is growing with the world wide increase of COSPAS-SARSAT 406MHz beacon population. Not being able to accurately pin-point an emergency beacon can result in a lengthy and costly search operations, which can typically engage a number of Search and Rescue (SAR) assets. The BD406 and PBD406 allow land or airborne SAR organizations to be able to utilize their available resources more effectively to rescue people in distress.

Becker Avionics beacon decoders provide an immense improvement in identifying precise location of beacons in distress when compared to older direction finding systems. Thanks to a lightweight and most modern design, offering maximum flexibility for installation, and in addition, to a much lower hardware cost, Becker Avionics beacon decoders are very competitive on the market.

Reasons for having a BD406 beacon decoder:

• Beacon tracking capabilities: up to 49 different beacons with position updates during the rescue mission.
• User settable NavPoints: up to 49 for navigating back to airbases, hospitals…
• Beacon tracking transferrable as a NavPoint.
• High sensitivity 406MHz receiver for an outstanding detection range over long distances and in adverse conditions.
• Complimentary solution to existing homing systems without 406 MHz capability, with reduced installation effort.
• Displays for each tracked beacon position and message details (protocol and beacon type, country code, TAC number, beacon 15HEX ID, specific information encoded in the message: e.g. PLB serial number, indication of a self-test message).
• Portable or panel mounted 2 ¼ inch design.
• Ground fixed installations: the beacon decoder can be used as a PC controlled remote sensor (through the RS232 and RS422 serial interfaces) for an Airport or Seaport 406 MHz beacon monitoring system.


• Single block, self-contained standalone system design.
• Real-time 406 MHz beacon monitoring by scanning simultaneously all 19 C/S channels.
• Decodes and display details of all types of C/S 406 MHz messages, up to 49 beacons.
• Full BCH correction for received distress message – up to 5 bits may be corrected in whole distress message
• Build in CDI screen (Course Deviation Indicator) allows following to the target along a track between reference point and the target or along a directly defined course (0-359 degrees) to the target. CDI may display deviation in angular units or in distance units (configurable).
• Indicates the time of first and last detectionfor each detected beacon.
• 406MHz receiver sensitivity over all environmental conditions better than -104 dBm / 1.4 µV / 50Ω. =>more than 50NM range with standard beacons.
• Computes and indicates via GPS the navigation route to the emergency beacons and back to Hospitals (user settable NavPoints).
• Qualified according to DO-160E standards.
• NVG-backlight (Optional) and full day light readable LCD display.
• Low life cycle costs – essentially maintenance free.
• Power supply:
-> 9-32VDC for BD406.
-> 9-36VDC for PBD406.
-> AC adapter for PBD406.
• ARINC 429, RS422, RS232 output, discrete outputs for new beacon detection and/or for reception of a distress message indications.
• RS232 interface for connection of the external GPS data source to the BD406/PBD406. When internal GPS is selected the data from internal GPS are available on the RS232 interface (NMEA protocol).
• Audio announcements: voice warnings when new beacon or distress message received.
• Audio database: in English, other languages are possible on request.
• Audio outputs (for audio announcements):
-> Speaker output power: up to 4W at 4Ω.
-> Headphone output: up to 300mW
-> Connectable to the aircraft audio system.
• PBD406 typical operating time at ambient temperature: 5 hours (up to 10 hours if the following features are disabled: speaker, LCD backlight, ARINC 429, RS232 and RS422 ports).
• Weight:
-> BD406: less than 2.4 lbs / 1.1 kg
-> PBD406: approx. 12.125 lbs / 5.5 kg

The Becker BD406 and PBD406 are revolutionary new products that promise to improve the effectiveness and capabilities of search and rescue organizations, along with helping reduce beacon false alarms at airport and seaport locations.