[opendtv] Freeview Box Signals SOS

  • From: "John Shutt" <shuttj@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "OpenDTV" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 09:45:00 -0500

Once again it is shown that DVB-T is far more advanced than ATSC.  If only 
ATSC STBs could signal to be rescued from oblivion...

John Shutt


Mayday! Mayday! British rescue sparked by faulty TV receiver

Sun Jan 15, 10:53 AM ET

A faulty digital television receiver has sparked a helicopter rescue mission 
after sending out a rogue distress signal, the Royal Air Force said.

The "freeview" box -- which normally allows television viewers access to 
dozens of digital TV and radio channels via a standard, rooftop aerial --  
sent out a signal identical to that for emergency beacons at sea.

The SOS, beamed from Portsmouth, on England's south coast, was picked up by 
a satellite and sent to the RAF's Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre 
in Kinloss, northeast Scotland, in the early hours of January 5.

Personnel then alerted English coastguards, who sent a helicopter to 
investigate. The aircraft spent two fruitless hours flying over Portsmouth 
Harbour looking for stricken sailors until the signal was traced to dry 

RAF spokesman Michael Mulford said: "Our Kinloss rescue centre picked up 
this beacon from one of five orbiting satellites listening out for these 

"It was a 121.5 transmission -- that's the major emergency frequency, a 
'Mayday'. We traced it to Portsmouth Harbour, checked and found out there 
were no vessels in the area or missing planes.

"We checked with (British telecoms watchdog) Ofcom and they quickly 
established it was coming from a household. It turned out to be a faulty 
'freeview' box.

"This is very very unusual, it's a complete freak and the odds of a digibox 
sending out a 121.5 signal must be astronomical."

Ofcom described the incident as a "real one-off" as digital boxes should 
only receive and not send signals.

"The householder was happy to hand it over to our engineers who are trying 
to get to the bottom of the defect," a spokesman said.

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