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I had hopes to fly somewhere for lunch this weekend, but when I checked the logbook Friday night I discovered that the ELT had just become due for its annual recertification. I had purchased an ACK 406 MHz ELT, to replace the original one, but had never gotten around to installing.

It is still legal to keep using the old ELTs, for the time being. But, there is no longer satellite reception of emergency signals from the old ELTs. The only satellite coverage is for the newer, 406 MHz ELTs. The new ones also have the advantage of sending GPS position in the emergency message, so the Search and Rescue people have a very accurate position to head to.

I spent much of Saturday at the hangar, and got the new ELT mostly installed. The only really tricky part was the connector for the data cable from the GPS. The tiny little DIN connector supplied by ACK required the wires from the shielded cable to be soldered to four tiny little pins, and the body of the connector was plastic. I knew from bitter experience that my soldering skills were not up to task. Fortunately another Smiths Falls RVer, Ken T., was also installing his ACK E-04 ELT on the same weekend, and he is a master solderer. Ken had already soldered his connector to the data cable - he offered to give me that connector on a short length of cable, and I gave him my fresh connector. I had run the data cable under the floor when I installed the autopilot last year, so I spliced the two pieces of cable together.

I stopped work on Saturday when I couldn’t find the RS-232 line from the GPS to hook up to the front end of the data cable. I knew that my wiring diagrams would contain some important clues, but unfortunately they were at home.

Sunday, armed with my wiring diagrams, I quickly found the GPS RS-232 line and spliced it to the ELT data cable. I wired the power and ground for the GPS data decoder in the ELT, then did the functional test with an LED to confirm the ELT was receiving GPS data. It passed with flying colours - whew!

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  • Hey Kevin,

    So where did you (and Ken) wind up putting the new ACK ELT
    antenna? I want to replace my ACK 121.5 but haven't figured
    out what the h3ll to do with that bent whip antenna.


    RV-8 80965

  • Mark

    I was able to reuse the [url=http://kilohotel.com/joomla3/finishing-kit/532-20061128204427219]same mount[/url] as for my old ACK ELT. I had to bend the mount slightly to keep the antenna from hitting the tubes on the seat support, as the new antenna sits at an angle to the base.

    I know that this location is far from optimal, as there is no good ground plane. But, the RV-8 doesn't provide any mounting locations that meet all the requirements laid out in the ELT manual, as you well know.

    Kevin Horton

    Comment last edited on about 5 years ago by Kevin Horton
  • Cool. Unfortunately, that's NOT where I mounted my 121.5
    antenna, but I think that is where I will mount the 406. What
    a PITA!

    Thanks, Kevin

    RV-8 80965