New Member
I was monitoring 121.5 about a week ago, and heard an ELT activated.
I reported it to Center, and I got the impression that they were annoyed that I bothered to tell them about it. The conversion went something like this:

Center, Seminole 12345, request.
Seminole 12345, go ahead.
Center, Seminole 345 is 4nm SE of XYZ, northbound, and have been picking up an ELT signal for the past two minutes -- getting stronger.
Seminole 345, did you have any other request?
Center, Seminole 345, negative.
Seminole 345, continue squaking VFR.

Not so much as a thank-you, or good-day. I figure that 99% of ELT signals are false alarms, where a plane sitting on the ramp has accidentally activated the ELT. I chocked it up to "heard this report for the 1000th time today", and went on my merry way.

Have you folks had similar experiences reporting ELTs?


Well-Known Member
What was the time of day? Remember that ELTs may be legally tested between the hour and 5 minutes past.


Well-Known Member
If I remember my FARs correctly, it's the first 5 minutes of the hour but no more than 3 "swoops." Sounds like this one was going off for a while.

But who's going to remember that 3 swoop part??


Well-Known Member
I've reported them a few times (I monitor 121.5 quite often), and they have always been polite about it. They are required to take action on it, so maybe thats why he was ornery. He probably figured that it was just one sitting out on the ramp or something.

If ATC gets irate about it, then the whole concept of an ELT is pointless. You never know when that one might be the real thing.

Maybe he was just annoyed that you phrased it as a "request." Personally, I would have just said hey, we're picking up an ELT at XXX position.


Well-Known Member
I've been asked several times to monitor 121.5 and listen for an ELT by ATC.

I've never heard anything. To be honest, I didn't know what the actual alarm sounded like, but I just found out. You can go to this and listen to an ELT signal.


Well-Known Member
I monitor 121.5 ( 243.0 on Military flights) and have reported numerous ELT's and also have been asked to monitor. ATC generally appreciate these reports and my guess is that you were not the first to report it and / or the controller was haveing a bad day. We all have bad days and it was just his turn. I would not let this "bad" experience keep you from reporting such in the future, you did the right thing.


'Tiger Team' Member
I noticed one one day while landing at the local airport. I got in and called FSS. They said thanks. But they also said that they have a computer that picks them up when they go off. That was news to me.


New Member
I agree with you guys... Probably just a bad day on the controller's part. In fact, the reason I said "request", was to allow the controller to fit me in because he was kinda' busy.


New Member
I reported one to Socal App once. They were very interested, and kept asking me if it was getting stronger or weaker as I passed over BUR and VNY. Even if ATC is rude about it, its better to report it then not to, the one time you dont it could be a real emergency.