B2B Marketers » Reach Pre-Qualified IT Decision Makers with a Custom Lead Gen Program » Get Details
Welcome Guest | Sign In

Toshiba TV Emits Aircraft Emergency Signal

By Phil Adamsak
Oct 19, 2004 10:57 AM PT

A multifunction Toshiba TV that emitted an aircraft emergency signal triggered a transcontinental chase earlier this month to an apartment in the college town of Corvallis, Oregon.

Toshiba TV Emits Aircraft Emergency Signal

When a rescue team knocked on his door, student Chris van Rossman was watching his 20-inch Toshiba flat-screen TV. The high-end set has built-in DVD, VCR and CD units.

Pinpointed Source

The rescuers, Sheriff's Deputy Mike Bamberger of the Benton County Search and Rescue team and ham radio operator John Stanley, were checking out an alert at the request of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

At Langley, they had gotten a signal from the international satellite emergency network, which monitors the 121.5 mHz frequency for alarms from crashed aircraft. Stanley was carrying a handheld transceiver that indicated the signal was coming from van Rossman's apartment.

Locating the Culprit

"We narrowed it down to a spot on the wall in the hallway," Bamberger told TechNewsWorld. "Whatever was behind that spot" was the source of the signal, he said.

Van Rossman said he wasn't fooling with a radio -- but after he turned his television off and closed the door behind his visitors, the signal stopped. Bamberger knocked again.

They turned the TV back on, and the signal started again. "That TV unit is complicated electronics," Bamberger said. "It's cable-ready, and has several computer components in its control system."

Toshiba Examining Components

Van Rossman was told that the FCC fine for emitting a false rescue signal is up to US$10,000 a day. His TV has been turned off as he awaits a replacement, compliments of Toshiba. He will not be ordered to pay the fine.

Both Bamberger and an FCC spokesperson said this is the first alarm they've seen from a consumer device; usually false alarms are caused by private aircraft that are jostled while they're parked. The alarms are triggered by an impact switch. The FCC has yet to make contact with responsible Toshiba staff.

Toshiba American Consumer Products in New Jersey said it had been unaware of the problem, and that it tests its products regularly to assure compliance with regulations. Spokesman Alejandro Aranjo said Toshiba hasn't yet identified the offending TV component. Aranjo also said this is the only case of its kind that he has heard of.

How do you feel about the latest wave of automation fueled by tech advances?
It's happening much too quickly, and too many jobs are at stake.
Automation means progress -- it's inevitable.
It depends on the quality of the systems and how they're used.
Automation fosters ignorance by taking over too many human tasks.
Automation frees people from boring, mind-numbing jobs.
Rakuten Super Logistics