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Radio direction finding (RDF) is a key component of search and rescue missions. Any organization working with search and rescue can make use of RDF. RDF is a device that teams can use to acquire detailed information and cut the time it would take to complete the operation. 

Our RDF tech is tuned to 121.5 and 406 MHz emergency frequencies and is more than capable of offering quick and easy mapping for successful search and rescue. Our team compiled a simple guide on what the device does and the ways it can benefit any search & rescue mission.

What Does a Radio Direction Finder Do?

Radio direction finding (RDF) is an important safety tool that can be used to locate RF search and rescue beacons. It gives spatial awareness and helps with long-duration tracing. A plane, vessel, or coast station that uses a direction finder can receive an alert of an activated emergency beacon. 

When you know where that alert is coming from, you have better situational awareness. Especially when that radio signal doesn’t have any identifying information. 

For example, RDF can locate:

  • Man overboard by finding and moving directly toward the signal from a crew member’s handheld radio.
  • Mariners in distress, even when they are unable to specify or assess their location.
  • People lost in different locations and are in need of help.

What Makes RDF Special?

Even though modern locating devices come with built-in GPS, they often need more time to “lock onto” satellites to establish a location. So, if a GPS fails to get a position fix, the RDF will still work. It can home in on a beacon, which offers reliability and convenience. 

The best thing about RDF, is that it doesn’t require external infrastructure, rather it uses two antennas. With a single pulse, the system determines the direction of the transmitter. This pulse could be just a couple of microseconds.

 Polaris RDF is a pioneer in the radio detection finder manufacturing industry. Contact us via phone or email to learn how we can help you and your search and rescue operation.