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Determination of the Hex ID for ELT identification in the Cospas-Sarsat system

Electronic Location Transmitters (ELT) use a hexadecimal identifier (15 Hex ID or 22 Hex ID), which is generated by ELTBeaconCode, to identify the transmitter. This can then be entered into the ELT configuration program, as shown in the example below for the ELT AmeriKing AK-451.

ELTBeaconCode: Generation of the 15 Hex ID for the aircraft with the call sign F-CGAV.
ELTBeaconCode: Generation of the 15 Hex ID for the aircraft with the call sign F-CGAV.

ELTBeaconCode runs on Windows systems from Windows XP and newer.
Using ELTBeaconCode is very simple:

  • Select Country from the existing list and enter the aircraft call sign
  • Press the [Generate Hex Id] key and the 15 Hex Id is created.
  • By pressing the [Copy Hex Id to Clipboard] key, the Hex Id is copied to the clipboard so that it can be entered straight into the configuration program of the ELT, if this is possible via PC. If the 22 Hex ID is required, it can be found in the protocol (see figure above).

A 15 hex ID can also be decoded with ELTBeaconCode:

ELTBeaconCode in Decode mode: Analysis of a 15 Hex Id.
ELTBeaconCode in Decode mode: Analysis of a 15 Hex Id.

Currently ELTBeaconCode is limited to generating 15 Hex Ids for general aviation. An extension for the programming of maritime emergency transmitters (marine radio stations, coastal radio stations, etc.) would in principle be possible if there is a need. Please ask.

Service: Generation of the 15 Hex ID for your Aircraft identification

We would also be happy to generate the Hex ID for you and send you both the 15 Hex ID and 22 Hex ID as well as the information as demonstrated in the image above by ELTBeaconCode’s decoding mode. All we need is the country of registration of your ELT and the call sign of your aircraft.


ELTBeaconCode is licensed per PC and user. 1 year of technical support including free updates is included.

Source code

ELTBeaconCode was essentially programmed in Fortran, using MS/Visual Studio, Intel Visual Fortran and Winteracter. The latter to design the dialogs and program the Windows user interface. Windows operating systems services were also used.
The Fortran source code and also the Intel Visual Fortran project files are also available. With these and a Winteracter license, ELTBeaconCode can be created completely yourself.

Example – programming or configuration of the ELT Ameri-King AK-451

ELT Ameri-King AK-451
ELT Ameri-King AK-451

In order to enter or read the 15 Hex ID into the ELT, you need a computer with a serial interface (RS232) and a suitable terminal program. You can use a PC running Windows – even without RS232, which can be replaced with an RS232 to USB converter. An Aten UC232A was used here, consisting of a USB port, converter and a D-Sub adapter (9-pin; red in the picture below). This was connected to another cable, which has a D-Sub connector at one end and the RJ12 connector suitable for the AK-451 at the other. An RJ12 to USB adapter cable, which is commercially available, would be easier.

RS232 to USB converter and cable with RJ11 plug

The RJ12 plug is plugged into the AK-451, the USB plug into the PC.
In order for the Aten UC232A to be able to simulate a serial interface, the appropriate driver must be installed on the PC. In order to establish the connection between the PC and the ELT, you must start a terminal program on the PC for communication via the serial interface. HTerm was used here. The AK-451 requires the following settings:

RS232 Converter connected to AK-451
RS232 Converter connected to AK-451

Baud rate: 9600 bps
Parity: none
Data bits: 8
Stop Bits: 1
Hardware handshake is not necessary.

The terminal program must be set compliantly and communication with the AK-451 can then be started by pressing the [Connect] key in HTerm.

HTerm with configuration of the virtual serial interface – here COM6 (9600 baud, 8, 1, none)
and AK-451 menu after launch (the password is obscured).

Then switch on the AK-451 (on ARM, not !!! on ON, otherwise it will already send an emergency signal and SARS may send a rescue helicopter). As soon as the prompt („:>_“) appears, enter the password for your AK-451 within 20 seconds. Then the menu appears.
To enter the Hex ID, menu item 06 must be selected. See also the operating instructions for the AK-451, page 110 ff.

Zusätzliche Informationen

Software or Service

Generation of the 15 and 22 Hex IDs for your aircraft's call sign, single-user licence, with 1 year technical support incl. free updates, Source Code, resources and project files