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Characteristics of Aids To Navigation, Continued - 14221_133
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Sound Signals Background Information A  sound  signal  is  a  term  used  to  describe  ATONs  that  produce  an audible  signal  designed  to  assist  the  mariner  in  fog  or  other  periods  of reduced  visibility.  Sound  signals  can  be  activated  by  several  means, such  as  manually,  remotely,  or  by  a  fog  detector  device.  It  should  be noted,  however,  that  in  patchy  fog  conditions,  a  fog  detector  may  not always  activate  the  signal. Sound  signals  are  distinguished  by  their  tone  and  phase  characteristics. The  tones  are  determined  by  the  devices  producing  the  sound,  such  as  a horn,  bell,  or  gong.  Phase  characteristics  are  defined  by  the  signal’s sound  pattern,  or  the  number  of  blasts  and  silent  periods  per  minute when  operating.  In  the  case  of  fixed  structures,  sound  signals  generally produce  a  specific  number  of  blasts  and  silent  periods  every  minute; buoy  sound  signals  generally  do  not  because  the  sound  signal  is generated  by  wave  action. The  characteristic  of  a  sound  signal  can  be  found  in  column  8  of  the Light  List.  For  example,  for  Chesapeake  Light  (LLNR  355)  it  reads "Horn:  1  blast  ev  30s  (3s  bt)."  What  this  means  is  that  30  seconds  is  the time  required  for  one  complete  cycle  to  occur.  During  this  30-second cycle,  there  are  27  seconds  of  silence  and  3  seconds  of  blast.  You  can time  this  cycle  with  a  stopwatch  just  like  a  light.  Timing  a  sound  signal is  another  method  of  positively  identifying  an  ATON.  Unless  it  is specifically  stated  that  a  sound  signal  "Operates  continuously,"  or  the signal  is  a  bell,  gong,  or  whistle  on  a  buoy,  it  can  be  assured  that  the sound  signal  only  operates  during  fog,  reduced  visibility,  or  adverse weather. CAUTIONS   TO   OBSERVE   IN   USING   SOUND   SIGNALS:   Sound signals  depend  upon  the  transmission  of  sound  through  the  air.  As ATONs,  they  have  certain  inherent  limitations  that  you  must  consider. Sound  travels  through  air  in  a  variable  and  unpredictable  manner.  At times,  these  signals  may  be  completely  inaudible  even  when  close  by. At  other  times,  they  may  appear  to  be  coming  from  a  direction  quite different  than  the  actual  bearing  of  the  signal  source.  Mariners  should not  rely  on  sound  signals  to  determine  their  positions. 4-36

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