Originally Posted by enthalpy
Those are the VOR antennas, used for radio navigation. They are set in the horizontal plane to avoid tracking reflections off mountains.
Does anybody still know how to use those?
For airplane recovery here's what I will do - because yes, cell coverage can't be depended on.
A beeping radio tracker can be built pretty easily from the following kit: http://www.jbgizmo.com/page22.html
Then you need a radio to track it with - these can be cheap or expensive, and you need to practice using it because it's kind of an art to locate the beacon. You can build your own: http://www.jbgizmo.com/page23.html
So then it's really simple - just make a bomb timer from an old-style kitchen timer guts, and set it to "blow" after maybe 20 minutes or whatever is longer than your longest flight. If you haven't recovered the plane after that amount of time, the timer goes off, activating the beacon. It will beep for days or weeks depending on the battery you use.