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Old 01-27-2015, 11:58 PM   #61
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I know this is an old thread. I am getting an AIS and they need my MMSI number. I got mine through BoatUs. So I am looking through my iCom M504A owner manual and it states I can only enter an MMSI number once, then after that it has to be sent back to iCom. WTF?

The reason I was going through the FCC is becuase next year I will be going to BC canada. So TF experts what now?
I'm not certain what the questions is. If you haven't already programmed the number then I'd suggest waiting until you get the FCC issues MMSI. If you already programmed it then it will require a trip back to a servicing dealer. I just had this done recently for a VHF that I bought then discovered it's AIS function was conflicting with some other stuff, so I sold the VHF. But before selling it, I took it to a dealer who cleared the MMSI for the new owner. I also had them update the firmware in another radio, and the combined bill was $50.
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:48 AM   #62
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Getting an mmsi programmed into your ais unit is not too hard. You either have it programmed when you order it, or ship the unit back to be programmed, or in my case it was even easier. I bought a second hand em-trak b100 ais transponder on eBay. I contacted customer service by email with the mmsi, boat specs, name, call sign, etc. They relayed it to West Marine (original retailer). West Marine emailed me a tiny computer file to save to an SD card, I loaded the SD card into the ais unit, done.
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Old 01-28-2015, 11:16 AM   #63
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Just to be clear, as you can tell by my signature I already have a MMSI through BoatUs. I was going to get a new number from the FCC so I could use it in Canada, but I would have to get the current number cleared out of my two radios.

So how big of a deal is it to have a FCC number if I am cruising BC Canada?
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Old 01-28-2015, 03:59 PM   #64
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You can use your existing MMSI in Canada. I used my Australian MMSI in both USA and Canada.
Wikipedia article isn't great but it should clarify a few things for you.
Maritime Mobile Service Identity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:11 AM   #65
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You can use your existing MMSI in Canada. I used my Australian MMSI in both USA and Canada.
Wikipedia article isn't great but it should clarify a few things for you.
Maritime Mobile Service Identity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It's a little different here. BoatUS issues MMSI numbers for free, but they are meant for use only in US waters, and the boat owner contact info does not get placed in the international database that is used world wide. I believe this is unique to the US, and was meant to streamline the process for getting an MMSI to encourage people to use DSC and AIS. It also goes hand in hand with not requiring a Ships Station license or Operator license for use in US waters.

If you get in trouble with your BoatUS MMSI, your distress call won't be ignored. But the people responding won't know what kind of boat they are looking for, won't know your name and contact info, and won't know your emergency contacts. That puts you and them at a disadvantage.

If you can find a servicing dealer for your VHF, then can reset the MMSI. It doesn't have to be shipped back to the mfg. I had mine done locally here in Seattle and had the radio back within 48hrs.

For an AIS, it's actually pretty easy to change the MMSI. There is a program called ProAIS that every AIS device I've encountered so far uses to program it. You connect the 0183 interface to a serial port on your computer, or on some you just use a USB cable. The AIS can be configured from there. I think all the AISs that I've bought came with it on a CD.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:37 AM   #66
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It's a little different here. BoatUS issues MMSI numbers for free, but they are meant for use only in US waters, and the boat owner contact info does not get placed in the international database that is used world wide. I believe this is unique to the US, and was meant to streamline the process for getting an MMSI to encourage people to use DSC and AIS. It also goes hand in hand with not requiring a Ships Station license or Operator license for use in US waters.

If you get in trouble with your BoatUS MMSI, your distress call won't be ignored. But the people responding won't know what kind of boat they are looking for, won't know your name and contact info, and won't know your emergency contacts. That puts you and them at a disadvantage.

If you can find a servicing dealer for your VHF, then can reset the MMSI. It doesn't have to be shipped back to the mfg. I had mine done locally here in Seattle and had the radio back within 48hrs.

For an AIS, it's actually pretty easy to change the MMSI. There is a program called ProAIS that every AIS device I've encountered so far uses to program it. You connect the 0183 interface to a serial port on your computer, or on some you just use a USB cable. The AIS can be configured from there. I think all the AISs that I've bought came with it on a CD.
Ah, gotcha!

It's definitely worth the trouble to use a 'proper' MMSI rather than the crippled version.

But given there are limited MMSI numbers available to be allocated it would be smarter to have some means of upgrading the BoatUS one to an international standard.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:32 AM   #67
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...For an AIS, it's actually pretty easy to change the MMSI. There is a program called ProAIS that every AIS device I've encountered so far ...uses to program it. You connect the 0183 interface to a serial port on your computer, or on some you just use a USB cable. The AIS can be configured from there. I think all the AISs that I've bought came with it on a CD.
Huh. I use ProAIS myself too, great program, connected to my laptop with a usb cable (em-trak b100 AIS unit). I can change a number of things but the MMSI is grayed out, I can't change that one. Maybe I have a different software version. I had to the change the mmsi by loading a file I got from em-trak on an SD card.

I also use a program called AISdispatcher to upload my position when I have an internet connection through my laptop when there's no VHF-based receiver in range (which is almost always the case in South Dakota, but then I'm gearing up the boat and my skills for later trips elsewhere, I don't really need any nav electronics where we are now).
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:58 PM   #68
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Huh. I use ProAIS myself too, great program, connected to my laptop with a usb cable (em-trak b100 AIS unit). I can change a number of things but the MMSI is grayed out, I can't change that one. Maybe I have a different software version.
Sorry, I left out an important detail. There are two versions of ProAIS kicking around. One is for the US and the other is for everywhere else in the world where people are considered adults. Only the non-us version will let you change the MMSI. I think the first Raymarine AIS I had came with both versions. I'll bet if you google around you can find the one that works completely.
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:05 AM   #69
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Ah, yep, that would make sense.
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