View Poll Results: Is your primary VHF radio DSC capable and enabled?
My radio is not DSC capable. 9 12.00%
My radio is DSC capable and connected to GPS, but I have not registered for an MMSI number. 5 6.67%
My radio is DSC capable but not connected to GPS. 13 17.33%
My radio is connected and registered for full DSC functionality. 47 62.67%
I don't know if my radio has DSC capability. 1 1.33%
Voters: 75. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-29-2014, 12:05 AM   #21
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I don't know what DSC means and I hate acronyms.

It would be nice if the OP stated in his first post what DSC means!
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:33 AM   #22
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I don't know what DSC means and I hate acronyms.

It would be nice if the OP stated in his first post what DSC means!
It's been there, Eric. Click the link in post #1.

Trawler Forum - View Single Post - Poll: Is your radio DSC enabled?
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:02 AM   #23
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I don't know what DSC means and I hate acronyms.

It would be nice if the OP stated in his first post what DSC means!
Eric,

DSC is the acronym for Digital Selective Calling, a feature built into most, if not all recent VHF marine radios.

Pressing a single button automatically sends a distress call to all DSC equipped ships, boats and shore stations within range. The call automatically includes your identity, your position (if a GPS receiver is connected) and the nature of your distress. The call is automatically repeated until stopped by an acknowledgment message.

In addition to distress signaling, DSC calling makes regular communication as easy as making a telephone call. To call a vessel or shore station simply select a working channel, enter the Maritime Mobile Station Identity (MMSI) of the station you want to call and press the enter button. Your DSC call tells the station you are calling who you are (your MMSI) the working channel you wish to use and your position (optional for routine calls).

There's more, like polling, but I think distress calling and selective calling are the two most important features for most pleasure boaters.

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Old 01-29-2014, 10:59 AM   #24
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Larry and FlyWright,
OK good I frequently don't click on links. Kinda like not checking my e-mail. I dislike my e-mail. Seems a bit of a waste just talking to one person.

Actually I think my MR (marine radio) has that feature. Probably read the manual and stuck it away. How does one link the MR w the CP (chart plotter). A cable? That's something I need to get in place July or August when I go back in the water.

The MMSI sounds too complicated to me.

The MR and CP mentioned above was to make a point. Using the language of the activity speeds up communication in the area of activity your'e involved in IF everyone knows the short hand. But anyone that dosn't is left out. And on TF that usually means (on TF) people new to boating. I make a special effort to make my posts clear for the many newbies we have and for those that aren't that familiar w the specifics. And there's lots and lots of lurkers and a lot of them probably aren't even be boaters. I know ... sometimes people say they don't understand what I'm saying. But I do try.

Sorry FlyWright you're right I should check the link. And thanks Larry for the good explanation. Who knows this thread could save our lives. I'll get the DSC hooked up.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:26 AM   #25
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Usability

This is my second radio with DSC, and much like early cell phones, there have been a lot of improvements with usability. With the first radio, even if I had their MMSI number the process to make a DSC call to a friend was horribly complicated and could certainly never be performed while underway. With my new radio, they have added an easily accessible "phone book" type feature where you can pre-program everything. Making a DSC call is simple(r) now.

I think that a big part of adoption will come with more improvements in usability and easy interfacing with other components.

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Old 01-29-2014, 11:35 AM   #26
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I don't think my icom vhf or raymarine ais can be reprogrammed without sending back to the factory. 😢
Most of the ICOM radios can be reprogrammed one time without sending them to the factory (i.e. they allow for one "mistake" to be made). I was lucky and was able to reprogram my ICOM radios with a new MMSI number when I bought Sea Eagle. The Menu Item to reprogram them is hidden.

I recently installed a Simrad AIS transceiver to replace a flaky AIS receiver that came with the boat. It works much better and makes running in the fog much less stressful.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:51 AM   #27
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Most of the ICOM radios can be reprogrammed one time without sending them to the factory (i.e. they allow for one "mistake" to be made). I was lucky and was able to reprogram my ICOM radios with a new MMSI number when I bought Sea Eagle. The Menu Item to reprogram them is hidden. I recently installed a Simrad AIS transceiver to replace a flaky AIS receiver that came with the boat. It works much better and makes running in the fog much less stressful.
Just curious how did change the MMSI on the VHF? We have an M-602. We're replacing our Simrad NAIS 300 for the NAIS 400 since the 300 would only show the names on class a targets. Plus they're N2K capable.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:45 PM   #28
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Just curious how did change the MMSI on the VHF? We have an M-602.
Hi Oliver,

I changed the MMSI number on our M-602. You need to hold the Menu button down while you power on the unit. That will display the hidden menu item for programming the MMSI number.

See page 18 of the M-602 Manual for screen shots and details.

Good Luck,
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:29 AM   #29
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Quote:
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I don't know what DSC means and I hate acronyms.

It would be nice if the OP stated in his first post what DSC means!

Way more info about how it works and why if you Google "Digital Selective Calling" or similar... but the following excerpt from NAVCEN describes the timeline for roll-out. (Emphasis added.)

-Chris



About Digital Selective Calling

Because of the safety problems that lack of communications interoperability would cause between SOLAS-regulated vessels (mostly cargo ships) and other vessels (recreational boaters, commercial fishing vessels, etc.), the Coast Guard petitioned the Federal Communications Commission in 1992 to require all marine radios made or sold in the U.S. have a DSC capability. The Coast Guard had also asked the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM), a non-profit professional organization, to develop a standard which would allow incorporation of DSC in a marine radio without affecting the low-end market price of that radio. The FCC solicited comments on that petition in 1992 and 1993, and prepared a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on that and other maritime radiocommunications matters in early 1994. The FCC requested comments concerning that rulemaking from May to November 1995. On 27 June 1997, the FCC adopted a Report and Order requiring radios type accepted on or after 17 June 1999 to include this minimum DSC capability.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:34 AM   #30
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I don't know what DSC means and I hate acronyms.

It would be nice if the OP stated in his first post what DSC means!
Acronyms and other code words (like so often used by some on this forum) can be a PITA (Pain In The Ass), but this one, DSC (Digital Selective Calling), has been around boats and boating for over ten years so I'm a little surprised you haven't heard of it.

One function, the ability to call your friends without hailing them on a common channel, I wouldn't give two cents for, but the ability to push a single button and have emergency responders know who and where you are and that you need help is priceless.

Three or four years ago, at my marina, I noticed a USCG (United States Coast Guard) RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) heading up the river towards my marina at high speed with ten people on board and lights flashing.

It slowed and pulled into a slip at the marina. They all jumped out and started talking to the owner of the boat in the adjacent slip.

It seems he had just finished connecting his VHF (Very High Frequency) marine radio to his GPS (Global Positioning System) and decided to test the emergency button (he claims his daughter did it).

It turns out, it worked very well.

Mine is connected and registered. Just like the seatbelts and airbags in my car and the PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices), I hope to never have the need to use it.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:14 AM   #31
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The real goal is to have DSC emergency info also transmitted to your chartplotter...that way a distressed vessel's posit will show up and you can instantly see if you can help or not.

Unfortunately proprietary systems with manufacturers has really held up that addition to most boats.

A huge number (based on my experience I would say the vast majority) of rescues have Good sams as the first responders, having the ability to instantly see if those lat/longs are near enough for you to bother should only increase that number and hopefully get assistance to distress even faster.
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:30 PM   #32
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WesK,
Assuming his daughter did not do it do you think that 40 years ago that kind of behavior in this country would be very much less likely?

Now that we're no longer in Alaska and boating almost always by ourselves I may get another VHF radio to monitor a 2nd channel. Seems the easiest way to do that to me but does this DSC make it a better way to go? We will be doing much more social boating down here and will want to communicate w other boats handily. Thanks for your response.

Ranger the "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" takes me back to my flying days. Thank's for the very good link. Haven't read it yet though.
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:49 PM   #33
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Now that we're no longer in Alaska and boating almost always by ourselves I may get another VHF radio to monitor a 2nd channel. Seems the easiest way to do that to me but does this DSC make it a better way to go? We will be doing much more social boating down here and will want to communicate w other boats handily. Thanks for your response.
Eric,

As far as I know, my boating friends don't have DSC connected so I don't use those calling features.

It's reassuring to me to know if something happens to me or my wife, all the other has to do is push the red button and the USCG know's who we are, where we are and can communicate with us directly to determine what assistance we need. It's a pretty simple matter to obtain an MMSI number and enter it into the radio. Hooking up the GPS feed is explained in the manual. The toughest part for me was finding the right wires from the Garmin bundle, but I found the info I needed online.

I'm sure if you have the equipment there with you, we could collectively talk you through the install. If I lived closer, I'd come over to help.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:55 PM   #34
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WesK,
Assuming his daughter did not do it do you think that 40 years ago that kind of behavior in this country would be very much less likely?

Now that we're no longer in Alaska and boating almost always by ourselves I may get another VHF radio to monitor a 2nd channel. Seems the easiest way to do that to me but does this DSC make it a better way to go? We will be doing much more social boating down here and will want to communicate w other boats handily. Thanks for your response.

Ranger the "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" takes me back to my flying days. Thank's for the very good link. Haven't read it yet though.
You won't be able to buy a new, non DSC transceiver except possibly as "new old stock", at least in the USA. New ones have been required to include DSC for several years now.

I use the scan feature to monitor several frequencies. Most radios have this feature as well.
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Old 01-30-2014, 05:00 PM   #35
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You can still buy non DSC VHFs in Aus. I have 2 on Tidahapah same model one with & one with out ,both with GPS.
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:17 PM   #36
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My wife remembered our VHF was in the boat when we bought it in about 04. Could be an older model.

Launch day is a long way off but the DSC feature is a must have I admit. May need to buy a new radio but I'm OK w that. The only electronics on our boat when we bought it was the VHF and a Garmin fish finder. I bought another high end (for me ($700)) sounder w large LED display. Having two sounders is a must for me. And when I buy another VHF I'll have the old one to chat on and follow the group.

Fly, and thanks for "comm'in over" in thought anyway. I'll come down there some day and look you up .. and all the others.
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:25 PM   #37
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....I may get another VHF radio to monitor a 2nd channel. Seems the easiest way to do that to me....
My DSC capable, GME brand VHF, has "Dual Watch" to monitor 2 channels. Our local brand is good with developments, but I expect others have it too.
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:47 PM   #38
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I have a Standard Horizon Quantum GX2360S, linked to GPS and it is DSC enabled. I just received my station license from the FCC (plan to go into Canadian waters) and am about to enter the MMSI number, hoping it is the first or second number so I don't have to send the radio to the factory. (I'm the third owner but I don't think the POs had an MMSI).
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Old 02-01-2014, 06:06 PM   #39
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MMSI & DSC fully functional, registered, & hooked to GPS. Just do not have many other DSC numbers in the log.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:01 AM   #40
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I am surprised to see as of today 18% of respondants have either not connected their DSC capable radios to their GPS or have not applied for an MMSI number. Because most of us on TF are real boating enthusiasts I think the number of boaters in general who have not connected and registered their radios is probably higher. Shame on the CG for not being more proactive in enlightening the boating community in the value of this free service.

Guys, this is plainly a no-brainer. An EPIRB is no substitute for DSC. When an emergency DSC call is initiated every DSC enable boat in the area will be notified and those boats with GPS connected receiving the distress signal will show the location of the distressed boat on their GPS. In most boating areas, a fellow boater will likely be much closer and be able to render assistance much quicker than the CG. Since DSC is transmitted via VHF it is line of sight.

Many new VHF radios also have an AIS receiver. A nice feature but just know that if operating in fog or reduced visibility that very few recreational boats have an AIS transmitter.

Also it's important to know how to initiate a distress call. I remind the admiral every time we go out that to initiate a distress call the red button must be held down while the radio does a count down of about 3 seconds before the distress call is initiated. A tone is initiated confirming the radio has sent the distress call. 3 seconds is a long time when the boat is sinking, on fire, MOB, etc.

Standard Horizon (SH) tech's will help those who have SH DSC capable radios. Call them if you have a SH radio, they have diagrams of most chart plotters and will tell you exactly which wire to connect to the plotter.
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