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Old 08-24-2017, 07:33 PM   #21
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See, sometimes the Forum works depite a few members negative thinking.

While DSC alerts havent bugged me, WX alerts have and simply learning how to disable or silence it was a simple trip to the manual or forum.
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Old 08-24-2017, 07:33 PM   #22
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As noted above, perhaps my radio doesn't work as I have never had a DSC alarm go off in all the years I've owned a radio with that feature. No I don't know how to use it except to rip the cover off and push the damn button. Then I'm off to one if the EPIRBs.
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Old 08-24-2017, 07:36 PM   #23
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Delfin,

After reading my M506 manual, removing the GPS signal may only help you with "Geographic area calls".

Did find something that may help. There is an "Alarm Status Menu". You enter it from the "DSC Settings Menu". One of the options that is selectable is "Discrete". That may tone down the level of the alarm.

Also there is a "Channel 70 Squelch Level" adjustment. The manual is unclear, but my assumption is that the DSC transmits and is received over channel 70. I wonder if you turn the squelch from 3 (default) to 11 (maximum), that might reduce or eliminate all but the closest calls.

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Old 08-24-2017, 07:41 PM   #24
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"Auto self terminate" is also selectable under the "Alarm Status Menu".

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Old 08-24-2017, 07:47 PM   #25
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Even radios have gotten complicated to the point you need an engineering degree to operate these common items. I long for the day of the old AM radio (double side band) that had a great range. I could talk from Miami four miles off shore to the Berry Islands.
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:06 PM   #26
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First time it happened to me I was docking at night. In a full enclosure it is way too loud. The only thing I found to make it stop was turning the power off. So I called ICOM to ask how to turn down the volume. "Why would you want to do that?" That was 2003. Still no low-med-hi settings on new radios.
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:44 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Benthic2 View Post
Could it be this simple ....( link to online manual: file:///C:/Users/Greg/Downloads/M604A_Instruct.pdf)
It is certainly that simple. An ear shattering blast of sound emits from the radio; startled, you leap up spilling your tea and hit your noggin on the overhead; half dazed you lunge for the radio to a.) switch it off, b.) hit channel 16 so that the sound drops from 120 db to around 60 db, c). hit any other button to silence the alarm. The problem is not turning it off, it is the occurrence in the first instance that is the problem. And that only because the cretins who designed this system thought it important for you to be able to hear the alarm from 1/2 mile away even if you happen to be six feet away.
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:46 PM   #28
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First time it happened to me I was docking at night. In a full enclosure it is way too loud. The only thing I found to make it stop was turning the power off. So I called ICOM to ask how to turn down the volume. "Why would you want to do that?" That was 2003. Still no low-med-hi settings on new radios.
You must have spoken to the same tech I did. He also seemed perplexed why anyone would want to turn off such a valuable alert system to the presence of idle teenagers in nearby boats with nothing better to do than push the little red button.
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Old 08-24-2017, 10:02 PM   #29
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See, sometimes the Forum works depite a few members negative thinking.

While DSC alerts havent bugged me, WX alerts have and simply learning how to disable or silence it was a simple trip to the manual or forum.
Be nice if that were the case, but it's not. The Icom manual devotes 30% of its pages to DSC operation with nary a word on how to disable or diminish the alarm, because that capability doesn't exist. My guess is that the Coast Guard, who is responsible for this cluster thought it inappropriate to allow users any control over how their radios function.

The other functions for DSC you mentioned with regard to messaging between vessels do exist, but are a solution in search of a problem. In exchange for pressing about 10 buttons I can avoid picking up the receiver and hailing another vessel? In the history of boating, how many have ever used this capability? Just curious, but have you? Incidentally, if you want to see how simple it is to replace the cumbersome process of hailing another vessel with the microphone with a simple 10 step process of pressing buttons, Icom has this video to show you how to do it:

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Old 08-24-2017, 10:45 PM   #30
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Know what. I'm now very glad my simple, self-installed and cheap, Si-Tex VHF, that always works perfectly and never makes me snort coffee, does not have DSC. For ages I regretted not having it - just in case, sort of. Have we ever needed it...NO. I feel better now. Much better.
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:56 PM   #31
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It surprises me that some people seem to think that DSC is just for emergency calling. It's Digital Selective Calling. As in I can selectively call my fishing or cruising partner, or the Coast Guard, directly. Like a phone. Without hailing and tying up 16. From what I read here about radio ettiquette this would be something I think people would embrace rather than reject. Plus you can request position updates that don't even require a person to respond. We use it frequently and appreciate it. I realize that doesn't address the OPs alarm issue. I think that's more radio specific.
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Old 08-25-2017, 07:29 AM   #32
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Had problems with DSC alarms going off. Got a new to me trawler and found the previous owner never registered or entered a MMSI number. So I have no issues.
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Old 08-25-2017, 07:46 AM   #33
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Read the manual...

Page 32 I think, Benthic pointed it out too...

I Receiving DSC calls
D Receiving a Distress call
While monitoring Channel 70 and a distress call is received: ➥ The emergency alarm sounds for 2 minutes after receiving the first distress call from a station.
• Push [CLR] to stop the alarm.
• After receiving a second (or repeated) distress call from the same station, the alarm sounds for 1 sec......

On my Standard Horizon, it is any soft key to silence, the ICOM is the clear button.

The new ICOM radios just installed on the assistance towboat do not have MMSI programmed in so the alarm sounds when you turn them on, drove me nuts till I figured you had to hit CLR twice as it td you something the first git, tbe second silenced tbe alarm.

I will bet that will work on the 602 also.
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:00 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Delfin View Post
Yes, punching any button does silence the alarm. The problem is the alarm. It would have been SO SIMPLE for them to allow this to be something where the volume could be adjusted. Instead, they assume that you are 500 yards away and need to be able to hear it because you are attending a Black Sabbath concert. Insane.

What bothers me is that this is an important safety feature, and my only defense against bleeding ear drums is turning the VHF off. So, if I could disable the unit's ability to process the DSC signal, that is fine with me.
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Could it be this simple ....( link to online manual: file:///C:/Users/Greg/Downloads/M604A_Instruct.pdf)

Yep, the CLEAR button is probably what I meant...

The alert volume is startling, but FWIW when we're up on plane it takes that kind of volume to overcome engine and water/wave/wind noise.

I'm usually more focused on receiving weather alerts, equally loud.

I've just gotten used to pushing the "make it stop" button quickly, I guess -- now that Benthic reminded me which button that is.

For the discussion about using DSC to call other vessels, get position reports, etc... yep, sounds good on paper, but we've never done that. I don't know many boaters with MMSIs, or at least don't know what their MMSI is... and wouldn't usually be inclined to go through the process in advance of adding another boat to the DSC "buddy list"... and wouldn't often be inclined to call anyone else anyway. When we know a couple of our buds are out fishing at the same time as us, we just use the cell phones for that; usually no need to clutter up VHF. But we only fish in mid-April to mid-May, and the rest of the time we don't go out of our way to talk with anyone else.

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Old 08-25-2017, 08:44 AM   #35
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Agree the vast majority of boaters dont use DSC here in the states.

DSC was supposedly up and running in Europe almost a decade before the US. Anyone have experience using it there?

If buddy boating or just in a really radio congested area it might be the ticket to learn how to, especially if cel reception is bad.

I have read of people using it and loving it once used to it, but it is a small number of people in comparison to all boaters.

Probably like features on all electronic gadgets these days, they are there because it is easy to incorporate into the design (and DSC was designed for other things besides just alerting people) more than z demand for them.

So some people jump on them while others never see the need.

Probably the best thing for thd max decibel alarm would be an ambient noise sensor like motorcycle radios have.
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Old 08-25-2017, 09:49 AM   #36
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If you look at the history of DSC, and the rules developed requiring its deployment on all radios you won't find anything about buddy boating communication. It was all about adherence to the SOLAS Convention, and I suspect the volume of the alarm and disallowance of user control over that volume is a regulatory requirement because it certainly makes no sense from a user perspective.

DSC ship to ship backdoor communication capability looks like a "feature" layered over a federal requirement and for the vast majority of us is a feature we will never use, need to use or want to use. That's what cell phones are for and if you are in an area without cell phone coverage, my guess is that channel 16 is not exactly overflowing with traffic.

For some reason this reminds me of when the U.S. Post Office had the light go off over their heads that email would rather seriously impact the use of snail mail. Their bureaucratic solution? Why you would email the United States Post Office, they would print the email, stuff it in an envelop and deliver in a couple of days to the recipient. Brilliant. I think the DSC system was developed by the folks at the Post Office.
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:21 PM   #37
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I had a coffee snort experience due to an emergency DSC transmission this trip. It happens so rarely that it always takes a while to figure out what is going on and I stab at the buttons until the alarm goes off.

I think the implementation by the manufacturers could be improved. I think it is a valuable feature however.

I have rarely used DSC to contact another boat. I don't even remember how it is done. I would need to review the manual. I think that if I was buddy boating, it would be a nice feature as it would make it quick and East to contact them.

This trip were where being shadowed by two boats "Cheshire Cat" and "Jamie". There were obviously traveling together and were calling each other back and forth a LOT. Their radio technique was immaculate, but we must have heard this every 30 minutes for days on end while they were under way.

'CHESHIRE CAT", "CHESHIRE CAT", "CHESHIRE CAT", this is "JAMIE", "JAMIE", "JAMIE", over.

"CHESHIRE CAT" this is "JAMIE", over

"09?

"09."

This got very, very tiresome after a week and a half. Nothing that they did wrong but channel 16 is busy enough in this water this time of year. How much better if they had used DSC to keep all the hailing off of channel 16?
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:40 PM   #38
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I had a coffee snort experience due to an emergency DSC transmission this trip. It happens so rarely that it always takes a while to figure out what is going on and I stab at the buttons until the alarm goes off.

I think the implementation by the manufacturers could be improved. I think it is a valuable feature however.

I have rarely used DSC to contact another boat. I don't even remember how it is done. I would need to review the manual. I think that if I was buddy boating, it would be a nice feature as it would make it quick and East to contact them.

This trip were where being shadowed by two boats "Cheshire Cat" and "Jamie". There were obviously traveling together and were calling each other back and forth a LOT. Their radio technique was immaculate, but we must have heard this every 30 minutes for days on end while they were under way.

'CHESHIRE CAT", "CHESHIRE CAT", "CHESHIRE CAT", this is "JAMIE", "JAMIE", "JAMIE", over.

"CHESHIRE CAT" this is "JAMIE", over

"09?

"09."

This got very, very tiresome after a week and a half. Nothing that they did wrong but channel 16 is busy enough in this water this time of year. How much better if they had used DSC to keep all the hailing off of channel 16?
This is one of those reasons to read the manual and learn how to monitor a second channel. "Cheshire Cat" vessel "Jamie" on 09. Kind of like commercial bridge to bridge traffic on 13. No need to keep restarting on 16.

Ted
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:50 PM   #39
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This is one of those reasons to read the manual and learn how to monitor a second channel. "Cheshire Cat" vessel "Jamie" on 09. Kind of like commercial bridge to bridge traffic on 13. No need to keep restarting on 16.

Ted
Precisely. The problem is not with the concept of DSC. The problem is not allowing the devices to accommodate the difference between a boater going along on plane at 25 knots needed to hear an alarm and someone standing 3 feet away from the speaker. This is just completely stupid engineering and the fact that it is the way they all work suggests that this is another example of bureaucratic, design by committee functionality.
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:51 PM   #40
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DSC is much broader of a feature than the distress button
..it is supposed to enhance tbe concept of radio telephone.

And yes the distress alarm might be different from routine DSC calls, if you were broadcasting a MAYDAY, wouldn't you wan it to be more noticeable?
The DSC panic button is a great feature, but Delfin's experience is likely to lead to people disabling that which is unfortunate.

But using DSC as a way to place routine calls strikes me as an utter failure. It's 10x, no 100x more complicated to call a boat via DSC as compared to "boat, boat, boat, this is other boat on 16". At least half of my VHF manual is about DSC calling, which itself is an indication of total failure.

Looking up another boat's MMSI, entering it into the VHF, then going through the call, accept, etc steps to place a call is simply never going to happen.

Clicking on an AIS boat icon and picking "call boat" might happen, if only it worked. I have yet to hear of any VHF, chart plotter combination that actually will do that, though I suppose they must exist somewhere.

Setting aside the DSC panic button, which as said earlier, I really like, I think DSC is second only to NMEA 2000 in the magnitude of it's failure. And DSC is second only because it can be totally ignored and is hence benign, when N2K will actively screw you up if you let it.

Ah, I feel much better after venting....
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