Got DSC?

12 years 1 month ago #1187 by John Meskauskas
Got DSC? was created by John Meskauskas
I'm thinking about hooking up the DSC feature on my VHF radio. Turns out, most people do not implement this feature. I would appreciate hearing from those of you who have implemented this- easy/hard, what were the challenges, etc. and from those who did not do so.

Thanks in advance


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12 years 1 month ago #1189 by Deborah Streeter
Replied by Deborah Streeter on topic Re:Got DSC?
I would certainly recommend activating your DSC capable radio. If you are planing on going offshore to the Bahamas for instance, make sure that you get a registered MMSI number with the FCC, not BoatUS. (The BoatUS number will not work in foreign countries.) If you plan only on coastal cruising, certainly the BoatUS method is simple and convenient.

Most radios have the option of entering your MMSI number two times, allowing for one error! I think that is the thing that scares off many people. If you make a mistake the second time you need to send the radio into the manufacturer to clear that component to allow you another couple of tries. I would suggest that you have your instruction manual opened to the page as you enter your number as it will make the process much easier.

Next make sure that you hook your DSC capable radio to your GPS or Chart Plotter. When/If you need to push "That Red Button" in case of emergency, it will uplink your Lat/Lon (if the Plotter is on) giving your rescuers your correct location. The radio will continue to call a "Mayday" until someone answers, thus freeing your hands to handle your emergency. (You still need to give other information once someone answers, but you need not stand at your radio calling Mayday every minute or so.)

As a side note, make sure to keep your emergency contact information updated with any changes with the FCC/BoatUS (wherever you are registered).

And finally, you may learn and use the convenience of your DSC radio! How many times traveling the ditch have you heard friends hailing friends repeatedly on Channel 16, checking location or conditions or dinner plans... or used Channel 16 that way yourself? Your MMSI number can be used just like your phone number, share it with friends that you are traveling with, enter their numbers into your radios ''address book''. When it comes time to connect with your friends you can 'dial up' their radio/MMSI number, automatically direct your traffic to a working channel, or answer their request (or not) without ever using radio time on 16. Think about the privacy and convenience...

If you are active in your marina you might consider a workshop of your fellow boaters and maybe everyone can work through the process together, do a bit of hands on experimenting, sharing each others MMSI numbers by printing a handout, calling one another on the radio. Your MMSI number is NOT like a credit card number that needs to be kept protected. It is more like a phone number or email address and should be used/shared with your friends/family/neighbors. This might be a good topic for the next Rendezvous!

Free N Clear
Whitby 42, #70

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