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Old 28-03-2018, 16:03   #1
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Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

I have a Uniden UM380 VHF
When attempting to call an MMSI the screen asks immediately for my MMSI number.
I do not have one.
I have an Australian registered vessel.
When applying for one, Australian authourities say I must have one of several types of radio Proficiency Certification, which I do not.

At sea, after finding their MMSI number from my AIS receiver, is it not possible to call them, without first inputting an MMSI number of my own?
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Old 28-03-2018, 16:23   #2
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

Obviously the correct answer is to get the 'proper' australian certificate and number . . . . however,

you could just enter say 503123456 as your number. 503 is the australian identifier, and 123456 just random numbers. If you do that, and then press your dsc distress button, you of course will not show up in the database when in SAR authorities potentially look you up to check with your emergency contact. But (typically) that will not prevent them launching an SAR. . . . or just make a regular voice may day call and forget you have the dsc distress button.
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Old 28-03-2018, 17:08   #3
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCruiser View Post
I have a Uniden UM380 VHF
When attempting to call an MMSI the screen asks immediately for my MMSI number.
I do not have one.
I have an Australian registered vessel.
When applying for one, Australian authourities say I must have one of several types of radio Proficiency Certification, which I do not.

At sea, after finding their MMSI number from my AIS receiver, is it not possible to call them, without first inputting an MMSI number of my own?
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You dont just make up an mmsi. This destroys all trust in legitimate mmsi numbers globally.

As an Australian registered vessel you need the Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP).

It's easy to get. You can even arrange to sit the test overseas through an official examination invigilator service.

The reason you cant just make up your own is because management of wireless spectrum globally requires everyone to abide by the rules. Otherwise we could not have reliable comms, tv transmission, aircraft communication, SAR coordination, etc. These internatiinal agreements have been in place for nearly a 100 years.

You will also need to pay an annual licence spectrum to the Australia Communications and Media Authority ACMA. This will cover your vhf, ham, SSB, satcimm etc use. It's not expensive. We pay $44 per year.

The ACMA and Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) folks are some of the few public servants who do good things. Our support helps fund search and rescue activities. Australia covers nearly a third of the planet.
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Old 28-03-2018, 19:03   #4
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
you could just enter say 503123456 as your number. 503 is the australian identifier, and 123456 just random numbers.
Hmm ... dubious advice estarzinger.

If a user enters a "random" MMSI in their DSC-capable VHF, how do they change it to a proper, assigned by the authority in their jurisdiction, MMSI in the event that they later get a proper MMSI?

Some VHF transceivers allow one change of MMSI by the user. Others allow no change by the user.

I think better advice is (1) attempt to make a voice call, using the name of the vessel if your AIS shows the name; and (2) follow the procedure for your jurisdiction and have an MMSI assigned to you.
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Old 29-03-2018, 06:14   #5
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

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Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
If a user enters a "random" MMSI in their DSC-capable VHF, how do they change it to a proper, assigned by the authority in their jurisdiction, MMSI in the event that they later get a proper MMSI?

Just for reference, in the USA, huge blocks of 'mmsi numbers' are issued (via 3rd parties like BoatUS) which are in fact not valid international MMSI's and not stored in the ITU database. This process is supported by the USCG. All these folks with this USCG supported process have this theoretical 'problem' of what they will do if they want to sometime get an 'internationally valid' number. So, this is not some sort of rare issue.

The reason the USCG supports this 'invalid process' is that something like 90% of installed dsc radios can't actually participate in the dsc system because they either don't have numbers entered or don't have a gps properly attached. The USCG wanted to create a way to get people numbers to activate their radios which was much less expensive and cumbersome than the official fcc process. So as to allow more people to participate in dsc, which they considered a greater good.

As to the 'integrity of the system' . . . . I guess I know too much about the dirty details of the database . . . . there are plenty of boats with multiple mmsi, there are plenty of numbers that are installed on multiple boats, and there are plenty of numbers where the user details in the database no longer match the current user. The data quality is quite dirty. But that is allowed to continue because in fact it does not really affect the dsc use much at all. For 'normal' dsc calls it does not really effect it at all, and for dsc distress calls the normal process is (like with voice mayday) to respond to the call to confirm it and get emergency details (unlike with an eprib where because it is not 2-way the emergency contact is called first thing). There is enough dirt in the database that an sar (typically) be launched even if there is no database entry so long as the distress call looks 'ok' (eg is at sea and not in death valley).


Some VHF transceivers allow one change of MMSI by the user. Others allow no change by the user.

Yes, agreed, but all do allow reset by a service center.

(1) attempt to make a voice call, using the name of the vessel if your AIS shows the name;

This is sound advice, because at least my own experience is relatively few dsc calls are returned, with a much higher proportion of voice calls to specific vessel name are returned.


and (2) follow the procedure for your jurisdiction and have an MMSI assigned to you.

Sure, exactly as I said in the first sentence of my post above. But following the USCG lead - arguably better to have a radio enabled with a number than not enabled at all.
yes, I know I have provided a 'not official' alternative here. And yes, I know some people will disagree with providing any 'not official' alternatives ever at all. And Yes, I understand that perspective. However, the OP is an adult and I personally feel that indicating the practical alternatives is useful to him in the discussion and he can decide. This is really a point of personal philosophy and not worth debating.
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Old 29-03-2018, 07:56   #6
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

If you make up a fake MMSI, not only are you violating the law, you are broadcasting that fact to everyone around you every time you use it.
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Old 29-03-2018, 08:24   #7
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

The MMSI BoatUS assigns are only for vessels that exclusively sail in USA waters.
If you sail in international waters you are obliged by USA laws to obtain an MMSI number from the FCC. Numbers that follows international standards.
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Old 29-03-2018, 11:56   #8
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

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Originally Posted by meirriba View Post
The MMSI BoatUS assigns . . . . .
Just fyi, my wife works for BoatUS, and the MMSI program was within her department, so I am in fact pretty familiar with all the details (public and non-public) . ( I should add the disclaimer that I am of curse only expressing my own opinion here )

I will only add three more very short comments here:

#1 world cruisers tend to get pretty good at finding practical ways to deal with bureaucratic barriers. It is simply a skill and attitude needed to live the life.
#2 if anyone here has in fact never ever broken a law in their life - never ever broken the speed limit for instance - then they have the moral authority to throw the 'broken law' stone, but for most of us we live in glass houses, most of us make practical decisions about complying with laws.
#3 We sort of have to assume that dsc provides some safety benefit (otherwise why are we required to have it) . . . so if given the choice between a functional dsc radio (with a non-valid international number) vs a non-functional dsc I personally believe the first is safer. We can and do all agree it is preferable to have all the proper paperwork and proper number, but short of that in the OP's case and the choice is between functional dsc and non-functional dsc, I personally think the practical answer is functional dsc.
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Old 29-03-2018, 13:29   #9
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

estarzinger must be an attorney....did not understand his reply at all.

Boat US mmsi assigned numbers will not be recognized outside US waters. Need FCC mmsi which will be recognized in the international database.

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Old 29-03-2018, 13:37   #10
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

If a DSC-capable radio is properly connected to a working GPS unit but has no MMSI, will a distress call (using the button) transmit the radio's coordinates?

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Old 29-03-2018, 17:13   #11
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

Old, old radios would transmit a distress call regardless of attachments/programming. MMSI's could be changed at will (at least 3 times). I don't know of any that require a gps input nor of any that will transmit without SOMETHING programmed for a MMSI.

Something is better than nothing, in my opinion.
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Old 29-03-2018, 21:52   #12
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leftbrainstuff View Post
You dont just make up an mmsi. This destroys all trust in legitimate mmsi numbers globally.

As an Australian registered vessel you need the Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP).

It's easy to get. You can even arrange to sit the test overseas through an official examination invigilator service.

The reason you cant just make up your own is because management of wireless spectrum globally requires everyone to abide by the rules. Otherwise we could not have reliable comms, tv transmission, aircraft communication, SAR coordination, etc. These internatiinal agreements have been in place for nearly a 100 years.

You will also need to pay an annual licence spectrum to the Australia Communications and Media Authority ACMA. This will cover your vhf, ham, SSB, satcimm etc use. It's not expensive. We pay $44 per year.

The ACMA and Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) folks are some of the few public servants who do good things. Our support helps fund search and rescue activities. Australia covers nearly a third of the planet.
I once read a story about a debate in the US Senate where a pro-program senator remarked that the program would only cost one billion dollars. An opposition senator rose and stated in reply "yeah, a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon your starting to talk about real money"

$46 per sheet for Australian charts.

Hundreds of dollars if you want to access the charts in electronic form.

Annual boat registration fees of hundreds of dollars.

Boating licenses which require renewal at regular intervals at a fee.

Ships station registration with an annual fee if you have HF or VHF.

Radio operators licenses.

Gas certificate with different requirements for each of the seven states and sometimes re-installations if you move interstate.

Etc, etc, etc.

A dollar here, a dollar there and pretty soon your talking about real money.
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Old 29-03-2018, 23:45   #13
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

...you got the oversquare ones out of the woodwork, Evans...
(there is too much effing bureaucracy & regulations everywhere, so any chance to circumvent it has to be used!)
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Old 29-03-2018, 23:47   #14
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Just for reference, in the USA, huge blocks of 'mmsi numbers' are issued (via 3rd parties like BoatUS) which are in fact not valid international MMSI's and not stored in the ITU database. This process is supported by the USCG. All these folks with this USCG supported process have this theoretical 'problem' of what they will do if they want to sometime get an 'internationally valid' number. So, this is not some sort of rare issue.

The reason the USCG supports this 'invalid process' is that something like 90% of installed dsc radios can't actually participate in the dsc system because they either don't have numbers entered or don't have a gps properly attached. The USCG wanted to create a way to get people numbers to activate their radios which was much less expensive and cumbersome than the official fcc process. So as to allow more people to participate in dsc, which they considered a greater good.

As to the 'integrity of the system' . . . . I guess I know too much about the dirty details of the database . . . . there are plenty of boats with multiple mmsi, there are plenty of numbers that are installed on multiple boats, and there are plenty of numbers where the user details in the database no longer match the current user. The data quality is quite dirty. But that is allowed to continue because in fact it does not really affect the dsc use much at all. For 'normal' dsc calls it does not really effect it at all, and for dsc distress calls the normal process is (like with voice mayday) to respond to the call to confirm it and get emergency details (unlike with an eprib where because it is not 2-way the emergency contact is called first thing). There is enough dirt in the database that an sar (typically) be launched even if there is no database entry so long as the distress call looks 'ok' (eg is at sea and not in death valley).
Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
yes, I know I have provided a 'not official' alternative here. And yes, I know some people will disagree with providing any 'not official' alternatives ever at all. And Yes, I understand that perspective. However, the OP is an adult and I personally feel that indicating the practical alternatives is useful to him in the discussion and he can decide. This is really a point of personal philosophy and not worth debating.

Yippee for you and your spouse.

The OP is an Australian sailing an Australian registered ship.

How does your advice about what you describe as an "invalid process" in your particular jurisdiction help the OP when he is in a jurisdiction that does have some integrity to its MMSI?

I suspect that your advice is totally misleading to the OP.

And I suggest that your reputation on this forum (and everywhere else) should drop accordingly.
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Old 30-03-2018, 00:04   #15
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Re: Calling an MMSI # WITHOUT having an MMSI number ?

...yes AM, your reputation as alaid back, cool Aussie is dropping fast & nearing the oversquare krautzone...
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