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Old 14-05-2014, 15:56   #1
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Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

I have a Uniden MHS135DSC handheld VHF with GPS & DSC. Right now, the MMSI number in it is for my skiff/dingy. I also wanted to use that same radio in a sail boat, so I figured that I would just change the MMSI to the number for the other boat & be good to go. Unfortunately, it turns out that this particular radio only lets you change the MMSI number one time. After that, it's locked in.

I called Uniden customer support, & after more than an hour on hold, I got switched to the correct phone number for marine electronics support. The phone number on the back of the user manual had sent me to somewhere different. The guy in the marine support section said that the only way to change the MMSI number was to send the radio in to the service center & have them wipe it clean, which would allow me to again enter a number once. He expected turn around time to be 3-4 weeks. I then replied that it sounded like I needed to buy another radio & that it probably would not be a Uniden. He then told me that some new federal law requires all DSC radios to lock in the MMSI number once it is entered. I said that I would research that possibility further & thanked him for the information he had given me.

Now my question is this: Was he right? Do all hand held VHF/GPS/DSC radios lock in the MMSI that way? Or do some models allow you to change it?

I am very interested in hearing from people who have handheld radios that allow the change.

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 14-05-2014, 16:07   #2
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

Yes they do, and no you can not change them.
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Old 14-05-2014, 16:22   #3
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

Both our current model Standard Horizon handheld and fixed mount only allow one entry of the MMSI #.

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Old 14-05-2014, 17:03   #4
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

Jim, isn't that info included in the manual?
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Old 14-05-2014, 17:11   #5
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

Stu,
The manual said that if you need to change the number, then you need to contact customer support. I did not read the manual until after I had purchased the radio. I had incorrectly assumed that a handheld radio would be set up to move from one boat to another with it's user. I am now finding out that this is not the case. I am still hoping that somebody out there makes a handheld with the features that I am looking for, but it is starting to sound less likely. I'm not here to complain that Uniden is doing something wrong. I'm trying to find out what my options are.
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Old 14-05-2014, 20:39   #6
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

All marine radios are set up for the 'once only' mmsi number entry but I have heard rumours to the effect that reprogramming is a standard procedure for service centers that deal with the make of radio involved. The wild conclusion I have drawn for myself .... it requires a secret handshake and then you are good to go. Some magic combination of key presses that gets you into service mode.
If Uniden does not have authorized service centers then you are screwed but if you can find a place that services them then you may be able to get the mmsi erased while you wait or better yet, find out what the magic handshake entails.
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Old 14-05-2014, 21:17   #7
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

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Originally Posted by Jd1 View Post
All marine radios are set up for the 'once only' mmsi number entry but I have heard rumours to the effect that reprogramming is a standard procedure for service centers that deal with the make of radio...

... if you can find a place that services them then you may be able to get the mmsi erased while you wait or better yet, find out what the magic handshake entails.
Learning that magic handshake would improve the quality of my day.

I can understand that it would make sense to require a complicated number of button pushes to change a MMSI number, because you don't want that number to get accidentally scrambled & not be available when needed, but I can't come up with a good reason why it would make sense to actually lock out the owner of the equipment from making a change if he wanted to. My example is one legitimate reason to want to make the change. Another good example is a person who initially gets a number from BoatUS, then later decides that he want's to go international with the boat, so he then gets an internationally recognized number that he want's to put in.

Maybe my mind just isn't devious enough to understand why that sort of permanent lock out would be needed.
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Old 14-05-2014, 21:39   #8
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

I've always used computer based software and a factory cable to change the mmsi of radios. I dont' know about secret button presses.

with the right contacts you can probably get a hold of the cable and software, but it'll probably cost the same as a 2nd handheld anyways.
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Old 14-05-2014, 21:52   #9
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

Found this .... http://www.servicedocs.com/ARTIKELEN/11100237650001.pdf
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Old 15-05-2014, 04:18   #10
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

User MMSI reprogramming is not supported though the ITU allows I think 2 or 3 attempts. In the US the FCC was stricter only allowing one.

The point is internationally an MMSI is NOT assigned to the radio, its assigned to the ship, hence the regulations do not support or allow you to swap radios around.

This has been recognised as an issue for handhelds, and there is an ITU committee looking at the solution, some countries like the UK now provide local non-international MMSI numbers specifically for handhelds.

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Old 15-05-2014, 14:08   #11
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

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Thank you, that is interesting information.

That document shows the process for erasing the number in a Uniden Oceanus using a "reset jig" from Avera. Avera now shows the jig as obsolete (part #UNI00007 8.263,64). that reset jig plugs into an accessory port that I do not see on my hand held, so the process on mine is probably a little different. If I am lucky, maybe I only do need a secret combination of button pushes. Further research seems to be needed.
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Old 15-05-2014, 14:25   #12
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

I would try some internet searches with different search engines to see if you can find the correct sequence of button pushes.
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Old 15-05-2014, 14:28   #13
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

At this time I see a few different options:

1) just leave the handheld programmed for my skiff & risk sending the coast guard inaccurate vessel information in the event that an emergency signal needs to be sent. This option is quite unpalatable to me. Just about the last thing that I want to do is tell the coasties to go & look for the wrong boat in a genuine emergency situation.

2) have the radio blanked at the service center, wait 3-4 weeks to get it back & then enter an ID number that is registered to my life jacket. This seems less offensive than having an ID number for the wrong boat, but it may rub some people the wrong way & perhaps someone in a position of authority may interpret this as me being offensive. This option is also unpalatable to me. I don't want to irritate the coast guard in any way & it would be helpful to a rescue crew to know more about what they are looking for than just "a guy in a life jacket".

3) buy another radio. This would be a reasonable option if I were only ever going to switch between 2 boats, but the reality is that I end up on a lot of different boats & I would like to have my radio with me in many situations. I don't think that it is realistic for me to go & buy a new $250 DSC handheld every time I race on a new boat or do a delivery, just so that I can be able to put in the correct ID number for the vessel that I am on that day.

4) go without my radio on any boat other than the one that my handheld is registered to. This seems like the most counterproductive option possible.

5) look around for more information on my current radio. This seems like my best current option. Unfortunately, it's just a roll of the dice.

6) find a radio that allows the user to change the ID number at will. This would be my favorite option if it seemed more likely than winning the lottery, but from what I am hearing so far, the lottery may be an easier option.

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far. The information has been very helpful to me. It's improved my understanding of the situation that I am in.
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Old 15-05-2014, 14:39   #14
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
This has been recognised as an issue for handhelds, and there is an ITU committee looking at the solution
This is encouraging to hear. Hopefully the US authorities will also see the light some time soon.
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Old 15-05-2014, 14:43   #15
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Re: Can't change MMSI # in handheld with DSC????

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
I would try some internet searches with different search engines to see if you can find the correct sequence of button pushes.
Thanks,
That's my current game plan.
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