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Old 15-03-2012, 16:54   #1
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HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

I have read a great deal about making an SOS call on HF radio and they all say "lift up the cover to the emergency button and push it." Now I am a cost conscious (i.e., cheap) sailor and I bought a used Icom M-710. This is an excellent radio with a few shortcomings but the principal problem is IT AIN'T GOT NO DAMN EMERGENCY BUTTON!! Actually, Icom made a GMDSS add on attachment for the M-710 but didn't sell it in the US. (Probably thought it would hurt the sales of the M-802 which does have a button.) So what are we to do when the evil day arrives and we need help? It appears from the literature that nobody monitors the emergency broadcast frequencies unless they have received a GMDSS emergency notification. I take it that calling a voice MAYDAY on the emergency frequencies is not likely to elicit a replyunder most circumstances. This failure is due to the concentration of the SOLAS czars on commercial shipping with little or no interest in the small boat sailor. So what are we to do. I guess for the time being I'll have to rely on the emergency button on the 406 EPIRB. Any thoughts out there.
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Old 15-03-2012, 17:01   #2
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

Yes its true that the mandatory listening watch on HF is gone, so its somewhat of a hit and miss affair. Many ships still have it on in the background. DSC alerts over HF have proven controversial anyway and COMSAR is looking at streamlining it.

Given nothing else , Id still send my Mayday on the four HF frequencies.

Yes the epirb is obviously the way forward.

dave
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Old 15-03-2012, 17:07   #3
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

Recreational vessels are not required to broadcast within GMDSS requirements. The most important thing to know is what frequencies one should send a MayDay out on (principally channel16--156.8 MHz). However, if you have an EPIRB, you are GMDSS compliant.
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Old 15-03-2012, 17:26   #4
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

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Originally Posted by Astrid View Post
Recreational vessels are not required to broadcast within GMDSS requirements. The most important thing to know is what frequencies one should send a MayDay out on (principally channel16--156.8 MHz). However, if you have an EPIRB, you are GMDSS compliant.
I don't think the OP was concerned about GMDSS. he was bemoaning the fact that without HF DSC, nobody might hear his calls.

As to GMDSS compliance, the key compliance is two independent methods of reaching a shore radio station

In sea Area A1, this is usually a DSC VHF and an EPIRB ( or DSC MF)
in sea Area A2, this is usually DSC MF and an EPIRB ( or DSC HF)
in sea Area A3, this is usually DSC HF ( or Inmarsat) and an EPIRB
in sea Area A4 (being depreciated) , DSC HF and an EPIRB.

Furthermore GMDSS compliance requires at least one handheld with channels 6,11,16,13 for bridge to bridge and safety of navigation duties

ANd One SART.


Very very few leisure sailors are GMDSS carriage compliant and obviously don't need to be so.

dave

There.
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Old 15-03-2012, 19:16   #5
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

Listening watches on HF are NOT gone, at least not in North America.

The USCG maintains a listening watch on the HF emergency simplex frequencies, and uses half-duplex frequencies for working. See chart below.

In a real emergency, i.e., a life-threatening emergency, the rules say that ANY means may be used to attract attention and get help. This includes operating on frequencies other than those you are licensed for: ham, aviation, land mobile, military, other.

I think you'd have a good chance of getting help on the ham MM Net frequency, 14300 kHz. This is a long-distance frequency, and operates much of the day. There are dozens of other marine and ham HF frequencies which could be used. A good listing may be found here:
Net / SSB Frequencies

HOWEVER, you can't expect to relegate the SSB to a dusty shelf, only to be operated in an emergency. The ability to make a contact when you really need it depends above all on operator skills, knowledge, and experience. This means you should be using your SSB on a daily basis to check into nets, or just to listen to familiarize yourself with operating procedures, propagation during different times of the day, etc.

DSC is NOT a substitute for HF voice operation, nor is voice operation going away. Far from it, and those who would sound its death knell simply don't know what they're talking about.

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Old 15-03-2012, 19:20   #6
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

The HAM net on 14.300MHz almost always has some HAM with a big rig and matching antenna listening.
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Old 15-03-2012, 19:24   #7
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
The HAM net on 14.300MHz almost always has some HAM with a big rig and matching antenna listening.
Correct! Remember, there are 700,000 hams in the U.S. alone. Many have BIG setups, with directional antennas, powerful amplifiers, etc. And, most important, they're located all over the U.S. This means that SOMEONE is definitely going to hear you.

The USCG also comes up on 14300 when there's an emergency. They operate really big stations and sound like the voice of GOD when they come on :-)

Bill
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Old 15-03-2012, 20:03   #8
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

G'day, mates. In addition to the HF emergency calling and nets listed above, know the frequencies of the air traffic control centers in the areas you will be cruising. 8.867 MHz upper side bank is the Brisbane, Auckland, & Nadi control center. As stated above, in an emergency, any method (frequency can be used to issue a MayDay). There is hourly commercial airline traffic on the above frequency on 24/7 basis. Cheers.
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Old 15-03-2012, 20:45   #9
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

Also, don't just wait for an emergency to happen and hope someone responds -- keep a regular check-in ashore. This way someone knows there is a potential problem when you miss your scheduled check-in. Cruisers nets are good for maintaining check-in and contact.
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Old 15-03-2012, 20:57   #10
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

Yes, and don't forget the "marine operators".

Shipcom operates several HF stations on a number of frequencies, covering the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They read the weather and traffic lists four times a day on several of their frequencies (an excellent way to check propagation, by the way), and maintain a 24/7 listening watch.

In addition to communicating with you directly, they have the ability to patch you into any telephone anywhere.

Their frequencies and additional information can be found on their website:
ShipCom LLC :: Marine HF Radiotelephone and HF Single SideBand Email

Bill
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Old 15-03-2012, 21:14   #11
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Yes, and don't forget the "marine operators".

Shipcom operates several HF stations on a number of frequencies, covering the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They read the weather and traffic lists four times a day on several of their frequencies (an excellent way to check propagation, by the way), and maintain a 24/7 listening watch.

In addition to communicating with you directly, they have the ability to patch you into any telephone anywhere.

Their frequencies and additional information can be found on their website:
ShipCom LLC :: Marine HF Radiotelephone and HF Single SideBand Email

Bill
+1.

I've had ShipCom (WLO) account for years and have always had good experience with them. Even maintained an alternative short-term check-in with them once when things got "interesting" off-shore and propagation was making my regular check-in hard to copy.
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Old 16-03-2012, 13:47   #12
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

Just a Note on what the USCG is monitoring:

4125 kHz 24 hrs on NMC and NOJ, 2300-1100 Z, NMF, NMN, NMA, NMG and NMO


6215 kHz 24 hrs on All NM* Stations plus Guam (NRV) on 0900-2100Z


8291 kHz 24 hrs on All NM* Stations plus Guam (NRV) on 2100-0900Z


12290 kHz 24 hrs on NMC, 2300-1100 Z on NMF, NMN, NMA, NMG and NMO


Note: 8291 and 12290 kHz are available from NOJ on request
Note: 16420 kHz is available from all stations on request.


Boston, MA (NMF); Honolulu, HI (NMO); Guam (NRV); Chesapeake, VA (NMN); Miami, FL (NMA); New Orleans, LA, (NMG); Pt. Reyes, CA (NMC); Kodiak, AK (NOJ)
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Old 16-03-2012, 14:25   #13
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

HF Distress and Safety Watchkeeping Schedule

That's what the USCG officially has to say. Note that 2182 is not officially supported, at all, anymore. Not surprising since there were official warnings and announcements to that effect at least five years ago, more like ten.

And HF DCS is supported in limited areas only.

Given the USCG budget status, I'd expect you'll have to call a 900-number soon and pay by the minute for the call.

Oddly enough, "Stations in the Maritime Services" i.e. specially licensed stations, not the general boating public nor the USCG, are still required to monitor 2182 under 47 CFR 80.310. The left hand obviously is unaware of what the right hand has been doing.
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Old 16-03-2012, 19:47   #14
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Re: HF Emergency Calls without GMDSS

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HF Distress and Safety Watchkeeping Schedule

That's what the USCG officially has to say. Note that 2182 is not officially supported, at all, anymore. Not surprising since there were official warnings and announcements to that effect at least five years ago, more like ten.

...
Hmm, wonder if I can re-wire/re-program that old 2182 emergency frequency button on my old ICOM rig?

Another good reason to stay in touch with the appropriate cruiser's net.
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