Originally Posted by kathrine33
I have a m802 ssb radio
I am British and so is my boat
I have a vhf
short range certification
and a ship radio licence ,Mmsi number,call sign,atis number and mf/hf, dsc
license, can I transmit on the ham frequencies programmed on my ssb
I am in USA waters and plan to go to Bahamas
Hi Kat, I live on the other side of the world, in SE Asia
. Your M802 with DSC is a good choice and as per the comments from others, if you are a licensed HAM you can use the M802 to transmit on the HAM frequencies.
My experience is that if you live and sail where there are ample, quick response professional S&R facilities, then the combination of a VHF and satphone of some type will be sufficient. But once you sail beyond the professional, quick response S&R services which can solve all problems, the M802 with DSC will be the best option to alert other yachts, commercial
trawlers etc in your vicinity (without knowing they are there, or their satphone number) to get advice, a tow, spare part, or rescue
The evidence we see over here is that a lot of cruisers from Europe/UK and North America simply do not realise how lucky they are with all the great RNLI lifeboats and Coast Guard cutters to solve their problems. Many get quite a surprise once they are beyond these facilities and learn that a quick mobile or satphone call can no longer provide a prompt response solution.
The DSC capability of the M802 radio is designed to address these differences, by quickly and simultaneously alerting all other vessels in the vicinity which are maintaining a DSC watch on their similar radio.
MRCC UK does not have a HF/SSB radio, so they can only suggest you use a satphone to contact them when beyond the range of their great VHF networks.
MRCC USA - the Coast Guard - has an effective HF/SSB marine
system (with an increased focus on DSC calling), because, like Australia
, the USA does not have an official (GMDSS) continuous coastal VHF network with DSC, like what exists in the UK and Europe
. Terry Sparks ( http://www.made-simplefor-cruisers.c...20for%20us.pdf
) highlights the Coast Guard's DSC capability and also and preference for using a DSC capable HF/SSB radio before switching on an EPIRB
has a very effective marine HF/SSB with DSC system and they state the situation, limitations and answers very clearly for cruising beyond the range of S&R helicopters, RNLI Lifeboats etc. This means for 90% of the world's oceans and coasts, and especially in the underpopulated, pristine, low-cost and attractive island destinations many of us choose to cruise
"The arrangements for search and rescue
(SAR) in Australia have been influenced by the physical size of the island continent, the large size of the search and rescue region, Australia's relatively small population and the nature of governmental processes. Dedicated SAR facilities are limited in Australia. When necessary, other facilities are diverted from their primary function by arrangement or request."
"The arrangements for search and rescue (SAR) in Australia have been influenced by the physical size of the island continent, the large size of the search and rescue region, Australia's relatively small population and the nature of governmental processes. Dedicated SAR facilities are limited in Australia. When necessary, other facilities are diverted from their primary function by arrangement or request."
"Distress beacons should only be used when there is a threat of grave and imminent danger
. In the event of an emergency
, communication should first be attempted with others close by using radios, phones and other signalling devices. Mobile phones can be used but should not be relied upon as they can be out of range, have low batteries or become water-damaged."
"Even once a position is obtained (from a distress
beacon), response times then depend on the time for a search and rescue (SAR) unit, such as a helicopter, aircraft or ground party to be readied and transit to the search area. The more remote
the location of the distress
incident, the longer the response time. In all instances, be prepared to survive."
The key phrases are "communications should first be attempted with others close by using radio" because if you depend on the official S&R response in places beyond the great support services available around the USA coastline and in Europe/UK, it could be a long time coming and you will need to "be prepared to survive."
A recent solo sailor in the Pacific with a problem was lucky, the ship which MRCC New Zeraland sent to him was only 200nm away. A French solo sailor in the southern ocean in 2012 had to wait 3 days -for the only ship in the region which MRCC Australia could find - to reach him.
If this is what it is like in NZ and Australian S&R territory, you can imagine what it must be like elsewhere, were resources, money
and trained staff are more limited. Here is an example. A satphone call to someone thousands of Kms away and subsequently the MRCC, but official resources were not successful:
Sail-World.com : Hopes fade as searchers fail to find shipwrecked Australian sailors
Sail-World.com : Sabbath laws and 'who will pay' hampers search for missing sailors
A DSC distress alarm
call via HF/SSB radio to alert nearby yachts or commercial
vessels (maintaining a 24/7 - silent - DSC watch for distress, group or individual MMSI calls) could have summoned nearby and prompt response assistance; as recommended by MRCC Australia.
The M802 (with DSC) has the ability to simultaneously send an alarm
to all vessels in the vicinity, either anchored on the other side of an island or along the coast or at sea fishing
or in transit. The more yachts that have a similar marine DSC HF/SSB radio, and maintain a (silent) 24/7 DSC watch - like nearby commercial vessels do - the better the chance of cruisers with a question to gain access to the extensive knowledge, experience and wisdom of other cruisers, who would be instantly available to assist with advice, a spare part or tow, or some waypoints into the sheltered anchorage; so a problem fro a fellow cruiser does not become an incident.
The modern DSC capable HF/SSB radio is noiseless. It can scan for Distress or General calls 24/7 without disturbing the crew, the peaceful anchorage or the spectacular sunset. It only makes a noise
when a DSC alert is received.
This same radio can be the foundation for low-cost HF/SSB radio email
via a subscription to the not-for-profit SailMail Association (see SailMail
). There is no charge for GRIB charts
, METAREA forecasts etc which can be selected and downloaded using the on-board software
that manages a SailMail subscription. SailMail is a convenient and low-cost service
developed specifically for yacht owners by other yacht owners. Taking advantage of SailMail's services becomes possible simply by adding a Pactor
controller to the existing modern, marine, DSC capable HF/SSB radio.
Apart from emails with family
, work etc SailMail provides access to valuable weather
information so prudent sailors can have fun, plan passages to maximise the benefits of the the wind
, organise a marina berth or spare part delivery
on arrival, choose the optimum beautiful anchorages
based on the expected wind
, and send position reports to be displayed on the web. All free with a SailMail Association membership
And when cruisers are involved in a rally or race
over here, the organisers will appreciate the fact they can be conveniently contacted - by voice or email
- via the marine HF/SSB radio; so everyone gets the same identical information, reliably, for free, without needing to charge participants extra money
to pay for calls to those participants only equipped with satphones.
I hope there comments are helpful.
Best wishes and enjoy your trip.