Leftbrain, et al,
It's no secret here-abouts, that I'm a proponent of HF-DSC....but, I believe I've been less intense about it in the past year and haven't mentioned it too much??
(and, haven't really mentioned it much in this thread...)
But, statements like this??
Well, it just flies in the face of the facts!!
And, I think it's important to know the facts, not just what "some guy down the dock
told me", nor "what some wiseass on-line (me) says"!
Originally Posted by leftbrainstuff
DSC on an SSB seems of limited value. I am unaware of anyone ever using ssb dsc in anger and acrually being rescued because of it.
Just because you might not be aware of it, it doesn't mean that it isn't true!
I've been trying to find the current
stats, but with my new laptop
some things are just not where they should be (damn windows10!)....
But, I did find some older stats, directly from the USCG...that you will now be aware of...
A few years ago, when the USCG was deciding on budgets, they did a study on the communications
systems, and found their encouragement of use of HF comms and discouragement of use of MF comms had been very successful, and hence why they ceased operations a few years back on MF (2mhz), you know no more "2182 SSB" nor "2187.5khz DSC"...
And, during those studies, some stats cam out that you may find interesting...
During an 8 to 9 year period, from 2003 thru 2009, the study looked at reception by MF/HF Voice and DSC as well as satellite (Inmarsat and other), VHF, EPIRB, and phone. [a quote from the study: "The large number of phone 'notifications' is due to the RCC controller on duty recording the manner in which he was actually notified, and not necessarily the radio system the distressed vessel used".]
After discarding cases from outside U.S. SAR area and cases without lives saved or assisted, the RCC / USCG SAR was notified of distress
a total of approx. 82,000K by phone; approx. 61,000 by VHF-FM and VHF-DSC;
19K by EPIRB; 2209 by MF/HF-DSC; and 1710 by Satellite (INMARSAT)
Now that 2209 notifications from MF/HF-DSC (mostly HF-DSC) might seem like a small number over an 8 to 9 year period....but that represents thousands of vessels that "used HF-DSC in anger", just in the US SAR areas, and thousands of lives saved or thousands of tragedies averted!
These stats are directly from the USCG study, and reported in the 2010 report from the national GMDSS implementation task force.
I'm sorry I don't have more up-to-date stats for you, but I suspect that in the last 6 - 7 years the numbers of HF-DSC calls has increased, and you now probably have double the number of vessels that have used "HF-DSC in anger", and thousands more lives saved...
To be clear here, it's possible that some/many of these "alerts" are not actually life-threatening, like many calls to 911....and with as much as 90% of EPIRB activations being false alarms, and I suspect that many of these "telephone notifications" are not legit life-threatening events
But, since actually activating a DSC Distress
on an HF-DSC radio is rather entailed (making accidental activation rare), and with most using HF being offshore
(rather than coastal or inland), I suspect that a rather high percentage of these MF/HF-DSC "notifications" to be legit...
So, for all the above reasons, I feel it is wrong to discount HF-DSC....
It, along with the entire GMDSS, might be a horse designed by committee....but, it does work, and is being used daily, by hundreds and thousands of vessels at sea...
Remember, HF-DSC is NOT new!
This has been with us now since 1992, and has been mandatory for all SOLAS vessels and all signatory nations to the IMO since Jan 1999!!
That's two decades ago!
How many of you are using a computer, tablet, phone, etc. that is 15 - 20 years old??
Heck, even if a sat phone or sat comm terminal, how many are using one that is 15 - 20 years old?? (IMARSAT-A is long gone, IMARSAT-M and Mini-M have just been decommissioned, and INMARSAT-B is to be shut down in December....old 1998 vintage Iridium
handsets have long ago been decommissioned, etc.)
Heck, how about VHF Marine
radios??? How many still use the same VHF radio that you've used since the 1990's???
(and let's not even talk about radar
, chartplotters, instruments, GPS
But, still we have many folks that say "nothing has changed", and "this DSC crap is just for big ships, or something like that", and "why do I need that, I've got a sat phone?"....etc. etc. etc...
I'm not trying to go off on a rant about how good HF-DSC is, not at all....(I've done that enough in the past!)
What I am trying to get at is this:
If you don't want it, that's fine...
If you cannot afford it, that's fine...
But, if you think it doesn't work, well that's plainly incorrect...
And, if you think nobody uses it, well that too is incorrect....
I hope this clears up any misconceptions, and shows that HF-DSC is being used (and "used in anger") by many mariners, worldwide and here in US waters, everyday!!