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Old 30-08-2013, 11:31   #1
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Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio default

given that there are still thousands of HF marine radios still in use with 2182 kHz and two-tone alarm buttons, but now DSC, Does anyone still keep watch on the international radiotelephone distress frequency 2182 kHz?

As you no doubt have heard, the US Coast Guard suspended all watch keeping on both 218 kHz and the MF DSC distress frequency 2187.5 kHz on 1 AUG 2013. Yet HF Marine Radios generally have an emergency 2182 kHz button, or if they have digital selective calling such as the Icom IC-M802, have a distress button that triggers an alert on 2187.5 kHz, a frequency no longer monitored by the Coast Guard.

Any suggestions how to best address this problem. The IC-M802 can effectively transmit a distress alert on all six distress frequencies, but it appears to be a convoluted menu selection process to send an alert that way.

See Federal Register, Volume 78 Issue 135 (Monday, July 15, 2013)

SUMMARY: The United States Coast Guard is announcing that it will no longer maintain a watch on 2182 kHz, will no longer guard the Digital Selective Calling (DSC) channel 2187.5 kHz, and will no longer transmit Marine Information Broadcasts on 2670 kHz. The minimal use of these channels by mariners for distress and safety coupled with antenna site deterioration, costly upkeep, and extensive maintenance required to support the medium frequency (MF) system have led to a Coast Guard decision to terminate the MF services and direct the public mariner to use more modern safety and distress services which can be more reliably received by the Coast Guard.
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Old 30-08-2013, 13:20   #2
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

Time marches on.

I think it's unfortunate -- I would really rather that someone were sitting at a radio set waiting to talk to me in case of need -- but this is an emotional response. Probably no one makes distress calls on 2182 anymore, and it is stupid to spend taxpayer money to have someone sit around earning a salary listening for calls which never come, because GMDSS calls for distress calls to be made in different ways (DSC, EPIRB, sat phone).

I think all HF marine radios need DSC just as much as VHF marine radios need it. That's simply the way it's done now. HF DSC is much more powerful than VHF DSC because it goes out over different frequencies, and the signals can potentially travel around the entire world.

By the way, sending out a six-frequency DSC message on the Icom M802 is not "convoluted". It's the default method.

DSC distress signalling is so vastly and completely superior to calling for help by voice. For reasons we discussed recently in another thread.
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Old 30-08-2013, 14:00   #3
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

So... What emergency HF frequencies ARE monitored 24/7? Be it USCG or some other group/entity.

Thinking someone here would have a quick answer and/or reference. If not, then it's research time for me, I guess. Just asking for those of us out here with older SSB radios without DSC capabilities - like my ICOM M-700.
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Old 30-08-2013, 14:42   #4
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

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Originally Posted by svmariane View Post
So... What emergency HF frequencies ARE monitored 24/7? Be it USCG or some other group/entity.

Thinking someone here would have a quick answer and/or reference. If not, then it's research time for me, I guess. Just asking for those of us out here with older SSB radios without DSC capabilities - like my ICOM M-700.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but no -- USCG are not listening on HF. That was the OP's point, and he is right.

Other SAR agencies around the world probably are, and since you can reach around the world on HF with the right propagation and frequency, MAYBE you can reach Falmouth with your distress message, who will telephone (or probably, Skype) the USCG to let them know what is going on.

But better, get a radio with DSC.
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Old 30-08-2013, 15:02   #5
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but no -- USCG are not listening on HF. That was the OP's point, and he is right.

Other SAR agencies around the world probably are, and since you can reach around the world on HF with the right propagation and frequency, MAYBE you can reach Falmouth with your distress message, who will telephone (or probably, Skype) the USCG to let them know what is going on.

But better, get a radio with DSC.
The announcement was the USCG would stop monitoring 2182.

Can you provide a pointer to the announcement stating the USCG stopped monitoring 4125, 6215, 8291, 12290, & 16420 ???

I hailed them with an emergency a couple years ago using these upper freq.
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Old 30-08-2013, 15:03   #6
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but no -- USCG are not listening on HF. That was the OP's point, and he is right.........
Dockhead,

That is simply wrong! The USCG still maintains a 24/7 watch on the HF distress frequencies 4125. 6215, 8291, and 12290 kHz.

Their current watchkeeping schedule, as of August 2013 can be found here:
HF Distress and Safety Watchkeeping Schedule

The cessation of monitoring by the USCG was on MF frequencies only, not on HF frequencies. My thought is that this was a shortsighted action taken in response to current budget constraints, including sequestration.

Same with Loran....very shortsighted decision to terminate all Loran stations, especially now that we know that GPS is easy to jam, and jamming devices are readily available for sale to, e.g., truckers who don't want to be tracked. The cost of the Loran system was very low, and it provided a reliable ground-based locating system which was completely independent of GPS satellites.

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Old 30-08-2013, 15:13   #7
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

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Dockhead,

That is simply wrong! The USCG still maintains a 24/7 watch on the HF distress frequencies 4125. 6215, 8291, and 12290 kHz.

Their current watchkeeping schedule, as of August 2013 can be found here:
HF Distress and Safety Watchkeeping Schedule

The cessation of monitoring by the USCG was on MF frequencies only, not on HF frequencies. My thought is that this was a shortsighted action taken in response to current budget constraints, including sequestration.

Same with Loran....very shortsighted decision to terminate all Loran stations, especially now that we know that GPS is easy to jam, and jamming devices are readily available for sale to, e.g., truckers who don't want to be tracked. The cost of the Loran system was very low, and it provided a reliable ground-based locating system which was completely independent of GPS satellites.

Bill
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I stand corrected, and that is very good to know.

Minor quibble: 24/7 is only on 6215 and 8291. The other frequencies are on a schedule, 11 to 23 Zulu, so half the day. See: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=cgcommsCall
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Old 30-08-2013, 15:46   #8
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Time marches on.

......
By the way, sending out a six-frequency DSC message on the Icom M802 is not "convoluted". It's the default method.

DSC distress signalling is so vastly and completely superior to calling for help by voice. For reasons we discussed recently in another thread.
Dockhead, My source regarding the IC-M802 DSC defaulting to 2187.5 kHz is its copyright 2002 instruction manual. Has it and the radio been updated? I hope so and have a query into ICOMUSA.

This is what I meant by "convoluted":

Press “DSC” to enter DSC watch mode, “Mode Set” to enter the DSC menu, and progress through the distress options to select the “six frequency” option in DSC calling frequencies. Once “six frequencies” is entered, the distress button should then be depressed and held for five seconds.
- source - IC-M802 Instruction Manual A-6154H-! US, 2002 pp 17-20

You are absolutely right about DSC being vastly and completely superior. The USCG has been set up to respond to all the HF DSC freqs for years except 2187.5 kHz now terminated, and it seems to have been working OK.

FCC requires all HF marine radios certified after June 1999 to have DSC capability. Problem is you can sell previously certified radios forever, and keep old ones forever too as long as they remain repairable.
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Old 30-08-2013, 16:48   #9
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Sorry to burst your bubble, but no -- USCG are not listening on HF.

What I actually asked: "What emergency HF frequencies ARE monitored 24/7? Be it USCG or some other group/entity."

That was the OP's point, and he is right. Other SAR agencies around the world probably are, (see above) and since you can reach around the world on HF with the right propagation and frequency, MAYBE you can reach Falmouth with your distress message, who will telephone (or probably, Skype) the USCG to let them know what is going on.

But better, get a radio with DSC. Thanks. Got some spare cash?
Excuse me? I asked a technical question for which there are technical answers, as indeed were posted (above) by others. What I got from a moderator - a MODERATOR - was:

Sarcasm... "Sorry to burst your bubble". What bubble? There are HF freqs - see post #6. My lack of knowledge prompted the question - are questions no longer allowed on CF?

American Centrism (to a world-wide HF query)... "USCG are not listening on HF". As efficient and appreciated as is the USCG, they are not the be all and end all on the entire world's oceans and seas. For example, NZ and Australian SAR do well.

Flippancy... "MAYBE you can reach Falmouth". Why thanks... how helpful.

Slaped in the face for my equipment... "get a radio with DSC". That piece of kit currently at my NAV station allows me world wide voice comms. Add a computer and there's WXR Fax. Add a Pactor modem and send/rcv emails. Saw me just fine for years and thousands of sea miles, including a little jaunt from Mexico to New Zealand. But apparently it doesn't meet YOUR requirements for cutting-edge technology.

I joined CF to ask questions and share knowledge. IMO your response was more in line with what's expected over on the SA site.

Thank you, Mr. Moderator. {And yes, that IS sarcasm.}

James
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Old 30-08-2013, 17:40   #10
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James, there aren't many stations guarding HF voice channels any longer. Unfortunately I've never seen a comprehensive listing of who does. I just learned New Zealand still guards 2182 kHz. Australia does not but might on HF freqs. You can ask on their GMDSS reflector at http://www.gmdss.com.au/. USCG does a credible job on 4125 kHz in the Bering Sea. Amateur radio groups do an excellent job on HF; they have a marine net somewhere on 5 MHz I think. But I know of no comprehensive worldwide list.

IMO keeps a list of those who guard HF DSC freqs, but not voice freqs.
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Old 30-08-2013, 18:00   #11
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

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Originally Posted by svmariane View Post
Excuse me? I asked a technical question for which there are technical answers, as indeed were posted (above) by others. What I got from a moderator - a MODERATOR - was:

Sarcasm... "Sorry to burst your bubble". What bubble? There are HF freqs - see post #6. My lack of knowledge prompted the question - are questions no longer allowed on CF?

American Centrism (to a world-wide HF query)... "USCG are not listening on HF". As efficient and appreciated as is the USCG, they are not the be all and end all on the entire world's oceans and seas. For example, NZ and Australian SAR do well.

Flippancy... "MAYBE you can reach Falmouth". Why thanks... how helpful.

Slaped in the face for my equipment... "get a radio with DSC". That piece of kit currently at my NAV station allows me world wide voice comms. Add a computer and there's WXR Fax. Add a Pactor modem and send/rcv emails. Saw me just fine for years and thousands of sea miles, including a little jaunt from Mexico to New Zealand. But apparently it doesn't meet YOUR requirements for cutting-edge technology.

I joined CF to ask questions and share knowledge. IMO your response was more in line with what's expected over on the SA site.

Thank you, Mr. Moderator. {And yes, that IS sarcasm.}

James
Sorry, no sarcasm or irony was intended. Nor any offense.

As to USCG -- I was responding to the OP, who specifically asked about the US Coast Guard. It was not at all a "world-wide query." I don't sail in U.S. waters myself -- English Channel; lately, Bay of Biscay.

As to your equipment -- you are the master of your vessel, and of course, only you decide what is the right equipment. Certainly I do not have any "requirements" for your equipment -- who am I? I do not change, however, my recommendation, that for distress signalling, one really would like to have DSC, if possible. That recommendation was intended to be helpful, not offensive. It is based not only on the superiority of DSC signalling to voice signalling for these purposes, but also on the fact that voice distress calling on HF is not part of GMDSS at all. As a result of GMDSS rules, ships have not been required to keep a watch on 2182 since 1999 (or keep any other watch on MF or HF voice frequencies), although they are required to guard the DSC frequencies. So you simply have a much, much better chance of being heard, in a emergency, using DSC.

Not only the US Coast Guard have stopped listening to 2182, the traditional watch channel for 100 years. The UK Coast Guard have also stopped -- already since June, 2011. It looks like the French have also stopped -- "En France, la fréquence 2182 kHz n'est officiellement plus." http://www.beamer-france.org/BanqueDocument/pdf_257.pdf. As another poster pointed out, there is no MF/HF voice watch at all in Australia any more, on any frequency.

Voice watches on MF/HF are not part of GMDSS. As the world completes the transition to GMDSS, you will really not be able to use a marine SSB for distress signalling unless you have DSC.
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Old 30-08-2013, 21:06   #12
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Why can't the Pactor modem generate DSC distress messages? That would be a boon to many with older radios.
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Old 30-08-2013, 21:33   #13
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

Nice tap dance you did there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Sorry, no sarcasm or irony was intended. Nor any offense. As to USCG -- I was responding to the OP, who specifically asked about the US Coast Guard. It was not at all a "world-wide query."
No, you quoted me, my entire post, and not the OP. A reasonable person would think that you were responding to me.

Quote:
As to your equipment -- you are the master of your vessel, and of course, only you decide what is the right equipment. Certainly I do not have any "requirements" for your equipment -- who am I? I do not change, however, my recommendation, that for distress signalling, one really would like to have DSC, if possible. That recommendation was intended to be helpful, not offensive. It is based not only on the superiority of DSC signalling to voice signalling for these purposes, but also on the fact that voice distress calling on HF is not part of GMDSS at all. As a result of GMDSS rules, ships have not been required to keep a watch on 2182 since 1999 (or keep any other watch on MF or HF voice frequencies), although they are required to guard the DSC frequencies. So you simply have a much, much better chance of being heard, in a emergency, using DSC.
Da yada da yada. I asked a simple question: What emergency HF frequencies ARE monitored 24/7? Other folk provided some answers.

Quote:
Not only the US Coast Guard have stopped listening to 2182, the traditional watch channel for 100 years. The UK Coast Guard have also stopped -- already since June, 2011. It looks like the French have also stopped -- "En France, la fréquence 2182 kHz n'est officiellement plus." http://www.beamer-france.org/BanqueDocument/pdf_257.pdf. As another poster pointed out, there is no MF/HF voice watch at all in Australia any more, on any frequency.

Voice watches on MF/HF are not part of GMDSS. As the world completes the transition to GMDSS, you will really not be able to use a marine SSB for distress signalling unless you have DSC.
Again: Da yada da yada. I asked a simple question: What emergency HF frequencies ARE monitored 24/7? Note that I didn't specify Marine SSB nor HAM bands nor asked about the requirements for ships at sea - Just said HF. Didn't ask about GMDSS - and don't know why I'm getting a lecture on it - just if anyone was listening and IF so, on what freqs.

As I said: nice tap dance. I accept that you've the right to state your opinion, BUT as a moderator who can delete posts should folk not abide with the "be nice" rules I think you overstepped. It was condescending, actually. Who polices the policemen?

Recently I made a purchase from a CF sponsoring vendor, Floating Impressions. I got what I needed; they made a sale. Never would have contacted them except for having a bit of trust in CF. I mention that because I'm not sure why I would remain on CF if a MODERATOR attacks my posts that merely seek knowledge.

You were wrong in your original answer, as was pointed out by others.
You were wrong in the manner in which way you - a moderator - responded to me.
And your apology is defensive while reeking of self-righteousness.
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Old 30-08-2013, 21:42   #14
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Nice tap dance you did there.
Gee. You should read some messages I get in my mailbox... what you get worked up about here is flattering compared to what I've seen... and that includes pm's from mods
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Old 30-08-2013, 21:58   #15
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Re: Impact of USCG termination of 2 MHz distress watch keeping on HF marine radio def

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Gee. You should read some messages I get in my mailbox... what you get worked up about here is flattering compared to what I've seen... and that includes pm's from mods
Yeah - being raked over the coals in a PM is private, though. Have myself been slapped down in a PM for overstepping and had my post deleted - yet in back-and-forth PMs the Mod came around to my way of thinking. Alas, too late.

Guess I'm "worked up" about this because the guy was plain wrong, apologized to the chap who pointed out the corrections, yet gave me a song-and-dance. And since the wxr here has put maintenance on hold 'till the morrow, I decided to fire a shot 'cross his bow.

{Warning - this might now segue into a gun thread..... }
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