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Old 05-11-2014, 02:19   #1
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Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

Is it possible to buy a fixed mount VHF radio DSC any more?

If not, how about a VHF that let's you disable DSC?

My problem is that I sail a small vessel in an area where DSC is useless, and only carry a simple handheld GPS for navigation. I have no desire to permanently wire a GPS receiver into my fixed mount VHF.

My current Humminbird DSC equipped radio beeps at me every time I turn it on, and every 4 hours thereafter, to "remind" me that it's not receiving a GPS signal. After doing a bit of research, it sounds like this requirement to alarm regularly when no GPS signal is received is part of the DSC standard, and it's required that every manufacturer implement this feature.

Can anyone suggest a workaround?
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:43   #2
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

You can probably find a good used non-DSC radio on EBay -- cheap -- since everyone is tearing out their old radio and replacing with DSC.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:07   #3
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

Buy a DSC radio with built in GPS.
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:58   #4
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

susswein,
1) The fact is that all new Marine VHF's sold in the US, for more than a decade now, have been required under US law to be DSC equipped.....

But, this does not mean that most pleasure boaters know how to use it, nor does this mean that most have a MMSI# programmed into their VHF-DSC Radio, nor a GPS connected to it...


2) There are VHF-DSC radios that do not alarm if you do not have GPS connected to them, and there is no requirement for them to do so....
(My Icom M-602's do not alarm if GPS position data is lost)
Actually many (all?) VHF-DSC radios have provision to input your position data into them manually, so that you can send a DSC message with manually entered position info, or without position info at all...


3) ALL DSC radios must have a MMSI# programmed into them in order to transmit a DSC message....and perhaps this is what your radio is "alarming" about, that you do not have an MMSI#???



4) If you are sailing anywhere where there are other boats / vessel traffic, other cruiser's, fishing boats, etc...if the majority of them have bought a VHF radio in the past 15 years, then they have VHF-DSC radios, as those are the only ones that have been legally sold (in the US, Canada, EU, etc.) for most of the past 15 years....

And, please be aware that even if you (or others) do not have an MMSI# nor a GPS connected to your VHF-DSC radio it IS still listening for DSC calls....
Without a MMSI# programmed into it, you of course cannot receive any "individual calls" (those directed/sent only to you), but you can still receive "all ships calls" (such as Distress, Urgency, and Safety calls)....

So, this means that every other VHF radio equipped boat around you (within VHF range) that has bought/installed a new radio in the past 10 - 15 years, CAN receive DSC Distress Calls, and other "all ships" calls....even if they do NOT have an MMSI# of their own, nor a GPS connected to their radio....
Without the MMSI#, they cannot of course transmit a DSC call of any kind, but their radio can still receive them...

SO...
So, this means that while you write that you sail in an area where DSC is useless, I suspect that you aren't aware that it is probably very useful....
Quote:
Originally Posted by susswein View Post
My problem is that I sail a small vessel in an area where DSC is useless,
And you just might need to buy a radio that doesn't alarm at you should you choose to not connect GPS position data to the radio....

Notice I haven't even mentioned any commercial vessels, such as SOLAS-grade vessels, merchant ships, ferries, commercial tugs, commercial fishing boats, etc...
All of these, will also be equipped with VHF-DSC radios (at least those that are compliant with intn'l laws/regulations, as well as those of their flag country)....

From your posting it seems you are just frustrated about the alarm, and are hoping to find a radio that doesn't alarm should there be no GPS data supplied to it???
And, as I wrote above....you CAN find many VHF-DSC radios that will not alarm from having no GPS data....
(although my favorite is the pricey, very higher end, Icom M-604.....there are other Icom's that will work for you, just fine...)


Quote:
Originally Posted by susswein View Post
Is it possible to buy a fixed mount VHF radio DSC any more?
No....

If not, how about a VHF that let's you disable DSC?
Not programming an MMSI# into the radio, in effect disables the DSC transmit functions, but the DSC receive functions are still working....
(although, there is no requirement for the radio to "alarm" should there be no GPS data...)


My problem is that I sail a small vessel in an area where DSC is useless, and only carry a simple handheld GPS for navigation. I have no desire to permanently wire a GPS receiver into my fixed mount VHF.
While there is no legal requirement for you to connect a GPS to your DSC radio, and no requirement for you to use DSC calling at all....you may be overlooking the facts that DSC is useful just about every where....including remote 3rd world areas....and in the Sea of Cortez, there are 100's of other boats with DSC on-board listening 24/7....so, you may wish to think about this false "uselessness" a bit more...


My current Humminbird DSC equipped radio beeps at me every time I turn it on, and every 4 hours thereafter, to "remind" me that it's not receiving a GPS signal.
This seems odd....as if you haven't programmed an MMSI# into it, it would not have the DSC transmit functions active....and an "alarm" about loss of GPS data seems odd...
(seems like a radio specific alarm/function...)


After doing a bit of research, it sounds like this requirement to alarm regularly when no GPS signal is received is part of the DSC standard, and it's required that every manufacturer implement this feature.
I'm very familiar with the GMDSS rules, and I've never seen such a requirement.....and neither of my VHF-DSC radios have such a GPS-lost alarm...


Can anyone suggest a workaround?
a) Program a valid MMSI# into your radio and connect your GPS to the radio...
b) Buy a new VHF-DSC radio that does not have such an alarm....
c) Live with what you have....


I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:01   #5
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

The DSC on DSC radios are disabled until you enable it. Don't understand why you would not want that option.

I would look on Ebay or Craigslist for an older one if you really don't want DSC.
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:04   #6
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

My recent radios had dsc but I never hooked the gps to it and had no beeps. I'll try to look up the brand but they were a popular brand.
It was Standard Horizon Intrepid or Eclipse. Cheap, simple, worked fine.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Standard-Hor...item20efb62c72
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:48   #7
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

My VHF did not beep before I connected it to my chart plotter and it doesn't beep if I don't turn the chart plotter on. If yours sounds an alarm when no signal is received from a chart plotter I suggest contacting the manufacturer and asking how to turn this alarm off. That's simpler and cheaper than buying a new "old" radio.

My choice in your situation would be to buy a new chart plotter and connect it to the radio and get an MMSI number and program it in. Just like a life jacket, it's something you don't need until the day you do need it.
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:56   #8
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
susswein,



2) There are VHF-DSC radios that do not alarm if you do not have GPS connected to them, and there is no requirement for them to do so....
(My Icom M-602's do not alarm if GPS position data is lost)
Actually many (all?) VHF-DSC radios have provision to input your position data into them manually,
Thanks for the info on the ICOM. I'll take a look at one of their lower end models. BTW - on my current (humminbird) VHF the position lost alarm goes off every 4 hours even if I set the position manually, which is in accordance with the standard (ITU-R M.493-13, the technical standard for DSC) section 12.7, which states:

"If the automatic position update is not available, a displayed and audible reminder to update the position should occur before the position information is 4 hours old."
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Old 05-11-2014, 14:14   #9
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

So the spare old plain-Jane VHF I have stashed away with the emergency antenna is now a rare and valuable antique?!

I could be convinced to swap it for some new bothersome VHF with DSC, I suppose.
(VBG)
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Old 05-11-2014, 14:22   #10
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

Dam! and I just chucked one of these in the bin
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Old 05-11-2014, 15:21   #11
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

susswein,
Yes, the Icom M-602 (and I believe many others), has only a visual indication of no position info / lost position info....("?? ?? ??" on the display...) and not an aural alarm...

Thanks for reminding me of the regs....I do have 'em in my laptop, but haven't read them in years....
Unfortunately, I suspect that either the ITU has updated/changed things since these were published (latest pub date I have is 2009), or that many manufacturers interpret things differently....(in that most/all, do have a visual alarm for position lost, but few have a aural alarm...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by susswein View Post
on my current (humminbird) VHF the position lost alarm goes off every 4 hours even if I set the position manually, which is in accordance with the standard (ITU-R M.493-13, the technical standard for DSC) section 12.7, which states:

"If the automatic position update is not available, a displayed and audible reminder to update the position should occur before the position information is 4 hours old."
I've never lost GPS position data for more than a minute (when rewiring, etc.), and upon start-up there is no alarm (and none is required)....BUT....
But, I HAVE sat at the dock with the VHF on and without my GPS running, for many hours...actually all day, and many days in fact....and have never heard any beep / alarm for my VHF-DSC radio (Icom M-602)....

Of course, it DOES show a visual alarm on the display, which are multiple question marks, where the GPS/Position display is supposed to show...
??? ?? ??
??? ?? ??
But, I can personally verify that I have never heard any beep/alarm from this...

And, here are the relevant parts from the M-602 manual...
Quote:
??” may blink instead of position and time indications
when the GPS data is invalid, or has not been manually
updated after 4 hours.

Manually programmed position/time data will be held for
23.5 hours only.



I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie



P.S. For those wishing to read the whole section....regarding position updating....
Quote:
12.7 Position updating
Quote:
DSC equipment should accept valid IEC 61162 position information including the time at which the
position was determined, from an external source utilizing the data interface described in § 12.6, for
automatic update of own ship’s DSC position.

The DSC equipment may also be provided with an internal electronic position fixing device. In
which case, the DSC equipment should automatically switch to the internal source if the external
IEC 61162 position information is not valid or not available.

If the automatic position update is not available, a displayed and audible reminder to manually
update the position should occur before the position information is 4 h old. The displayed reminder
should remain until position updating has been carried out. Any position information not updated
for more than 23˝ h should automatically be erased.

Own ship’s DSC position information and the source of that information (external, internal, or

manually entered) should be displayed on the DSC equipment.
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Old 05-11-2014, 17:30   #12
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

My Icom M412 does not alarm without GPS input.

However I don't understand your reluctance to connect GPS. There is no need to do any major wiring work - just put it in the space behind your radio. For better performance, if you have a fibreglass boat it will most likely work well under a portion of deck that has a reasonable view of the sky.

Surely that would be the cheapest option, and then you have the benefit of it if the need ever arises.
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Old 05-11-2014, 17:50   #13
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderlust View Post
My Icom M412 does not alarm without GPS input.

However I don't understand your reluctance to connect GPS. There is no need to do any major wiring work - just put it in the space behind your radio. For better performance, if you have a fibreglass boat it will most likely work well under a portion of deck that has a reasonable view of the sky.

Surely that would be the cheapest option, and then you have the benefit of it if the need ever arises.
As I explained in the original post, I use a handheld GPS (garmin colorado) which I run off rechargable AA batteries and usually keep next to me at the tiller, which is about 6' from where the VHF is mounted. I often take the GPS into the cabin with me, so hard wiring it into the VHF would mean buying an interface cable from garmin and having that cable permanently in the way, tangling up with lines as I move back and forth between the tiller and the cabin.

I understand the functions and benefits of DSC (although not in the northern sea of cortez where I sail); I just don't understand the stupidity of not allowing the manufacturers to put in a menu option to turn it off.

BTW - I spoke to standard horizon today to see if their VHF units have the "position lost" alarm and tech support confirmed that this was indeed a requirement of the latest DSC standard and that every shipboard VHF sold after 2013 was required to implement the position lost alarm.
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Old 05-11-2014, 18:07   #14
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

I wasn't thinking of using your handheld as the input, but a separate dedicated unit that plugs into the radio permanently. While another handheld could do the job, an antenna that outputs NMEA would be better.
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:54   #15
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Re: Looking for a fixed VHF *without* DSC (or ability to disable DSC)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderlust View Post
I wasn't thinking of using your handheld as the input, but a separate dedicated unit that plugs into the radio permanently. While another handheld could do the job, an antenna that outputs NMEA would be better.

Yep, and it may be less expensive (or about the same, or not much more) to buy another GPS than another radio. (As I understand it, the DSC feature isn't the root problem... but rather the audio "position lost" alarm.)

Also likely easier to find a usable GPS than a non-DSC radio.

-Chris
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