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Old 25-06-2013, 08:34   #16
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

Hearing someone discuss LORAN again just set me off last night. Dragging barges and log booms around the PNW years ago, rebel heart, this nav aid was one that was cheap to run and you could count on in all kinds of weather regardless of the time of year. The earlier GPS were not nearly as reliable then as they are now. I lost a couple of close friends in the fishing industry who were using the new (at the time) GPS and ran up on the rocks in south west archipelego of Alaska. They had been bragging that they had just installed GPS on their fishing trawler a few weeks earlier in the pub in Dutch Harbor. The investigation concluded nav error in fog and heavy seas. My point is, that when you have a system that is accurate, cheap to operate and maintain, don't chuck it. As you know, redundancy can save lives at sea and this system was really cheap to run.
By the way, rebel heart, I would never feel you were trying to be a jerk... always found your insights and comments on target and reflective of one whose experience is a real help to folks looking for advice on this forum. Besides, you are from SD!
GPS and DGPS can be shut down at anytime by the US government but because LORAN was used so extensively in the 60'and 70's by so many mariners, it was a nav feature that was part of the environment in those days. Yes you did need LORAN charts but they were relatively cheap as I recall and some dude in Seattle made a killing producing an acetate type overlay to regular charts with the LORAN receiving lines on them.
Hadn't heard about discontinuing monitoring 2182kHz... pity!
I suppose that I should just suck up the new technology as paper charts go the way of LORAN and sextants. As long as we have sufficient power to run our toys like plotters everything will be bells and banjos but once without power or our GPS batteries go dead... good luck with that! Cheers, Phil
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Old 25-06-2013, 08:49   #17
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

Three days ago I put gel coat in the holes on the dash where I had removed the LORAN last the fall. I turned it on once a year to make sure it still functioned. Last summer it did not and I realized no signal (I had been gone for 2 summers previous.) We are now back to a single point failure mode, if you can consider GPS a single point, with no backup in a modern navigation sense.

I realize that time marches on but as a diver I remember getting out of the bay and trying to find land sights on Thunder Bay Island that were fogged in and not doing any diving for the day. Affordable LORANs were heaven sent back then. Ah well!! I guess I wouldn't pull 35 million out of my pocket for LORAN when we have GPS.
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:15   #18
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

I am involved in a committee making recommendations about the radio capabilities of a particular Caribbean country's Coast Guard.

They do monitor HF.

What HF frequency/s do you think I should be advising them to monitor? They are certainly well within 100nms of the island nations to the north and south.

I would have thought 2182. But now?


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Old 25-06-2013, 09:17   #19
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I can understand dropping Morse, but what difference does it make to guard four rather than five frequencies in MF/HF? I understand 2182 is theoretically the least useful of them, but it's also the traditional main distress frequency.
I don't know the answer, could you tell me the number of times in recent years 2182 has been used? ERIB has made it use obsolete.

Capt. Phil; per Federal Law GPS cannot be "shutdown", it's signal can be disrupted in a particular area. Did you know that there is a second frequency transmitted from GPS satellites for the military? Did you know that both Russia and China have their own GPS systems?

Yes, GPS had problems until all the satellites were operational. Many people still lose their boats depending on electronic navigation. Plotters and charts of Mexico still display the GPS position of your boat well inland due to surveys taken before GPS..
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:19   #20
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

When I first joined the US Coast Guard back in 2000, they were already talking about getting rid of LORAN. It was not a spur of the moment, rash decision. It was simply antiquated by D-GPS. As for accuracy, it was not as accurate as modern GPS. However, it was more consistent. It held on for a long time because of fishermen who wanted to be on the exact same spot as their big haul from last year. Plug in the same LORAN coordinates and you will be there. GPS might make you a few yards off. However, for the vast majority of mariners, LORAN was an outdated system and GPS took over as the primary means of electronic navigation.
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:36   #21
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

Don't get me started!
I am still pissed-off that the US postal service discontinued the pony express.
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:38   #22
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

Good point, John A... however, if you believe anything the federal government tells you, I think you are dreaming. LORAN was, of course, a fedearally funded program in several countries like GPS coverage. However, the propensity for the US goverment to go back on their word and cancel operations like GPS is subject to the whims of the politicos in Washington, DC and even one individual through an Executive Order.
Like you, I suspect, I long for the good old days when life was a little simpler and more folks kept their word.
As Pyrate notes, the demise of LORAN has been discussed for many years... still doesn't make it a sound decision in my book. Cheers, Phil
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:45   #23
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

Hey, Liam... I'm pissed about the Pony Express, too... it used to run right past my front door! Haven't had postal delivery to my house since... now I have to go down to the Post Office to collect my mail once a week. Cheers, Phil
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Old 25-06-2013, 10:25   #24
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

Our phone (which my Dad had installed when I was 13) was on a "party line" of 8 other users and we received 4 different rings on our phone. When you needed to make a business call you picked up the phone and asked a couple pf ladies to please hang up so you could use the phone. Once the call was made you could hear the clicks as the two ladies picked up their receivers.

In Early 1946, a neighbor, who had a phone, relayed a message they received from my aunt that my uncle had arrived home from WWII. Instead of asking if we could use their phone for a long distance call Dad walked a-half mile to a payphone to talk to his little brother for the first time in 5 years.

The good old days. Funny what you remember.
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Old 25-06-2013, 11:17   #25
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

I remember well those old party line phones, John. We had a handcrank on ours in the kitchen and we had 2 shorts and a long for our number, I recall. When we finally got a rotary phone, we had an actual 4 digit # with a 2 letter prefix. We were really livin'!
Probably dating myself but my earliest memory was VJ day in Vancouver, BC. My Dad and I watched the chinese dragon dance in Chinatown celebrating the end of the war.
Went to work on the water in 1956 as a cook deck hand, one of the first skills the skipper taught me was how to drive, chart a course and read a tide and current table. Having worked in the PNW for years, I became really comfortable with LORAN, particularly in the winter with heavy fog and sea conditions. Probably the reason I will miss it so much. Phil
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Old 25-06-2013, 11:28   #26
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

Capt. Phil, I just noticed you're in Stateline NV! Drove up there from the Bay area many times. How was last winter?
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Old 25-06-2013, 11:45   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John A View Post

I don't know the answer, could you tell me the number of times in recent years 2182 has been used? ERIB has made it use obsolete.

Capt. Phil; per Federal Law GPS cannot be "shutdown", it's signal can be disrupted in a particular area. Did you know that there is a second frequency transmitted from GPS satellites for the military? Did you know that both Russia and China have their own GPS systems?

Yes, GPS had problems until all the satellites were operational. Many people still lose their boats depending on electronic navigation. Plotters and charts of Mexico still display the GPS position of your boat well inland due to surveys taken before GPS..
I don't think EPIRB beacons make long range radio comms obsolete at all, and I don't think anyone claims that. Sometimes you need to talk to the CG, not just send them a coded distress signal. GMDSS certainly counts on long range radio comms as a part of the system.
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Old 29-06-2013, 21:14   #28
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

Mark,
Sorry I didn't see this question earlier...
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I am involved in a committee making recommendations about the radio capabilities of a particular Caribbean country's Coast Guard.

They do monitor HF.

What HF frequency/s do you think I should be advising them to monitor? They are certainly well within 100nms of the island nations to the north and south.

I would have thought 2182. But now?
1) 2182khz was really never a good choice....well maybe in the 1950's....but since the late 60's/early 70's, most users found the HF freqs (the new "Hi-Seas" channels) to be much more useful....and in the 1970's there was a steady, and rapid, decline in use of the 2mhz/MF freqs, 2182khz, etc...

And, since January 1999, there has been NO requirement for VOICE radio watch / monitoring of 2182khz...by vessels at sea nor coast stations...
And, further, even years before that most merchant vessels and coast stations (except for the USCG), used "2182 watch receivers" which did NOT listen for "voice" signals, but rather for the "two-tone alarm signal", and only when they received this "alarm signal" did they un-squelch and then the watchstander could hear the vessel calling (although most of the time there was plenty of static as well!!!)


2) Since vertical antennas are/were required (by rule)on vessels for MF/2mhz, to maximize their groundwave communications abilities, for all practical purposes this also reduces the effectiveness of Near Vertical Incident Skywave (NVIS) communications...
And unfortunately, these vertical antennas are also very "noisy" receive antennas...

"Ground wave" communication range is very similar on 2mhz and 4mhz, and with 4mhz being much quieter AND usually having better NVIS signal strength, especially daytime...4mhz soon took over the functions of the old 2mhz MF maritime channels...

Overall daytime 2mhz (2182khz) communications, especially in tropical areas (with many hours of sunshine and hence high ionospheric "D" layer absorption...AND with scattered T-Storm activity on a regular basis), has always been poor, with ranges of usually 100 miles....
{In the mid/late 60's, I remember my Dad NEVER being able to raise "Miami" from the Exumas (200 - 250 miles away), nor even Nassau on some days...on 2mhz, using 150 watts and a 23' whip w/ a metal hull ground/counterpoise....and in 40 years of my own sailing/radio career, I've only tried 2mhz ONCE....and unsuccessfully...}


3) The GMDSS rules require vessels at sea to maintain a DSC radio watch on 2187.5, 8414.5khz, and "one other DSC frequency" (to be determined by the vessel's master, based on vessel location, route, time-of-day, radiowave propagation, weather, etc.)....
However, in actual practice all the GMDSS gear (and even the M-802) has six-channel DSC scanning receivers, so vessels that comply with GMDSS rules are monitoring/scanning all six DSC freqs (2187.5, 4207.5, 6312.0, 8414.5, 12577.0, and 16804.5), so if I were in need of assistance and desired to raise help, etc. from vessels in my area, I'd be sending out a 6-channel DSC distress...(but if I had to pick only one channel, it would 8414.5khz first, and then 4207.5 second....and if then no joy, I'd send out a 6-channel DSC distress signal...)

So, here it's 8mhz first, 4mhz second, and then probably 6mhz third...



4) As for recommendations for what HF frequencies to monitor, that's actually an easy answer!!!

For local/regional coverage...typically from 25/30 miles to 500 miles daytime, and longer ranges at night....
For VOICE monitoring:
8291khz, 4125khz, 6215khz....(these are 3 of the 6 GMDSS Voice Distress, Urgency, and Safety channels)

For DSC monitoring:
8414.5khz, 4207.5khz, 6312khz....(these are 3 of the 6 GMDSS DSC Distress, Urgency, and Safety channels)

Although exact ranges and communications capabilities (radiowave propagation) vary with time-of-day, time-of-year, solar flux, sun-spot activity, earth's magnetic field activity, etc....as well as local/regional T-storm activity affecting receive noise, etc....here are the typical ranges/capabilities...

Daytime should yield excellent coverage out to ~ 500 (or more) with fairly low-noise, on 8mhz....and from 100 - 2000 miles at night...
Daytime should yield good coverage out to 100 - 200 miles, with some noise, on 4mhz....and usually 25/30 miles - 1000 miles at night....
Coverage on 6mhz, typically falls in the middle between 4mhz and 8mhz....



5) My advice:
a) Make SURE that whatever your committee recommends, it INCLUDES DSC-watchkeeping....
This is not only part of the GMDSS (unlike voice radio watchkeeping) and will move whatever island is considering this into the 21st century!!
But is also increasingly being equipped on pleasure boats and is actually being understood and used by them!!!

And, depending on where the actual receiver is, it can allow even busy administrative staff / bureaucrats in an office to maintain a DSC watch, as the radio is silent until it gets a DSC message...


b) If there are budget concerns, an Icom M-802/At-140, with a 250' loop of wire for the main antenna (strung up horizontally, about 50' - 60' above ground, in a square or triangle shape), with one end of loop to "antenna" terminal on the AT-140 and the other end of the loop to the "ground" terminal...will work fine for this application....

And, a second similar loop antenna, just fed directly with coax, for the DSC receive antenna...is a great idea.....or, if space (and/or money) is at a premium a short, 40' sloping single wire antenna (fed directly with coax), is a good second choice for a DSC receive antenna....

This set-up allows 24/7 monitoring of all 6 Int'l DSC channels as well as whatever HF channels they choose to "Scan"....


c) If budget allows the Sailor / Thrane & Thrane series 6300 HF radios are really great...The 500 watt model 6350 is a super radio, but will set them back about $15,000 USD...
And they can put together complete GMDSS consoles and coast stations, etc...including antennas....
Loops, LPDA's, verticals, etc...all have their place/application....all it takes is money!!!




6) Have a look at the thread I started, a week ago, on the USCG and MF/2mhz comms on the SSCA disc boards...
http://www.ssca.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=15726

Even years before this:
Quote:
Effective 01 August, 2013, the U. S. Coast Guard will terminate its radio guard of the international voice distress, safety and calling frequency 2182 kHz and the international digital selective calling (DSC) distress and safety frequency 2187.5 kHz. Additionally, marine information and weather broadcasts transmitted on 2670 kHz will terminate concurrently.
The Coast Guard will continue to maintain a continuous watch on VHF FM channel 16 (156.8 MHz) and on existing voice and DSC frequencies in the 4/6/8/12 MHz bands as described in the Coast Guard Navigation Center website http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=cgcommsCall.

The USCG (and many others) has been discouraging the use of MF/2mhz maritime frequencies for many years now....
Quote:
Mariners are advised that calls to the U.S. Coast Guard on the international radiotelephone distress frequency 2182 kHz or the Digital Selective Calling (DSC) frequency 2187.5 kHz
may not be heard or may be severely degraded.
Instead of using 2182 kHz for distress calls, mariners should use high frequency (HF) radiotelephone or DSC in the 4, 6, 8, and 12 MHz distress or calling bands





BTW, Mark, I envy you....being in on the ground floor of such a useful and humanitarian project, and dealing with RADIO at the same time!!!
How cool is that!!!


If you need more help, please let me know...
Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 29-06-2013, 21:26   #29
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

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Originally Posted by lenseman View Post
On 01 AUG 2013 the US Coast guard will terminate radio guard of the International voice distress, safety and calling frequency 2182 kHz and the International DSC distress frequency 2187.5 kHz.

Maritime information and weather broadcasts on 2670 kHz will terminate concurrently. Watchkeeping continues on existing voice and DSC frequencies in the 4/6/8/12 MHz bands as described on the US. Coastguard navigation centre website.








.
so is a SSB useless now?
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Old 29-06-2013, 21:49   #30
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Re: USA Coastguard to stop monitoring 2182 and 2187.5

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Mark,
Sorry I didn't see this question earlier...


John
s/v Annie Laurie
Thanks John,

I really appreciate your post. I was getting a bit worried no one would respond.

Sending you a PM.


Mark
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