IMO, this thread -- with the excellent and factual contributions by John and Eric -- is a pretty good demonstration of why Osiris is right on one point: who needs MF/HF-DSC?
Most of the sailors I know really don't need it. Or want it. Why?
1. It's FAR TOO COMPLICATED
for most sailors who are not professional or semi-professional communicators and tinkerers;
2. The Icom
802 manual contains 30 pages of description of DSC
and it's various modes and uses. Who in god's name is gonna digest that -- or remember any of it -- when they're knee-deep in water
3. It's very distracting.
What is the use of knowing that someone in the Mediterranean
is in distress
when you're sitting in, e.g., Florida
4. There are other alternatives, and better ones.
Contrary to Osiris' dismissal of HF radio
, it can be and demonstrably has repeatedly been an excellent way to advertise a distress
situation, and to obtain help. There are hundreds of examples, and those of us who follow the ham maritime nets have heard many of them. Also, an EPIRB
is used to SUMMON HELP immediately. You might be in distress and not need that, e.g., a sick or injured crew member
who needs medical
advice, or an emergency
watch if you have a broken rudder
or whatever and are effecting repairs
IMHO, your first priority is to sail the boat, using onboard navigational devices and the Mark One eyeball. It's not to spend your time mastering complicated communications
systems which are nice, cutesy, sometimes finiky, often misunderstood, etc. and are decidedly marginal to your needs.
On the other hand, if you love technology and love to play with radios and think that somewhere, sometime HF-DSC might come in really handy, by all means go for it.