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Old 01-03-2013, 14:02   #1
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VHF/DSC for charterers

I bought a VHF radio with DSC and GSP for my ditch bag, but I don't own a boat and the instructions say I can only program the MMSI once (or send it back to have them reprogram it). I also understand that if I expect to use it internationally I need to register it with the CG and get an operators license for myself.

Is my understanding correct?
What do other cruisers do?
Can I use the DSC without an MMSI for a distress call?
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Old 01-03-2013, 14:38   #2
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Re: VHF/DSC for charterers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andifreed View Post
I bought a VHF radio with DSC and GSP for my ditch bag, but I don't own a boat and the instructions say I can only program the MMSI once (or send it back to have them reprogram it). I also understand that if I expect to use it internationally I need to register it with the CG and get an operators license for myself.

Is my understanding correct?
What do other cruisers do?
Can I use the DSC without an MMSI for a distress call?
Regarding rules.. I understand that the handheld VHF DSC radios are handled differently in different places... For example, the UK authorities issue an MMSI number for each handheld, but they say use is only allowed with UK territorial waters... I do not know what are the rules in US land or elsewhere outside the Mother Country..

Regarding what people do.. In UK-flagged boats I have seen them get the individual MMSI numbers for each radios and use them wherever they are... In US-flagged boats I have seen them program them all with the mothership´s MMSI number, which creates a bit of confusion at use time...

My DSC radio will not make a DSC call, emergency or not. Therefore if I had not programmed the MMSI I would have to use channel 16 for an old-style distress call..

In any event, I suggest you do a course similar to the mandatory UK course on short-range radio and you will come out understanding it all...

Cheers

C
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Old 01-03-2013, 14:52   #3
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Re: VHF/DSC for charterers

Thanks for the suggestion, when looking and found:


So I'll see that the Coast Guard has to say
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Old 01-03-2013, 18:30   #4
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Re: VHF/DSC for charterers

As an American, to use a VHF Marine radio abroad you are suppose to be licensed by the FCC, in most cases that means a Ship Station License.

The problem as I see it is that the FCC hasn't caught up wth new technology... FCC currently states you are suppose to use the same MSSI number that is assigned to your vessel's Ship Station License on all portable VHF radios on the boat.

They don't address the problem that a hand held VHF with DSC might not be on the boat it is assigned to, for instance you crew on another boat, but take you hadn held with you... Or in you case, own a VHF Marine Radio, but no boat...

So relistically if you register with Boat US and put the MMSI number in the radio, no one is going to ask questions in the US or abroad... As long as you use the radio responsibly
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:40   #5
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Re: VHF/DSC for charterers

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Originally Posted by Andifreed View Post
Thanks for the suggestion, when looking and found:


So I'll see that the Coast Guard has to say
It has been established in other threads on this Forum that the USCG employee in that video is exteremely incompetent. The most extreme error is his suggestion that DSC radios will do automatic forwarding of emergency messages. You should really disregard it as a credible source and some other source of informaton on the DSC system.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:30   #6
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Re: VHF/DSC for charterers

Thanks, that 'automatic forwarding' was what I though was really cool. Too bad, BoatUS also had a video.

What I did was, register with BoatUS without specifying a boat. In the comments added the club I rent from and its phone number. Also the yacht club with beer can races I pickup rides with. If I get a longer charter in the US I will update that information, if I charter outside US, will just leave this radio at home and rely on the charter's ditch bag.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:40   #7
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Re: VHF/DSC for charterers

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Originally Posted by Andifreed View Post
If I get a longer charter in the US I will update that information, if I charter outside US, will just leave this radio at home and rely on the charter's ditch bag.
For ditch bag use I would have no qualms about using a handheld VHF registered for a different boat in a different country. If ever needing it in a ditch bag context the incomplete/false MMSI info is the least of your worries. I would obviously avoid using the handheld with the wrong MMSI if possible, but it is a reasonably compact extra safety to bring.

Is it possible to disable the DSC features temporarily? If so you could do that when going abroad.
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