Originally Posted by aroett
Thanks for the input - it's as I expected.
Yes I have a MMSI number and a GPS hooked into the VHF.
So 1st press DSC button, then go to 16 and listen/transmit.....
Big NO, NO on the underlined & bolded part. Manually switching your radio to Ch 16 after you have initiated (pressed the DSC Distress button) a DSC distress call - will CANCEL your DSC distress call.
You got a manual with your radio and need to read the chapter on DSC operation several times to get a clear understanding of what DSC is and how it operates on your brand of radio. If you did not get a manual, you can normally download one from the radio manufacturer's website.
On some brands of DSC equipped radios you need to lift
the protective cover, then depress and hold the DSC Distress button for up to 5 seconds before the feature is activated. On other brands it activates immediately.
But on all brands of radios, a DSC Distress call when activated will broadcast a distress command on Ch70 and then it waits for an acknowledgement from somebody's radio (which could be the USCG if you are in range of a USCG station). If an acknowledgement is not received by your radio within 4 to 5 minutes your radio will then retransmit the DSC Distress call automatically.
If you manually re-channel your radio, you will cancel the DSC Distress call.
When an acknowledgement of your DSC Distress call is received by your radio, your radio will automatically re-channel itself to channel 16 - you do not have to touch anything.
There are several different "levels" of DSC Distress calls, but the basic one of depressing and holding the covered Distress button will send a Distress message with your MMSI number and GPS location from the GPS you have attached to your radio. Everybody who has a DSC equipped radio turned on and within reception
range of your radio will hear a very loud "siren" type sound from their radio. Then all the receiving DSC radios will automatically re-channel to channel 16. To stop the loud "siren" you normally just have to depress the microphone button. On some radio's depressing the "CALL" button will also turn off the "siren."
You then can use your microphone to to talk to whomever responds to your Distress Call first.
There are several different "levels" of DSC Distress depending upon your brand of radio. These are known as "Nature of Distress" and can be selected from your radio's menu. Some "Nature of Distress" categories are "flooding," "collision," "grounding," "explosion," etc. Your manual will list them.
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The DSC function of your radio has other features besides the "Distress" function. It also can be used to send an "All Ships" message - similar to a "Pan, Pan" message.
And, best of all, it can be used to establish contact with a "buddy boat" without having to make a public broadcast to attempt to call your "buddy boat." This feature operates similar to "speed dial" on your telephone. You can program into your radio, one or more "buddy boat's" MMSI numbers and then use the DSC function to automatically contact your selected "buddy boat" and re-channel them to your current
selected radio's channel. Your radio's instruction booklet will describe how to do this.
This feature is wonderful if you are in a location where many other cruisers are located and the "morning net" or whatever is used to try to contact your buddy. You bypass having to publically call your buddy boat. If your buddy boat's radio is not turned on, your radio will indicate that. On some radio's you can even make "group" DSC calls, to contact more than one other "buddy boat" at the same time.