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Old 01-10-2009, 06:21   #1
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DSC Radio in the Americas

I just realized that during 6 months of cruising around the N and NW Caribbean I had my DSC radio on almost all of the time and, while I heard several Maydays and PanPans and numerous Securite voice announcements (those Securite were mostly cruise ships warning BVI charterers to stay clear) I did not receive a single digital DSC message. I would have expected that at least some of the official coast guards would also transmit a digital message in addition to voice.

Might my DSC controller be broken or is DSC just not used in the Caribbean?

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Old 01-10-2009, 06:39   #2
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No it's not broken. The only time it's gone off for me is when some guy punches the wrong button. However we do use it a lot to contact friends we're sailing with without the whole world following the conversation. The calling feature is the best.

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Old 01-10-2009, 06:45   #3
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I am a bit confused, do you have a separate DSC radio or is it part of your VHF?

On our boat, we have DSC as part of the VHF. Like you said, we did not get any DSC broadcasts while in the Caribbean, but we also have only heard 1 or 2 in 2 years of traveling up and down the US East Coast. However, we know it works because we have hailed others via DSC after getting their MMSI #. My guess is that it is just not widely used in the Carib.

Fair Winds,
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:21   #4
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Two months ago, in Trinidad, we listened as the DSC was activated by a floating gas rig that was taking on water and was listing significantly. It received an immediate response and help from an oil rig support vessel, the Trini Coast Guard and several other vessels.

It was only the second emergency DSC call we have heard in 12 months in the Caribbean

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:30   #5
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Mike - No, the unit is a single one; but the DSC "Controller" is a distinct chipset and I thought it might have broken while still allowing normal radio to function. I am going to go and check my logs once I get back to the boat, just to confirm. I agree that the selective hailing capability using the MMSI is great (just have to get that beep sound loud enough to hear above the normal ambient sounds of the boat without making radio overbearingly loud.)

Is ATIS used in the US at all?
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:03   #6
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ATIS is only used on the inland waterways of europe.

Equally folk on the othe rside of teh pond, I have a fully Class D DSC VHF and I have never heard the DSC go off. I think the VHF coats stations are not prefixing their routine announcements with DSC calling either. When I actually tested one DSC radio I had fitted, I made a routine DSC call to the local VHF radio station and the guy was so interested in it that he tested his kit as well as he hadnt receved any DSC calls before. ( so he said!!).

I dont really beleive outside of distress situations, its being used

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dsc, radio

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