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Thread: MMSI ( Maritime Moble Service Identity) & DSC Digital Select Calling

  1. #1

    Default MMSI ( Maritime Moble Service Identity) & DSC Digital Select Calling

    Any one doing this in Alaska Waters? Where your GPS unit is attached to the VHF radio and transmitts the Lat/Long as part of a distress signal! Sounds pretty good.

    Your VHF radio is the single most important piece of safety equipment you can have on board your vessel. By using a VHF radio with Digital Select Calling (DSC) capability, you increase your safety dramatically by taking advantage of enhanced communications options. These options link you to other vessels and rescue facilities, providing a strong, modern safety net.
    DSC (Digital Selective Calling): Marine radios equipped with DSC serve as one facet of the GMDSS. A DSC equipped radio has all the features of your current VHF radio, and more. DSC technology makes a VHF radio work more like a telephone. It allows boaters to send a digital call directly to another DSC-equipped vessel or shore station, much like a person-to-person telephone call. Channel 70 has been set aside as the VHF/DSC digital call channel. Once the DSC call has been confirmed, both parties are automatically switched to a working voice channel. In an emergency, one push of a button and your DSC radio will send an automated digital distress alert consisting of your identification (MMSI) number, and position (if your radio is linked to a GPS receiver) to other DSC-equipped vessels and rescue facilities. btaining an MMSI is necessary in order to use the DSC functions of the radio. The MMSI number serves as both a nine digit “telephone number” and as a unique identification number for the U.S. Coast Guard to use in order to locate and identify you in an emergency. During normal communications, vessels with DSC capable radios may call each other over channel 70 using the MMSI as a "telephone number". The signal will only be received by those vessels with the MMSI numbers that were called. During an emergency, the boater may push a button to automatically transmit a May Day call which would include their MMSI number (and location if the radio is linked to a GPS receiver) to every DSC radio within range. When the U.S. Coast Guard receives the unique MMSI number, it will use the information on file (emergency contact number, type of vessel, etc.) to mount a more effective rescue effort. For more information regarding MMSIs, visit:
    http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/gmdss/mmsi.htm

    Your VHF radio is the single most important piece of safety equipment you can have on board your vessel. By using a VHF radio with Digital Select Calling (DSC) capability, you increase your safety dramatically by taking advantage of enhanced communications options. These options link you to other vessels and rescue facilities, providing a strong, modern safety net.

  2. #2
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    I dont believe this is online in Alaska as of yet. You may contact the USCG Marine Safety Office in Juneau for an update.

  3. #3
    Member Tolman24's Avatar
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    I have it hooked up. As mentioned the Coast Guard is not on line and may not be for several years. However if anyone else has it hooked up they will get the call and it will display the GPS coordinates as well as overlay a chart if you have that option. It will also allow your buddies to send you coordinates without everyone else knowing. It came as an option on my radio so it seemed worthwhile to set it up. I would not count on it being picked up however.

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    Thanks for the back-up there, Tolman. I totally forgot that everyone else with DSC can hear your emergency call. Definitly a good option and I cant wait until its monitored.

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    Default DSC Radios

    I posted this on another thread back in December....still good info! Mike

    Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is part of the GMDSS program (aka Rescue 21 for the CG)....DSC is essentially "stand-alone" technology that works best when integrated into other systems (such as GPS, etc.). All you really need is two DSC-equipped VHF radios (with programmed MMSI numbers) and you can take advantage of DSC. It works, I've tried it. The problem is that one of the reasons to get a functional DSC radio is the enhanced rescue benefits it provides....only the Coast Guard doesn't have the hardware systems yet. I wish it was as simple as us going out and buying DSC VHF radios for all of our boats, but it isn't that easy. Let me explain: The CG utilizes 'high sites'...radio systems designed and usually located on mountain tops (look closely, you might be able to see the tower on Mt. Robert Barron on Admiralty Island). These systems allow the CG Command Centers to talk to boaters (usually during emergencies!) in Chatham Strait from downtown Juneau...try that from your boat-you can't talk that far because VHF is essentially line-of-sight. The necessary hardware for the CG to utilize DSC isn't just an off-the-shelf VHF radio; it's a custom-built electronic console that's been engineered to meet specific demands. They're quite expensive as you might imagine.

    The Rescue 21 project was designed to upgrade all the coastal stations with DSC (and quite a bit more) capabilities. Alaska was scheduled to be last on the list...(surprise!)...and, the project ran behind schedule and the money ran low. Plus, the 'lower 48' engineers didn't really design a system that would work for Alaska. The result was that the Alaska Coast Guard requested that we have more ownership of the project in Alaska to help guarantee functionality. We recently opened a "Rescue 21" shop in Juneau....sorry, no time lines yet.

    The bottom line for boaters is this: Go ahead and get a MMSI number for your VHF radio, program your radio and use it with other boaters. You'll be able to take advantage of the technology now, especially if you have your radio connected with your GPS/chart plotter. Contact the CG with emergencies just like you have in the past; on Channel 16 with a Mayday or cell phone with *CG. When we get full DSC functionality, the CG will be able to "see" you when you press the red button on your DSC radio...right now, only other DSC-equipped vessels (in your range - line of sight) will hear it.

    The (linked) brochure is a bit dated, but much of the information is still good, just remember that the CG in Alaska does not yet have Digital Selective Calling capability, but we will eventually. Call or PM me if you have specific questions or post and I'll try and answer them as I can. Mike 463-2297 http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/gdmss.htm

  6. #6

    Default PLB more reliable

    A 406 mHz PLB with built in GPS will work evertime, everywhere.
    For a dire emergency, the USCG previously recommended this to me versus the DSC on VHF. If you are buying a new VHF you can certainly get one with DSC and GPS built in, but to my understanding...........it will not work unless someone within VHF line of sight that has a VHF with DSC is available to relay the automated DSC signal. So if you can afford both systems then get them both, otherwise I would choose the PLB

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    Personally, I would never, never subsitute this new DSC tech with the tried and true EPIRB or PEPIRB. They are awesome units and would really only use DSC as a backup emergency device if yo uso chose to go that route.

  8. #8

    Default Ok then

    Well I have a GPS and a VHF Radio that I can connect together and use DCS system after getting the MMSI number. So it's a added safety thing, cool, Cost one cable!
    I already have every thing else and the Coast guard VHF signals are outstanding in the PWS because of the repeater towers out there. Which folks should know where they are for a couple reasons.

    I thank the CG Boating Safey for chiming in with the facts and only the facts about this system that once up and running will transmit the Lat / Long of a boater in need of help.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    To the Top - good info.

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    Default Rescue21 AK Deployment 2017?

    I just wanted to bring up an older thread because this week I am hooking up my Garmin VHF to my GPS to enable DSC. Was just reading that the Rescue21 (CG monitoring DSC/position enabled distress calls) deployment to Alaska is not going to happen until 2017. Anyone know why they are pushing this so far out? 7 years is an eternity in technology time.

    Anyone of you folks using DSC MMSI numbers for placing VHF Calls or position tracking? How is it working for you? Just curious...

    http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/resc...e21_boatus.pdf
    http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/resc...ceschedule.pdf

    ~AKBoatR

  11. #11
    Member GOT TOYS's Avatar
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    Default DSC

    If you have the equipment already, please get the cable, and register for your MMSI number. It isn't the most user-freindly program, but when it's all set up, it makes boating a little safer for everyone. As stated above, I use it to find my (within radio range) buddies, without squeezing the mike. It puts a little picture of a boat on my GPS plotter, showing right where they are. Cool toy too.
    Kingfisher 2525. 225, 20, and 2hp Hondas.

  12. #12
    Member AkBillyBow's Avatar
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    Got toys....you don't have to key the mic to transmit your position to your buddies? I thought that is how it worked. Key the mic and they will see you on their map....no?

    AkBillyBow
    2007 Glacier Bay Cat 2690 Coastal Runner, Twin Honda 150's

  13. #13
    Member GOT TOYS's Avatar
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    Default No Mike

    Just find them on our list of buddies (that gave you their MMSI number) and push the "call" button on your radio, or something to that effect.
    Kingfisher 2525. 225, 20, and 2hp Hondas.

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