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Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

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Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

Old 01-28-2003, 06:51 PM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

I just hooked my ICOM marine radio to my Garmin GPS. The radio has a GPS symbol on the LED read out so I know it is receiving the GPS coordinates. Like anyone with a new toy I am just itching to push the little red distress button. But I figure as soon as I do so a SWAT team, Coast Guard and a few Air Force F-16s will come looking for me, all pissed off of course.

Is there any way to test the system? The radio is supose to switch to channel 70 than to channel 16. I would hate to find out things are not hooked up right or I need to program the radio or something like that right when I am sinking. How about going out in the country and pushing it? I know for airplanes you can test your emergency locating transmitter equipment the first 5 minutes of every hour. How about boats?
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Old 01-28-2003, 07:50 PM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

nick7744, Your just a little ahead of me! To day I had my Garmin 162 and new Standard Intrepid LE out of the boat and working up the connections. How many wires did you end up connecting between your radio and gps..1 or 2? Looks like mine will just have one wire connection between the two units. Just checking with someone else. My case: The radio will have one wire (blue,NEMA out+) to gps and one wire (green,NEMA out -) to ground bus plus it's normal + and - to their buses for power. The gps will have one wire (blue,NEMA out) to radio's (blue,NEMA out+) and it's regular + and - to their buses for power.

On to your question of testing: Can you send an individual DSC signal/call to someone you know as a test?

Chansen
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Old 01-29-2003, 06:21 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

I think you will need 2 wires into the radio. Mine had one wire from the gps which was the data out and then I needed a ground wire to that same plug. The plug is a RCA plug, I think that is what they call it. The outside is the ground and the inner post is the positive.
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Old 01-29-2003, 07:13 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

If you are getting that little GPS signal then you may comfortably assume it is working.

If you are in Huston I think it would not be a good thing for you to 'test' the emergency side of the system by hitting the button, but you could run a test on the plain communications side (preselect the channel of your choice for communications and then plug in the MMSI number of a friends radio and see if you two can make contact). If the regular DSC communications works the you may once again make an assumption that the emergency side is working too.

For whatever its worth I have two DSC radios on my boat and I live in an area where there is not a single chance on the face of this earth that another marine VHF radio is in operation, never mind one with DSC, or one that is doing any sort of monotoring for emergency signals. So, as soon as I had both of mine up and running I hit the emergency button on one of them to see what happens. My God! Cover your ears if you give this a try some day ........

Thom

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Old 01-29-2003, 07:46 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

Ok, now I've just got to test it to see what Thom's talking about.
Just kidding - I'm not going to risk it unless I know no one can hear me.
Along those lines, how about removing the antenna lead from the back of your radio before you do the test to reduce the transmit distance.
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Old 01-29-2003, 08:38 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

It says in the ICOM manual that transmitting without an antenna could damage the unit.
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Old 01-29-2003, 08:54 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

Do not disconnect the antenna and give it a shot. Even at the 1 watt output power you will have on channel 70 (DSC use automatically reduces the power output) you don't want it reflecting back into the radio.

When a radio receives an emergency DSC transmission it sets of a warning alarm. It is not something that you will miss hearing, from anywhere on the boat. This is not a subtle sound made to soothe the nerves.

Thom

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Old 01-29-2003, 10:29 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

There is no problem testing your new DSC VHF at this time because:
1. There is no one listening, and
2. There won't be anyone listening for awhile as the projected operational date of DSC is 2006.

Thom's comments/recommendations are, as usual, right on the money.
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Old 01-29-2003, 10:40 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

I agree there's no one at the Coast Guard listening but what about other boats that have DSC enabled radios? Won't they hear it?
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Old 01-29-2003, 12:26 PM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

For aircraft there is a designated time for emergency radio testing. Maybe they will do something similiar for DSC.

God help you if manage to have "an emergency" at the designated time.

Matt
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:23 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

The Coast Guard launched a search off of Little River South Carolina for a DSC alert that another vessel recieved. Even if the CG isn't up on the system yet in your area other boaters are listening. The CG exhausted a helo crew looking for the source (the crew had to shut down for a mandatory 8 hrs leaving the coast without a rescue helo) If you do accidentally push the button, give the CG a courtesy call.
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:38 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

Nick,

Can you tell me how you connectected the two? Or where you found the directions? I have a Garmin 182C and Icom M402. Started to do it last year but was never sure how. What additional wiring cables do you need? How do they know they are connected?

Any help would be great. Thanks
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:45 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

Got the wire harness from Garmin.

One red Hot wire
one black Ground
one brown Gps out
one I think white which is GPS in I did not need so I taped it off.

On radio you have two plugs other than the power plugs. One is for speaker out. One is for GPS info in. This plug is a speaker type RCA plug. The inner pin is where you connect the brown wire(GPS Data). The outer is the ground which you connect to the battery ground. Now you have to switch your GPS to data out mode in the settings. NMEA I think it is called. Worked like a champ. Check the web sites on Garmin and ICOM that will walk you thru it and to double check the info I have given you here.
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Old 02-04-2003, 10:30 AM
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Default Testing ICOM Distress Signal with GPS Connected

Guys, saying "noone is listening to DSC" is DEAD WRONG. You currently can't buy a radio without DSC on it, so do you think the Coast Guard has no vessels and/or bases with DSC radio's already hooked up? I'd guess most Coast Garud stations have a DSC capable radio. The fact they aren't officially "online" with DSC is more of a logistics thing, like hopw do we hanlde the calls, does EVERY SINGLE vessel and staion have a DSC radio installed and tested..... until then, they will have to say NO, we are NOT DSC capable. Even though they really are. Also, all commercial ships are now required to carry and monitor them, and do, and that is where most of thje help (via a relayed message to CG) will come from anyway, cuase they are the ones that are out their were we are....

Anywho.... that's my 4.5 cents.

Birdman, Capt of
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