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Old 05-10-2010, 06:22 AM   #1
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Default Connecting VHF/GPS to Enable DSC - What do I need?

After buying my boat and electronics from the very same dealer and paying them to install all of the equipment I discovered they did not connect the VHF to my HDS-8 to allow the DSC function to transmit coordinates in the event of an emergency - which the more I think of it the more it pisses me off.

I have an HDS-8 and a Cobra VHF and I noticed on the back of my HDS unit there is an input marked "DSC." What kind of wire do I need to connect the two units?

Last edited by Fish'nFool; 05-10-2010 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:32 AM   #2
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After buying my boat and electronics from the very same dealer and paying them to install all of the equipment I discovered they did not connect the VHF to my HDS-8 to allow the DCS function to transmit coordinates in the event of an emergency - which the more I think of it the more it pisses me off.

I have an HDS-8 and a Cobra VHF and I noticed on the back of my HDS unit there is an input marked "DCS." What kind of wire do I need to connect the two units?
First, why not take it back and demand that they finish the job by connecting the plotter to the radio?

The owners or installation manuals of each unit will explain (more or less) how to connect them together. What wire goes where.

To answer your question directly, you only need small wires, 20 gauge or so to connect the units. You want stranded wire and tinned marine wire is best. Often you find this in a jacketed multi conductor cable and this makes a better installation if the units are not near each other.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:36 AM   #3
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First, why not take it back and demand that they finish the job by connecting the plotter to the radio?

The owners or installation manuals of each unit will explain (more or less) how to connect them together. What wire goes where.

To answer your question directly, you only need small wires, 20 gauge or so to connect the units. You want stranded wire and tinned marine wire is best. Often you find this in a jacketed multi conductor cable and this makes a better installation if the units are not near each other.
Thanks Ron.

My dealer is 2 1/2 hrs away, so didn't feel like making the 5 hr RT drive if it's something I can do myself in 10 min. Perhaps I will at least make them send me the wire if for no other reason then they can share in some of the inconvience.

I assume I can pick up the wire at Radio Shack or the dreaded WM?
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:38 AM   #4
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BTW, does that jacketed connector cable just plug right into the back of each unit?
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:02 AM   #5
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BTW, does that jacketed connector cable just plug right into the back of each unit?
First, it's "DSC" (Digital Selective Calling), not "DCS". Just so you don't confuse anyone.

I don't have either of those units, but no, what I'm talking about is a group of wires in a cable. Like the wire used to make a round grounded extention cord but much smaller. You will either be splicing conductors together or installing (soldering) plugs on the ends.

You will have to get out the manuals and see how your units connect together. There could be a socket on one and wires or terminals on the other or just wires that need to be spliced together. Each manufacturer and model is different.

If you have no experience with electronics, you might be better off paying a local installer to connect them. A one hour charge might still be cheaper than a five hour round trip tow. The selling dealer might agree to pay for it.
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:06 AM   #6
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My VHF has four, jacketed (22 gauge?) wires coming out the back, so it will not be a simple "plug and play," and yours may be similar.

rwidman beat me to the post.

Last edited by Duma Key; 05-10-2010 at 07:07 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:10 AM   #7
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One of the cleanest simplest way to connect NMEA wires would be to use a independent bus-bar for connections. I used a blue seas independent buss-bar and a radio shack project box. There normally is not a cable with connectors for both the radio and the GPS.Below is the strip and box I used on the last boat. The box has a cover with 4 screws to hold the top on...Mark
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:19 AM   #8
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Thank you for all of the replies regading my "DSC" function!

Let me ask, if the two units were connected would the GPS coordinates still show up on the VHF screen regardless of weather I registered and entered a NMEA number into the unit or is NMEA number required?
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:21 AM   #9
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Chris,

According to the HDS-8 install guide the NMEA data communication is from the power data cable that is already installed
Yellow = Tx+
Blue = Tx-
Orange = Rx+
Green = Rx-
You need to connect the Tx (Transmit) from the GPS to the Rx (Receive) on the VHF and the Rx from the GPS to the Tx of the VHF.

If the GPS coordinates show up on your radio it must be connected to the GPS. Unless the VHF has a built in GPS.
If you input your MMSI # into the VHF you should be good to go.
Hope this helps. Where in Md are you located?

Last edited by Arch260; 05-10-2010 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:09 AM   #10
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Chris,

According to the HDS-8 install guide the NMEA data communication is from the power data cable that is already installed
Yellow = Tx+
Blue = Tx-
Orange = Rx+
Green = Rx-
You need to connect the Tx (Transmit) from the GPS to the Rx (Receive) on the VHF and the Rx from the GPS to the Tx of the VHF.

If the GPS coordinates show up on your radio it must be connected to the GPS. Unless the VHF has a built in GPS.
If you input your MMSI # into the VHF you should be good to go.
Hope this helps. Where in Md are you located?

Arch,

I very much appreciate your response! Unfortunately, my VHF is not displaying any GPS coordinates nor did I see wires running between the units.

I don't mean to sound stupid here, but based on what you describe does my HDS-8 unit already have what I need (i.e. plug-n-play) or will I still need to pick up the wires described earlier in order to connect the RX and TX on each unit?

Live in Rockville, keep my boat at Ferry Point off the Magothy.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:38 PM   #11
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