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ICOM M302 still worthy?

Old 02-28-2012, 08:21 PM
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Default ICOM M302 still worthy?

I bought this radio for my last boat and never got around to installing it. Its 6 years old but NIB.

I'm planning on installing it in the new boat.

Being that its discontinued,do the new models offer anything the 302 doesn't?
Old 02-29-2012, 05:33 AM
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The 302 is not a class D DSC radio, so technically, it is illegal to install it as a new installation. Suggest you upgrade to a class D radio. Class D radio's have a separate receiver for channel 70 DSC while older models that conform to SC-101 specs have a shared receiver that can easily miss DSC calls. As of March, 2011, they are illegal to sell, import or install in the U.S.

Eric
Old 02-29-2012, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
The 302 is not a class D DSC radio, so technically, it is illegal to install it as a new installation. Suggest you upgrade to a class D radio. Class D radio's have a separate receiver for channel 70 DSC while older models that conform to SC-101 specs have a shared receiver that can easily miss DSC calls. As of March, 2011, they are illegal to sell, import or install in the U.S.

Eric
I had not heard of this requirement until Fairbank56 posted. I did some research and found a little more information, see the link below. In reading into it further, you can't even reinstall and older radio that is not Class D. So if you have a NIB non class D radio, Fairbank56's statement that you can't install it is correct. If you have a non-class D in an existing installation, you are not required to upgrade it. Given the cost of most of our electronics, a VHF is one of the more least costly items and it would be a good idea to upgrade. Fairbank56, thanks for bringing me up to speed on the new regs.

http://www.ifish.net/board/showthread.php?t=335664
Old 02-29-2012, 07:08 AM
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Well crap...

Just when you think you're done at $120K
Old 02-29-2012, 07:13 AM
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It looks like the FCC has postponed the prohibition the other posters have referred to until January 13, 2013: http://www.fcc.gov/document/maritime...arification-pn
Old 02-29-2012, 08:13 AM
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Typical government mentality. On the one hand, they want everyone to have/use modern class D DSC radio's because of the inferiority of the older SC-101 standard and on the other, they give time for vendors to unload their inventory of inferior SC-101 radio's on unsuspecting buyers Most users are unaware of the U.S. only SC-101 standard which is a non IMO approved "version" of class D DSC.

Eric

Last edited by fairbank56; 02-29-2012 at 08:38 AM.
Old 02-29-2012, 09:44 AM
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The VHF Marine band is a regulated radio service. The FCC gave timely notice of its intention to change the regulations, announcing it in 2009. Many boating website with an electronic orientation gave notice of this more than a year ago. An RTCM SC-101 radio already installed is still approved for operation.

If only the radio under discussion were already installed--hint-hint--it would be perfectly compliant.

Last edited by jhebert; 02-29-2012 at 09:59 AM.
Old 02-29-2012, 10:34 AM
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when is the last time you guys had someone check your boat to verify your radio's DSC compliance? I say install the thing, hook it up to your GPS and get a remote speaker cause the one on it is a little weak.... nothing wrong with the radio unless you are a geek squared.
Old 02-29-2012, 11:12 AM
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It's not so much about being legal as it is about having a "true" DSC radio as opposed to the SC-101 version. It was a stupid idea to begin with as a way of introducing U.S. boaters to DSC "cheaply". SC-101 radio's do not have a dedicated channel 70 DSC receiver which means if you are just monitoring channel 16 or scanning channels not including channel 70 or you are actively receiving another channel when a DSC alert comes through, you will not receive it. Even if you are scanning channel 70, you are not guaranteed to receive a DSC alert. If you need to transmit a DSC alert, you must change to channel 70 first. With a true class D radio, channel 70 is always being monitored in the background regardless of what channel you are on or if you are actively receiving another channel. The only time you would miss an alert is if you are transmitting and you can press that red button to send your own distress call no matter what channel you are on. There are also other features available with class D that are not with SC-101. The very reason the FCC has withdrawn approval of SC-101 is because of the many deficiencies of these radio's yet they are going to allow vendors time to unload them on buyers who are unaware of what they are really getting. Their not likely to be advertising the fact that these radio's DSC functionality sucks. I'd hate to be the one who has to say, "wow, if I only had a class D radio, I could have saved those people". If your fine with these deficiencies or don't care about DSC at all, then go ahead and use it. In the U.S., being legal simply means not getting caught, and the chances of that happening in this situation is about zero.

Eric
Old 02-29-2012, 12:22 PM
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i could chop both hands off and count on the remaining fingers the number of times i have received any type of DSC message and i have a type d or whatever its called. best bet would be to install this one and buy another radio to make sure the boat had two radios so one could be on 16 all the time.
Old 02-29-2012, 12:49 PM
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My experience is the same here on the West Coast of British Columbia. I have never received a DSC call nor have I ever heard any kind of distress, urgency or safety call made via DSC, not even by the Coast Guard.
Old 02-29-2012, 01:17 PM
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That's because of user ignorance/complacency about DSC and the number of non DSC radio's still out there. Most user's don't even bother getting an MMSI number to program into the radio. Without a number, you can't even send a distress alert.

According to CG statistics for 2010, the number of VHF DSC distress calls received was 263 compared to 15,882 voice calls over channel 16 and 7,285 made over cell phones.

Unfortunately, in the U.S., people don't have the time or ambition to learn anything. The industry is currently leaning toward having all radio's with built-in GPS and pre-programmed MMSI's. Don't know how the MMSI thing is going to work but they are trying to come up with something to idiot-proof the Rescue 21 system. Now, what percentage of people have heard of that? Probably about as many that have heard of SC-101 vs Class D

Eric
Old 02-29-2012, 09:31 PM
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According to US Coast Guard Alert 04-11 (Sept, 2011) "approximately 90% of VHF DSC distress alerts received by the Coast Guard do not contain position information, and approximately 60% do not contain a registered identity. The Coast Guard cannot effectively respond to a DSC distress alert sent from such a radio."

That is very troubling for those of us who are aware of the advantages of DSC and rely on it for emergencies. The DSC advantage was said to lie in the fact that a distress call will set off an alarm on the DSC radios of other boats within range and provide the nature of the distress and GPS position. The idea was that a nearby boater would then be able to provide assistance more rapidly than the Coast Guard, which could obviously make the difference between a tragedy and good news.

The Coast Guard's statistics suggest that very few boaters have have their DSC connected to GPS plotters and have MMSI's. Will the DSC alarm go off in such a case? If so, would the GPS coordinates (lat/long) show up on their radios?

If not, the "close boat for help" advantage is lost for those of us who use DSC as it was intended. While the Coast Guard may get the DSC distress call if within range, if they don't I guess it's back to Mayday calls on 16, which not every emergency situation allows. DSC allows for one button activation and repeated messages, with coordinates, until acknowledged, even if someone can no longer operate the radio.

It baffles me why so many are not taking advantage of something so useful and important for safety on the water. To me it's a "no brainer" and once everything is connected, there nothing left to do except use it when you need it.
Old 03-01-2012, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by saxe point View Post
The Coast Guard's statistics suggest that very few boaters have have their DSC connected to GPS plotters and have MMSI's. Will the DSC alarm go off in such a case? If so, would the GPS coordinates (lat/long) show up on their radios?
Yes, the alarm will still sound and coordinates will be displayed on the receiving radio that does not have an MMSI.

In May of last year, the National GMDSS Implementation Task Force petitioned the FCC to amend the rules to require that voluntary users of VHF-DSC radio's be required to register for MMSI and connect a GPS receiver. I don't think this will have the desired effect as people simply don't give a damn about rules anyway and FCC rule enforcement on recreational boaters is non-existant. We already see the problem of most calls not having a registered identity which means the user has just programmed a random number into their radio to allow it to send DSC messages.

I think the only real solution is to require the radio's to have internal GPS and make MMSI programming part of the buying process. The buyer would have to properly obtain an MMSI number that the vendor would program into the radio before selling the radio. You simply cannot depend on end users to read and follow the installation instructions that come with the radio's. We already see the large number of requests on this forum on how to connect specific radio's to specific navigation equipment.

With the CG's rescue 21 system now just about fully implemented, the entire coast of the U.S. is covered out to at least 20 nautical miles. Using the DSC distress alert is the fastest most reliable way you are going to get help as the CG and other nearby boaters will be alerted immediately with the simple press of a button.

Eric
Old 03-01-2012, 07:17 AM
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Thanks Eric - good to know that the key DSC features (alarm & position) will work on all DSC radios in range, irrespective of the receiving radio not having an MMSI or being connected to GPS. I suspected that was the case, but was not sure.

I agree that internal GPS and MMSI application being required as part of the purchase is probably the only workable solution to the lack of uptake. It's a shame because, like I said, I didn't find the MMSI or GPS connection process to be difficult.
Old 03-01-2012, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
...SC-101 radio's do not have a dedicated channel 70 DSC receiver which means if you are just monitoring channel 16 or scanning channels not including channel 70 or you are actively receiving another channel when a DSC alert comes through, you will not receive it. Even if you are scanning channel 70, you are not guaranteed to receive a DSC alert. If you need to transmit a DSC alert, you must change to channel 70 first...

Eric
Maybe on some radios this is the case, but not the M302 and a couple of others I have used.

Unless you are transmitting or actively receiving (noise coming out of speaker) on another channel, the radio is scanning channel 70. But yes, you could miss a DSC alert.

As far as transmitting a DSC Alert ALL radios must first tune to channel 70 as none of them have dedicated DSC transmitters. Again, there may some radios that require you to manually make this switch, but not the M302 and a couple of others I have used.
Old 03-01-2012, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Crabpot Man View Post
Maybe on some radios this is the case, but not the M302 and a couple of others I have used.

Unless you are transmitting or actively receiving (noise coming out of speaker) on another channel, the radio is scanning channel 70.
Apparently, you did not really read my post. I said "if you are just monitoring channel 16 or scanning channels not including channel 70 or you are actively receiving another channel when a DSC alert comes through"... The 302 does not automatically scan channel 70 unless you have DSC watch mode turned on, the default is OFF.

As far as transmitting a DSC Alert ALL radios must first tune to channel 70 as none of them have dedicated DSC transmitters.
You do not have to manually tune to channel 70 for DSC calls. The radio automatically changes to that channel whether it's a distress call with the red button or just a regular call, even on the 302. I was incorrect in my previous post about having to manually change to channel 70 for a DSC call from the 302.

Eric
Old 03-01-2012, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
Apparently, you did not really read my post. I said "if you are just monitoring channel 16 or scanning channels not including channel 70 or you are actively receiving another channel when a DSC alert comes through"... The 302 does not automatically scan channel 70 unless you have DSC watch mode turned on, the default is OFF.




Eric
I read it fine, as unclear as it was.

With DSC Watch on channel 70 is being scanned in the background.

I certainly agree that Class D is the way to go.

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