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Any tricks to using DSC for vessel to vessel Communication?

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Any tricks to using DSC for vessel to vessel Communication?

Old 09-10-2014, 09:14 AM
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Default Any tricks to using DSC for vessel to vessel Communication?

Just got into DSC use with a NMEA 2000 VHF. As a novice, i'm looking for any details that help. I haven't tried calling for someone's location and having theirs show up on my NMEA2000 chartplotter, but I like that idea. I also like the Group functionality.
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Old 09-10-2014, 09:55 AM
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I too have wanted to do this, as the technology seems awesome, but having had the radio for almost ten years, I've never know anyone utilizing the selective calling and charting features..
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:14 AM
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DSC calling and polling are very cool features

You'll need to connect the VHF and chart plotters according to mfg. you'll need yours and the other boat(s) MMSI numbers to complete the setup

I haven't used the group function yet cuz most of my boating buddies are too lazy to hook their VHF radios and chart plotters ( yes they have the right electronics)
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:15 AM
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The part with someone's position appearing on your chartplotter is position polling and I have used it myself for the reason mentioned. You'll need the MMSI number of the boat you're trying to acquire their position from and they either have to have their system set upto auto allow a position request to be replied to or they will have to manually allow it. You also have to be within VHF range of each other for this feature to work.

I like DCS calling as well, but again you need the MMSI number of the vessel you're hailing. What I liked about it is that the vessel being hailed will hear a distinctive alert from their VHF and it will be hard for them not to know that someone is hailing them, especially when they're running and the radio is competing against engine noise. You also as the caller preselect the working channel and when the vessel being called just keys their mic in acknowledgment their radio automatically shifts itself to the channel you have already selected. It's much faster than hailing someone and hoping they'll hear you and then repeating the same thing over again when you have both switched to the working channel.
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:37 AM
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Yeah..I have read much about all that's written above. I guess like was said, many people just aren't inclined to set it up or use it.
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:45 AM
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Great technology, just not utilized. As far as the emergency feature that is excellent and something all on-board should know what it's all about.
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Old 09-10-2014, 05:09 PM
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I got a DSC class D radio about 2006. I wanted to try it out but I didn't know anyone else with it. Come to find out 3 other boats on my dock had dsc radios but never hooked them up. I interfaced them to their chartplotter and got them mmsi numbers and tested them out. It worked really well. But as above not many people are utilizing it.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:41 PM
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There should not be any "tricks" to learn. The specifications for design of DSC radios require simple operation:

The user interface for operation of the DSC equipment should be so designed that it will be easy for the operator onboard the ship to operate the equipment and to compose and initiate the types of DSC messages provided for by the equipment.
Source: ITU-Rec-M.493-13, Annex 3, Section 1, General

If you have a DSC radio that requires use of "tricks", it is not a properly designed DSC radio.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:53 PM
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I have DSC and interfaced to GPS. cant say that I know anyone else. They all think its a great idea just haven't hooked it up.
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:49 PM
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DSC only works with an MMSI number. A lot of people don't bother to get one. One valid for the US can be obtained for free, but one for international use requires paying a fee. People in So. FL, near Canada, and go far offshore who want a MMSI number probably should have an international one.

Once you program a radio with an MMSI number you can't change it. It has to go for factory service to get the number reset. Some people may see this a reducing the resale value of the radio.

Unless you have a known set of contacts/other boaters to talk to, it is of limited utility. You can't call a random boat using DSC. It is probably most useful for a company that has a fleet of boats that talk to each other and/or to the base regularly.

It's sort of like this, you can call anyone using a bullhorn, but cannot call them using your cell phone if you don't know their number.

DSC is not required to send a Distress message, but if you do have an MMSI number it is sent as part of that message and the CG will know who you are.
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Old 03-07-2015, 03:52 PM
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Old thread - but, having DSC and and an AIS receiver lets you see the MMSI number of a targets and then call them directly using DSC. Could be useful at a bridge if you can't see the other vessels name and you want to coordinate passing under the bridge. That being said, I haven't tested mine since none of my friends have bothered to set their radios up.
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:41 PM
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It is so easy to get an MMSI number and program it. I have it as a safety measure.
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