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SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

Old 07-19-2006, 04:52 PM
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Default SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

This is an offshroe "telephone" service available for $12 per month via a DSC VHF radio brought to us by Seatow. Looks interesting, anyone use it, any good??

Seems like a better deal than a sat phone.

http://www.seasmartvhf.com/trial/
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Old 07-19-2006, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

If ROIP works as well as VOIP, I sure don't want to bet my life on it



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Old 07-19-2006, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

How is this service any different form the previous ship-to-shore over VHF service that faded away when cells phones became the norm?

I saw nothing in the faq about encryption being used, so I presume the telephone conversations on VHF 27 and 28 are for everyone to listen to?!? …including your name and subscriber’s account number.


Elusive - I agree about VoIP, except that in the last couple of years VoIP has gotten really good. And the free VoIP is better than the paid stuff like Vonage.
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Old 07-20-2006, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

Eyeball,
I think (and I'm just guessing because they don't give much technical info out on the website I'm sure you noticed), they utilize your DSC MMSI # to make sure you are who you are... As far as encription, I'm nto sure, but I have noticed those two channels in my area are often fillled with some type of encrypted data, so maybee they are??

What I don't understand is, how are they using 27/28 with DSC?? DSC out of the box is designed to work on channel 70, only. Maybe they send you another peice of hardware?? Would love to know, but it does sound interesting.

I personally don't care if it's encrypted though, I'd just like the ability to tell the wife we are running late, or coming in early., or need help...
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

I think you are correct about using the MMSI to id the caller. It is an ask/answer scheme, have no idea if the query scheme is restricted to ch70 but I presume so. I have free time, I'll ask (via emails) and post back.
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Old 07-21-2006, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

Cool, let us know eyeball....
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

Here's the protocol .......
  1. Tune your VHF radio to channel 27 and then 28*. Choose the channel that provides you with the strongest Sea Smart™ message.
  2. Key your microphone (mic) for 5 seconds, let go and listen for confirmation message.
  3. Key your mic for 5 more seconds,unkey the mic and you will be connected to the Sea Smart Operations Center.
  4. Tell the Sea Smart Operator that you would like to place a phone call. Be prepared with your subscriber number and the phone number you would like to call.
  5. The operator will transfer the call for you.

The only restriction is thatyou limit your call to 5 minutes or less.

If 27/28 are unavailable check the channelsyour membership card will direct you to the channels available in your area.
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

Yes, saw that on website. But we are trying to figure out what it is "REALLY" doing.
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

The towers and operators are tied together by a truly state-of-the-art radio-over-Internet (RoIP) network. The Automatic Vessel Location (AVL) system receives your location from the DSC radios at the towers and succinctly plots your position with Web-based charting software.

After reading thisI imagine the AVL system receives a your position automatically once you start the log in process. If they query your position via DSC you would have to acknowledge the request manually for ur radio to transmit the reply. I would assume this is down automatically via RoIP and the AVL system.

Should be interesting .......
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Old 07-23-2006, 02:49 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

Well, you don't always have to "manually reply" to a position request. Most radio's have a setting that will automatically reply to pos req's.
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Old 07-23-2006, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

I don't think that is a correct statement ..... ur unit will not automatically send a position response to a position request from another unit even if you have that unit programed in your call log. Your radio will send an Acknowledgement of the request but then yoiu have to manually send your position.

I'll do some more research.
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Old 07-24-2006, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

bluewaterpirate - 7/23/2006 2:40 PM



I don't think that is a correct statement ..... ur unit will not automatically send a position response to a position request from another unit even if you have that unit programed in your call log. Your radio will send an Acknowledgement of the request but then yoiu have to manually send your position.

I'll do some more research.
No. If you turn on "AUTO REPLY" on your radio (but not all radio's have this!), it will AUTO REPLY, meaning, when a position request is received, the radio automatically, with no user intervention, send out the acknologement and reply with the postion data in it. I use it all the time

In fact, you really should always leave the "Auto Reply" feature on, why would you not want your buddies(the only ones that will have your MMSI# to know where you are, unless your in a Tourney maybe...
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Old 07-24-2006, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

My humble apology.
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Old 07-25-2006, 12:39 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

Made my first Sea Smart call yesterday. Worked as advertised. I was only about 12 miles off shore but had no cell phone signal so I gave it a try.

I tuned to VHF channel 27, and then 28. There was static on 28 so I switched back to 27 and keyed the mic for 5 seconds. A recorded voice came over the radio and directed me to key the mic for 5 more seconds. Less than a minute later an operator came on the radio and asked me my name, the number I wanted to call, and the name of the person I was contacting.

The operator called that person and when they answered, told them they had a call coming in from me on my radio and that everything they said could be heard publicly over the radio and that every thing I said would be private. The operator then connected us.

Communications were very clear and we could hear each other quite well. I was impressed.

I was not asked my account number. Sea Smart identified me by the MMSI number broadcast by my radio. The only action I took was keying the mic as described above. My radio (ICOM 602 – with no scrambler installed) remained tuned to ch 27 throughout the whole process.
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

Birdman,
I saw that ST was offering this but I wondered, what is the maximum range? I would assume it would be limited by your antenna height. Can it be relayed through another VHF?

Let us know your experience with it once you get it. I see it will not be available to us down south for awhile.

Thanks,
Danny
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Old 07-26-2006, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

I suspect that anyone with a scanner could head the "ship's" side of the radio conversation. The Public Correspondance channels are duplex, but in the 157 Mhz range, which is easily available to any scanner.
The range will also be about the same as the old ship to shore stations--and dependant on the height of the antenna on the shore station (as well as the boat's antenna).

If you are truely going offshore, probably the satellite phone would be a better choice.
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Old 07-27-2006, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: SeaSmart "Telephone"?? Anyone use it?

get a satellite phone. yes its expensive. yes the minutes are outraegeous. but it WILL WORK ANY WHERE. rented 1 on an alaska moose hunt, called in once a week.
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