Does Your DSC Know Who You Are?

 equipment, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Does Your DSC Know Who You Are?
Sep 012011

A DSC-enabled VHF radio

Does your DSC-enabled radio know who you are? Of course, no rational person would overlook entering an MMSI and connecting to a GPS receiver, but of course, they do, especially recreational boaters.

Warns the US Coast Guard:

As the US Coast Guard’s new marine radio network Rescue 21 becomes operational, rescue centers can now receive instant distress alerts from commonly used DSC-capable VHF marine radios.  However, 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. Continue reading »

Watch Those Channel-Switching VHFs

 maritime safety, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Watch Those Channel-Switching VHFs
Apr 142010

image The US Coast Guard has warned that an automatic channel switching feature found on some Digital Selective Calling, DSC, equipped VHF marine radios may create an unintended hazard by automatically switching from a working channel that might be in use at the time to Channel 16 when the VHF marine radio receives a DSC distress alert, distress alert acknowledgment or other DSC call where a VHF channel number has been designated.

This could happen without a vessel/radio operator’s immediate knowledge and could initiate an unsafe condition by which the vessel/radio operators would believe they were communicating on a working channel such as Channel 13 when, in fact, they were actually on Channel 16.

Continue reading »