What Is Digital Selective Calling?
Distress Alerts from Coast Guard Station
When a distress signal is sent out, the coast guard station in the area immediately acknowledges it and lets you know. The alert can be transmitted by ships that are not in the coast guard station range. It is also effective in routine notifications for communicating with other radio stations.
The Role of Cell Phones in Marine Communication
Marine communications have become more complex than just a few years ago. Technology that used to only be available to commercial vessels is now available to sail and powerboat owners. The goal of the technology is to make marine transportation safer.
To transmit a distress message, the radio needs to be connected to a chartplotter or a gps unit. Plug-in wire connections are available from retail marine outlets or included with new radios. It is important to follow instructions or get assistance from a qualified technician for proper installation.
A guide to color codes is helpful. When discussing DSC boaters always ask if cell phones are used in distress. Cell phones should not be used as a substitute for established search and rescue systems.
Cell phones can be useful in times of distress. If the vessel in distress is not equipped with a radio or if the transmission quality is poor, the CG uses cell phones. Cell phone use in distress situations is helpful, but should not be the sole means of emergency communications.
The theory is that any radio-equipped recreational vessel on U.S. waters is part of GMDSS. A 40-foot day cruiser could be involved in responding to a fire aboard a foreign-flagged tanker. The Coast Guard would likely handle the distress, but boaters are required by federal law to help in emergencies.
Marine VHF Radios
Full-featured marine VHF radios designed for a fixed mount can make individual calls to other vessels, can make an all-ships call, and can collect and relay distress and routine navigation data. Many well-established marine electronics brands, including Furuno, Raymarine, and Garmin, now offer a stand-alone unit or as part of a chartplotter or radar package. Installation is easy.
The 406 EPIRB: A Satellite Based System for Airborne Homing
The 406EPIRB is a satellite based system that can be used for homing by aircraft. There are two categories for 406. Category 1 EPIRBs must be able to float free and be activated manually.
The category 1 EPIRBs are required by GMDSS. Category 2 EPIRBs can be carried as a second one or stored in a survival craft. All the EPIRBs must be able to float in an upright position with antenna deployed and have a strobe light to help locate rescue craft.
Touch Call: A Group of Radios
A single five-tone sequence is used in a group of radios, the same way that a single tone is used on an entire group of radios. All radios have their own private callnumber that can be reached for an individual conversation. The radio speaker turns on when the fifth tone of a valid sequence is decoded.
A short announcement tone is generated on the radio when a group call is made. The receive path is open in a private call if the receipt tone is transmitted back to the sender. 99 codes are provided with the added advantage of silent operation with the newest signaling technique, XTCSS.
Privacy and flexibility of operation are what the XTCSS fitted radios are designed to enjoy. The combination of in-band signaling andCTCSS is used to implement XTCSS. A radio is called individual calling.
A sequence of tones is the most common component of individual calling schemes. There are a dozen to thousands of possible individual codes in most schemes. More than two hundred radios on a single channel make traffic impossible.
1,000 individual calls will be more than needed. Many companies have names for their features. Touch Call is a call that is called by the company, Motorola.
Distress Signals for the European Coast Guard
Your distress signal will be heard by all the shore stations and vessels. It will be repeated every 4 minutes. A voice transmission has a lower range than a DSC alert signal, but it is more likely to reach a vessel or rescue centre.
A DSC alert signal is the most efficient way to start emergency communications with ships and rescue coordination centers. You can speak to the emergency authorities and plan your next move with the help of the DSC. All large vessels and almost all the coastguards in Europe are fully-equipped for DSC.
Channel 16 is distress
Channel 16 is distress and should only be used to raise another party. All routine traffic should be passed on to another agreed channel once contact has been made.
The Red Distress Knot
If you've bought a radio in the last few years, you'll probably see a red distress button the front. If you need immediate assistance, you can lift the flap, press and hold the button for five seconds, and the details of your vessel, your position, and the fact that you need help are broadcast to the U.S. Coast Guard. Even if you can't speak, the system should summon assistance.
It sounds like a bargain when you consider that a DSC-equipped VHF can be had for about $150 and is arguably the most important piece of safety equipment that you can have aboard. The little red distress button is useless because almost 90 percent of the radios aren't programmed. Here's what you need to do.