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DanS
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Joined: 11/04/03
Posts: 1217
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Got a new VHF handheld, but have an issue
      #1718289 - 01/08/17 11:33 AM (107.191.35.68)

I just bought a new handheld VHF (Standard Horizon HX870) that has DSC capability for transmitting distress signals.

It turns out that the DSC transmit feature will not work until the radio has been programmed with an MMSI number. There are several ways to obtain an MMSI number, and the most common ones assume that the number is assigned to a particular boat. But I don't own a boat anymore, and I bought the radio mainly for chartering.

Have any of you TTOLers dealt with this?

Dan


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YachtReprise
Traveler


Joined: 05/17/11
Posts: 400
Loc: East End, Tortola / Chicago
Re: Got a new VHF handheld, but have an issue [Re: DanS]
      #1718387 - 01/08/17 11:32 PM (67.175.88.185)

Yeah, that's still kind of a Catch 22. But my understanding is that you can get a 'portable' (Type P) FCC license...after which you can get an MMSI number.

The FCC license ain't cheap, I don't think.

Alternately...you can just push the envelope and register it to your home kayak. It doesn't really make any difference, since the number is (effectively) tied to the radio itself, and not any particular boat. You're not required to validate registration...just provide a name of the vessel. The emergency contact info that you give is the important stuff. THAT is what will be vital in rescue and recovery.


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DanS
Traveler


Joined: 11/04/03
Posts: 1217
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Re: Got a new VHF handheld, but have an issue [Re: YachtReprise]
      #1719032 - 01/13/17 09:49 PM (69.112.46.166)

Thanks for the input. The other annoyance is that the MMSI can only be programmed once; to reprogram it the radio must be returned to the manufacturer to clear the setting. So I can't easily use a stopgap solution now and a more permanent solution later.

Dan


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DanS
Traveler


Joined: 11/04/03
Posts: 1217
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Re: Got a new VHF handheld, but have an issue [Re: DanS]
      #1723688 - 02/20/17 04:49 PM (108.61.55.76)

Just to follow up...

I decided to get an MMSI number through BoatUS, and it was very easy. I left the vessel information completely blank. As I learned via some on-line digging, I can update the account at any time (this is true for BoatUS, not necessarily for MMSIs obtained through other means). So in principle I could pop in the info for any charter boat at the time of the voyage.

The cost was $25 since I was a non-member. The number was assigned instantly, and I've now programmed it into my radio.

Dan


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Zanshin
Traveler


Joined: 03/23/08
Posts: 1415
Loc: BVI
Re: Got a new VHF handheld, but have an issue [Re: DanS]
      #1724125 - 02/24/17 07:13 AM (208.83.82.18)

Hello DanS - what you should keep in mind is that this BoatUS MMSI is not an international one. So if you hit the DSC emergency button on the radio while outside of the USA the SAR chain of events might not be triggered, since the ITU will have no official record of that MMSI number.

--------------------
SV Zanshin


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DanS
Traveler


Joined: 11/04/03
Posts: 1217
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Re: Got a new VHF handheld, but have an issue [Re: Zanshin]
      #1724190 - 02/24/17 08:38 PM (108.61.68.145)

Thanks for mentioning that Arnd. It's an important point and I was aware of it.

I decided that if I ever hit that DSC button, I would mainly be hoping that someone near enough to receive the signal might respond, and be guided to my position by the GPS coordinates that my radio transmits. I realize that my identifying information will not be in the international database.

Given that the only international sailing I ever intend to do is in the relatively benign conditions of the BVI, I feel that's a reasonable compromise. Especially since the FCC does not seem to offer any solution for a handheld VHF, not associated with a particular boat, that is to be used internationally. At least according to this Coast Guard page.

Dan


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