DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

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Julian

DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby Julian » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:10 pm

Prime Ministers Questions today had a question from one of the NI ministers regarding only two TWO listening centres for coast guard operations.

If you call in that you are 4 cables NE off HE1 for example, no one is going to have the faintest idea where you are. Liverpool CG would know in that instance, but they wont be answering you.

But if you call via DSC the station who takes your call will have an immediate plot of your vessels position, isn't this better? I can see a rush to fit DSC sets in the next few months, even the die-hards who hate it because it's new (i.e. it wasnee arooond in tha 50s, it shouldnee be on a yacht).

It would have been brilliant for me in the late eighties/early nineties when I took charter fishing and diving parties out. We used to be rather inventive when reporting our intentions to Mersey Radio who we used as our shore contact. I didn't want to be flocked by small angling boats and ribs so would call in stuff like 100 cables NNE of Rhyl, a bit harder to find than 2 miles N of the bar light (example and most likely incorrect bearings etc).

We would often Dive with another similar vessel and having DSC friends set up so we could track each other would have been of great use for safety as well as privacy from above parties.

I think DSC in theory is brilliant and wish more people would use it, though no doubt that will change as the iPod generation arrive with more vigour to encourage change without fear. Sailing is meant to be fun, not an endurance of living through the fifties again... no really, it doesn't have to be a chore. Modernise and your family may come too!

Anyhow, to the point, does anyone agree that DSC is going to become the only way forward when the CG becomes no more than a call centre?

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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby Telo » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:59 am

Julian wrote:I think DSC in theory is brilliant and wish more people would use it.


Good post, and I think the take-up of DSC will increase for the reasons you state.

Incidentally, some people also like using DSC when sailing in company. I'm told that it gives some simple types hours of harmless amusement when they make DSC calls to my good friend Claymore and then watching his crew rummaging about for the handbook because none of them can remember how to turn the noise off. I'll mail you his MMSI if you want.

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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby Rowana » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:33 pm

I'd take issue with a couple of points, Julian.

I don't have a DSC VHF, nor will I be getting one until the present radio goes "phut" and all I'll be able to get is a DSC one.

I call up Peterhead harbour to get permission to leave the marina, as we have to - I've done a radio check! I listen to the weather forecast broadcast by the CG when it comes on. Apart from that, the VHF is never used until I return to Peterhead and ask for permission to enter harbour. Can't see the need for DSC.

I don't have a chartplotter either. Pencil and paper chart is good enough for the type of sailing I do, nor does my brain rely on a 5 amp fuse and a supply of electrickery.

You say "Sailing is meant to be fun, not an endurance of living through the fifties again... no really, it doesn't have to be a chore. Modernise and your family may come too!". Personally, part of the fun is getting AWAY from modern technology, ipods and the like. Leave harbour, get the sails up, switch off the infernal combustion thingy, and just drift along with a nice mug of tea in hand. Bliss :!:


The only things that bother me is, will the CG still broadcast the inshore weather forecast, and will the shipping forecast still be available on radio 4 when it goes digital.
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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby aquaplane » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:27 pm

I don't know all the ins and outs of how VHF works but I thought the CG had some idea of where you were by which arial they picked your message up on. That won't change just because all the arials are routed to one or two rooms with the blokes in insted of the number they have now.

I bought a VHF just to listen to the inshore forecast, as it happens I bought a DSC set as it was only 3 years ago. It has been used as a VHF when I have been cruising in company which is not so often.

Just for a laugh I put the only other MMSI number I know in and had a failed attempt to use it as a DSC set, will try again this season I think as I should know how to use some of the features even if learning all the bells and whistles doesn't interest me.

We were looking at getting a hand held and paying the extra for DSC just so we can chat without others hearing. I don't feel that comfortable chatting on VHF even when I have moved off Ch16.
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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby Arghiro » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:30 pm

aquaplane wrote:I don't know all the ins and outs of how VHF works but I thought the CG had some idea of where you were by which arial they picked your message up on. That won't change just because all the arials are routed to one or two rooms with the blokes in instead of the number they have now.
(snip)



Bad news, Waterwing, CG have abandoned the concept of VHF tracking. "the Lifeboat has the eqt, we don't need it". Unfortunately, if they call out the wrong lifeboat, it won't be close enough to hear your signal. In parts of Scotland, it would need to know where you are first in order to travel a score of miles towards you to get a signal anyway.

So always be ready to give your lat/long if in trouble & tough luck to small boats & inflatable toys that can't do that.

I'm sorry J, but I won't be chucking away my perfectly good VHF in order to spend money on something that might be useful, but I certainly don't NEED to continue sailing.

Signed "A Luddite" - who thinks that the 1960's was the best decade ever . . . :goatd

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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby DaveS » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:57 pm

aquaplane wrote:We were looking at getting a hand held and paying the extra for DSC just so we can chat without others hearing.


Er, how does that work, then?

Were you thinking that avoiding announcing a working channel on 16 would avoid idle /nosey sods evesdropping on your working frequency? (Not that anyone would do that, of course, however bored they might be. :) )

I don't however see how you could prevent anyone who happens to be scanning the working frequencies from evesdropping, however.
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Julian

Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby Julian » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:24 pm

Arghiro wrote:So always be ready to give your lat/long if in trouble & tough luck to small boats & inflatable toys that can't do that.

Signed "A Luddite" - who thinks that the 1960's was the best decade ever . . . :goatd


It's not just if you're in trouble though, any routine traffic is going to become a bore if you have to state your lat/lon position. But, if you call them via DSC they will have your position on the screen in front of their seat and be able to give the appropriate information. no?

Your VHF might very well be perfectly good, but a DSC enabled set is in my opinion better. It is like comparing DECCA with GPS and suggesting the former was a better system.

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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby Arghiro » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:41 pm

I'm not saying non-dsc is better, just that DSC adds little benefit for me & my sailing habits. Certainly not enough benefits to waste 250 beer tokens on one.

There will not be a need to quote lat-long for a passage plan/ radio check & forecasts will probably still be broadcast for different areas on different channels.

The only reason I can see where I may need to give a position is if responding to or initiating an emergency call. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby sahona » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:44 pm

Like most of the the innovations over the last few(?) years, DSC will just become part of life's rich tapestry.
Selcall (which if I'm right, is ASC -analogue selective calling) has been with us for years and nobody got hurt.
That's all it is -SELECTIVE CALLING. whether digital or analogue -doesn't matter.
The useful bit is the signature which MAY include your position IF you have connected a GPS and properly set up the system, otherwise it's used to dial a unique a telephone number to contact a friend.
You don't have to join in, you can ludd your way across the waves, but at least it will bleep if somebody else needs your assistance in the vicinity - and if they are properly set up, you will know where to find them.
I have had a DSC enabled radio for years, and it has made very little difference to my sailing life apart from the occasional alarm for a panpan or whatever.
I can't understand the negative attitude to this logical technical advance, which is being used by the SAR services to help us.
I assume the anti-DSC people also refuse to wear lifejackets/crash-helmets/goggles/gloves/workboots/etc. just because they are there?
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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby aquaplane » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:00 pm

Don't get me wrong, I'm proud to be a Luddite.

Sometimes I can see the advantage in addopting these new fangled ideas though.

DaveS, with an MMSI number you can call someone on VHF and the message only goes to them from you. When they answer you can chat without anyone else listening in. The set will even beep to tell you there is a message for you much like a moby phone call.

I don't have mine talking to the GPS so the supposed main advantage of DSC, the automatic position stamp on the message, is lost. Since I only wanted a VHF to listen to the weather, linking up the GPS isn't on my list of priorities, it is on the nice to have list though.

Edit, the Lat-Long doesn't go out every time you press the transmit button, as on a radio check or safety traffic, it only goes out when you press the red button, so assuming that the Coast Guard knows where you are in a voice message is wrong. OK if you are talking to them after hitting the red button, if your GPS is connected and switched on, they will know your posn. out.
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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby Julian » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:25 pm

aquaplane wrote:Edit, the Lat-Long doesn't go out every time you press the transmit button, as on a radio check or safety traffic, it only goes out when you press the red button, so assuming that the Coast Guard knows where you are in a voice message is wrong. OK if you are talking to them after hitting the red button, if your GPS is connected and switched on, they will know your posn. out.


No but if I dial in the CG MMSI and call them using DSC (not safety or distress) they will get my position wont they? I understand that it doesn't send a signature squalk each time you transmit.

Happy to be corrected, I don't fancy digging out my RYA manual tonight.

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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby aquaplane » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:33 pm

Julian wrote:
aquaplane wrote:Edit, the Lat-Long doesn't go out every time you press the transmit button, as on a radio check or safety traffic, it only goes out when you press the red button, so assuming that the Coast Guard knows where you are in a voice message is wrong. OK if you are talking to them after hitting the red button, if your GPS is connected and switched on, they will know your posn. out.


No but if I dial in the CG MMSI and call them using DSC (not safety or distress) they will get my position wont they? I understand that it doesn't send a signature squalk each time you transmit.

Happy to be corrected, I don't fancy digging out my RYA manual tonight.


Yep, I remember seeing that somewhere. IIRC it came up in a whinge about radio checks on the South Coast. Using the MMSI number for the coast guard sends a private message to them and they are able to check their gear in that mode too so the inferance was they aren't quite so bothered about answering the call. I wasn't aware that the position was transmitted but I can see the sense in it, if it's connected.
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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby Rowana » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:47 pm

sahona wrote:.
I can't understand the negative attitude to this logical technical advance, which is being used by the SAR services to help us.
I assume the anti-DSC people also refuse to wear lifejackets/crash-helmets/goggles/gloves/workboots/etc. just because they are there?


Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT anti-DSC, but like Arghiro, I can't justify spending 250 beer tokens on something I'm never going to use.

Apart from getting the weather forecast and calling for permission to enter/leave Peterhead, I've only ever used the VHF once, and that was when someone called me! I've never, ever, used it to call anyone else.

As I said, I'll get a DSC radio when this one goes "phut", but I can't see me using it any differently from the one I've got now. You need to know the MSMI number of who you want to call anyway, and I don't think there is a "phone book" of the numbers, so what's the point?
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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby sahona » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:42 am

Well, there is a "telephone book", but you would need more technology aboard to use it..

http://www.itu.int/online/mms/mars/ship_search.sh

If you know any of the particulars, it will give you the rest.

As to use, your DSC radio is two devices in one - apart from the redbutton, and standard voice functions:-
You can "ring" another station having pre-selected a working channel, which both sets will chop to when the call is answered. Anyone else on frequency will hear the conversation, but at least it will not have been advertised on ch16.
There are other DSC functions on the menu - sending a short message is just like texting, and that way you could have a discrete assignation, if required. Mine has room for pre-written messages like "where are you now?" etc.

If you're getting hassle from a big ship that is ignoring the colregs and your ch16 calls, you could trip his DSC alarm bell to wake him up.
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Re: DSC, will it become more relevant when the CG is cut..?

Postby Rowana » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:19 pm

Technology is what I'm trying to get away from while sailing, so that's a non-starter.

I hear what you're saying regarding DSC functions, but it's something I can't see me ever using.

"Big Ships" and "Peterhead" are mutually exclusive terms! What we get are trawlers entering/leaving the fish market, and supply ships coming from/going to the rigs and platforms. Both types are predictable in their actions, and it is quite easy (I find), to keep out of their way.

Inshore fisherman seem to be a completely different breed, however. You see one with his nets dragging along, and you ascertain that you will comfortably pass astern of him, when he suddenly alters course directly on to a collision course! Either that, or he stops completly right in front of you to haul in his gear! I just tack/gybe out of their way as I feel that they are out there to make a living, and I'm just out having fun. GRP gives way to steel, sort of thing. Can't be bothered with all this stand on/give way nonsense. I'm already on tablets for blood pressure anyway.

I am however, going to invest in one piece of modern technology. I'm going to get one of these PLB gadgets so that if the excrement hits the whirly thing big time, I can push a button and it will send a message saying, "I'm in trouble and my position is umteen degrees north and a wee bit west - come and get me". When the big yellow bird arrives, it also sends it a signal so that they can find me.

Technology like that is fine.


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