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Dsc essential or not?

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Dsc essential or not?

Postby Frankelsbikes » 24 Jan 2018, 13:00

Dear All is it essential to get dsc radio or would a standard vhf do for my intended sibbing. I would not be venturing out too far in the near future. Things might change I know, but with the amount of needed goodies every penny counts!
Am I missing the point what would I use it for other than emergency locating my position being registered?



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Re: Dsc essential or not?

Postby Paul B » 24 Jan 2018, 13:27

If I was to be buying a vhf radio, I would indeed buy one with DSC, and technically you need to have a VHF licence to be totally legal in using it, But somehow I don’t think they would mind too much if you needed to be rescued and had used a vhf set to initiate a rescue :D
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Re: Dsc essential or not?

Postby pritch » 24 Jan 2018, 13:49

Just spotted these. Not sure how good they are but looks a good price.
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Re: Dsc essential or not?

Postby Paul B » 24 Jan 2018, 14:03

That appears pretty cheap, not sure how good they are though :thumbsup
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Re: Dsc essential or not?

Postby rogerblack » 24 Jan 2018, 14:04

Different folks have different thoughts and opinions on this, there's no 'right' answer to meet everyone's different needs.

If you're only going to have one, I'd go for a portable, with DSC, and keep it attached to your lifejacket so if you go overboard, it goes with you. DSC will enable the rescue services to find you much more easily. A fixed radio requires an external battery and will stay with the boat, the benefit is that it can be attached to an external aerial and can transmit over a longer range. I have an external aerial and extendable pole on my SIB which I can plug the portable into if I need a bit of extra range.

The other benefit of a portable is that the licence is tied to the portable handset, not a named vessel, so if you go out on a buddy's boat you can take the portable with you.

This previous post attempts to clarify common misunderstandings over registration/licence/operator's certificate.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=104&start=110&hilit=portable

The thread also has other useful information on VHF radios as do several other threads you may like to search for. Or ask again here if there's anything you're not sure about.

:cheers
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Re: Dsc essential or not?

Postby Frankelsbikes » 24 Jan 2018, 16:32

Thanks for the replies, I am doing the vhf course and will get the licence to use it correctly. I am not intending on buying one and just use it.
I am more interested if dsc is worth the extra money on a portable handset?
The more experienced guys on here seem to use the standard horizon hx870 at £250 seems a lot!

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Re: Dsc essential or not?

Postby chris moody » 24 Jan 2018, 19:04

I have two DSC handhelds but 99.9% of the time they are both used exactly like a non DSC set (calling marinas or harbourmasters for a short stay berth, talking to lock masters, communicating with other vessels on the water, etc). If I wanted to issue a Pan Pan or Mayday, and I was still aboard my vessel, I would do a voice Mayday to call for assistance.

The one time I want that RED DISTRESS BUTTON is if I get ejected from my boat into the water. I'm not going to be capable of a voice Mayday due to cold water shock, but I will be able to hold a red button down for 5 seconds (assuming I'm still conscious). For me the extra cost is worth it for that one time I might end up in the water. Others might not think the extra cost is worth it for that one very unlikely event.

If money was tight I would rather buy a non DSC iCom or Standard Horizon, over a cheaper brand DSC set. The iCom M23 (now replaced by the M25) is a superb budget non DSC handheld
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Re: Dsc essential or not?

Postby Frankelsbikes » 24 Jan 2018, 20:26

chris moody wrote:I have two DSC handhelds but 99.9% of the time they are both used exactly like a non DSC set (calling marinas or harbourmasters for a short stay berth, talking to lock masters, communicating with other vessels on the water, etc). If I wanted to issue a Pan Pan or Mayday, and I was still aboard my vessel, I would do a voice Mayday to call for assistance.

The one time I want that RED DISTRESS BUTTON is if I get ejected from my boat into the water. I'm not going to be capable of a voice Mayday due to cold water shock, but I will be able to hold a red button down for 5 seconds (assuming I'm still conscious). For me the extra cost is worth it for that one time I might end up in the water. Others might not think the extra cost is worth it for that one very unlikely event.

If money was tight I would rather buy a non DSC iCom or Standard Horizon, over a cheaper brand DSC set. The iCom M23 (now replaced by the M25) is a superb budget non DSC handheld
I thank you Chris that is exactly what I wanted to know, I will probably be told on the course next week to get a Dsc and would probably do so, just not right now while I find my feet!


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Re: Dsc essential or not?

Postby chris moody » 24 Jan 2018, 20:59

In theory with a DSC set you can instigate routine calls with people you know via a DSC call instead of a voice call on ch16. Quite a handy feature, as the recipient is much less likely to miss a really loud DSC radio alarm that they have to cancel, than their boat name being mentioned on ch16.

In practice nobody seems to use this feature at all. I have never received a DSC initiated routine call ever. I have always been called on ch16 with a voice call.

So currently, until VHF users embrace DSC features it has no real use other than the red button to alert all nearby DSC sets and the coastguard of your position and mmsi in the event of a mayday (which is very useful when the brown stuff has hit the fan).
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Re: Dsc essential or not?

Postby Frankelsbikes » 24 Jan 2018, 21:18

chris moody wrote:In theory with a DSC set you can instigate routine calls with people you know via a DSC call instead of a voice call on ch16. Quite a handy feature, as the recipient is much less likely to miss a really loud DSC radio alarm that they have to cancel, than their boat name being mentioned on ch16.

In practice nobody seems to use this feature at all. I have never received a DSC initiated routine call ever. I have always been called on ch16 with a voice call.

So currently, until VHF users embrace DSC features it has no real use other than the red button to alert all nearby DSC sets and the coastguard of your position and mmsi in the event of a mayday (which is very useful when the brown stuff has hit the fan).
Thanks Chris that's great info, I was after real time users giving real feedback how they use it. I believe Dsc is something we should embrace although if normal vhf still provide full functionality other than the extra (maybe one day) feature I can't justify the bill just yet! Cheers

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