Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: San Francisco Bay area
Thanked 57 Times in 57 Posts
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?
I think that Standard Horizon VHF with DSC and GPS is one of the best inventions ever for single handed coastal sailors. Why? Because you have one touch distress calling, on your belt (if that's where you put it), with your gps co-ordinates attached to the message. The coastguard WILL get the message if you are anywhere off the US.
I have much more faith in that digital message getting through than trying to relay my coordinates over voice. The coastguard has excellent antennas, while the handheld has a 6" one, so it is quite likely that you will be able to reach them, but not hear them back.
I hear talk between the coastguard and distressed vessels every day. Communication over analog can be quite difficult and prone to error. That's why the DSC system was invented. They haven't spent all those millions on equipment just for a laugh, it was to help save lives.
The combination of VHF with DSC and GPS, and a PLB, is excellent - the radio brings them coming, the PLB's 121.5 mhz analog beacon lets them find you even if the 406 mhz digital message hasn't been relayed through SARSAT.
And you can bet a DSC message AND SARSAT one together from the same vessel is going to help convince them that the situation is a real emergency.
$500 well spent.
With one touch of the DSC button, the CG (and anyone else nearby) gets :
My MMSI no, which account contains :
My vessels name
Description of vessel
Usual sailing area
Emergency contact names and numbers
Type of emergency (optional)
The PLB account has the same info.
Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay
Last edited by MarkSF; 11-26-2012 at 09:48 PM.