Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Re: MMSI# for DSC/GPS Handheld VHF
All my devices aboard: EPIRB, SSB and two VHF all have the same MMSI number programmed. I don't move them around, however. You must be able to get a discreet number for a handheld, since one may not have a boat at all. I have this vague recollection that this answer could be different depending on country too.
For a couple of other points:
The free BoatUS numbers can not be used internationally. If you ever planned to cruise out of the country, you would need to get them from the FCC. However, almost all radios can't be reprogrammed without returning the to the manufacturer.
I also have a handheld VHF with DSC. We must understand, however, that the range on these is very very limited. Handhelds don't have much power to begin with, let alone transmitting so close to the water. I bought one with an integrated GPS receiver. While the DSC is nice, even if the CG were to receive the signal, they need it integrated with GPS to know where you are. Unless you are within a couple of miles of an antenna, I think the odds are low they will receive anything. In populated cruising grounds, I think it is more likely that you would hail a passing boater and read them your GPS coordinate off the radio and they either come to assist or relay the info to the CG.
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