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post #1 of 33 Old 06-13-2012 Thread Starter
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Hoax distress call

Coast Guard cost for N.J. boat explosion hoax adds up to $318K | NJ.com

Pretty bad. I hope they nail this guy to the wall.

For the conspiracy theorists, its common for terrorists to test response times when planning attacks. Hope this is just your average home grown idiot.


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post #2 of 33 Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Hoax distress call

We had the same thing here last year a couple of times . In one instance it turned out to be the result of a for real distress call from a disabled boat that received help before the CG arrived & no one thought it was important to maybe call the CG & let them know the issue was resolved .
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post #3 of 33 Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Hoax distress call

I would suggest that this is a good time for sailors to make a little noise in an effort to help the USCG with this problem.

For 30 years, count 'em, the USCG has been asking Congress for money for VHF/RDF equipment. The same equipment that charter fishing boats use so they can see where the competition really is whenever they make a radio call. Not the old RDF that you manually spin to fix, but an array like the LoJack antennas on police cars. Four little sticks, some electronics and lights that say "THAT WAY" to point out where a transmission is coming from in real time.

This type of RDF equipment is off-the-shelf mature technology and the USCG was supposed to have it budgeted and deployed to most shore stations long ago, finally as part of their What was it, 2001 master upgrade plan? But instead the equipment budget gets shot down, the USCG can never tell where a call is coming from, and they spend in this case an estimate $400,000 and climbing. Totally wasted on a hoax.

Congress won't give them the money to detect and stop hoaxes. Congress won't even give them the money to man the station radios, some of the watch officers are actually civilian (CGAux) volunteers.

Pennywise poundfoolish? You bet. And right now if you contact your local news media and your Congresscritter, maybe we can push to get that equipment budgeted by embarrassing them all.

It won't solve all the problems, but it is the obvious and effective first step to stopping many false responses.
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post #4 of 33 Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Hoax distress call

they'll get 'em.

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post #5 of 33 Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Hoax distress call

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
...the USCG can never tell where a call is coming from...
They can. It might take a bit.

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Last edited by DRFerron; 06-13-2012 at 09:49 AM.
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post #6 of 33 Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Hoax distress call

I ran across a fellow one night parked in a funny spot near La Conner. His rig was lit up by all sorts of electronics and a computer display. I don't remember if he was a government guy or a private guy, but he was locating the source of R.F. noise. Had some sort of RF direction device plumbed into a computer with mapping software. He would park here and there and get multiple bearings on a computer map. It appeared that he was able to narrow it down to a particular parking lot in town over a mile away. He thought it was probably an transformer causing the interference.

The Coast Guard in our neck of the woods will have boaters give a ten count on the radio to get direction information, so at least some detachments have RDF gear.

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post #7 of 33 Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Hoax distress call

Waska- I said the same thing in responses to the Facebook App Jersey Shore Hurricane News. From my experience in the Army, things like this do not sound like a hoax, rather someone testing the water for response time, personnel on call, time on scene etc etc. This way they can configure their window of opportunity, and sadly with all the ports of entry in the area thats a sketchy "hoax" at best.
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post #8 of 33 Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Hoax distress call

DR-
"They can. It might take a bit. " In the NY/NJ area, they can't. They have no RDF gear and their only way to localize a radio call is by polling every station and asking "did you hear this? How loud was it?" and then drawing cricles around each station. Where the circles overlap, if they overlap, gives them an area but it is a wide one--and cannot be determined until long after the call. In real time, live, they have no way to tell where the call is coming from, thus no way to tell if it is a guy at their dock pretending to be 17 miles out at sea. That's one reason they have so many hoax calls unresolved, year after year.

erps-
Yes, there are "phased array" antennas that use many more elements than the basic four needed for "no moving parts" RDF. With a phased array antenna, which is basically a flat plate with a lot of little sticks coming up out of it, you could easily resolve a bearing to one degree or less. When two or three shore stations use that kind of equipment and feed the results into a computer "X marks the spot". Not so cheap--but still off the shelf. Basically, a computer says "which stick got the signal first? which one next?" and from there it draws a picture of where the signal came from, based on the arrival time to each stick (antenna).

Otter-
An interesting tack, but even with a massive response there should still be plenty of resources left in the ports. Leaving the question of who would be testing the waters, with what in mind? Pulling responders out on the water...still leaves the ports largely unchanged. The responders came from a very large area, which has many more resources. NYPD, something like 12 helos alone based at Floyd Bennett Field. Nassau and Suffolk County PDs, more again. NJSP, more. USCG...I think their rescue helos are now deployed out of Boston and Cape May since they pulled out of NYC and FBF. The New York ANG fly air rescue out of the old Southampton AFB in Suffolk County as well. But response times for all of them can be figured out with a ruler, they all have published speeds, ranges, bases.

And 17 miles (or nm) east of Sandy Hook, is still "on the horizon" from the south shore of Long Island. If I wanted to divert resources, maybe I'd send them 30-50 miles southeast of Ambrose, pulling those same resources but pushing them further out of range. Maybe pushing them far enough to bring Atlantic City into the picture as well.

This sounds more like someone pissed off with a petty grudge, intent on making the USCG spend money and look like fools. It isn't as if you're trying to see how fast the cops can reach one certain bank or bridge.

Incidentally the Noon Nooze today was now refering to a "caller" but the USCG themselves say "Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service New York received a distress call on VHF channel 14 at approximately 4:20 p.m., Monday, June 11, 2012, reportedly from the master of the yacht Blind Date, stating the vessel suffered an explosion and was taking on water." confirming that this was a radio call.

Last edited by hellosailor; 06-13-2012 at 12:50 PM.
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post #9 of 33 Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Hoax distress call

If every VHF had a DSC identity code built in, keying the mic would say who and if GPS on ,where. This could be useful in many situations and you wouldn't even know they're coming for you. CG ignoring any unidentifiable calls would convince many to upgrade their equipment. This policy could help the economy and clean up the gene pool.
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post #10 of 33 Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Hoax distress call

Puget Sound... you bet the CG knows where the broadcast is coming from. They'll even give a lat/lon for a vessel with an open mike and ask them to attend to their equipment.
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