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  #61  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

From SFGate ( emphasis added, mine, link )
If authorities conclude that it was a hoax, any suspects could face criminal charges in federal court. That was the case with Kurtis Thorsted of Salinas, who was convicted in 2004 and again in 2010 of making a series of fake Mayday transmissions, including one in which he claimed to be in a kayak off Santa Cruz.
Here's the most recent court opinion regarding his 2010 conviction:

US v Kurtis Thorsted ( link )
May 13, 2011
Kurtis Thorsted made fifty-one false distress calls over a five-month period to the United States Coast Guard. He pleaded guilty to three counts of knowingly and willfully communicating false distress messages to the Coast Guard, in violation of 14 U.S.C. § 88 (c), and to three counts of making unlicensed radio transmissions, in violation of 47 U.S.C. $$ 301 and 501. Thorsted was sentenced to concurrent terms of thirty months for each false distress message count and twenty-four months for each unlicensed transmission count. In calculating the guideline range, the district judge applied the two-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(13)(A) for conduct that "involved the conscious or reckless risk of death or serious bodily injury."
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  #62  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

30 months in FL.

Man Gets 30 Months In Coast Guard Rescue Hoax - Sun Sentinel

Man Gets 30 Months In Coast Guard Rescue Hoax
October 31, 2006|By Vanessa Blum Staff Writer

It might have seemed like a harmless prank at the time.

But a federal judge in Miami said Robert Moran should have known his bogus mayday call to the U.S. Coast Guard in June would lead people to risk their lives searching for nine people reported lost at sea off Boynton Beach Inlet.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard sentenced Moran, an out-of-work tow truck driver from Boynton Beach, to 30 months in prison Monday for placing a false distress call.

She ordered Moran, 45, to pay the government $347,015 to cover the cost of the two-day search-and-rescue operation launched in response to his June 11 call. Prosecutor Thomas Watts-FitzGerald said the search effort was particularly dangerous because of the darkness and stormy weather conditions.

Moran radioed for help just before 11 p.m. and told emergency dispatchers his 33-foot boat, a Grady White called the Blue Sheep, was taking on water, according to the Coast Guard.

He said eight other people were aboard, including four children and his wife, who he said was injured.

"This is the Blue Sheep, taking on water and sinking," Moran shouted, according to a transcript of the call.

At Monday's hearing, Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Douglas said the Coast Guard made no effort then to detect whether the call might be a hoax.

"Every call that we receive, regardless of nature, we prosecute to the fullest extent possible," Douglas said.

Seas in the search area rose as high as six feet June 12 as Tropical Storm Alberto closed in, he said. Two days later, with no sign of debris and no sightings of the Blue Sheep or its supposed passengers, the Coast Guard suspended its search.

An anonymous tipster who recognized the caller's voice from news reports led investigators to Moran, who pleaded guilty Aug. 21 to making a false distress call.

Defense lawyer Benjamin Fernandez said Moran was under the influence of alcohol and painkillers at the time and never intended to harm anyone.

"This was a crude attempt at a very foolish act that Mr. Moran has great remorse for," Fernandez said, asking for a lighter sentence of 18 to 24 months.

Lenard opted for a more severe punishment, siding with prosecutors who said Moran should have known his call would cause Coast Guard personnel and other responders to risk their lives.

Prosecutor Watts-FitzGerald did not offer a motive for Moran's hoax but said it was a "calculated effort" to elicit a government response.
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  #63  
Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fstbttms View Post
Reasons why this may be a hoax:

1.- 65 miles offshore in a small boat with 2 little kids in rough conditions in the middle of winter with no EPIRB and no PFDs? Who does that?

2.- "Electronics" conveniently failing. No further response necessary on the part of the hoaxer.

3.- Nobody has reported a boat and crew overdue.

4.- The CG does not know the boat's departure point or destination.

BTW, MarkofSeaLife- for all we know the Coasties suspect this is a hoax as well. That doesn't mean they aren't going to make every effort. They are, of course. That's what they are there for.
Guess no one knows for sure, just some thoughts...

1- Rookies (it seems because the proper distress call is mayday, mayday, mayday. not cg, cg, cg. Then again the cg, cg, cg could have been because its a hoax)

2- Maybe their electronics got wet and stopped working

3- It could be that no one knew they had left since it sounds like they were not gone long

4- If they were rookies, chances are they never notified the CG

If someone done this as a hoax, shame on them and I hope they get caught. Maybe we will find out soon.
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  #64  
Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

The CG has a voice recording of this person. Its a simple matter of cooperation between
the CG and a 3 letter government agency to search computer records for a voice match. Once found they have his phone number, who he has called and who has called him. Maybe the Patriot Act facilitates this sort of inter governmental agency cooperation.
Not science fiction any longer.
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  #65  
Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captainmeme View Post
The CG has a voice recording of this person. Its a simple matter of cooperation between
the CG and a 3 letter government agency to search computer records for a voice match. Once found they have his phone number, who he has called and who has called him. Maybe the Patriot Act facilitates this sort of inter governmental agency cooperation.
Not science fiction any longer.
I've seen those things on CSI shows also. We'll see, but I have a feeling it's still science fiction. Those shows fail to take into account the loss of high frequency resolution due to VHF and/or cell phone transmission. Such "voice prints" are not nearly as clear-cut as they make it seem on TV.

In general, the CSI shows are great for getting people interested in and excited about science. The reality is that the answers almost never pop out as cleanly as they make it appear. Real science is always a lot harder than the actors make it look.
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  #66  
Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
I've seen those things on CSI shows also. We'll see, but I have a feeling it's still science fiction. Those shows fail to take into account the loss of high frequency resolution due to VHF and/or cell phone transmission. Such "voice prints" are not nearly as clear-cut as they make it seem on TV.

In general, the CSI shows are great for getting people interested in and excited about science. The reality is that the answers almost never pop out as cleanly as they make it appear. Real science is always a lot harder than the actors make it look.
... and DNA tests take 5 minutes .... but we digress...
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  #67  
Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by dabnis View Post
I have read that the CG has some very sensitive VHF antennas mounted way up high on the Coast Range mountains and can at least receive signals from a long way out. Given a long enough signal I think they can get a pretty good fix on where the transmitter is. I hope I am wrong but it doesn't sound good.

Paul T
This is from the AIS site. Although AIS signals (because they are digital probably can be "read" more easily than a voice signal can be "heard", it still gives you an idea with the range of a VHF signal (AIS and voice VHF are all transmitted on VHF):

What is the range AIS covers?
Normally, vessels with an AIS receiver connected to an external antenna placed on 15 meters above sea level, will receive AIS information within a range of 15-20 nautical miles. Base stations at a higher elevation, may extend the range up to 40-60 nm, even behind remote mountains, depending on elevation, antenna type, obstacles around antenna and weather conditions. The most important factor for better reception is the elevation of the base station antenna. The higher, the better. We have seen vessels 200 nm away, with a small portable antenna placed on an island mountain on 700 meters altitude! Our base stations cover fully a range of 40 miles and periodically receive information from some more distant vessels.
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  #68  
Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

To believe that the CG could get an accurate position fix from a couple short weak transmissions may be overestimating the capabilities of such systems.
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  #69  
Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by capttb View Post
To believe that the CG could get an accurate position fix from a couple short weak transmissions may be overestimating the capabilities of such systems.
Maybe maybe not. I think the CG knows more about the "hoax" than what they are letting out- for now...:

Rescue 21
Thomas A. Tansey, Rescue 21 environmental manager, travels around the United States paving the way for the new system. A former Coast Guard commandant, he is intimately familiar with the responsibilities of Coast Guard service, and speaks about Rescue 21 with the conviction of a man on a mission.

Tuesday night he presented a power point presentation (available here in pdf form) that described the features of the new system. It will pick up a signal from a one-watt marine VHF radio and provide a line of bearing out to 20 nautical miles. The caller will only have to key the microphone for half a second.Recounting a Coast Guard experience, Mr. Tansey said he could remember holding up a tape recorder to a radio to record a transmission. The new system provides a digital recording of every radio transmission and those signals are represented as lines on a computer display screen.

His presentation included a graphic of a screen display that showed the coast of New Jersey and a series of intersecting lines from current antennas to the position of the fishing vessel Captain Joe, which put out a Mayday call on March 12. The Coast Guard received the Mayday at 8:45 pm. Captain Joe's crew was unable to provide a position. Four Rescue 21 antennas provided lines of bearings and a Coast Guard helicopter saved the four fishermen on board.

Another feature is known as digital selective calling (DSC). All new fixed VHF radios feature a small red button that a boater can press in an emergency. If the boater has registered the radio and connected it to a GPS unit the Coast Guard will be able to identify the boater and the exact position of the boat.

The entire installation will include a new concrete shelter to house communications equipment, a new emergency generator and propane tank. The shelter site will be fully screened with trees and plantings so it will no longer be visible. The entire project is expected to cost the USCG approximately $800,000.

Dukes County and the town will continue to be able to use the tower for public safety equipment. Relocating that equipment is expected to cost the town and county less than $20,000.

From:
http://www.mvtimes.com/2008/04/24/ne...ard-tower.php/

Slide show:
http://www.mvtimes.com/pdfs/chilmark...-rescue-21.pdf

Last edited by casey1999; 02-27-2013 at 07:52 PM.
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  #70  
Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Local news has been saying that the CG only received the mayday transmissions on one mountaintop antenna and were therefore unable to get a real accurate fix on the source location.
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