UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 39 Old 06-14-2016 Thread Starter
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UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

So I'm not at the boat right now unfortunately, but I can confirm some of this when I get there. My base unit 25watt uniden VHF has a small red lid you can lift up and a distress button under it.

After doing some reading on radios and marine use I came across this from Transport Canada when talking about VHF-DSC:

"... by lifting the cover and then pressing the red distress button for at least 3 seconds, a digital distress call will be sent to the Coast Guard and vessels in the vicinity that are also equipped with VHF-DSC."

Does this mean my radio supports DSC because it has this gated button? Or are there radios out there that have this button that is just a "shortcut" to channel 16? I'm of course scared to push it for fear of it making an automated call to the Coast Guard for me lol.

I am of course trying to find the user manual for the radio but haven't found it yet.

SECOND question. If this radio does support "dsc" does that mean it would have a spot to hook up Garmin 44DV charplotter up to it? The chartplotter says it supports NMEA0183 which I think means it can receive beacon transmission from other vessel and display them on my charts? Or it means I can hook up an AIS system, or that NMEA0183 is just like a marine version of "usb" and can hook up to any other NMEA0183 compatible unit.

I'm a techie kind of guy but some of the marine stuff has been confusing for me lol. Thanks for any insight anyone has, I'd -love- to be able to display freighter locations on my chartplotter if my radio did support some sort of tracking\receiving function as I do sail within a fairly active shipping lane at times.

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post #2 of 39 Old 06-14-2016
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Re: UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

NMEA0183 is a serial protocol that sends and receives various information. In this case your chart plotter would be hooked up to your VHF radio to provide GPS information. When you press the DSC button it will transmit a distress call that includes your GPS information.

Owner's manuals are here https://www.uniden.com/product-infor...owners-manuals

And I hate to be that guy but all this information can be googled really easily.
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Re: UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

Thanks for the info. I have been googling but since I didn't know my radio model in couldn't confirm the manual I needed. I was basically just asking if there was more than 1 version of the gated distress button or if that confirmed I had a dsc supported radio. Thanks again.

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Re: UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

Hey,

Since 2000 (or so) All VHF radios sold in the USA must have DSC. I don't know about other countries.

At a minimum, your VHF will need GPS location information for the DSC functions to work properly. Normally the VHF gets this information from a chartplotter with either NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 communication.


From
About Digital Selective Calling
"On 27 June 1997, the FCC adopted a Report and Order requiring radios type accepted on or after 17 June 1999 to include this minimum DSC capability."

Good luck,
Barry

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Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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Re: UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

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Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
Hey,

Since 2000 (or so) All VHF radios sold in the USA must have DSC. I don't know about other countries.

At a minimum, your VHF will need GPS location information for the DSC functions to work properly. Normally the VHF gets this information from a chartplotter with either NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 communication.


From
About Digital Selective Calling
"On 27 June 1997, the FCC adopted a Report and Order requiring radios type accepted on or after 17 June 1999 to include this minimum DSC capability."

Good luck,
Barry
Oh good to know, thanks thanks Barry

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Re: UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

Hi Guy,

And don't forget the DSC emergency function will not work if you have not entered your vessel's MMSI number... [and of course it needs GPS input if not built-in to the radio...]

In the US, if you travel with your vessel internationally [or plan to] you need to have the FCC issue your MMSI. Those issued from BoatUS, etc. are not for Int'l use.

You are on the right track...

Cheers!

Bill


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Re: UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

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Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
Hi Guy,

And don't forget the DSC emergency function will not work if you have not entered your vessel's MMSI number... [and of course it needs GPS input if not built-in to the radio...]

In the US, if you travel with your vessel internationally [or plan to] you need to have the FCC issue your MMSI. Those issued from BoatUS, etc. are not for Int'l use.

You are on the right track...

Cheers!

Bill
Thanks Bill I am looking into mmsi this week. I'm not sure on the Canadian side how I get one but I will find out. Luckily the only international I may do is hopping from Canada to the US but I will be sure my ducks are in a row before that happens.

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Re: UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

A word of caution....

If you set it up in your boat and you don't put in the DSC MMSI number, and you get in serious trouble and need to use it to call out, It will refuse to call. Now apparently there is a bypass on the menu, but if you are in the middle of a crises and you need help quickly---like the Coasties---you will not have the presence of mind to work your way through obscure menus to find out how to call out.

Been there, done that.

Secondly if you are on the coast, most Coasties operations would rather that you call their emergency cell phone number. The only problem with that is that you can ONLY GET IT by actually going to the Coast Guard Office, They won't let you in the base unless you are a Coastie or retired Coastie, or Federal Law Enforcement, but the MP at the entrance can give you the number. You need to have it handy. DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE ON YOUR CELL will take you to Annapolis, and then through a long series of non-human menus, eventually taking you nowhere.

Thirdly, you need a portable 2 mile battery operated VHF for times when you screwed up the base station, and you suddenly find out that no one on board has a functional cell, and you forgot to get the Coast Guard Emergency number.

OH... and I didn't do this one---yet, but if you screw up typing the number in, you will have to send the unit back to the factory since any number you type in is permanent, like forever. So be very very careful if you are a bad typist, like me. There is no Edit button.

Yes... been there with all of this. LIVE AND LEARN THE HARD WAY.

Last edited by Zarathu; 06-15-2016 at 03:31 PM.
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Re: UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

Don't know where Zarathu got his info on the USCG preferring you contact them via cell phone in an emergency, but that runs counter to the digital communications process underlying DSC. When you are sinking, on fire, having a medical emergency, or having some other life-threatening crisis, the last thing you need is to look up a cell number when you can push your DSC button.

Part of the DSC concept is to use digital communication of pre-loaded data (and situational info at the time) in order to extend VHF communication range and share your info with other components of the USCG rescue mechanism. This eliminates ambiguity associated with voice communications and allows rapid sharing of you information with potential rescuers--not just USCG units.

BTW, some radios allow reprogramming on a one-time basis, otherwise it's back to the factory if you made a mistake or bought a used radio with the seller's MMSI. I sold a radio a few years ago and reprogrammed it with the new owner's MMSI so we could both be assured that the correct MMSI was loaded in the radio. Once you get your model number and download the correct manual, you will be able to figure out what you need to do to assure you have your MMSI loaded.
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Re: UNIDEN VHF marine radio, does this mean it supports DSC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarathu View Post
Secondly if you are on the coast, most Coasties operations would rather that you call their emergency cell phone number.
That is not my experience. Yes, the USCG wants a cell phone number when you call, but communication over VHF is preferred.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarathu View Post
The only problem with that is that you can ONLY GET IT by actually going to the Coast Guard Office, They won't let you in the base unless you are a Coastie or retired Coastie, or Federal Law Enforcement, but the MP at the entrance can give you the number.
Not true. You can get any sector or station phone number with Google. If you call ahead you can get a tour and visit any CG facility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarathu View Post
You need to have it handy. DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE ON YOUR CELL will take you to Annapolis, and then through a long series of non-human menus, eventually taking you nowhere.
No. In the first place Annapolis only has a station. Sectors are in Baltimore and Norfolk (and many other places, but not Annapolis). Headquarters is in DC.

Lots of techs, like me, can reset the MMSI in your VHF.

sail fast and eat well, dave S/V Auspicious

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