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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let's say you find yourself out in zero visibility conditions, due to fog, heavy rain, or darkness. Let's also say you're in a small boat that is unlikely to be seen by radar (since small radar reflectors are known to be unreliable), and you don't have an AIS transmitter.

DSC radios that are properly interfaced with a GPS are able to transmit a non-distress DSC position report. Recipients of the report would get your GPS coordinates on their radio, and if the radio is interfaced with a chartplotter, would even see your location on their display, almost as if you had an AIS transmitter.

It seems like this could be valuable for collision avoidance in times of low visibility. But overuse could also create annoying ring tones on others' radios. And recipients who are not used to getting these position requests might misinterpret it as a distress call. (I've never gotten a position request on my DSC radio.)

Is there any protocol for if/how this should be done? How often could you send out your position without becoming an annoyance? Every 5 minutes? Every 30 minutes? Or do you keep doing it until someone yells at you to cut it off?

It seems this could be an underutilized safety feature of DSC, unless there is some regulation or standard protocol that prohibits it.
 

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I was thinking earlier this week (I have a long drive) that if my brother and I both had DSC radios interfaced with our chart plotters, only one of us would need to have radar. A 'call and answer' every few minutes would update our positions on both plotters. No need to stay in visual contact, which might be difficult because of fog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It sounds like you are trying to reinvent AIS.
Not at all. Just inquiring about appropriate use of DSC capabilities for those who do not have AIS transmitters.

I do have an AIS receiver in my radio (no transmitter), and if I saw a ship bearing down on me I would be aggressively hailing by analog radio, as well as sending out DSC position reports and DSC hails, to get his attention.
 
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