HOW DSC WORKS ON YOUR VHF RADIO

apogee

My name is Apogee and I am a Squidaholic
Jan 29, 2009
3,044
2,023
Bakersfield
Name
Apogee..
Boat Name
Boston Whaler Outrage 28 (End Game)
The long and the short of it...No matter what equipment you buy, make sure it is NMEA 2000 plug and play....There, I have just saved you tons of work....
All NMEA's are not created equal. For all you guys out there that want to connect your radio to your Multi Function Displays (MFD), NMEA 0813 has a bunch of tiny little wires that have to tied down to a terminal block and then the other devices wires have to be placed into the terminal block and this is not necessarily color to color. The information on a NMEA 0813 connection will supply the sentence structure to provide cross talk to your electronics. NMEA 2000 don't need no stinking terminal block. Just plug it into a "T" connector added to the spine, provide power if needed, and your done. I had two S/H GX2200's, I like the back up built in GPS. All of my other electronics are NMEA 2000, so I yanked one of the GX2200's and replaced it with a ICOM M605 VHF that is NMEA 2000. Plugged it into the spline, programmed my MMSI # 338239735 into the new radio, just like the other S/H GX2200 I kept on the boat, and viola.. I turn on my MFD's and there is everybody. DSC ready but I can see the AIS. Problem is they cannot see me, soooooooooo I opt for the new 5watt output Class B AIS transceiver with an antenna splitter that is also NMEA 2000. I just plug it in, provide power after it was programed with my MSSI# by the seller ala Homeland Security rules, and now I can be seen on AIS plus my DSC is fully operational....That was the long of it......Ap
 
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flyinverted

If it floats, flys or fornicates, RENT IT.
  • Apr 24, 2012
    416
    156
    Fullerton, CA
    Name
    Steve
    Boat Name
    Trojan F32
    One thing to remember, DSC is NOT ONLY FOR EMGERGENCIES.

    All DSC radios are always listening on Ch70, the DSC channel.
    I use mine to call my buddy by saving his MMSI# in my radio's phone book.
    When I call him using DSC, my radio asks which channel to switch to once connected. When I push the call button (NOT the EMERG) button, it calls his radio and when he keys his Mic, it will auto switch to the channel I selected.

    Gone are the days of "Grey Goose, Grey Goose pick me up"
    Just push the button and wait for a response.
     
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    tunakillerjoe1

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Jul 24, 2017
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    San Diego, Calif
    Name
    Joseph Gratteau
    Boat Name
    Valco Westcoaster 150'
    Alright, I have a ICOM IC-M330 fixed mount radio, GPS enabled. I am trying to assure the distress button sends the GPS coordinates when activated. There is a test call mode, but I believe this only tests the DSC. I need to get a friend's MMSI # to check this aspect. Does the (Red) distress button connect with the rescue 21 USCG system when activated? How can I test this? I have a MMSI # for the USCG of 003669999, do I need to manually enter this for the future? Thanks, just need to be sure I have my stuff wired tight if it is needed. Much better to be a 10%er who has it working. Thanks!
     
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    tunakillerjoe1

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Jul 24, 2017
    1,431
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    San Diego, Calif
    Name
    Joseph Gratteau
    Boat Name
    Valco Westcoaster 150'
    Hello, I as well have been concerned about making sure my distress button on my GPS enabled radio (IC-3000G), with a properly entered MMSI # works. After much research, and trips to the coast guard in San Diego to talk, (unsuccessfully) I was able to figure it out. I spoke to them by phone, and tried an Individual/ direct DSC (Routine) call to them, using the MMSI for them of 003669999. (San Diego, I think) When I spoke with them at 619 278-7031, I was instructed to enter the MMSI number, call them, and try transmitting with them on the phone. They will see if the link worked, and transmitted the GPS too. They were very nice about doing this. He said they do normally not respond for 2 minutes, (if distress & all ships alerted) to allow nearby ships to respond. They do not acknowledge individual/direct (routine) calls normally, even if they receive them. Calling this # and confirming this should allow one to assure the radio is transmitting GPS coordinates with a DSC call, although it does not assure the DISTRESS button does the same. Anyone have ideas on how to make sure the red button works? Hope this helps-
     
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    apogee

    My name is Apogee and I am a Squidaholic
    Jan 29, 2009
    3,044
    2,023
    Bakersfield
    Name
    Apogee..
    Boat Name
    Boston Whaler Outrage 28 (End Game)
    I have it x 2 and AIS......Ap
     
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    pbfishes

    Newbie
    Apr 29, 2018
    21
    3
    San Diego
    Name
    Peter B
    Boat Name
    JC 31
    When I bought my boat it came with A West Marine DSC500 VHF, not connected to my chartplotter.

    I've inquired at West Marine about getting the plugs that would connect to the "auxiliary" plug that includes the NMEA connections, but they have never gotten back to me with any information about actually being able to order the part.

    Anyone know who manufactures this radio for West Marine and if it might be possible to get the plug/connector from them?

    Or any leads on where to find the plug? (Photo of the radio side attached)

    KIMG1425.jpg
     
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    ShadowX

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Oct 10, 2010
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    Anonymous
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    When I bought my boat it came with A West Marine DSC500 VHF, not connected to my chartplotter.

    I've inquired at West Marine about getting the plugs that would connect to the "auxiliary" plug that includes the NMEA connections, but they have never gotten back to me with any information about actually being able to order the part.

    Anyone know who manufactures this radio for West Marine and if it might be possible to get the plug/connector from them?

    Or any leads on where to find the plug? (Photo of the radio side attached)

    View attachment 1263666

    The connector that seems to mate with your connector is an 8-pin female socket mini DIN connector that is used for S-Video connections. If you compare it with your connector, you can see the spacing of the middle row with the pin that is slightly off. You can get these cheap for around $5 from eBay if you wanted to go that route first. There is a guy in Cincinnati that is selling it on eBay for $4.94. Just search for "8 pin female svideo" in ebay. Again, I can't guarantee that it would fit. It just seems like its the most likely connector that mates to your connector. You still have to solder to the correct pins on the connector to connect to your GPS source. If it does mate properly, make sure wrap electrical tape around the connection to keep water out and to make sure it doesn't accidentally demate.

    1615762481644.png

    1615773727961.png



    Another source is to look up "mini din8 extension cable". They use these for old Macintosh computers for serial connection. It looks like the same connector on the female side. Its prewired and makes it easier to hook up to your radio. Make sure you get the extension cable since that has the female connector on one end. A standard cable would have male connectors on both ends.

    They make black cables too, but it cost more if color matters to you ($7.99+$4.45 shipping on eBay). The cheapest price I see for the cables is from Monoprice at $2.09 in the link below.

    1615764089604.png






    The West Marine DSC500 looks like a rebranded Uniden DSC marine radio (Uniden VHF500). The uniden has an accessory cable but it looks like its not available anymore (sku: BWZY1487001). I can't verify if this is the right cable since I don't see the mating end side. It may actually be a male connector so I don't recommend getting it because there is not enough information and some of the reviews on West Marine mentions its the wrong connector to mate with their radios (they didn't mention the brand of radio in the review.)


    Personally, I would cut the connector and just splice the GPS connection directly into the wire. Don't throw away the connector you cut off. The wire inside the radio side may be different color. You may need to use it to verify the pinout with an ohmmeter. Use the pinout number for the connection. You mainly need pin 4 (green wire) for the GPS NMEA 0183 positive connection. The negative connection goes to ground (pin 6, bar or the shielding).

    According to the diagram, the green wire is the GPS data in. This is a NMEA 0183 GPS format, so make sure your GPS device or your fish finder outputs in this format. I know Lowance and Simrad radio has NMEA 0183 output format, but you have to make sure you turn it on in your settings. If you don't have a GPS or fish finder that can output a NMEA 0183 output, you can buy standalone GPS receivers for around $40 on eBay.

    Don't be alarmed by cutting the connector and just having wires. Every radio I own that that isn't NMEA2000 does not have connectors. They just have wires stick out that you hook up directly based on color code.

    Good luck.




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    1615759668744.png
     
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    pbfishes

    Newbie
    Apr 29, 2018
    21
    3
    San Diego
    Name
    Peter B
    Boat Name
    JC 31
    Thanks ShadowX. That is extremely helpful.

    It looks like the correct cable is Uniden BWZG1937001, but sold out .

    I was about ready to just cut off the connector, but I will try to look for a cable with mini DIN 8 female connector. I have just about every other outdated cable sitting in my garage, but I haven't owned a Mac since about 2000, so I seem to have stopped collecting outdated Mac equipment. I can probably find one in a local thrift store for a buck or less.
     
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    ShadowX

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Oct 10, 2010
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    Thanks ShadowX. That is extremely helpful.

    It looks like the correct cable is Uniden BWZG1937001, but sold out .

    I was about ready to just cut off the connector, but I will try to look for a cable with mini DIN 8 female connector. I have just about every other outdated cable sitting in my garage, but I haven't owned a Mac since about 2000, so I seem to have stopped collecting outdated Mac equipment. I can probably find one in a local thrift store for a buck or less.

    I know it would cost me a lot more just to leave the house in terms of the time loss and gas money. You have to know, this type of cable is used in the old Macintoshes dating back to 1995 era before they moved to USB connectors when the iMacs came out.

    Just order the cable from Monoprice. It will be in your home in the next day or 2 days at most. They are a local company with a warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga and they ship fast. They are the cheapest source for all types of cables from audio, video and USB. I bought many cables from them in the past. I have yet to find a local cable supplier with cheaper prices and fast shipping as Monoprice. I'm sure you need USB C cables and other accessories.

    The shipping price is dirt cheap at $2.99 so just throw a few more items into the order. Trust me, you will thank me for introducing you to Monoprice. You are also supporting a local company in the US.
     
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    jim isbell

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Jun 25, 2015
    1,453
    632
    65
    Anaheim, CA
    Name
    Jim Isbell
    Boat Name
    19' Campion/115 4 stroke Yamaha
    Every boat on the water should have a DSC Enabled Radio and have it properly connected to a gps source. Here is a video showing how DSC / Rescue 21 work:


    Remember you need the following to make the system work:

    DSC Enabled Radio
    MMSI Number Entered Into The Radio
    Radio Properly Connected to GPS Source

    TT
    Sorry if I sound negative, but compare these two things. One, you are on the water in my boat--old radio, no DSC capability but my chart plotter has GPS. So there is an emergency--I hit "mark" on my plotter and the lat/long comes up in about 1/4 seconds, I key the mike and call on 16 to Coast Guard and give em the info. Second, with the new "all so important" stand alone DSC radio, I hit the red button--and hold it what--10 seconds--now they have my info and exact coordinates, right? Much better? And it gets better, after I push the button--what happens next? THEY CALL ME, to be sure it is real, then what? They ask me to REPEAT the info?? Don't get me wrong, I just got one of the new radios and am installing it now, but seems to me we need to keep it real--am I wrong?
     
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    Drydocked

    Publisher
    Nov 8, 2003
    466
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    Vista, CA
    btb.fishing
    Name
    John Loo
    Boat Name
    Edgewater 175CC
    Sorry if I sound negative, but compare these two things. One, you are on the water in my boat--old radio, no DSC capability but my chart plotter has GPS. So there is an emergency--I hit "mark" on my plotter and the lat/long comes up in about 1/4 seconds, I key the mike and call on 16 to Coast Guard and give em the info. Second, with the new "all so important" stand alone DSC radio, I hit the red button--and hold it what--10 seconds--now they have my info and exact coordinates, right? Much better? And it gets better, after I push the button--what happens next? THEY CALL ME, to be sure it is real, then what? They ask me to REPEAT the info?? Don't get me wrong, I just got one of the new radios and am installing it now, but seems to me we need to keep it real--am I wrong?
    The old protocols still work, of course.

    What DSC + GPS is supposed to buy you is:
    - Once activated, emergency calls on Class D (consumer) DSC radios will try up to 5 times, at roughly 4 minute intervals, to connect to the CG, without you having to do it manually. After 5 attempts, you have to resend the transmission. Useful if you are injured, incapacitated, busy trying to bail the boat out, putting out a fire, or trying to keep your buddy from bleeding out
    - Other vessels that are in radio range will also be alerted to the distress call
    - Class A (commercial) DSC radios, can relay your distress call to the CG
    - DSC emergency calls have priority over regular DSC calls, so your emergency call will not get stepped on by routine DSC traffic
    - DSC is digital, so it technically has slightly greater range than regular VHF, although I suspect there still would be line-of-sight /antenna limitations
    - It is an easier way for non-boating passengers to call for help ("press the red button", on my iCOM it's 3 seconds, not 10), and with GPS, there is no need for them to try to figure out how to read a chart
    - When you get your MMSID, you provide vessel and contact information. If you are having trouble with your transmission, the CG at least has a starting point for what to look for. Since sometimes people don't keep their vessel info up-to-date, they confirm just to be sure they're looking for the right boat
    - You can add a note on what the nature of the problem is to your DSC emergency transmission. Maybe only really useful if you are having trouble with transmission

    That's for distress calls. You can also use DSC to contact someone with a registered and configured DSC radio directly without having to hail them over a common voice channel. Say you want to check on how your buddy's doing without everyone on the water listening in. You can select channel xx, then call them using DSC. When DSC reaches them, both radios will automatically shift to channel xx and you can talk. The communications is not encrypted, but at least you're not telling the world which channel you're using. Any no one can hear who you're hailing.
     
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    onehottip

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    May 8, 2006
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    Who do I contact for a mmsi # ? Radio is installed nmea is hooked up and ready to go.
     
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    ShadowX

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Oct 10, 2010
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    Who do I contact for a mmsi # ? Radio is installed nmea is hooked up and ready to go.

    Note: Once you put in a MMSI number, most companies require you to send the units back to clear the number if you plan to resell the radio. Some have special ways to access a hidden menu to clear that number.



     
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    onehottip

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    May 8, 2006
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    So I read the info. If I go thru boat U.S. the number they give me is the same as if the uscg would give me ?
     
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    Drydocked

    Publisher
    Nov 8, 2003
    466
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    btb.fishing
    Name
    John Loo
    Boat Name
    Edgewater 175CC
    So I read the info. If I go thru boat U.S. the number they give me is the same as if the uscg would give me ?
    I think your question really is: If I get the MMSI number from Boat US, will the USCG recognize it? The answer is Yes.

    Technically, the USCG does not generate the MMSI numbers. The MMSI info generated/recorded by Boat US and the other US companies gets loaded into the USCG Search and Rescue database, International search and rescue entities can not access this data.

    If you plan on taking your boat to areas where you will be communicating with foreign ports (say the Hotel Coral in Baja, or Cabo), you should register your radio thru the FCC. The FCC registers the MMSI they issue into an international search and rescue database.
     
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    sickcat

    Silverback
  • Aug 5, 2003
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    LA
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    Kerry
    Boat Name
    Yellow spot
    Sorry if I sound negative, but compare these two things. One, you are on the water in my boat--old radio, no DSC capability but my chart plotter has GPS. So there is an emergency--I hit "mark" on my plotter and the lat/long comes up in about 1/4 seconds, I key the mike and call on 16 to Coast Guard and give em the info. Second, with the new "all so important" stand alone DSC radio, I hit the red button--and hold it what--10 seconds--now they have my info and exact coordinates, right? Much better? And it gets better, after I push the button--what happens next? THEY CALL ME, to be sure it is real, then what? They ask me to REPEAT the info?? Don't get me wrong, I just got one of the new radios and am installing it now, but seems to me we need to keep it real--am I wrong?

    In addition to the things DD points out it takes the possibility of error out of relaying the lat/lon vocally. Not only relaying a wrong number but also any confusion over the format.
     
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    Sailing La Reina

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    Chris
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    I have had mine for years. I even have it on my back up handheld VHF. Like AIS and EPIRB, it is an important piece of the safety puzzle.
     
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