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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

i jumped on my boat this afternoon intending to finish the painting i started yesterday,

in the wheelhouse i turned on the VHF, NOTHING HAPPENED, i hit the bilge pump switch, NOTHING HAPPENED, :doh: then i woke up, battery isolator was turned off,

didn't bother turning the isolator on, decided it was a bit cold to paint anyway, so made sure everything was off, locked up and jump off the boat,

walked in to the kitchen just in time to hear my wife say to someone on the phone.......... yes i think my husbands on his boat?,........ yes i know he's QUITE SAFE,.......... the boats on the trailer outside the house and we live 16 miles from the sea......? :blink:

It was Swansea coastguard ringing to see if we were ok after receiving an urgent DSC message with our MMSI number,

i had a quick conversation with the nice chap in Swansea, he said it was received on the Hartland arial, which is one of the ariel's closest to us, but still 15 - 20 miles as the crow flies from here, :g: he didn't have an RDF or a GPS position to pinpoint where the signal came from, but the time of the transmission was spot on for when i tried to turn on my set,

i went straight back out to the boat and checked the battery isolator, and it was definitely off,

can anyone tell me how a DSC radio can transmit when there is no power going to it ???????????????? :giveup:

the radio is a brand new fixed Icom IC- M421, only fitted about a month and a half ago, and has never seen water let alone the sea,

both me and the wife have had a good look through the instruction manual for the radio, and can't find anything about battery back ups or transmissions without power,

so any idea's ??????? :notworthy

Thanks Andy
 

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I have banged on about this type of thing since the development of DSC was first mooted. There is no way to check your set will work in the event of a mayday short of pressing that red button and that is then in fact a mayday. I have absolutely no doubt that the day I have to press my red button because I am sinking it will not work, with my luck I will have the last set to be built on Friday.

I have no idea what happened in your case but it goes to prove how poorly the system was designed. I have been told off the record that the coastguard are totally sick of the number of false alarms they get on this system, over 99%. On the simple VHF you could ask for a radio check every time you went to sea if you wanted, and get a reply yay or nay. On the new system you rely on a bunch of electronics working and we all know how good they are in the presence of salt.
 

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i think the dsc has its own small battery so can still transmitt a mayday when you lose main power to the radio, so could be this i recon.
 

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Might be worth contact the manufacturers cheapskate, find out why it happened but also there may be a fault. I'm guessing you didn't press the distress button so it shouldn't have transmitted it. Atleast you know it works though. :boat:
 
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In one respect a bit worrying that they can go off accidentally but as ChrisP says, how do you know it will work when it needs to. But it could have been worse, at least you did not have a lifeboat coming up your road and the air / sea rescue chopper over your house:unsure:
 

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I have banged on about this type of thing since the development of DSC was first mooted. There is no way to check your set will work in the event of a mayday short of pressing that red button and that is then in fact a mayday. I have absolutely no doubt that the day I have to press my red button because I am sinking it will not work, with my luck I will have the last set to be built on Friday.

I have no idea what happened in your case but it goes to prove how poorly the system was designed. I have been told off the record that the coastguard are totally sick of the number of false alarms they get on this system, over 99%. On the simple VHF you could ask for a radio check every time you went to sea if you wanted, and get a reply yay or nay. On the new system you rely on a bunch of electronics working and we all know how good they are in the presence of salt.
I was going to post a question on DSC and boat names. As I understand it the DSC call will allow the coastgaurd to know the name of the boat - which seems sensible.
My DSC VHF was bought second hand with the boat and I have not fitted it as I was unsure of connection to my new chartplotter.
The boat has had at least two previous names and I do not have a contact number for the first owner.
So a couple of problems there and for now I am relying on an ICOM handheld for emergency use.
Perhaps I should do an update course on VHF but no opportunity just now.
DSC certainly adds more problems than it solves IMHO:giveup:
 

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I have banged on about this type of thing since the development of DSC was first mooted. There is no way to check your set will work in the event of a mayday short of pressing that red button and that is then in fact a mayday. I have absolutely no doubt that the day I have to press my red button because I am sinking it will not work, with my luck I will have the last set to be built on Friday.

I have no idea what happened in your case but it goes to prove how poorly the system was designed. I have been told off the record that the coastguard are totally sick of the number of false alarms they get on this system, over 99%. On the simple VHF you could ask for a radio check every time you went to sea if you wanted, and get a reply yay or nay. On the new system you rely on a bunch of electronics working and we all know how good they are in the presence of salt.
The day you are sinking? you have so many back-ups to your back-up you can never sink! what about that box of carrier pigeons you carry as a back-up to your back-up?
blueskip
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Jane (my wife) contacted Icom UK this morning,

their sending a courier tomorrow to pick up the radio, they said they would check it out and if needed replace it within 7 days, :thumbs:

when she spoke to them, they said that another radio had done the same a couple of weeks ago, but that one wasn't even fitted in a boat,

i like Icom radio's, i've got a handheld from them as well,
when i was in the coastguard all the radios were Icom, i can't ever remember having a prob with any of them,

like ChrisP said how do you know there's not a problem with the DSC bit until you need it,

thanks chaps for your input, i'll keep you posted on how good Icoms customer care is,

Andy
 

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I'm a Radio Ham and also use ICOM kit for that, although I've never had to use it, I've heard ICOM UK's customer care is second to none....they've got a great reputation on some of the amateur radio forums, hopefully if there's any issue it'll be sorted for you.

Brian.
 

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I don't know if it's related, but this happened to me a while back:

Fishing at anchor, radio on and receiving, lights on as it was getting dark, all electronics appeared to be working. Decided to call it a day. Turned the key to start the engine - nothing ............ except an empty feeling in my stomach and a full feeling in my pants.

All electrical items still functioning so not a dead battery. Eventually found one battery switch was accidentally off (must have kicked it or something). Turned it on and engine started no problems.

I had no explanation but I'm no electrician so I asked around and this was one theory -

My single battery system has two isolators, one on the negative and one on the positive side of the battery. If one switch was off, there may be enough power flowing on the other side to operate low powered lights, etc, with earth leakage acting as the negative. But obviously not enough to satisfy the demand of the starter motor - that's when everything appeared to be dead.

If you only have one isolator switch (say on the positive), is it possible the radio was powered by the other side and earth ??

Like I say, I'm no marine electrician, but that's how it was explained to me.

Pel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Pelagic,
I have twin batteries running through 1 isolator, the isolator is one of those that lets you select bat 1 or bat 2 or both and off,

the isolator was defo in the off position, when i tried to turn the radio on, no lights came on, that's why i tried the bilge pump switch, before looking at the isolator, but i didn't turn the isolator on,

i'm like you and leave the electrics to the people that know what their doing,

Andy
 
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