Originally Posted by jake 4589
MMSI Numbers are issued from ofcom and are country dependant. So might not even accept a UK MMSI number.
What does this mean exactlt?
I'm guessing you haven't done your VHF SRC course which is required in the UK before using any marine VHF radio (unless under the direct supervision of someone who has).
To cut a long story short, it used to be VHF radios were just VHF radios - you used them to talk to people and if the preverbial hit the fan you put it on Ch16 on max power and broadcast your mayday message. In the process and panic there is a good chance you either forgot to include important information, didn't speak clearly/slow enough for people write down the details - or misspoke your position. The world agreed a better way - since most boats now have GPS on board. So a modern fixed VHF radio has a little magic red button (with some form of safety cover on it) which in the even of a major crisis you lift and hold down. The radio then takes over and digitally broadcasts you distress message. To do this it needs to be able to uniquely identify you, this is done using a number provided by Ofcom (MMSI number). It then takes your GPS position and sends this with your MMSI number and the fact you are in distress to anyone who may be "listening". This should still be followed by a "spoken" distress message where possible.
This digital calling function can be used for a whole load of other applications (which you will learn more about on your VHF course) but the most important use is having what in essence is a panic button. This digital calling technology is referred to as DSC. Within Europe that technology is only available within fixed VHF radios. The radio in question was developed with the US market in mind where it is approved for use as a DSC radio. For some reason it cannot be approved in Europe as a handheld with DSC, so they have modified it slightly for the E version (as well as putting the local channels on) so that these functions won't work - but that was to my mind THE major selling point of the radio.
That then leads to a question that SPR was getting at - can you buy the US version and use it here? With all US radios you will be missing a few channels which are commonly used for calling marinas/yacht clubs etc and so at the very least it will be a pain. What SPR is suggesting is that this radio may not work with a MMSI number supplied from the UK and so you may still not get the functions you (should) want to work.
If you just want to benefit from having a handheld gps and vhf in one package then this would seem to fulfill the need. Whilst I am saying that I think it is a major failing by not having the DSC function in Europe - I actually don't have a fixed DSC on board my boat - so it is not essential. One thing to be aware of is that if I drop my handheld VHF overboard or its battery dies etc - then I still have my GPS and so can navigate home. If I drop my GPS overboard then I have my chart etc and should be able to navigate home - but if I got lost or in trouble I can call for help on my VHF. I would be a little aprehensive that if I lost both at the same time then I was one step nearer to to a headline!
Going back to your original question about use 1 mile offshore and in "lakes". If you are communicating with other vessels within line of sight you will be fine with a handheld. If you are communicating with a friend "on shore" (que a barage of complaints from people pointing out it is illegal to use a vhf on shore) then again it will work if you are within line of sight. If you want to communicate with the coast guard then lakes may be harder (I believe they do have coverage on most of the popular lake district lakes) - but beware that "close in shore" means you may be tucked behind a headland that means you are not line of sight to their mast. A fixed VHF with an ariel 1-2m above sea level won't necessarily be any better though.