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Old 01 July 2015, 11:07   #1
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MMSI - there must be an easier way..

..to change your DSC radio.

I just bought and installed an Icom M506 to replace my Raymarine 218E.

Naturally I did the one-time input of my MMSI into the new Icom on first switch-on. Only somewhat later I realised I now had two radios with the same MMSI irrevocably locked into them. Wanting to sell the Raymarine (which is in great condition), I've now had to scrabble around to find a marine electronics engineer who can delete its MMSI, as I daren't have someone else running around with my MMSI.

But was this the wrong procedure? Should I have cancelled my MMSI and applied for a new one, and then left the new owner of the old radio to sort out the problem, maybe by taking over the old MMSI. This doesn't seem to be the official way to do it as the Ofcom website says "Licences are non-transferable as a call sign and MMSInumber stays with a vessel for life."

So why then are MMSI's locked to radios rather than vessels? It seems a crazy system and is almost bound to lead to individual MMSI's being used on the wrong or multiple boats as radios are switched around.

It's also not true as another one of their FAQs says you must ensure that you cancel / surrender your licence if you sell your boat. Ah so the MMSI doesn't stay with the vessel for life then!

With radios getting cheaper and better all the time, a lot if us will change our radio these days. Anyone got a good solution for the MMSI problem?
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Old 01 July 2015, 12:00   #2
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The MMSI is linked to the Ships Radio License (for life ). You seem to have a good grasp of how it works. Resetting the MMSI on the old set is the new owners problem, but common sense suggests to us both that removing it before sale is a good idea and might boost the value.

I would suggest that there is no "MMSI problem", just a people problem. Nice pick withthe M506 BTW.
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Old 01 July 2015, 16:07   #3
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And the restriction is imposed to stop people easily impersonating another vessel.

Imagine the situation where some spotty teenager buys a set on eBay for a few quid and then goes programming MMSI for significant vessels and makes broadcasts pretending to be them. Mayday this is ferry X, sinking pos X Y Z. Complete with corresponding pos and DSC alert via MMSI... Major assets deployed. Next day same but as another vessel etc. Eventually something major happens and time is lost authenticating the validity of the call...

...or in piracey waters a vessel under attack issues a distress alert. Pirate copies MMSI and issues a cancel message.

Curiously though for PLB the hex no belongs to the PLB...
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Old 01 July 2015, 16:12   #4
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And the restriction is imposed to stop people easily impersonating another vessel.

Imagine the situation where some spotty teenager buys a set on eBay for a few quid and then goes programming MMSI for significant vessels and makes broadcasts pretending to be them. Mayday this is ferry X, sinking pos X Y Z. Complete with corresponding pos and DSC alert via MMSI... Major assets deployed. Next day same but as another vessel etc. Eventually something major happens and time is lost authenticating the validity of the call...

...or in piracey waters a vessel under attack issues a distress alert. Pirate copies MMSI and issues a cancel message.

Curiously though for PLB the hex no belongs to the PLB...

But the spotty oik could cause as much chaos without using DSC, that's a bit of a red herring. I'm assuming that any mayday call will result in a suitable deployment of assets, with or without a corresponding DSC call.


.....sh1t happens.......
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Old 01 July 2015, 16:40   #5
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It will. But (a) spotty oik doesn't actually need to speak with DSC asset will still be deployed (b) if spotty oik gets a reputation then his voice gets known... He may not sound like a sea captain.
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Old 02 July 2015, 02:30   #6
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I've heard if you put them in your freezer overnight it wipes the MMSI..?


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Old 02 July 2015, 03:38   #7
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I've heard if you put them in your freezer overnight it wipes the MMSI..?


"Apparently" that used to work with the first car stereos that had security codes. I don't know if the hardware is more robust now. I've got a couple of DSC sets in the shed, I might give it a go
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Old 02 July 2015, 04:26   #8
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Presume by Canadians would have issues if the mmsi was wiped by 24hrs at -18c
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Old 02 July 2015, 05:03   #9
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Presume by Canadians would have issues if the mmsi was wiped by 24hrs at -18c
Fair point
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Old 02 July 2015, 14:12   #10
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[QUOTE=Captain Crash;684265]
It's also not true as another one of their FAQs says you must ensure that you cancel / surrender your licence if you sell your boat. Ah so the MMSI doesn't stay with the vessel for life then!



Seems I was slightly wrong about this. The Ofcom site says that the new owner should apply for a new licence in their name, retaining the call sign and MMSI number of the vessel. So the radio retaining the MMSI works ok in this case.

It's really just the radio upgrade scenario that's a hassle. Maybe the real answer is that when buying a radio, you should negotiate with the dealer to delete the MMSI from your old one as part of the deal.
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