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Old 06 March 2006, 12:33   #1
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Numeric keypads on DSC sets

I'm looking to upgrade from a somewhat jaded Navico RT6500 to a nice new waterproof DSC-capable VHF. I've been looking at the Icom 421 and the Navman 7100 and find that neither has a numeric keypad, which baffles me.

Would some kind person mind explaining how one inputs a MMSI number without a numeric keypad?
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Old 06 March 2006, 13:01   #2
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I suspect, though I do not know, that it has "nudge" buttons.
1 nudge up for 1,2,3 etc.
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Old 06 March 2006, 13:08   #3
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Indeed they do both have nudge buttons. You cycle through numbers by pressing up and down etc.

For what it's worth (and please note this is only my opinion) I don't think you have an easy choice ahead of you! The Icom unit, is in my view, the better built and more durable of the pair. Also backed up (if you fill in the card) by a 3 year warranty. However, the menu system on the navman is infinitely easier and more inuitive. It has to be said the icom m421 menu baffles me on occasions!

A suggestion (unless you already have the GMDSS VHF Cert) would be to find a school that has a variety of radio simulators for you to play with, and see what you find easiest reference inputting names/numbers etc, making calls and the like.
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Old 06 March 2006, 14:00   #4
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Thank you both!

I'm not hugely relieved, though: Using nudge buttons to enter a 9 digit MMSI no. in a lively sea sounds bad for one's blood pressure (not to mention one's steering).

Jimbo, the DSC sets on the VHF course were identical twins (I can't remember the make) set up back to back with no aerial. Whatever they were, they had numeric keyboards, hence my bafflement when confronted with DSCs with none.
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Old 06 March 2006, 14:10   #5
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Hi jgrace, I've got the Icom 421 and just put the MMSI's which I might need into the 'address book' you can give them a meaningful name then just scroll to the required entry when you need to place a call / position req etc.

Fraser
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Old 06 March 2006, 15:07   #6
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The ICOM M601 has a numeric keypad.

It might be worth looking at the ICOM M505 - it doesn't have a numeric key pad, but the volume wheel is used to cycle through the numbers - its very easy to use.

I wouldn't worry to much about entering MMSI's though, as Fraser said you can enter them all into the address book.
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Old 06 March 2006, 15:50   #7
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Thanks Fraser and Daniel. Not having DSC yet, I'm only guessing how I'll use it. As you guys suggest, almost all DSC calls will probably be from the address book.

In any event, I'm not sure how much use the DSC will be to me. VHF traffic is sparse enough on the Connemara coast, my main playground. Upgrading is probably a necessity, but the only reason I'm looking at DSC on top of regular VHF is because it's the future. Right now, DSC is optional here and the Irish coastguard is committed to maintaining the traditional watch on Channel 16.
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Old 06 March 2006, 16:06   #8
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The entering of the MMSI numbers etc is just like entering a waypoint in most GPS.
Its not someting you will be doing every day.

Whilst a full keypad makes this easier the driving of most units with out is easy enough with a bit of thought.

IMHO units with the keypad on the mic may cause you troubles.
We know that a mic cable can fail and if it does on this type of radio you could well be stuffed for a while.

If you have concerns the M505 is def worth the wait.
As its waterproof level is IPX8 (1.5m for 30min) it lends itself very well to the RIB market.
All other units on the market are IPX7 (1m for 30 mins)

Just some other stuff to keep in mind.

Regards
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Old 06 March 2006, 16:16   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Brooks
IMHO units with the keypad on the mic may cause you troubles.
We know that a mic cable can fail and if it does on this type of radio you could well be stuffed for a while.
Yup, agreed. Radios with a decent number of buttons on them like the Simrads, and the Icom 601 really combine the best of both worlds. But, they are a little more pricey than the 2 mentioned!
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Old 07 March 2006, 15:53   #10
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Thanks for your thoughtful advice Jon. I had seen pictures of sets with keypads on the handsets and wondered whether they might be a good compromise. But as for the sets you mention, as Jimbo has guessed they're definitely outside my budget :-(
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