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Old 12 October 2015, 16:26   #11
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I've never really thought about testing the DSC function on my radio, but then again I've never thought to test my flares by letting them off, or whether the safety knife doesn't puncture the tube when dropped onto them, or whether the gas cylinder in my LJ works.

The DSC works on incoming stuff so why would it not outbound?
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Old 17 October 2015, 11:08   #12
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There is a DSC test function, it will be buried in the menu. You need to nominate a MMSI to send test message to. CG masts handle this fine. Not every other radio will. CG mast will acknowledge the test which confirms you can both send and receive DSC. Doesn't use the Red button so doesn't prove it works. Test doesn't achieve anything a DSC call to another boat wouldn't. But you don't have to arrange with someone that is OK to test. It's silent in background.

But you can distress alert via the menu anyway. If you REALLY want to check red works press it for 1 second and release. Screen will display instruction / count down. So you know the switch works.

PLBs (this cant have been a EPIrB based PLB) have test functions although as they can't receive it is a software and battery test ... It can't be 100% sure it will transmit. Mine came with a test report showing it did when battery installed.

I didn't think DSC MoB was available? AIS is.
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Old 18 October 2015, 11:11   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boristhebold View Post
To the person in Studland bay this morning testing the MOB SAR Function of their kit.

Don't test an emergency function before speaking to the coastguard and checking whether it is ok to do so.
We were in the area on the way back from Weymouth at the same time. We got the "MOB SAR alert" message on our plotter (connected to an AIS System).

I didn't even know this type of message existed, but we stopped and could see a red "X" MOB cross on the plotter along with a message with a bearing and distance from us (about 1 mile at the time).

We called Solent Coast Guard on 16 to verify whether the MOB alert was genuine, and as the CG could only say that they had seen the same message, we proceeded to the location to report back to the CG.

As Boristhebold found - it was a lady in a rib testing the system. However - in her defence she said she had phoned the coastguard earlier in the morning to let them know she was doing it. They just seemed to have ignored the information!

I reported back to Solent CG to let them know, but 5 minutes later someone else called the CG on 16, and the CG had already forgotten that I had let them know what was happening!

The system that was being tested was (I think) an AIS MOB Device like the McMurdo Smartfind S20. Each MOB device has a unique identity with (I think) a unique MMSI number - which is why last week we kept receiving new messages from each of the 4 devices being tested. If you had 4 crew on board who all went MOB, each one would have been tracked separately to aid recovery.

Whilst it was annoying that the CG couldn't let people know they were being tested (and it would have helped if the lady testing them had been monitoring CH16 so she could let us know it wasn't a genuine MOB event) - the system worked really well. It seems that those of us with an AIS receiver connected to a plotter would have been very quickly on the scene to help with a MOB recovery. We were there within a couple of minutes of receiving the alert.

A standard PLB or DSC alert would have taken much longer to get help, and from personal experience, a DSC alert (especially in the Solent) is much easier to ignore or miss than an AIS message telling you exactly where the MOB event is and putting it directly onto your plotter.

For Scotland, much of Ireland and outside the Solent, an AIS MOB might not be that useful - but for the English Channel and South Coast, I'm now thinking for when I'm out on my own it might be a good addition to my Xmas list!
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Old 18 October 2015, 12:39   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor G View Post
I didn't even know this type of message existed, but we stopped and could see a red "X" MOB cross on the plotter along with a message with a bearing and distance from us (about 1 mile at the time).
You could achieve the same with a DSC VHF interfaced back to the plotter.

Quote:
We called Solent Coast Guard on 16 to verify whether the MOB alert was genuine, and as the CG could only say that they had seen the same message, we proceeded to the location to report back to the CG.

As Boristhebold found - it was a lady in a rib testing the system. However - in her defence she said she had phoned the coastguard earlier in the morning to let them know she was doing it. They just seemed to have ignored the information!
I wonder what EXACTLY she was testing and for who? Was she in fact testing what response might be achieved - perhaps for a magazine article? In which case did they need to see people turning up. Otherwise yes I would have thought not only listening to 16 but a Securite message on 16 immediately prior to each test would have been appropriate, with the device MMSI stated so there was no ambiguity. If you make an announcement on 16 of a test and ask people to respond if they would have responded and explain what they'd have done you'll get a very different response from those who ACTUALLY do something. Think bystander effect that we've discussed here before.

Quote:
I reported back to Solent CG to let them know, but 5 minutes later someone else called the CG on 16, and the CG had already forgotten that I had let them know what was happening!
That either shows the flaw of the NMOC being so big or shows they knew something but were purposefully saying less than they knew!
Quote:
A standard PLB or DSC alert would have taken much longer to get help, and from personal experience, a DSC alert (especially in the Solent) is much easier to ignore or miss than an AIS message telling you exactly where the MOB event is and putting it directly onto your plotter.
PLB obviously very different. DSC either from a HH DSC or the mothership could be as effective. The interesting thing would be how many vessels don't have Class B but do have DSC that could have helped. My understanding is the AIS devices are intended to be used for the mothership to rescue the victim... although a local RIB with AIS would obviously be a very convenient outcome.
Quote:
For Scotland, much of Ireland and outside the Solent, an AIS MOB might not be that useful - but for the English Channel and South Coast, I'm now thinking for when I'm out on my own it might be a good addition to my Xmas list!
Particularly if the CG pick it up and then don't do anything with it. I wonder how long they would wait before calling the mothership to say "Have you lost a crew member and dya need any help?"
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