Originally Posted by Dirk Diggler
??? How many "radio checks" does one man need?
radio checks WERE covered on the course, can't say it was a particular highlight of the course!
Here are some of the features of modern VHF/DSC that I'd like to have been covered. I did ask the instructor but other than acknowledging that "some radios have those capabilities" he didn't seem to know:
- position polling: one of the more common routine radio calls between vessels is to try and meet up / find each other. Position polling can help.
- group calling: again potentially useful for coordinating "flotillas". Nobody could tell me if it was a good idea (or not) to put all the UK CG's in one group and group call them rather than worrying about which was the closest station - especially since I frequently boat near a boundary (Belfast - Stornoway).
In addition we didn't spend any appreciable time on possibly the most common call that people will make to the CG - reporting in with passage plans. So whilst I can tell you exactly what the CG expect to hear in a distress or urgency situation - I still don't really know the expected format of a good
I realise quality varies with instructor but the emphasis was very much on its distress use (which is only emphasises by all the other GMDSS stuff like EPIRBs that is covered). I expected some guidance on when I should be calling VTS and what I might expect to tell them (or hear on a listening watch that might be useful).
In addition I think some of my cohort may have benefited from actually plotting the positions that they "overheard" on their simulated calls, and from going from a chart position to distress call rather than a set of coordinates.
I think probably more could have been made of VHF weather forecasts and subfax (or is it subfacts?) broadcasts which are routinely made. Yes they are common sense but I'd hazard a guess that >1/2 the people on my course didn't really understand them.