In Australia, the 156-163 Mhz Marine Band is well supported with products by most major manufacturers. These products are generally rated to IP67 which prevents the ingress of water and dust to military spec. These devices are designed to cope with the harsh marine environment including sun and salt. Many devices are also available as split systems with separate head and bodies enabling minimal space requirements for installations or operation of the radio from a second station eg flybridge.
Gencom has extensive experience with marine radio products. Gencom has historically provided radio support to volunteer coastal patrols in the region. Some products available in this category include DSC Capability – Digital Selective Calling. This is a paging system that uses data signals to automate transmission & reception of VHF Marine radio calls on channel 70. A DSC message is a brief burst of digitised information transmitted from one radio to alert another radio or radios. The DSC message automatically indicates the identity of the calling station and the priority/purpose of the call.
All Marine VHF DSC radios have a unique number (MMSI), which you use to call other radios, just like a mobile phone. However, most importantly, unlike mobile phones, DSC allows you to call every other radio in range at the same time if you are in trouble. In an emergency, one push of a button will make the DSC radio send an automated digital distress alert, containing your position (if a GPS is connected) and your MMSI number to rescue organisations. All commercial vessels are required to carry a DSC radio, and respond to any request for emergency assistance if required. The DSC system also allows another station (ship or shore) to request your DSC radio to send it’s GPS position (if GPS connected) which makes it an ideal fleet or regatta management tool.