A captain's pain points in everyday operations

Probably because it is generally easier to use the VHF for voice communication versus fiddling around with the DSC functions for most mariners. It is more of a momentary loss of situational awareness carrying on a conversation versus putting together a text message or going through menus to find a canned message.

Also, as many times as we have all done the weekly DSC test, the percentage of people on the other side of that test that even bother to ping it back to you is dismal. Most successful DSC tests start with a voice call to inform the other operator that you are going to use the DSC.

So yeah. A fairly useless system in everyday use with the current standard.


Did you see a Japanese fighter plane while this was going on? (Some of you will know what I’m referring to.)


I got it.

I think that’s the fault of the equipment makers who make hopelessly difficult interfaces.

But DSC also works with computers, so it would be pretty simple to design a box – with a proper keyboard for input – which would allow you to input data needed for routine messages, and receive them. It would be really useful for the kind of cases mentioned in the previous post. Except that it would require everyone to have one, including port control.

…and change the dang frequency. After three decades (+), my high pitch hearing is not what it was.

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A surprising number of ships have severely restricted visibility from the bridge. The inability to see ahead of the vessel from a reasonable conning station is a very tense situation when navigating in a narrow winding channel with a lot of traffic. Those were the ships I hated the most. I’ll take an annoying alarm any day in exchange.


Mine too
but pretty silly when they have a spec for a sound test but no spec for equipment alarms?

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Also change to a more complex waveform than a sine wave, which is notoriously difficult to localize by ear. Cf. recent “white noise” type backing alarms for trucks.

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I was in a small port office in Malaysia just as a company was installing the system we think should exist, it clocked the ais and made a vhf call to that vessel with a click of the mouse on that ais target.