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One MMSI For All?

by Gordon West, Posted May 22, 2011
Ben Hatheway of Coos Bay, Oregon, asks:"The VHF and SSB radios on my boat share the same Maritime Mobile Service Identity number. I recently purchased a new marine VHF handheld with DSC capability, and I’m wondering if my new handheld, which is sometimes off the boat, should have a different MMSI number."Gordon West replies:This very

VHF Frequency Confusion

by Gordon West, Posted January 25, 2011
Tom Kamlowsky of Salt Lake City, Utah, asks:"While sailing in San Francisco Bay last month, I contacted the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16. On receiving my call, the Coast Guard radio operator asked me to change frequency to channel 22. I changed both my Icom M304 and M34 radios to channel 22 and quickly found that I could not use the M34 because of interference from a

Test Calls

by Gordon West, Posted December 14, 2010
Ralph Manies of Seattle, Washington, asks: "We’ve installed a new ICOM-802 single-sideband radio and now we want to test its DSC (digital selective calling) features. What’s the best way to do this?"Gordon West replies:First enter your MMSI number into the unit’s memory and then hook up the second receive antenna to the DSC antenna

Smoking Windlass

by Gordon West, Posted December 13, 2010
Bob Foster of Sarasota, Florida, asks:"Last week, while my wife and I were cruising, our windlass motor suddenly stopped when I began to pull up the anchor. At almost the same moment, my wife shouted that she saw smoke coming from underneath the nav station. When we got home our local marine electronics technician told me that some of my electronic gear had been damaged as

Double Vision

by Gordon West, Posted October 21, 2010
Rene Etherton of Chicago, Illinois, asks:"When we’re anchored out my audio system works fine, and we get great reception on our HD LCD TV. But back in our marina we get a loud hum on the audio system, and TV reception from several stations is always breaking apart. Why does this happen?"Gordon West replies:I’m almost certain that the hum in

Fine Tuner

by Gordon West, Posted September 21, 2010
Ben Hathaway of Coos Bay, Oregon, asks:"My boat’s VHF and SSB both have the same Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number. I’ve recently purchased a new marine VHF handheld with DSC capability. Should this new handheld have the same, or a different MMSI number?" Gordon West replies:This is a great question, and it’s one that is

Antenna Heaven

by Gordon West, Posted August 21, 2010
David Stiller of Miami, Florida, asks:"I’m getting a new Standard Horizon GX2100 marine VHF with integrated AIS receivers, and I’m curious whether it will work with my Shakespeare masthead antenna?"Gordon West replies:AIS frequencies are 4.6 MHz higher than normal VHF ship-to-ship channels. However, I’ve done some tests, and Don Henry at

Wobbly Cells

by Gordon West, Posted July 21, 2010
Chet Sturgis of Chicago, Illinois, asks:"Recently, I installed a cell phone amplifier—I don’t recall the manufacturer’s name—to increase my range when I’m sailing off the coast. Although range has improved, when I’m back in my slip I can’t get good reception from someone who is calling me from just several hundred yards away until I turn off the amplifier. What am I doing

Name Changer

by Gordon West, Posted June 19, 2010
Paul Scott of Coral Gables, Florida, asks:"I just bought a pre-owned boat that came with a fairly new 406 MHz EPIRB. I've checked the date on the battery, and it is fine, but when I contacted the FCC to change the registration information, they told me that they don't handle EPIRB registrations. Where should I go to re-register my unit?"Gordon West

GPS Harmony

by Gordon West, Posted April 19, 2010
Dick Hansen of Norwalk, Connecticut, asks:"My new chartplotter is just great and gives me aerial and radar overlays. But when I transmit on VHF Channel 68, a frequency we use a lot in my area, the GPS hiccups, the chartplotter freezes, and it can take about 30 seconds for the system to recover. Everything works fine when I transmit on other channels; it’s just 68 that is
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