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Author Topic:   RESCUE 21 Accepted for Sector Sault Ste. Marie
jimh posted 06-30-2012 06:57 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
On June 13, 2012 the United States Coast Guard formally accepted the RESCUE 21 radio system for Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie covers all of Lake Superior and the Northern portions of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. More details and plenty of photographs of the official acceptance ceremony are available from a USCG press release.

The RESCUE 21 facilities for Sector Sault Ste. Marie include 18 shore stations located as follows:

In Michigan:

--Black River (N. Lake Huron)
--Rogers City
--Bliss (N. Lake Michigan)
--Central Lake (N. Lake Michigan)
--Gulliver (N. Lake Michigan)
--Grand Marais
--Eagle Harbor
--Donken (Lake Superior)
--Porcupine Mountain

In Wisconsin:


In Minnesota

--Maple Hill

A coverage map shows the area of the Great Lakes covered by the new system.

A few weeks ago we were cruising in Grand Traverse Bay when our VHF Marine Band radio received a broadcast of an urgent safety notice from the Coast Guard about a person in the water near Traverse City. The broadcast originated with USCG Sector Sault Ste. Marie, so I presume I was listening to the new RESCUE 21 station at Central Lake.

K Albus posted 06-30-2012 08:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Note that the coverage map does not show all of Lake Superior - it only shows the U.S. portion.

Also note that there does not appear to be good coverage for Isle Royale.

jimh posted 06-30-2012 10:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
We will have to depend on the Canadian Coast Guard for that portion of Lake Superior in Canada. I don't recall if I have seen a good coverage map for their radio resources, but they are usually quite diligent about good coverage.

Yes, it looks like RESCUE 21 will be quite marginal for boaters in the waters surrounding Isle Royale, particularly on the North side of the Eastern end of the island, say around McCargoe Cove and vicinity.

ASIDE: The commanding officer of Sector Sault Ste. Marie is CAPT Joseph McGuiness. I met him in 1997 as LCDR McGuiness when he assumed command of the USCGC BRISTOL BAY in Detroit.


6992WHALER posted 06-30-2012 11:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
I wonder how conservative the ranges shown on the map are?

I bet that a DSC distress call from Isle Royal will get picked up by one or both of the US Stations on Superior.

jimh posted 06-30-2012 11:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't see any notation of what the coverage contours represent, but, as suggested, they are probably very conservative. In the past the coverage maps for USCG stations were drawn to show the range for communication with a station that had an antenna elevation of one-foot above the water. If you have a boat with an antenna elevation of 10-feet above the water, the range would be at least ten miles further, and perhaps more. Also I think the transmitter power of the remote station was assumed to be very modest. A boat with a 25-watt transmitter with a full-size antenna with some gain would probably also extend the coverage.
6992WHALER posted 06-30-2012 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
I don't know, but again I would bet the Park Service on Isle Royal has DSC radios.

The Park Service will get to you a lot faster then the Coast Guard even if the Coast Guard did receive your DSC signal.

jimh posted 06-30-2012 10:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Heck, the Park Service has automatic weapons, so it shouldn't be too much for them to invest in a DSC radio.
David Pendleton posted 07-01-2012 12:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton    
And since you would also request assistance on channels 9 and 16, I don't think it would matter if the Park Service had DSC radios...
jimh posted 07-01-2012 05:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
You can't really buy a VHF Marine Band radio without DSC, and that's been true since Spring of 2011. The USCG has been encouraging DSC since 1995. Heck, that is 17 years. I bet the Park Service has a DSC radio.

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