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Author Topic:   Garmin 3206 / Standard Horizon GX2100 DSC solutions.
6992WHALER posted 09-01-2012 10:59 AM ET (US)   Profile for 6992WHALER   Send Email to 6992WHALER  
This past summer I had an opportunity to spend time with some fellow boaters who had DSC equipped boats.

On the trip we experimented with DSC calls and position reports.

My boat has dual Garmin GPS 3206 chart plotters connected to a Standard Horizon GX2100 VHF radio.

Overall I was very pleased with how the units worked.

After looking at the Owners manuals I have found some ways to program the system to make it even better.

All DSC vessels were identified on the chart plotters by their MMSI number not the boat's name. I found that the Garmin 3206 will allow you to enter the boat name and information into a "DSC Directory". Once the data is in the directory the boats will appear on the screen by name not MMSI number.

If I made a position request or someone sent me a position report, both Garmins would jump to a screen with the DSC information. I did not like the fact the the units changed pages automatically. I found that I can set the Garmins not to show DSC information. I typically run the port chart plotter zoomed in for better detail and the starboard unit zoomed out for the overall picture. With this in mind I plan to turn off the DSC feature on the port chart plotter, thus my zoomed in unit will stay on the navigation page during DSC calls.

The ringer on the radio went off every time a position request was sent. This was very annoying especially since the radio was set to automatically reply. I have found that the ringer can be turned off for these requests. I also found that I can set the DSC incoming call ringer from 2 minutes of ringing to 5 rings total. After I make these changes, hopefully Kevin will no longer be able to accuse the Holly Marie of producing the most sounds in the fleet.

Between the radio and the chart plotter there are so many setting choices. I do not know how anyone can remember or even know they are available.

jimh posted 09-02-2012 09:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
John--Thank you for this very interesting information regarding display of DSC waypoints and handling of call notification on DSC radios.

I believe I commented earlier in a prior discussion--or at least I meant to--about the ability of the integrated radio-chart-plotter made by Standard Horizon, the CPV350. Don had that device on his boat during our August cruise, and he mentioned that when the chart plotter displayed a waypoint from a DSC remote position poll reply, the waypoint would be named with the boat name if the boat were in the radio's directory of DSC vessels. This is in contrast to seeing the waypoint named with the marine mobile service identity (MMSI) which is a rather long and generally unrecognizable identifier for a human observer.

I am very interested to learn that the GARMIN chart plotter can also provide this sort of presentation on its screen. Presenting the waypoint with the vessel name is a much better method. Knowing that this can be done will probably now cause any reader with a GARMIN chart plotter to want to exploit this feature.

The manner in which a DSC radio alerts the operator that it has received a DSC call for the vessel is another interesting topic. I have not investigated my radio to see if it offers any options for this. At the present, when a DSC call is received the radio produces a sound that is similar to the classic Bell System telephone set ring. The ringing persists for what seems like a rather long interval. I will have to investigate my radio's instructions to see if some sort of handling is provided for the ring duration.

jimh posted 09-02-2012 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is what I found about the handling of the ringing tone on my DSC radio, which is an early DSC radio, a Standard-Horizon GX1500S. It was one of the first Class-D DSC radios on the market.

Re the ringing tone:

When receiving a DSC position request there are two modes:

--Automatically reply: when a position request call is received, a calling alarm sounds 4 times; and,

--Manually reply: when a position request call is received ...a ringing alarm sounds 4 times.

The ringing tone for individual or group calls can be tweaked to suit the operator's preference. Here are the details:

Setting up the Individual/Group Call Ringer

When a Individual Call or Group Call is received the radio will produce a ringing tone for 3 minutes. This selection allows the Individual Call ringer time to be changed.

--press and hold down the [CALL(MENU)] key until “Radio Setup” menu appears;

--turn the CHANNEL selector knob to select “DSC Setup” menu;

--press the [ENT] key, then select “INDIV Ring” with the CHANNEL selector knob;

--press the [ENT] key;

--turn the CHANNEL selector knob to select ringing time of a Individual call. (The options are five rings, ten rings, and default.)

--press the [ENT] key to store the selected setting;

--to exit this menu and return to radio operation mode press the [16/9] key.

This is great news, as previously I had not been aware I could modify this behavior of the radio. Listening to three minutes of ringing is enough to make you want to throw the radio overboard.

6992WHALER posted 09-02-2012 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Interesting that Standard Horizon has changed the factory setting from 3 minutes on your "older" radio to 2 minutes on my radio. I bet they have had some comments made to them about throwing the radios overboard.

jimh posted 09-02-2012 02:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I just set up my Standard-Horizon GX1500S radio so the ring alert is down to five rings. The options were five, 10, 15, or default (three minutes).

I also discovered the radio has a CALL WAITING feature that I never noticed before:

11.5.6 Setting Up the Call Waiting Function

Allows the GX1500S to be setup to reply (ABLE) or set the radio so it transmits
a call that advises the calling vessel the person is UNABLE to reply to the call at
this time. This function is similar to an answering machine. When set up in
UNABLE and a individual call is received the Individual call from the other vessel
is logged in the CALL WAITING directory for you to review and call back at
a later time.

jimh posted 09-02-2012 11:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If I understood the comment from Don (made during our cruise, not in this discussion) about his integrated radio and chart plotter from Standard-Horizon (the model CPV-350 as I recall), that device seemed to be able to show the DSC waypoint with vessel name, not with MMSI, if the DSC waypoint came from a vessel in the radio's directory. Apparently Standard-Horizon has provided a way to share the data in their integrated unit.

If I understood John's comment about his Garmin chart plotter, it has its own directory for storing data about the links between vessel name and vessel MMSI. I think you would have to enter the data into this directory on the chart plotter; I don't think it can be fetched from the radio. But this also provides the ability to show waypoints with the vessel name instead of the MMSI.

I looked over all the menu options on my Lowrance HDS to see if there were any place I could create a directory of MMSI numbers and boat names, but I found none. There is such a directory in my radio, but I don't believe there is any way to communicate that data to the chart plotter. I don't believe that the HDS will be able to show waypoints on the chart plotter with the vessel name; it only shows the MMSI.

6992WHALER posted 09-03-2012 12:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Just got home, from the boat.

My Radio is now programed to only ring 5 times not continuously for 2 minutes for DSC calls. I have turned the ringer off for position requests and position reports.

I have also entered some boat names in the Garmin chart plotter's "DSC Directory"

I could pull information from the Garmin's DCS call log, (The 3206 records the last 100 DSC calls) so all I had to do for boats that had made DSC calls not position reports was add the name of the boat to the log. This information transferred to the DSC Directory. Position reports are not kept in the Garmen's call log so I will have to enter those boats names and MMSI numbers by hand.

The radios Directory will not transfer to the Chart plotter.

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