Deadline approaching to restrict sale of noncompliant marine radios

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(WASHINGTON) — The manufacture, import, sale and installation of new fixed digital selective calling-equipped marine radios not meeting the International Telecommunications Union Recommendation M.493–11 minimum requirements is prohibited by the Federal Communications Commission, beginning March 25, 2011, at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard.
This action extends to class D VHF DSC radios to include compliance with International Electrotechnical Commission International Standard 62238.

Previously-installed radios meeting the older standard may continue to be used.

The new measure is implemented to ensure DSC-equipped radios incorporate several improved safety features and functions.

“The new requirements ensure improved detection of distress alerts and a reduction in the rate of false alarms, reducing incessant alarming caused by DSC-equipped radios meeting the older standard,†said Joe Hersey, chief of the spectrum management telecommunications policy division at U.S. Coast Guard headquarters.

Other improvements include test calls, dual receivers and GPS interconnections alarms ensuring distress alerts transmit accurate positions. The changes also eliminate dangers associated with automatic channel switching.

New applications for certification of portable or handheld DSC-equipped radios that do not meet the same requirements will not be accepted by the FCC after March 25, 2012 and the manufacture, importation and sale of non-compliant portable devices will be prohibited beginning March 25, 2015.

Additional information is posted on the U.S. Coast Guard’s navigation center website at

By Professional Mariner Staff