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VHF SRC Radio Course Syllabus

The general principles and basic features of the maritime mobile service relevant to vessels NOT subject to a compulsory fit under the SOLAS convention.

Types of communication of the Maritime Mobile Service.

  • Distress, urgency and safety communications.
  • Public correspondence.
  • Port operations service.
  • Ship movement service.
  • Intership communication.
  • On board communications.

 Types of Station in the Maritime Mobile Service.

  • Ship stations.
  • Coast stations.
  • Pilot stations, port stations etc.
  • Aircraft stations.
  • Rescue Co-ordination Centres (RCC).

Elementary Knowledge of Radio Frequencies and Channels Appropriate to the VHF Maritime Mobile Band.

  • The concept of frequency.            
  • Propagation on VHF frequencies.
  • Flange for voice communications.
  • Range lor DSC transmissions.
  • The usage of VHF frequencies in the maritime mobile sen/ice.
  • The concept of radio channel: simplex, semi»dup|ex and duplex.
  • Channel plan for VHF, including allocations for the GMDSS.
  • Distress and safety channels. National channels for small craft safety.
  • lntership communications, Port operations.
  • Ship movement.
  • Calling channels.
  • Public correspondence channels.

 Functionality of Ship Station Equipment.

  • Sources of energy of ship stations.
  • Batteries; types and characteristics, charging, maintenance.                

Detailed Working Knowledge of Radio Equipment.

The VHF Radio Installation.

  • Radiotelephone channels.
  • Channel selection and controls.
  • Dual watch facilities and controls.
  • Basic controls and usage, e.g.:
  • Connecting and power.
  • Press to transmit switch.
  • High/low output power switch.
  • Volume control.
  • Squelch control.
  • Dimmer.
  • Portable two-way VHF radiotelephone apparatus.
  • Maritime VHF antennas.

Purpose and use of Digital Selective Calling (DSC) facilities

  • The general principles and basic features of DSC,
  • DSC messages.
  • DSC attempt.
  • Call acknowledgement.
  • Call relay.

Types of Call                   

  • Distress call.
  • All ships call.
  • Call to individual station.
  • Geographical area call.
  • Group call.

The Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) Number System.

  • Nationality identification: Maritime Identification Digits (MID)
  • Ship station numbers.
  • Coast station numbers.

Call Categorisation and Priority.

  • Distress.
  • Urgency.
  • Safety.
  • Ship’s business.
  • Routine.

Call Telecommand and Traffic Information.

  • Distress alerts.
  • Other calls.
  • Working channel information.

 VHF DSC Facilities and Usage.

  • Channel 70 instant alert selector.             
  • DSC data entry and display.
  • Updating vessel position.
  • Entering pre-set message.
  • Entering traffic information.
  • Reviewing received messages.
  • DSC watchkeeplng functions and controls.

 Operational Procedures of the GMDSS and Detailed Practical Operation of GMDSS Subsystems and Equipment.

 Search and Rescue (SAR) Procedures in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

  •  Sea Areas and access to GMDSS facilities.
  •  The role of RCCs.
  •  Organisation of search and rescue.

 Distress, Urgency and Safety Communication Procedures in the GMDSS.

  • Distress communications via VHF DSC equipment.                            
  • DSC distress alert.
  • The definition of a distress alert.
  • Transmission of a distress alert.
  • Transmission of a shore-to-ship distress alert relay.
  • Transmission of a distress alert by a station not itself in distress.
  • Receipt and acknowledgement of VHF DSC distress alert.
  • Acknowledgement procedure,
  • Receipt and acknowledgement by a coast station.
  • Receipt and acknowledgement by a ship station.
  • Handling of distress alerts.
  • Preparations for handling of distress traffic.
  • Distress traffic terminology
  • On-scene communications.

SAR Operation.

  • Urgency and Safety communications via DSC equipment.
  • The meaning of urgency and safety communications.
  • Procedures for DSC urgency and safety calls.
  • Urgency communications.
  • Safety communications.

Protection of Distress Frequencies.

  • Avoiding harmful interference.
  • Avoiding the transmission of false alerts.
  • Status of Channel 70.
  • Transmission during distress traffic.
  • Prevention of unauthorised transmissions.
  • Test protocols and procedures.
  • Testing DSC equipment.
  • Radiotelephone test procedures.
  • Avoidance of transmissions in VHF guard bands.
  • Procedures to follow when a false distress alert is transmitted.

Maritime Safety Information.

  • The NAVTEX system.
  • Purpose and capabilities, including distress and safety functions


Alerting and Locating Signals.

  • Purpose and definition.
  • Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacons (EPIRBs). 
  • Registration and coding.
  • Operation, including automatic and manual activation.
  • lnmarsat-E 1.6 GHZ EPIRB.
  • 121 .5MHz homing function.
  • Mounting considerations.
  • Routine maintenance.
  • Testing.
  • Checking battery expiry date.
  • Checking the float-free mechanism.

 Search and Rescue Transponder (SART).

  •  Operation.
  •  Operating height.
  •  Effect of radar reflector.
  •  Range of a SART transmitter.                                

Operational Procedures and Regulations for VHF Radiotelephone Communications.

Ability to Exchange Communications Relevant to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

  • Distress communications.
  • Distress signal.
  • The correct use and meaning of the signal MAYDAY.
  • Distress call.
  • Distress message.
  • Acknowledgement of a distress message.
  • Obligation to acknowledge a distress message.
  • Correct form of acknowledgement.
  • Action to be taken following acknowledgement.
  • The control of distress traflic.
  • The correct use and meanings of the signals.

Transmission of a Distress Message by a Station Not Itself in Distress. The Correct Use and Meaning of the Signal MAYDAY RELAY.

 Urgency Communications.

  •  Urgency signal.
  •  The correct use and meaning of the signal PAN~PAN.
  •  Urgency message: obtaining urgent medical advice through a coast station,

 Safety Communications.

  •  Safety signal: the correct use and meaning of the signal SECURITE.
  •  Safety message.
  •  Special procedures for communication with appropriate national organisations on matters affecting safety.
  •  Reception of MSI by VHF radiotelephone.
  •  Awareness of the existence and use of the IMO Standard Marine Navigational
  •  Vocabulary.

Knowledge of the Following Basic Signals:

  • WRONG.

Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Regulations Obligatory Procedures and Practices.

  • Awareness of international documentation and availability of national publications.
  • Knowledge of the international regulations and agreements governing the maritime mobile service,
  • Requirement for Ship Station Licence.
  • Regulations concerning control of the operation of radio equipment by the holder of an appropriate certificate of competence.
  • National regulations concerning radio record keeping.
  • Preservation of the secrecy of correspondence.
  • Types of call and types of message which are prohibited. 

Practical and Theoretical Knowledge of Radiotelephone Call Procedures.

  • Method of calling a Coast Station by radiotelephony.
  • Ordering a manually switched link-call.
  • Ending the call.
  • Calls to ships from Coast Stations.
  • Special facilities of calls.
  • Method of calling a Coast Station DSC for general communications.
  • Electing an automatic radiotelephone call.

Traffic Charges.

  • International charging system.
  • Accounting Authority Identification Code (AAIC),
  • Practical traffic routines.
  • Correct use of call signs.
  • Procedure for establishing communication on:
  • Intership, public correspondence, small craft safety, port operations and ship movement channels.
  • Procedure for unanswered calls and garbled calls.
  • Control of communications.


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