Explains how a connected a low cost handheld GPS to a low cost (on sale) VHF marine radio. This supports DSC (digital selective calling) and automated distress calls.

(I'll upload some photos of this tonight)

Step 1: The parts I started with

The VHF radio - I picked this up new, at a really good price due to a sale. In the process I also learned that it can be connected to a GPS and learned how the automated distress signal works. I also learned that with DSC it can send position info to other boats.
(note: at the time of purchase, I didn't know it could work with my handheld GPS)
The ETrex GPS - really cheap haldheld unit that has served well over the last couple of years.
DB9 Serial Connector - from an old computer. You should be able to find this at your local electronics shack.
Get yourself an EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon).
<br> <br>Hi Dear, <br> <br> Compliment s of the season !! <br> <br> Um, i am miss MIRIAN by name, i wish <br> to have you as my friend so shall we be good friends ? I want us to base <br>on mutual friendship because A 'Hello' today can mean a friendship tomorrow. Friendship is a word, the very sight of which in print makes the heart warm. A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet; we got to take time to be friendly because it's the road to happiness so reach me at (mirianawad-@hotmail.com) i will send you my photo thanks. <br> <br> My best regards, <br>MIRIAN
I would like a Hand-Held GPS device that allows me to 1) upload the coordinates selected as I walk a property into my PC and a map from MS S&T down into it. Just thoughtto ask if you had any insights into this and could help.
My particular (I'd assume most) when in NMEA mode continuously send position data over the serial port. So, if your PC is connected, just have it log it somewhere.
<strong>I think VE6-OMG just hit the point, Amatuer radio is what it says it is, for Amatuer use. When dealing with sending of distress signals you should be using equipment that is designed for that purpose and nothing else.</strong><br/><br/>The whole point of using GPS with a Marine VHF and not a HAM or other radio is thats what the Coastguard, RNLI and more importantly every other ship at sea will be listening on ch16. It is also important to note that when using DSC to send a mayday a normal 'Mayday Mayday Maday' should also be broadcast on ch16.<br/><br/>If your VHF and GPS are both submerged both may work but the GPS wont get a good position and the VHF wont be able to transmitt. I think the point of the waterproof kit is that if you drop it in the water or it gets completely soaked it still works afterwords (some of these devices now even float). Can't say i know of too many HAM radios that float very well ;)<br/><br/>As for claims of water resistance, I use a handheld VHF as a backup and this has seen its fair share of dunkings and works perfectly. The GPS is a garmin etrek and is completely sealed. As long as you are not diving with these things I have no doubts they work fine.<br/>
I am sorry to burst your bubble. But now in amatuer radio it is possible to send position, heading, and digital paging through GPS with Ham radios
You are absolutely correct but, some of the reasons that a HAM radio won't meet my specific application are: - that radio can work while submerged under water, a must for emergencys on a 16' sailboat - a single button to automatically hail the Coast Guard with position info (for instance, I get knocked overboard and my non-english speaking wife has to get help). - standard marine VHF freq's and DSC standard compliance - price. That VHF rig cost me $120 + $80 for the GPS. That's not even realistic entry money for a ham rig - the ability to monitor 3 channels at once (a scanner could do this but, add some more money)
Paul, you're correct, a ham radio will not serve your needs. But please, don't believe your radio is going to work for you whilst submerged. Height above the water is what gives you distance. A handheld radio at water level is going to get out a couple miles at most. Submerged, if your radio and/or GPS still works (don't tell me about the claims of water resistance,) the transmit range of a submerged VHF antenna can be measured in dozens of feet. Please just don't expect more than your radio can possibly offer.

About This Instructable


4 favorites


More by PaulE: Homemade Inflatable Boat Connecting a handheld GPS to a Marine VHF radio How to bend tubing
Add instructable to: