SART → Servicing and Testing of Search and Rescue Radar Transponder (SART)

The Search and Rescue Radar Transponder as a part of GMDSS is a subject to annual test during radio survey. The annual testing of SART is recommended due to SOLAS regulation IV/15.8.

The purpose of an annual testing is to determine that SART is operational as defined in appropriate performance standards for Survival Craft Radar Transponders for use in Search and Rescue Operations, IMO Resolution A.802 (19).

Also Marine Orders require that a radar transponder must be inspected, tested and have its batteries replaced at intervals specified by its manufacturer.

SART Testing

Aboard ship, each SART shall be examined at least once a month to check how secure it is its mounting and for signs of damage.

It is not necessary to test the SART aboard ship routinely.

It is recommended not performing any ‘self-test’ whilst at sea, and if in port, the port authority should be advised prior to activation. Some SART’s “self-test” is in fact a live test, and inspection of the SART’s manufacturer’s manual will clarify this.

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General → GMDSS Testers at POSIDONIA 2016

6th – 11th June 2016 GMDSS Test Equipment was represented at a booth on International Exhibition Posidonia 2016 in Athens, Greece.

Over 80 global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies participated at Posidonia 2016 this summer. Thus, GMDSS Testers representatives were pleased to accept numerous guests and to communicate with the old as well as with the recent customers and business partners.

GMDSS Tester at Posidonia 2016

The innovative device BEACON Tester Mini has great success. Previously our clients and customers had chance to learn about this device from video and advertising mailshot, and now the number of service authorities had chance to see and to try it in operation.

Greece is one of the strategic markets where GMDSS Test Equipment has a large number of our Radio Survey equipment users. We recollected a range of the feedback from service engineers (radio inspectors) that use test equipment in every day life and our engineer team will consider and strong up the quality and efficiency of our products and services for better customer satisfaction.

We appreciated much this possibility of meet-at-real with customers and partners, organized by Posidonia. And furthermore we would like to say “thank you” to all our visitors and guests at this event.

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AIS → Annual testing of Automatic Identification System (AIS)

SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 18.9 states:

“The automatic identification system (AIS) shall be subjected to an annual test. The test shall be conducted by an approved surveyor or an approved testing or servicing facility. The test shall verify the correct programming of the ship static information, correct data exchange with connected sensors as well as verifying the radio performance by radio frequency measurement and on-air test using, e.g. a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). A copy of the test report shall be retained on board the ship.”

The Maritime Safety Committee, at its eighty-third session (3-12 October 2007), approved the Guidelines on annual testing of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) developed by the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation.

AIS annual test

The purpose of an annual testing is to determine that AIS is operational as defined in appropriate performance standards - the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Performance Standard (MSC 74(69)) and IEC standard, IEC 61993-2: Maritime Navigation and Radio Communications Equipment and Standards – Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).

The annual testing of the automatic identification system (AIS) should be carried out by a qualified radio inspector authorized by the administration or a recognized organization under the following testing procedure.

The radio inspector shall have the major and auxiliary equipment required for correctly performing the inspection - the AIS Tester - which helps to decode and check all programming information, as well as to carry out the Performance tests - to measure frequencies, output power, poll information, send to and receive data from AIS.

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General → Procedural requirements for Radio Surveyors (Inspectors) by IACS

Firms engaged in surveys (inspections) and testing of radio communication equipment: Surveys, inspection, testing, and/or measurement of radio equipment aboard ships or mobile offshore units for compliance with SOLAS regulations, Annual testing of 406 MHz satellite EPIRBs for compliance with SOLAS Regulation IV/15.9, Service Suppliers involved in inspection, performance testing and maintenance of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) are have to be approved by IACS.

The inspector carrying out the inspection shall have passed the internal training of the supplier in Radiotelephony, GMDSS, and initial and renewal surveys, as applicable.

IACS-members

The inspector shall also have at least one year’s technical school training or as alternative hold evidence that he followed a technical course approved by the relevant Administration, at least one year’s experience as an assistant radio inspector and should preferably hold an appropriate National Radio Operators Certificate, recognised by the ITU, such as a GMDSS General Operator’s Certificate (GOC) or a GMDSS Radioelectronic Certificate (REC). He should be aware of any local conditions for radio signal propagation, of regional radio stations and their facilities, and of the GMDSS infrastructure. 

The supplier shall have the major and auxiliary equipment required for correctly performing the inspection. A record of the equipment used shall be kept. The record shall contain information on manufacturer and type of equipment, and a log of maintenance and calibrations. 

Minimum required instruments: Equipment for measuring frequency, voltage, current and resistance, Equipment for measuring output and reflect effect on VHF and MF/HF, Equipment for measuring modulation on MF/HF and VHF (AM, FM, PM), Acid tester for checking specific gravity of lead batteries, Tester for checking of correct output from Free-Float Satellite EPIRB, Equipment for testing the performance of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).

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General → General principles and features of Maritime Mobile Service

Article 53 of the International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations states that all stations in the Maritime Mobile and the Maritime Mobile-Satellite service shall be capable of offering four levels of priority in the following order: Distress, Urgency, Sasfey, Routine.

There are several types of Maritime Mobile Service: Ship Stations, Coastal radio stations, Port operations stations, Aricraft stattion, Rescue Coordination Centers.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has allocated various bands of frequencies throughout the radio frequency spectrum to the Maritime Mobile Service and the Maritime Mobile-Satellite Service.

GMDSS Radio Survey

All HF and all VHF marine frequencies are arranged in a channelised format. Channels are designated as either: simplex or duplex.

The ITU has allocated simplex (i.e. single frequency) frequencies in the MF, the VHF and each of the HF maritime bands exclusively for distress and safety purposes. These frequencies are protected by international agreement, and any transmission capable of causing harmful interference to distress and safety signals is prohibited.

DSC is a paging technique used to automate the initial call between two stations. The technical principles are almost identical to NBDP, in that tone information is transmitted from one DSC system to another over a radio link.

DSC is used in the MF, HF and VHF marine bands for distress, urgency and safety alerting.

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News

16.05.2016

Guidance on AIS devices agreed

The Sub-Committee endorsed a draft Safety of Navigation (SN.1) circular providing information to seafarers on the display of AIS-SART, AIS Man Overboard (MOB) and EPIRB-AIS devices, for submission to the MSC for approval.

03.04.2016

GMDSS modernization on agenda

The modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), e-navigation implementation and new and amended ships’ routeing proposals are among items on a busy agenda as the third session of IMO’s Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communication, Search and Rescue (NCSR) gets underway (29 February-4 March).