Radio Survey

How to Conduct a GMDSS Inspection (FCC version)

Category: General

The GMDSS replaces the ship-to-ship safety system that used manual Morse code with a ship-to-shore safety system that uses satellite and automated terrestrial communications systems. The GMDSS requires ships to carry various types of communications equipment depending upon the voyages of the ship rather than the gross tonnage. The GMDSS also requires ships to comply with certain functional requirements.

The GMDSS rules are found in subpart W of Part 80 [Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Part 80] and are applicable to the appropriate tonnage and operational areas of Passenger and Cargo vessels.

Under the Communications Act, Fishing vessels are considered to be Cargo vessels and, all these vessels are the subject to Radio Inspection.

To provide a GMDSS inspection the engineer must obtain an appropriate license for Inspectors.

In the course of survey carrying, the inspector should draw-up a report of Inspection. 

A report of Radio Inspection provided can contain a Radio Technician's Remarks.

It is suggested that one copy of appropriate report be
left onboard and one copy be kept with the Surveyor.


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

Category: 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.


GMDSS Testers at POSIDONIA 2016

Category: General

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.


Annual testing of Automatic Identification System (AIS)

Category: 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.


Procedural requirements for Radio Surveyors (Inspectors) by IACS

Category: General

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.


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).

GMDSS Testers All in One

AIS Tester

AIS Tester

AIS Tester is professional equipment for surveyors to provide mandatory annual testing of the Class A and Class B AIS mobile stations and AIS-SARTs in accordance with requirements of IMO and SOLAS. Complies with with IMO circular letter “Guidelines on annual testing of the AIS unit MSC.1/Circ.1252”.



BEACON TESTER enables professional checking of all types of maritime emergency radio beacons that operate in COSPAS-SARSAT system like EPIRBs, PLB. Provides mandatory annual EPIRB testing in accordance with IMO Circular MSC.1/Circ.1039, 1040.

Beacon Tester Mini Wi-Fi

Beacon Tester Mini Wi-Fi

EPIRB Tester Mini w/ W-Fi is the newest device appointed to check the maritime distress beacons (EPIRBs, PLBs) operating via COSPAS-SARSAT system. Device is a really lightweight and a is capable to operate via Wi-Fi with any smartphone, tablet or laptop. Complies with SOLAS regulation, IMO 1039 and 1040 Circulars.



Marine Radio Test Set MRTS-7M is designed to carry out the mandatory periodical or annual surveys of all rage of GMDSS equipment: AIS Stations, EPIRBs, MF/HF/VHF Radios with DSC and NAVTEX receivers. Finally, it's all-in-one now.