Prior to departing on an ocean passage, I recommend testing the DSC (Digital Selective Calling) feature of your ICOM IC-M801E MF/HF radio.

Ideally your vessel should be in clear water outside of a marina for this test.


Turn the radio on, then press the black DSC (round) button.  This places the radio into DSC WATCH mode.  The screen should display your vessel MMSI, latitude / longitude, and the time in UTC.  If any of these values are incorrect, or not displayed, do NOT continue with the test.  

 Test Call

Whilst in DSC WATCH mode, press SET, then rotate the channel knob (right side large knob) so the pointer is next to "Test", then press ENT.  Press ENT again to select "Manual Set".

Enter 005120010 (the leading zeros are already entered for you).  This is the MMSI for Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCC NZ).

Press ENT to save the value above.  Press ENT again to select "Manual Set".

Enter 8414.5 into BOTH TX: and RX: followed by pressing ENT.  

Press and hold the CALL button (left side of radio) for 3 seconds.  The radio will transmit a test call, and then wait for an acknowledgement. 

If the test is successful, the display will read "Test ACK" and a loud interrupted tone will sound.  Press ENT to stop the audible alert.

If you do not get a an ACK after a few minutes, try again using one of the frequencies below;


The lower frequencies are more likely to work at night and early morning, and the higher ones around the middle of the day.  

You can also conduct the same test with the above frequencies using MMSI 005030001 which is RCC AUSTRALIA.

As the test is conducted on a DSC Distress and Safety frequency, you should not conduct this test any more often than is necessary.

What to do if the test fails?

Please email peter@pmr.nz. I may be able to help!