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Marine Electronics 101-102 Cover

 

Marine Electronics

This site is provided as a means of communications with the USPS National Electro-Mechanical Systems Committee (EMSCom).  We welcome your questions and comments on our modules, Learning Guides, and associated materials.

R/C George R. Hallenbeck, AP
Stf/C Gene A. Danko, SN
Stf/C Walter K. Neese, SN

 

 

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News

 

Electronic Navigation Course Description

A full description of the new CPS-ECP Electronic Navigation course is now available under Course Description. (06 Sep 14)

EMSCom Presentation at Jacksonville Annual Meeting

R/C Gene Danko prepared a status presentation (PPT, 1771KB) for the DEOs and the Open Educational Department meeting at the Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, FL on 27 January 2012. He also included the latest Coast Guard information on Rescue 21 (PPT, 4603KB). They are available here for information and planning purposes. (27 Jan 12)

EMSCom Presentations at Greensboro GB

R/C Gene Danko gave a status presentation (PPT, 773KB) to the DEOs at the Governing Board Meeting in Greensboro, NC on 15 September this year, and also provided a presentation (PPT, 807KB) to the Open Educational Department meeting on 16 September. They are available here for information and planning purposes. (19 Oct 11)

Marine Electrical Systems Erratum

Table 3-1 of the student guide for MES contains an error due to a frame shift during publication layout. The row labeled “Charging (see Table 3-5)” should contain a blank entry in the first column “Flooded Starting,” with the other entries moved over to the right. This link (PDF, 13KB) will take you to a table with the correct table entries. Note that the table is correctly shown on slide 17 of the Power Point presentation for chapter 3. (05 Sep 11)

USPS Local Telephone Number in Course Manuals

Some Marine Electrical Systems and Marine Communications Systems course student and instructor manuals have an incorrect local telephone number for USPS Headquarters on the Acknowledgements Page; the ME103 instructor manual has no local telephone number.  The correct local telephone number is 919-821-0281.  The toll-free number is still 1-888-367-8777 (1-888-FOR-USPS). (21 Dec 10)

Getting Credit for Marine Electronics — Old vs. New Courses

Many have asked about the credit granted for the Marine Electronics series. As we switch from old courses to new, we will switch from one elective (Marine Electronics) to three electives (Marine Electrical Systems, Marine Communications Systems, Marine Navigation Systems) and this has caused some confusion during the transition from the old series to the new.

Students must successfully complete the entire three module set of ME101/102/103 to gain credit for Marine Electronics. Students will be given credit for each of the new courses, so by utilizing the new material they can get credit for up to three electives. As the grade of SN now requires successful completion of six out of eight elective courses, students can earn half of their needed electives by passing this series. If they stay with the old material, only one course credit will be granted.

A few students may find themselves in need of Marine Navigation Systems (MNS). This course material has not yet been released. The Chairman of the Electro-Mechanical Systems Committee will consider completion of ME103 as evidence of completion of MNS on a case-by-case basis. This procedure requires that HQ manually override student records and is not done lightly. EMSCom stands by to help our students so we will work with the SEOs as needed to promote those candidates deserving of the grade. If you have questions, contact the Chairman of the Electro-Mechanical Systems Committee, R/C Gene A. Danko, SN. (09 Dec 10)

New Marine Electronics Courses

Electronic devices for the recreational boater have come a long, long way over the years. With the advent of solid state digital electronics, sophisticated sensors and radios have become commonplace on our vessels. EMSCom has split Marine Electronics into three new standalone “systems” courses. Marine Electrical Systems, Marine Communications Systems, and Marine Navigation Systems are loosely equivalent to ME101/102/103, but with updated and expanded material.

The first of these three courses, Marine Electrical Systems, is now available. Marine Electrical Systems (MES) covers the practice of wiring your boat, including boat electrical wiring practices and diagrams, direct and alternating current power, galvanic and stray current corrosion, and lightning protection. Troubleshooting is emphasized throughout, so students should feel comfortable performing even tricky wiring tasks after passing this course. See the On-Line Catalog and Shopping Cart for ordering information. Errata sheets are also available. See the Downloadable Material section for these updates.

Marine Communications Systems (MCS), the ME102 replacement course, is also now available. See the On-Line Catalog and Shopping Cart for ordering information. The ME101/102 courses will be kept active until all three replacement courses are available, then the old series will be made obsolete and retired in accordance with USPS standard procedures. Credit will be granted for any combination of old and new courses, until ME101/102/103 are removed from service.

Marine Navigation Systems (MNS) will replace ME103. This course covers all aspects of electronic navigation using GMDSS as the foundation for modern marine communications. GPS is taught as the primary method of position fixing, and LORAN will be covered only as a historic sidebar topic. This will be a systems course—not “how to” navigate—that focuses on the use of electronic devices to augment the practice of safe navigation on the water. Topics include GPS, the Automatic Identification System (AIS), RADAR, depth sounder and related instruments, electronic charting systems, and a working understanding of the electronic bus structures needed to tie these devices together.

MNS has been delayed due to the committee’s decision to rewrite the course in response to squadron feedback. We recognize that these new systems are very complex and we will work diligently to soften the course presentation to focus on use rather than technical descriptions of the devices. We are also working to include software emulators of some devices for classroom use. These tasks have put us behind schedule in production of the new course. (Updated 06 Jan 13)

Updated Slides Available for Marine Electrical Systems

Updated PPT files are available in the Downloadable Material section for the Marine Electrical Systems course. (30 Apr 09)

New Updates for Manuals

New updates are available for both the Student and Instructor Manuals of the Marine Electrical Systems course in the Downloadable Material section. (30 Apr 09)

Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) Registrations

Modern marine radios now feature Digital Selective Calling (DSC) for routine operations and for automated distress hailing. These features can only be used if your radio is programmed with a unique code called a Maritime Mobile Service Identity, or MMSI.

The United States Power Squadrons is authorized by the Federal Communications Commission and the US Coast Guard to issue MMSIs to US flagged vessels not subject to Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention requirements. This includes almost all recreational boats.

This USPS MMSI web site will be your portal to obtaining a MMSI for your vessel at no charge. The issued MMSI will be unique to your boat and must be programmed into all equipment capable of transmitting and receiving digital signals.

Vessels required to have FCC ship station licenses, including US flagged pleasure craft making international voyages, must obtain their MMSIs directly from the Federal Communications Commission.

Click here to find out if you qualify for a MMSI under this registration program.

Our Canadian friends can obtain MMSIs from Industry Canada / Industrie Canada.  (17 Jun 08)

GMDSS Guide

The Boatowner's Guide to GMDSS and Marine Radio, a new Guide to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, is now available at USPS Headquarters.  This Guide comes with a CD-ROM that contains a computer program simulation of a VHF-DSC marine radio.  Using this interactive program you can learn how to exercise all the features of digital selective calling that are now available on marine VHF radios.  (10 Nov 05)

Marine Amateur Radio Guide

The long awaited Marine Amateur Radio Guide is now available from Headquarters.  Get your copy today!  (08 Nov 05)

Accuracy of Electronic Navigation Systems.

Read or print (PDF, 9KB)) the latest information on accuracies of electronic navigation systems.  (21 Feb 05)

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Marine Electronics  103 CoverMarine Electronics Course Description

The Marine Electronics course consists of three modules: ME 101, Boat Electrical Systems, ME 102, Marine Radio Communications, and ME 103, Marine Electronics for Navigation. There are no prerequisites for any of these modules; however, it is suggested that a member take ME 101 before taking ME 102. All three modules must be successfully completed to receive credit for Marine Electronics.

ME 101, Boat Electrical Systems, provides information about properties of electricity, electrical power requirements and wiring practices, direct current power, alternating current power, galvanic and stray-current corrosion, lightning protection, and electrical interference.

ME 102, Marine Radio Communications, delves into radio waves and transmitters, receivers and transceivers, antennas and transmission lines, FCC Rules and Regulations, FCC Frequency Plan, marine radiotelephone operating procedures, and other communication services (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), Digital Selective Calling (DSC), Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), satellite communications, amateur radio, and more).

ME 103, Marine Electronics for Navigation, presents information on depth sounders, RADAR, LORAN-C, GPS Navigation, and two new chapters:  Electronic Charting, and Computer-Assisted Navigation (CAN). Members may take this module independent of any other ME module.

These courses are being superseded by the new series of Marine Electrical Systems, (MES), Marine Communications Systems (MCS), and Marine Navigation Systems (MNS). See below for more information. (22 Sep 10)

Marine Electrical Systems Course Description

The Marine Electrical Systems course is presented in seven chapters that start with an explanation of what electricity is, followed by discussions on boat electrical wiring, DC and AC electrical systems, galvanic and stray current corrosion, lightning protection, and ends with troubleshooting of boat electrical problems.

The course includes detailed instructions on how to use a multimeter, how to solder and crimp electrical wiring circuits, and how to read electrical wiring diagrams. This course can be used as a reference guide for anyone interested in properly maintaining their boat electrical system.

EMSCom has written this course to require nine two-hour sessions.

  • Day 1 - Introduction, Chapter 1: Properties of Electricity
  • Day 2 - Chapter 2: Boat Electrical Wiring Practices
  • Day 3 - Chapter 3: Direct Current Power
  • Day 4 - Chapter 4: Alternating Current Power
  • Day 5 - Chapter 5: Galvanic and Stray Current Corrosion
  • Day 6 - Chapter 6: Lightning Protection
  • Day 7 - Chapter 7: Troubleshooting Part 1; on-the-boat optional
  • Day 8 - Chapter 7: Troubleshooting Part 2
  • Day 9 - Review and Examination

Marine Communications Course Description

Marine Communications Systems is an in-depth, nine chapter review of those systems available to the recreational boater, or to those with whom he/she shares the water. Radio history and spectrum definitions are presented along with definitions of radio circuits that the student should learn, to choose the best communications method for his/her situation. One chapter is devoted to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and another to FCC Rules and regulations to set the stage for instruction of radiotelephone operating procedures (both voice and digital messaging are covered). The remaining chapters cover High Seas radio (MF/HF and satellite communications) and other systems such as Family Radio Service transceivers. There is also a chapter on troubleshooting of radio installations.

EMSCom has written this course to require seven two-hour sessions.

  • Day 1 - Introduction, Chapter 1: Radio History and Communications, Chapter 2: The Radio Frequency Spectrum, Chapter 3: VHF Communications
  • Day 2 - Chapter 4: GMDSS
  • Day 3 - Finish Chapter 4, Chapter 5: FCC Rules, Radio Licenses and the Radio Frequency Plan
  • Day 4 - Chapter 6: Radiotelephone Operating Procedures
  • Day 5 - Chapter 7: Long-Range Radio Communications
  • Day 6 - Chapter 8: Other Marine Communications Systems, Chapter 9: Radio Maintenance
  • Day 7 - Review and Examination

Electronic Navigation Course Description

Electronic Navigation introduces GPS technology from the most basic receiver to chart plotter systems for navigation on board. The process of navigating by establishing waypoints and routes, and then running the planned courses, is demonstrated. Further, electronic charting software for the desktop computer is examined, with creation of waypoints and routes on the desktop and subsequent download to the onboard unit. Despite differences among the various manufacturers' offerings, a thorough discussion of the features being made available is included.

Special attention is paid to apps for tablets and smartphones that provide the electronic navigation function at the helm, for relatively little cost.

Students should be familiar with basic charting concepts such as latitude, longitude, the compass, course plotting, and time/distance calculation, to get the most out of the course.

The student materials include a soft-bound course text and a Windows-compatible CD for electronic content. The course menu provides all the class presentation PowerPoints, an interactive homework tool, hands-on exercises on the PC that simulate GPS function, as well as the Maptech Chart Navigator software and a chart plotter emulator from Standard Horizon.

This course omits Radar and Depth Sonar technologies, however Appendix 8 of the course text on Automatic Identification System (AIS) is presented and made part of the examinable material for USPS course credit.

While the USPS course Marine Navigation Systems (MNS) remains in development, successful completion of this Electronic Navigation course from CPS will earn MNS credit toward a full certificate.

Marine Navigation Systems Course Description

Marine Navigation Systems will be the third course in the Marine Electronics series. This course is currently in manuscript. It presently consists of eight chapters on electronic navigation instruments including depth sounders, radar, and GPS, and on display systems including chart plotters and personal computers. EMSCom will be adding sections on interfacing these systems (bridge integration) and a section on new visual aids to piloting.

Requirements and Prerequisites for Marine Electronics

The new series of courses for Marine Electronics consists of three standalone courses. EMSCom recommends that these new courses be taken in the following order: Electrical Systems, Communications Systems, and Navigation Systems. The committee also strongly recommends that students take Communications Systems, as mastery of this important topic can help you call for help if you should need it.

There are no prerequisites for these courses and they may be taken in any order, however, the subject matter tends to build on the MES/MCS/MNS progression. SEOs should take this into account when planning squadron curricula.

The Educational Department will honor any combination of ME101/102/103 and the new courses. We want to serve our membership and don’t want you to be caught up in the details of what might be required for advancement. Rest assured that we want our members to become better boaters and to learn from and enjoy the course material. ME101/102/103 will remain active and in stock until the MES/MCS/MNS series is fully implemented. (21 Jul 10)

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Downloadable Material

 

Marine Electrical Systems Erratum

Table 3-1 of the student guide for MES contains an error due to a frame shift during publication layout. The row labeled “Charging (see Table 3-5)” should contain a blank entry in the first column “Flooded Starting,” with the other entries moved over to the right. This link (PDF, 13KB) will take you to a table with the correct table entries. Note that the table is correctly shown on slide 17 of the Power Point presentation for chapter 3. (05 Sep 11)

Marine Electrical Systems PowerPoint® Presentation Slides

The following files are for use ONLY WITH THE ORIGINAL 2008 VERSION of the Marine Electrical Systems course CD. These changes have already been incorporated into the 2008 Rev 1 - 20 August 2010 CD of PowerPoint files. (21 Sep 10)

You will need Microsoft PowerPoint or its free viewer to view or print these slides. See the Educational Department Help page to obtain a free viewer for these slides. (30 Apr 09)

Ch 1 Electricity Slides 042909.ppt (4311KB)
Ch 2 Wiring Slides 042909.ppt (8006KB)
Ch 3 DC Slides 042509.ppt (6151KB)
Ch 4 AC Slides 042509.ppt (18614KB)
Ch 5 Corrosion Slides 042909.ppt (4081KB)
Ch 6 Lightning Slides 042509.ppt (2087KB)
Ch 7 Troubleshooting Slides 042909.ppt (6893KB)

 

Updates for Manuals

Click on the appropriate file name and format to download, print, or view an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) or Word (.doc) file.  Free viewers, including the Acrobat Reader program, that you need to view or print these files are available from the Educational Department Help Page.

Important note:  If you print the Adobe Acrobat update, be sure to use the Adobe Acrobat Reader "print" function and not your browser's print function.

The following files are for use ONLY WITH THE ORIGINAL 2008 EDITION of the Marine Electrical Systems course. These changes have already been incorporated into the 2008 Rev 1 version. (21 Sep 10)

Marine Electrical Systems — Student and Instructor Manual Updates (30 Apr 09)

Student Manual MES SM (.pdf) (64KB) MES SM (.doc) (305KB)
Instructor Manual MES IM (.pdf) (22KB) MES IM (.doc) (64KB)

Note: The above updates include corrections that were previously posted on 30 Nov 08.

 

ME101, 102, 103 Student Manual Update Instructions

Update Instructions No. 1 dated 1 January 2004 for Marine Electronics ME101/102 and ME103 Student Manuals are below.

SM  ME 101/102/103
Web (HTML) Format Adobe Acrobat Format MS Word Format
ME101/102 and ME103 ME101/102 and ME103  (13KB) (.pdf) ME101/102 and ME103  (33KB) (.doc)

 

ME 101, 102, 103 Instructor Manual Update Instructions

ME101, ME102, and ME103 Instructor Manual Revisions Update No. 1 and 2 dated 1 February 2004 are available.  These revisions include and replace the Update Sheet dated 01 July 2003, corrected to 28 September 2003.  (06 Feb 04)

IM  ME 101/102/103
Web (HTML) Format Adobe Acrobat Format MS Word Format
ME101, 102 103 IM Revisions ME101, 102 103 IM Revisions (18KB) (.pdf) ME101, 102 103 IM Revisions (48KB) (.doc)

 

Course Supplements

Thirty one (31) supplemental homework questions (PDF, 21KB) are available to help you prepare for the ME exam. Instructors: get a set of the questions with the answers and paragraph references (PDF, 39KB).

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Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions or comments about the Marine Electronics course, please contact the National Electro-Mechanical Systems Committee chairman by e-mail, phone or postal service mail.  Please be sure to keep your SEO and/or DEO advised of any correspondence you may have with the National committee. Addresses for the National EMSCom chairman are listed in The ENSIGN and on the Committee Chairpersons page.

We will try to answer your questions as soon as possible, but please allow 5 working days for an answer.

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This page last updated Monday, October 6, 2014 23:31