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Digital mobile radio: securing comms in the yachting industry

Do you know how easy it is to eavesdrop analogue crew comms? With a $40 scanner all your crew radio communications could be overheard.

You will use a radio system as part of your communications while working aboard, it is fairly likely you want to know where The Boss is or members of your crew are at any given time. But do you want others to know all your movements?

Analogue radio systems - which usually account for the standard walkie talkies we see commonly used by crew, the security and live event sectors - have served us well for decades. But despite their trusty and functional nature, remain a massive security risk when it is important to keep communications private.

Owners of superyachts certainly come under the category of individuals that are concerned about their privacy, and for this reason, the installation of an analogue crew communication system might turn out to be a risky one. Through an analogue system, speech is transmitted into the air, and anyone can listen to it with inexpensive off-the-shelf scanning equipment.

Luckily, we have reached the digital age of encryption, which means that information sensitive industries have no excuse for getting careless with their location and information.

Thanks to digital mobile radio, security breaches are less of a concern, with a 10 digit AES encryption code acting as a protector for the system, in the same way that WiFi networks are now far more secure than they were a decade ago.

For organisations that wish to have the peace of mind that comes with further security layers, military grade security can be put in place, safeguarding information and preventing it from falling into the wrong hands.

Rather than just an extra security layer, digital presents many more opportunities than analogue when it comes to putting the power in the hands of the organisation that operates the system. From an alarm and monitoring interface to radio-to-radio group calling, there are now possibilities that go way beyond the realms of what analogue could offer, and there are many industries, including yachting, that will be all the better for it.

Analogue radio systems have served us well for years, but we have reached the Digital age and it's time to upgrade our beloved walkie talkies - contact Channel 28 to find out more.


The latest superyacht news

As maritime telecommunications systems advance and are switched from analogue to digital, cases of misuse are on the rise. Just recently, a superyacht in Barcelona was tracked down with having an illegal radio frequency, which caused disruption to the local rail network. This calls for ensuring radio systems are fitted with legal frequencies, and is just one of many important tips that every vessel owner and yacht engineer should follow.

Currently, one of the hottest topics in the world of superyachts is the awe-inspiring aluminium and reinforced steel Black Swan. This 70-metre, four-engine beauty has a top cruising speed of 28 knots, with a 183,000 litre fuel capacity. Timur Bozca designed this concept yacht using the image of an arrow as inspiration. He ensured a distinctive look by creating an aerodynamic exterior, using dramatic angles, curves and simple lines for an elegant finish. As well as state-of-the-art technology, the Black Swan comes with helipad, hidden balconies, a multi-level pool and sun decks.

The Black Swan isn't the only innovation hitting the headlines. After much research, the Hull Vane is finding its place in the superyacht industry, with more vessels taking advantage of the benefits this fixed stern foil brings. Fuel, energy and cost savings are just some of the plus points, with the Hull Vane capable of reducing pitching, rolling and resistance, improving stability and increasing efficiency.

If you want to discover the latest technological developments in the superyacht industry, SuperyachtDESIGN Week 2016 takes place from 28-30 June in Chelsea Harbour. This year, there's expected to be interest surrounding innovative flat panel antennas, the capabilities of domeless designs and other new technologies. Finally, if you're attending the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show on 28 September, be sure to welcome home a team of cyclists following a 10-day ride from London. Blue Marine Foundation and Winch Design have collaborated for the event, to raise awareness of marine issues, and to mark 30 years of business for Winch Design.

Channel 28 is at the forefront of the latest superyacht news and technical solutions, so get in touch if you need any assistance.


Channel 28 at Monaco Yacht Show

Visit us this week at the ACREW Lounge, La Rascasse

Throughout Monaco Yacht Show, the Channel 28 team will be at the show and on hand to discuss all of your secure yacht communication needs.  Please get in touch to make an appointment or drop in and see us at the ACREW Lounge, La Rascasse


New C-Comm Solutions for Extended User Features

Channel 28 has launched two new C-Comm solutions designed to add additional user features including extended channel access and integration to the on board phone system. With the C-Comm Extended Channel Access solution, you can increase the number of calls which can be made simultaneously. It enables multiple repeaters to be added to the system which in turn extends the number of calls which can be made at the same time. The more repeaters added, the more channels and therefore eliminates the risk of 'channel busy', a frustration often common to larger crews and vessels using DMR.  Our C-Comm SIP / Phone interface solution enables you to use your radio handsets as an extension to the on board phone system. C-Comm handsets and repeaters integrate with SIP communication protocols to allow voice calls to be made and received using the the radio handsets.  The solution features radio groups to be set up as phone extensions meaning a preset group of crew, for example all engineers, can now be paged to the radios via the phone system. 


C-Comm Bluetooth headsets a success with Crew

Following the recent launch of the C-Comm accessories range, the Bluetooth headset has proved to a bestseller. It is discreet, lightweight, comfortable and rechargeable, plus it comes complete with charging holder with PTT. In fact, we have recently supplied a number of this popular accessory in a custom painted flesh colour for the optimal discreet finish. But don't just take our word for it. We are always delighted to receive customer feedback and find out more about how our products and solutions are received on board.    "We have recently had a C-Comm system installed on board and we use many of the radios together with the Bluetooth headsets.  Across the entire boat, the crew have been very happy with the quality, ease of use and comfort of these headsets.  A great system with great products ensuring our communications run smoothly."   ETO, 75m Motor Yacht, May 2015


Full range of C-Comm Accessories now available

Complete your C-Comm radio system with our wide range of accessories specifically designed and manufactured to fit C-Comm radios. From headsets to speakers and cases to spare parts, our selection of accessories ensure that your onboard communications remain practical, easy, secure and operational. With options available to suit each onboard department, enhancing the system to suit your yacht’s specific requirements couldn’t be easier.  Download our Accessories brochure directly from our Downloads page or please contact us for more information.


New Head of Technical Operations

Channel 28 Ltd are pleased to announce the appointment of Phil Elwell as the company’s Head of Technical Operations.  This senior position includes the management of and responsibility for technical sales, system development and delivery across the complete product range as well as key company operational duties.

Phil has an extensive background in engineering and IT which include project managing data centre systems and infrastructure design for the medical IT industry.  He brings with him a vast knowledge of radio systems and joins Channel 28 to strengthen the technical delivery of systems and projects to yacht customers.

We are delighted to have Phil as part of the Channel 28 team.  He brings with him both experience and knowledge from an engineering and IT perspective which are critical to the delivery of our projects.  His skill set in the field of radio communications in combination with project management are a true asset to the company and we are very excited about how we can take the technical development, sales and further growth of the company and products forward.” comments Adrian Hicks, Director of Channel 28 Ltd


Channel 28 Ltd increase C-Comm product range

Channel 28 Ltd are pleased to announce the expansion of their C-Comm radio handset range.  C-Comm 605 is the latest addition to their ever increasing range of secure, digital crew radios.

With a slimline design at only 119 x 54 x 27mm, the C-Comm 605 combines essential functionality with elegant and practical aesthetics.  Its alloy frame guarantees the robust nature akin to all C-Comm handsets whilst remaining tactile and lightweight at only 290 grams.  Rated at IP67, designed with an integral belt clip and featuring full secure two slot digital UHF encryption as well as being dual analog and digital, this radio provides a more cost effective option without compromising on function, features or design.

As with all C-Comm radios, the 605 is compatible with a wide range of accessories and can be easily integrated as part of the boat wide crew communication system and fully programmed to suit the needs of every project.  for boats with existing C-Comm systems, the 605 can easily be added as an additional radio with the the system set up.


Successful debut for C-Comm at the METS Superyacht Pavilion

As the industry's key decision makers gathered in Amsterdam last month for the world's largest marine trade show, Channel 28 stood ready to showcase C-Comm to the industry at this, their debut exhibition.  The decision to exhibit followed a very successful launch and initial 12 month period which has seen the C-Comm product range be installed on numerous new build and retro-fit projects worldwide.

The show has proved to be a great success for Channel 28 who are now in the process of responding to the many enquiries received over the busy and exciting three day show. For those that have not yet received information requested, this will follow within the next weeks.


The indisputable star of the show: 3rd Party Automation

Whilst the stand featured the full range of C-Comm handsets, accessories and solutions, there was one product that caused a great amount of excitement amongst the visitors to the stand. 

You may have expected this to be the eye catching 7ft water tubes housing radio handsets operating and communicating with each other whilst fully submerged. However, despite their popularity, the actual true star of the show was in fact the C-Comm third party automation solution. 

Sending tongues wagging and leading to some fantastic product development ideas, the launch of the C-Comm third party automation solution proved to be an overwhelming success. Set up on the stand to demonstrate onboard lighting control via the radios, discussions led to how this solution could be applied across more applications. Already designed to change the colours of the exterior lights on board from the tender or operate the passerelle for example, client discussions triggered multiple application ideas. 

Effectively, this solution can operate with anything that is able to send and receive a signal to trigger an action. Discussions at the show led from quirky ideas to the ship's whistle being activated as guests arrived or left to more serious and practical applications such as using the radios to securely and discreetly activate a Safe Route on board for Crew as they return of an evening providing them timed, alarm free access via a preset route to the interior. 


New Product Partner for C-Comm

Superyacht Spares, specialists in the supply and support for yacht spare part requirements worldwide, will be working in partnership with channel 28 to provide C-Comm to their customers for both new build and refit projects. C-Comm is available from Superyacht Spares as a stand alone solution or as a fully integrated radio system in a variety of formats. These include: simple radio to radio comms to secure multi-vessel options allowing secure radio communication between main vessels, tenders and support ships via VSAT