I am just about to make my inland waterways’ marine VHF radio license in Germany. In Germany, all inland marine VHF radios must be equipped with an ATIS transmitter, which basically sends the stations’ call sign digitally by frequency shift keying when releasing the PTT, on the same channel as the voice transmission.
Unlike DSC used in international shipping, the ATIS codes are not decoded on the receiving units and can neither be used by other ships to identify the sender, nor there is a way to call a ship or land station, if its ATIS number would be known. I have no idea if anybody can or does decode these digital transmissions, and with which benefit. To my eyes, the system only has drawbacks, mainly you need additional circuits inside your maritime radio, and the “noise” it causes, or even more circuits, called “ATIS killer”, to suppress that noise on the receiving side. (I searched for, but I didn’t either find a smart phone app that uses its microphone to decode the ATIS signal, if the onboard units can’t. There is such for weather fax, that was why I started digging for it.)
I was searching for the reasons why ATIS was introduced for inland waterways’ marine VHF, but I was not able to find anything informative. What were the reasons why those countries introduced the ATIS system for inland waterways’ marine VHF radio? What problem should it solve, and did it actually solve it?