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Old 11-08-2004, 01:43 PM   #1
USCGBoating
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Default VHF Radio requirements, use, and frequencies

After a short period of reflection I figured this was a quick answer and decided not to wait until next month to answer the following questions

Dear USCGBoating,

I think this is a fantastic idea. All boaters, new and experienced, should continue to “sharpen the saw” when it comes to boating knowledge and this is a great reminder to many. I tend to forget things I learned many years ago, and an information topic like this helps jog my memory and helps remind me of things I should know off-hand or need to brush-up on before going out on the water.

A topic I would like to see is VHF radio, covering areas like:
- How to properly identify yourself; boat number, nickname, etc?
- How to properly conduct a radio check?
- What is permissible on channel 16, and how channel 16 is used?
- What are the other channels for?
- Communication with commercial traffic on the Columbia; are there any norms to follow?
- What to do if you hear a distress call?
- Other important things?

I know this information is available in books, etc., but a Safety Topic discussion authored the USCG and links to additional information would be a handy resource.

Thanks,

SlackBite


I found a website that can answer every one of your questions and it is better than me rambling on. It is the Coast Guard Navigation Centers telecommunications Division site, great information and great reference for other navigation information. http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/boater.htm is procedures and how to information http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/watch.htm is the actual frequencies copy (below)

Best advice I can give you is when calling on channel 16, once communications have been established, move off to one of the non-commercial frequencies. On the Columbia the ships and Tugs monitor channel 13. The commercial traffic in Puget sound will also monitor channel 13. For more information on the VTS regulations in Puget Sound go to www.uscg.mil/d13/units/vts/psvts.html

If you want a radio check you can call the Coast Guard, or anyone else fro thst matter, on 16 and immediately switch to another agreed upon frequency to complete the check. The big thing is that we want to keep channel 16 as clear and open as possible in order to hear a distress call

U.S. VHF Marine Radio Channels and Frequencies
w/ WX Channels
Off shore Power Boat Races: 156.6250

Channel Number Ship TransmitMHz Ship ReceiveMHz Use
01A 156.050 156.050 Port Operations and Commercial. VTS in selected areas.
05A 156.250 156.250 Port Operations. VTS in selected areas.
06 156.300 156.300 Intership Safety
07A 156.350 156.350 Commercial
08 156.400 156.400 Commercial (Intership only)
09 156.450 156.450 Boater Calling. Commercial and Non-Commercial.
10 156.500 156.500 Commercial
11 156.550 156.550 Commercial. VTS in selected areas.
12 156.600 156.600 Port Operations. VTS in selected areas.
13 156.650 156.650 Intership Navigation Safety (Bridge-to-bridge). Ships >20m length maintain a listening watch on this channel in US waters.
14 156.700 156.700 Port Operations. VTS in selected areas.
15 -- 156.750 Environmental (Receive only). Used by Class C EPIRBs.
16 156.800 156.800 International Distress, Safety and Calling. Ships required to carry radio, USCG, and most coast stations maintain a listening watch on this channel.
17 156.850 156.850 State Control
18A 156.900 156.900 Commercial
19A 156.950 156.950 Commercial
20 157.000 161.600 Port Operations (duplex)
20A 157.000 157.000 Port Operations
21A 157.050 157.050 U.S. Coast Guard only
22A 157.100 157.100 Coast Guard Liaison and Maritime Safety Information Broadcasts. Broadcasts announced on channel 16.
23A 157.150 157.150 U.S. Coast Guard only
24 157.200 161.800 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
25 157.250 161.850 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
26 157.300 161.900 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
27 157.350 161.950 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
28 157.400 162.000 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
63A 156.175 156.175 Port Operations and Commercial. VTS in selected areas.
65A 156.275 156.275 Port Operations
66A 156.325 156.325 Port Operations
67 156.375 156.375 Commercial. Used for Bridge-to-bridge communications in lower Mississippi River. Intership only.
68 156.425 156.425 Non-Commercial
69 156.475 156.475 Non-Commercial
70 156.525 156.525 Digital Selective Calling (voice communications not allowed)
71 156.575 156.575 Non-Commercial
72 156.625 156.625 Non-Commercial (Intership only)
73 156.675 156.675 Port Operations
74 156.725 156.725 Port Operations
77 156.875 156.875 Port Operations (Intership only)
78A 156.925 156.925 Non-Commercial
79A 156.975 156.975 Commercial. Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only
80A 157.025 157.025 Commercial. Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only
81A 157.075 157.075 U.S. Government only - Environmental protection operations.
82A 157.125 157.125 U.S. Government only
83A 157.175 157.175 U.S. Coast Guard only
84 157.225 161.825 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
85 157.275 161.875 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
86 157.325 161.925 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
87 157.375 161.975 Automatic Identification System duplex repeater
AIS 1 161.975 161.975 Automatic Identification System (AIS)
AIS 2 162.025 162.025 Automatic Identification System (AIS)
88 157.425 162.025 Public Correspondence only near Canadian border.
88A 157.425 157.425 Commercial, Intership only.

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Old 11-28-2004, 02:16 PM   #2
kenai
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Default Re: VHF Radio requirements, use, and frequencies

Another question came up recently with some saltwater fishing friends regarding VHF ranges and EPIRBS. It is known that the CG antennas are typically placed high up on the coast thereby improving line of sight reception/transmission compared to 2 boats on the water. What is the typical range the CG can receive at either Depoe Bay or Yaquina?
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Old 11-29-2004, 08:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: VHF Radio requirements, use, and frequencies

It will all depend on the atmospheric conditions. I have been out 90 miles and had great reception. At other times only 40. When the conditions were just right I could hear Coos Bay from Depoe Bay as well as Grays Harbor. Thse were rare occasions. Remember VHF is line of sight and your antenna hight has a lot to do with it. I would invest in a EPIRB.
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Old 11-30-2004, 10:13 AM   #4
Marty
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Default Re: VHF Radio requirements, use, and frequencies

Most boats leaving and entering Depoe Bay use channel 80 to announce their intentions to other boaters in the narrow opening. I was told that channel 80 was a local thing started by the charter boats and that the correct enter/exit announcement should be a blast on the horn. I never recall the CoastGuard announcing their intentions on channel 80. Can you give us the straight scoop.

Thanks,

Marty
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: VHF Radio requirements, use, and frequencies

Hi Marty!!

Last summer at a meeting between commercial/charter captains and the Coast Guard they
told us that calling in on channel 80 is just a curtesy. If there is any sort of
problems in the channel (accident with another boat, for instance) you ARE held liable
if you do not blow your horn before entering the channel ... either going in OR out.

To Do List: Get a louder horn this winter!!

~assAssin~
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:17 PM   #6
Mark Mc
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Default Re: VHF Radio requirements, use, and frequencies

It's rule 34e (both inland & international)

(e) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a channel or fairway where other vessels may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall sound one prolonged blast. Such signal shall be answered with a prolonged blast by any approaching vessel that may be within hearing around the bend or behind the intervening obstruction.


BTW, "prolonged" means 4 to 6 seconds
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: VHF Radio requirements, use, and frequencies

The one prolong blast is the correct method of signaling. Even doing that I have been caught in the middle of the dog leg and had to do some quick backing on several occasions.

The Channal 80 thing is local. If you want to get technical it would be considerd a frequency violation by the FCC but I don't think anyone will get all bunched up over it. I'm not going to run out and say anything.
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