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  #1  
Old 07-30-2008
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VHF Channels

I thought of this the other day on the water.

I hailed a buddy and asked what channel, we swithched and did our thing.
Seems that we always use 69 for our working channel.

Anyway the point is, for the heck of it got my chart out of the working channels just to jog my memory. I was browsing over the chart, when I noticed that there are several channels still devoted to "Marine Opertor."

I don't know about you guys, but a Marine Operator has not been operating in my neck of the woods for many years. I do remember using it routinely many, many years ago, but not in the last 15 or so.

Channels, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 84, 85, & 86 are still reserved for the Marine Operator.

Do others out there still have Marine Operators in use in their areas?

And the purpose of my question is this; Can we use these channels as working channels?

I would guess that until the Coast Guard says so, they are still off limits.
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Old 07-30-2008
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The coast guard here always has people switch to 24 or 27 when they report something
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Old 07-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eMKay View Post
The coast guard here always has people switch to 24 or 27 when they report something
Thats interesting, the CG in my area uses 22A as their working channel.
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Old 07-30-2008
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I noticed the Canadian Coast Guard using 24 in B.C. this summer. I suppose you could start scanning those channels to see what kind of traffic is on them.
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Old 07-30-2008
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That's a great question....68 and 69 are always full of chatter. 71 & 72 are legit to use, but still it would be nice to have more choices.
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Old 07-30-2008
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In the US, the USCG does not assign or control VHF channels. The FCC does.

If the FCC still says those channels are for "marine operators", that's all they can legally be used for. If there are no more marine operators...you'd need to point that out to the FCC and ask for channel re-allocation. Could take years before they get around to it, or there might be international conventions that require the channels to be set aside.
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Old 07-30-2008
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Here's the current Gospel according to the FCC:

VHF Marine Radio Service Frequency Table

Maybe it'll change some day, but for now we have to live with it. Many recent VHF portables will tell you what type of channel you just dialed up. But the basic rule is: make contact on 16, then switch immediately to another channel.

Down here, 9 is Bar Pilots, 12-14 are VTC, 67 is bridge-bridge on the river, and the rest are whatever the above list, or your VHF display, tell you.

Yes, I think the Marine Operator channels will become obsolete, but til the Feds tell you they are, don't use them, there are enough others.
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The catch with getting the FCC to do anything is that when they finally do act, it's a knee-jerk reaction. The 220MHz ham band went away because UPS wanted to use that band for communications. Took them years. Then, shortly after the FCC made the changes, UPS switched to the cell-phone based system they use now.

Go figure.

As to having marine operators, they're still in use. You'll hear an occasional call when you're in a major port, mostly from ships that are not in the States much. A friend who just came back from the Med said that the Marine Operators were much more reliable than the sketchy cell phone coverage.

FWIW, down south, channel 71 & 72 pretty much are the domain of the fishing folks. That's where you can listen in to the billfish tournaments, etc.
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Those marine operator channels cannot be used for general ship's traffic, both because they are not authorized as such under international or U.S. law or....more to the point...they won't work! These are half-duplex channels (different transmit and receive frequencies) so you couldn't hear each other anyway.

Sorry,

Bill
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