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Old 07-13-2008
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Angry Channel 16 'spam' and safety

Sparing the story of how much fun it was sailing to Stonington Point yesterday, and how my sailing horizons are slowly expanding, something scared me yesterday and want to know what the right thing to do.

Channel 16 in Long Island Sound/Rhode Island coastline was overrun for at least 3 hours by someone who had an open mic and a radio tuned to the classic rock station. A few people tried to get the persons attention, including a very high power Coast Guard announcement, however channel 16 continued to be hijacked by broadcast radio.

As a sailor learning to operate safely, what is the right response? Is there a default backup channel when this happens? Does the CG have Yagi antenna to help identify and fine the offender? How often does this happen? I felt naked turning off the radio, but needed to return to the peace of the sail versus rocking out to Falco...
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Old 07-13-2008
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Well to begin with marine VHF is one-way communication - soooo - while the idiot is blasting the airwaves with music he can't receive anything - sooo - everyone jumping on the frequency to yell at him only makes matters worse. There are a few RDF trackers around in the employ of the FCC and USCG but they are few and far between. A guy I worked with is a USCG Reserve CPO and told me he has one electronics boat (with RDF) at his disposal to cover area one south of Boston.
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Yeah, I realize that the VHF is one way, we used to joke in the HAM radio club that its a PTT, not a RTL (push to talk v. release to listen), but was concerned that the channel was effectively taken away. In this case, what channel is the backup channel, 9?

Not so concerned about the idiot themselves, its like the rumbling car bouncing to their stereo..its more that being connected to the situations in the Sound makes me somehow feel safer and more connected to the community...
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In the NJ/NY areas (including Long Island Sound) channel 9 is also used as a hailing channel so you can just switch to that if need be.
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Thank you JN,
I learned a long time ago that I can do little to effect other people's behavior, but have full control over my thoughts and behavior. Knowing channel 9 is a fair backup lets me get my safety blanket back without spoiling the other person's fun in taking over channel 16...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrampianCT View Post
Is there a default backup channel when this happens? How often does this happen?
Channel 9 is a back up and the preferred channel for hailing another, it is also monitored by the CG.

It doesn't happen often around here, and with new VHF radios having the 5 minute cut off for engaging the mic, it should soon be reduced to vary rare as people replace their radios. (The radio will stop the transmission, and your required to let the ptt button go, then continue the call)
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The FCC does monitor the airwaves and there is a good chance that the boater in question was tracked.

Learn to use your radio and then, don't.
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If that was deliberate, it is possibly the most irresponsible action imaginable.
They will nail whoever was responsible, given time.
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When I was in my early teens, there were people that did the same thing ( make like a DJ ) to a CB radio.
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Down here (New Orleans) the Coast Guard also guards 22A, and the vessel traffic control service on the river guards 67. The Bar Pilots guard 9, and the bridgetenders and GICWW operators guard 13.

If you know your local "alternate" channels (and you should if you have a radio) then you can usually work around a stuck key or a channel-jamming idiot. You may not be able to hail a particular vessel by name the way you could on 16, but you can certainly get or relay a mayday or securite call to the right folks.

And don't ignore cell phones. You should have your local USCG phone number on board, for both the Group/Sector watchstanders and the District RCC, in case you need to give or relay a message and somone's monopolizing 16 or whatever channel you were attempting to use. I understand the Coast Guard gets a hefty chunk of their distress notifications via 911, relayed by the local police operator.

Normally it's the FCC who monitors violations. But the Coast Guard wil certainly take an interest if they know that 16's being blocked
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