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Old 24-02-2009, 18:06   #46
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Originally Posted by quidam View Post
I took a couple of the USCG Aux. Boating Education/Skills course(s) offered back in 2000 I think, just to see what it was about.

At that time, the STATE of OHIO and I'm pretty sure the states all around Ohio followed suit and passed a law stating something to the effect that operators born on or after 1/1/1982 must meet mandatory education or proficiency exam requirements. [I passed ]

There was a whole section on proper radio communication.

Just not sure how well the criterion is enforced.

Michele
You're right, if you're in one of the 42 states that require a boating license you have to learn something about the radio, but this is not a radio license. You can get your boating license by merely passing an online test. This can be taken from several sources, but the BoatEd site has the same study guide page on radios for Ohio as Washington which is only this:

Ohio Boating License and Boat Safety Course - Summoning Help in An Emergency

The single practice test question on radio procedure (for Washington) asked what channel do you call for help on.

You went way beyond the minimum requirements for your state boating license.


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Old 02-03-2009, 11:15   #47
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Hi,

There are actually international regulations regarding VHF use. That's the reason US cruisers must get the licenses when wandering abroad: they are expected to have them. These regulations are called MARCOM. In most parts of the world both operators and stations licenses are required and include study and exams. There are different levels of certificates: MARCOM-A and MARCOM-B. MARCOM-B is required for VHF radio's that have DSC capability and EPIRB's. MARCOM-A is required for all SSB, SART and GMDSS supported satellite communications including Inmarsat-C. In Holland, when using a non-DSC VHF, there is a simpler operators certificate but one still needs to pass an exam.

US cruisers wondering abroad can just order (and thus pay) for the operators license, without passing an exam. This means that most if not all, are unaware of the international regulations. I agree that doesn't mean much around the equator for official requirements, but it does lead to frustration sometimes when the other party is trained and following protocol.

On many occasions I heard this leading to confusion or even angry shouting about something simple as choosing a working channel on the VHF when they call someone who does know the regulations. (Like someone wrote earlier in this thread: the called party becomes the controller of the conversation and thus chooses the working channel. The reason is that he/she can check available channels before answering the call... simple and efficient and mostly eliminate the need to keep selecting other channels by coming back to the calling channel. This also explains the well known but often skipped 3 minute wait before repeating a call; the called party can be off-channel hunting for a free working channel). Other examples are choosing a duplex channel (doesn't work ship-to-ship) or channel 70 (GMDSS and not allowed for voice... doesn't even work on new radio's), bad language or even refusing to identify themselves (a big no no and reason for being hunted down by coastguard and/or navy in (Western) Europe! etc. Most of that can be avoided by reading the course-book and spending an hour for an easily passed exam.

Another interesting rule: traffic is commenced in the local language. If one party doesn't master that language, English becomes the required language. Nautical English is part of the MARCOM-A exams. Also, in International waters, English is required when both parties are of different nationalities; other language is allowed when understood by both parties.

Just try to use English when contacting the coastguard in Venezuela ;-)

About radio-nazi's: pls. don't use that word because it becomes painful for readers born close to Germany and including Germans. I am Dutch, born well after the war but the hair on my arms rise reading the word. For some reason "gestapo" doesn't trigger that reaction even though they were worse than average nazi's... strange how feelings work.

About watch-keeping on channel 16 when underway: didn't they drop that requirement yet?

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 05-03-2009, 14:34   #48
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Spot on!

Thanks Jedi / Nick for detailing the legal requirements for radio use, this is entirely my point. Having said that, surely even if users aren't interested or even care about the legal aspects it would be sensible for everybody to get some training in correct VHF use, voluntarily or otherwise. I've lost count of the times that I've heard "let's try CH70" or similar, plainly many people have no idea of how to use the radio correctly so a little training wouldn't go amiss whether it's a legal requirement or not - it's not rocket science after all and would only take a day of your time to acheive some basic knowledge
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Old 05-03-2009, 19:21   #49
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I should update this thread with this info: MARCOM is a term used in some EU countries; it's called different elsewhere but it's the same training and certificate.

In the US it's called the "General GMDSS Operators License" instead of MARCOM-A and "Restricted GMDSS Operators License" instead of MARCOM-B. In the UK it's different again. Just check that it is the GMDSS version of the certificat, not a general VHF version, like "Long Range VHF Operators Certificate".

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 14-03-2009, 20:03   #50
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Good comments, Jedi. Zeer bedankt voor de bijdrage.
Better VHF discipline is like using seatbelts in cars, or alcohol while boating: one has to be reminded either by authority or by incident or accident to see the reasons of better conduct.
On VHF use at GMDSS level there are is a course in many languages on www.egmdss.com. Courtesy of the European taxpayer.
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Old 23-10-2012, 12:56   #51
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Re: VHF Radio Use

Dedzaboy,

I agree with your observations. A little training goes a long way.
Please don't judge ALL Americans as radio defunct. You most likely are listening to the FEW lazy charter-boat renters, all mouth and no brains. Most of the "Mariners" I cruse with utilize HAM or FRS for personal communications.

73
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Old 23-10-2012, 13:05   #52
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Re: VHF Radio Use

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Originally Posted by ljsailing View Post
Dedzaboy,

I agree with your observations. A little training goes a long way.
Please don't judge ALL Americans as radio defunct. You most likely are listening to the FEW lazy charter-boat renters, all mouth and no brains. Most of the "Mariners" I cruse with utilize HAM or FRS for personal communications.

73

OP was in 2008.
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Old 23-10-2012, 14:57   #53
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Re: VHF Radio Use

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OP was in 2008.
Things have improved since then huh?
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Old 19-12-2012, 07:13   #54
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Re: VHF Radio Use

On the aviation 121.5MHz, it is often either North Americans or chinese, who use it as chatter channel. I have even heard baseball scores being discussed, and the channel is supposed to be used for aircraft in distress, or a hailer channel for aircraft who have mistakenly dialled a wrong frequency etc. As for the Chinese, I don't know what they talk about, but given the amount, there cannot be THAT many emergencies!

Whether local rules govern it or not, the VHF is to be shared for normal and distress calls, and common courtesy should prevail in keeping it open for useful purposes.

The problem with common courtesy is the same problem as with common sense - common is not really that common!
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Old 19-12-2012, 07:17   #55
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Re: VHF Radio Use

About 121.5MHz, I guess it is used a bit like 16 for boats. The further from shore, the more chatter it seems, but most often it is used as a hailing frequency like "Please come up on company" and the parties will switch over to whichever designated frequency their company has allocated.

121.5MHz is called "guard" amongst pilots, and like you mention "radio nazis" there are daily occurrences where pilots "select the wrong box" and transmit on 121.5 while they thought they were on some other frequency. The pilots who kindly transmit "Guard!" to indicate someone should check their audio panel selection are often referred to as "the guard police"
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Old 16-02-2013, 10:26   #56
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As for 121.5 it's my understanding that its the frequency that EPIRB and aircraft ELT transmit on for radio location. I wasn't aware that the frequency was acceptable to use for voice traffic of any kind. Perhaps my ignorance is showing... If it is I at least hope it's worthy of viral video status. You know what they say, if your going to do something wrong, do it upside down and on fire!
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Old 16-02-2013, 11:14   #57
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Re: VHF Radio Use

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Originally Posted by barreldriven View Post
Does the Coast Guard Auxillary give VHF instruction and licensing? Can a person get licensed even if they are recreational users?
Of course you can be licensed. You can get a Restricted Marine Radiotelephone Operator's Permit by simply applying for it. The regular MROP license requires passing a very short exam. Buy no need to stop there... go for the GROL (General Radiotelephone Operator License) if you are of a technical bent. You could get a GMDSS Operator or GMDSS Maintainer license. I hold a 2nd Class Radiotelegraph Operator License, which supersedes all of those. (also have a USCG Radio Officer License). I urge you to look into this. Anyway, you generally will need a license to transmit in the waters of most other countries, or in some cases to even have the radio aboard.

Ham license, Sure, get one of them, too! Why not?
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Old 16-02-2013, 18:13   #58
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Of course you can be licensed. You can get a Restricted Marine Radiotelephone Operator's Permit by simply applying for it. The regular MROP license requires passing a very short exam. Buy no need to stop there... go for the GROL (General Radiotelephone Operator License) if you are of a technical bent. You could get a GMDSS Operator or GMDSS Maintainer license. I hold a 2nd Class Radiotelegraph Operator License, which supersedes all of those. (also have a USCG Radio Officer License). I urge you to look into this. Anyway, you generally will need a license to transmit in the waters of most other countries, or in some cases to even have the radio aboard.

Ham license, Sure, get one of them, too! Why not?
Just for the " avoidance of doubt ". There are two licenses in a radio setup aboard , the operators license and the ships station license. The callsign/mmsi are assigned with the ships license.

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Old 16-02-2013, 18:26   #59
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Re: VHF Radio Use

Only one thing has bugged me about VHF use so far. I don't care what people do on non-specific channels but 22 is the hailing channel around here and the net is also on the hailing channel. That's all fine but some of the locals talk right over the net almost every morning that I've listened. I ends in me yelling NO MAS NO MAS NO MAS NO MAS NO MAS! over the top of them.
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Old 16-02-2013, 18:39   #60
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Only one thing has bugged me about VHF use so far. I don't care what people do on non-specific channels but 22 is the hailing channel around here and the net is also on the hailing channel. That's all fine but some of the locals talk right over the net almost every morning that I've listened. I ends in me yelling NO MAS NO MAS NO MAS NO MAS NO MAS! over the top of them.
A duplex channel is used for calling. !!!!!

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