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Old 27-01-2009, 04:44   #16
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the Coast Guard has specifically called for (via Local Notices and other channels) the use of VHF channel 9 as the primary hailing channel and discourages the use of VHF channel 16 for all but the most important calls. This is the case in the Chesapeake Bay, for example. Granted it makes for confusion in a number of ways, but there it is.
I believe that it is common in the USCG Baltimore area but not in the southern Chesapeake. Ch 9 is a hailing channel though and as you say in some areas where the traffic is so high they try to shift traffic to free up 16. Down here both the Virginia and Maryland Pilots all hail on 16. There several other areas around the country where channels locally may have slight differences.
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Old 27-01-2009, 06:24   #17
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It realy depends on what part of the bay you are in. Down here in the southern bay, the tugs are on 13, 16 for hail, and 68 for chatter. I set my scan for 9/11/13/16 and sometimes 68 if it is not a weekend. On the weekends, 68 is just a bunch of children yelling at each other about fishing spots and playing music.

I wish the Coast Guard and FCC would get more funding here in the states for enforcement. Can you imagine what would happen if they started to give out fines?
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Old 27-01-2009, 06:49   #18
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9 or 16 It is a little subtle and vague

Here is what I see as the policy best that I could find published any way.
Boater Calling Channel (VHF Channel 9)

The Federal Communications Commission established VHF-FM channel 9 as a supplementary calling channel for noncommercial vessels (recreational boaters) at the request of the Coast Guard. A ship or shore unit wishing to call a boater would do so on channel 9, and anyone (boaters included) wishing to call a commercial ship or shore activity would continue to do so on channel 16. Recreational boaters would continue to call the Coast Guard and any commercial facility on channel 16.
The purpose of the FCC regulation was to relieve congestion on VHF channel 16, the distress, safety and calling frequency. FCC regulations require boaters having VHF radios to maintain a watch on either VHF channel 9 or channel 16, whenever the radio is turned on and not communicating with another station.
Since the Coast Guard generally does not have the capability of announcing an urgent marine information broadcast or weather warning on channel 9, use of channel 9 is optional. We recommend boaters normally keep tuned to and use channel 16 in those waters unless otherwise notified by the Coast Guard.
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Old 27-01-2009, 07:24   #19
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I don't have the specific notice handy, so I can't be 100% certain about the area where use of VHF channel 9 was called for. It could well be "the Baltimore area" or the upper and middle Bay; y'all are probably right that somewhere south of the Choptank or Patuxent, it sort of goes away. The Coasties, in some regards, aren't a lot of help on the point. And it's not the only place they get weird about VHF comms.

[begin vein-bulging rant]
Last year, they published a notice saying that you could no talk with a Maryland draw bridge on VHF channel 13. You call the draw bridge on 13 and then, according to the rule, you must shift to VHF channel 68(!!!) to conduct your business.

Needless to say, I fired off a politely worded form of "that's about the dumbest idea I ever heard - what the heck are you people thinking?!?" Long story short, a) some of the people in the pilots' assn. griped about bridge tenders and boaters yacking on VHF channel 13, and b) they cited an existing regulation, saying boaters must call on VHF channel 13 and shift to VHF channel 68, that was on the books but, obviously, wasn't being enforced. As to a), I pointed out, in following e-mails, it's the pilots and tugs that often chat about who's going to what port and who's working what shift and so on, that, by and large, most bridge tenders and boater's don't say a lot. On b), I pointed out the absurdity of using 68 for serious navigation negotions at draw bridgers and the problems of shifting channels while trying to pass under an open bridge safely. I even tried to rope in BOAT/US government affairs office on this, in hopes of getting the matter sorted out (gee, that was time well spent... not).

My guess is it really comes down to a particular bridge operator at Knapps Narrows who gasses on and on and on and on... (if you've been the area, you'll know who I mean) combined with an inappropriate radio installtion at the bridge (the Knapps Narrows bridge operators can be heard as far as Solomons - much too far for 1 watt comms on VHF channel 13). I can see where that person gums up the channel and I can even see that some sort of action was needed, but this is one where the Coasties hunted hummingbirds with a howitzer. [/end vein-bulging rant]

I'm sorry... what was the question?
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Old 27-01-2009, 08:47   #20
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That's another nice reason for having AIS. Instead of "great hulking black ship on my bow", you can say "Tanker BILIOUS BILGES, this is the sailing vessel TERRIFIED one mile off your starboard bow". And it works on both the chart mode or the radar.
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Old 27-01-2009, 09:34   #21
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Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
The business with VHF channel 11 is Houston has a Vessel Tracing Service (VTS) in place and VHF comms with VTS are on 11. So that means a listening watch on 16, 11, and I'd still include 13 (bridge to bridge comms). OTOH, no points for style to the tug for calling anyone out.
In Canada, I monitor 16 and the appropriate Vessel Trafffic Channel. I like to know what traffic I may encounter at night and coming around tight corners.

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Old 27-01-2009, 13:26   #22
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That's another nice reason for having AIS. Instead of "great hulking black ship on my bow", you can say "Tanker BILIOUS BILGES, this is the sailing vessel TERRIFIED one mile off your starboard bow". And it works on both the chart mode or the radar.
Agreed (with limitations). More than once we've been able to hail a vessel and negotiate how best to be where they aren't, with AIS supplying the needed contact info. But... that said, not everything big uses AIS (or at least properly) and even small boats can ruin your day.

Last fall we were caught in a three-way squeeze, with a tug, towing a barge full of pipe, heading north, a container ship coming south, and another tug, in the distance, coming south, further compounded by a guided missile cruiser coming south behind the container ship. Of all of these ships, only the container ship coming south, and the distant tug were AIS visible. The tug with the pipe passed about a half mile to our west (we were on the east side of the channel, heading southwest) and no data from them. The Navy, of course, was silent on AIS, with only comms between the tug with the pipe and the Navy ship giving a hint of where they were (the tug gave a position and commented on the wake from the Navy, who slowed up for the tug, which gave us a guess as to where the Navy was). Additionally, it's not uncommon for larger fishing boats to shut off AIS as soon as they leave the inshore area, in order to avoid tipping of the competition as to their location.

AIS is great but relying on it to get all the big guys isn't a good idea.
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Old 27-01-2009, 14:05   #23
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.....

AIS is great but relying on it to get all the big guys isn't a good idea.
Couldn't agree more. And, often, there are other strategies which work very well without the need for AIS or any other fancy thing, like:

GET OUT OF THE SHIP'S CHANNEL! On the Chesapeake, as in most places, this is very easy to do, and only requires a chart and a fathometer.

Bill
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Old 29-01-2009, 05:57   #24
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Note: To connect an optional external antenna to the radio for your wireless WHAM x 4, you will need a 2.4GHz antenna with mounting bracket and a cable with N-type male connectors.

See the Chuck Husick review at:
Yachting Magazine - Better than a Cell Phone
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Old 29-01-2009, 10:32   #25
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We have the setup you are considering. The wireless wham mic works extrememly well. We keep it in the cockpit tuned to 16 and an Icom portable tuned to another channel used by other members of the cruising group. Actually have two whams as plan was to be able to use intercom capability to communicate when I am on the bow and admiral is steering during anchoring, but hand signals work well enough that we have not used them in this way. Might be a good deal on a larger boat though.
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Old 15-02-2009, 15:33   #26
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Standard Horizan vs Icom

I'm now looking at the Standard Horizan GX3500SB, Standard Horizan Matrix, Icom 504 and the Icom 422. Also will purchase hard wired mic for either of these units. Are these units similiar or is one better than the other (stanard vs Icom)

Rob
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Old 15-02-2009, 17:01   #27
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Eh, I happen to like Icom a bit more than S-H but, really, it comes down to which radio has the feature set you like best. I got lucky and found an M-604 at a killer price. FWIW, Star Marine Depot is selling them for $499US ($618CDN). I've dealt with them in the past for other gear and they got the job done.
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Old 15-02-2009, 18:17   #28
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I am looking to replace my Marine radio for the simple reason that I would like to have radio contact while at the Helm.

Thanks Rob
I just went through this and selected the Standard Horizon with the Ram mic for the cockpit.

Radio page

I selected this because there's no battery required. With my luck the mic battery would fail just when I need it. This is a wired vs the wireless options and involved mounting a cockpit connector. The remote mic operates all of the radio functions from the helm and I now in fact have two areas of the boat from which to operate the VHF.

I love it. Photos are in that link
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Old 15-02-2009, 18:20   #29
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I am looking to replace my Marine radio for the simple reason that I would like to have radio contact while at the Helm.

Thanks Rob
I just went through this and selected the Standard Horizon with the RAM+ speaker microphone, model CMP25 for the cockpit.

Radio page

This is a wired vs the wireless options and involved mounting a cockpit connector. The remote mic operates all of the radio functions from the helm and I now in fact have two areas of the boat from which operate the VHF. I went this route because batteries mostly fail when you need them most. This setup will always work as it's hard wired.

I love it. Photos are in that link
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