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Old 02-08-2019, 13:26   #1
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What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

I noticed that my older Standard Horizon “Intrepid” doesn’t display an “A” after channels 22 and 23. Sure enough, when the coast guard makes an announcement on channel “22 Alpha” I am unable to hear it. I use my handheld vhf for these moments, but does anyone know the story behind this? I’m gonna replace this unit so t will be a moot point eventually but I’m curious about what “alpha” actually means and why my radio doesn’t have it.
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:45   #2
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

Try seeing if there is a mode button - you may have to switch to US mode (22a is what the puget sound USCG use I think)
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:49   #3
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

Old radio, separate channel.


I have the same deal.


Look up the radio channel frequencies in any VHF manual or online at govt websites. It's easier to find in the back of any manual.
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:50   #4
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alctel View Post
Try seeing if there is a mode button - you may have to switch to US mode (22a is what the puget sound USCG use I think)

There was a looong thread about this maybe two weeks ago. I'll see if I can find it.
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:51   #5
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

Either the VHF is not in "US Mode" or is before the introduction of the "A" designation in the US.
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:52   #6
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
There was a looong thread about this maybe two weeks ago. I'll see if I can find it.

Here you go:


Coast Guard using US mode on radio
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:53   #7
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

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(22a is what the puget sound USCG use I think)
USCG everywhere I've been redirect vessels from 16 to 22A for extended communication.
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Old 02-08-2019, 14:07   #8
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

Wow very interesting, thanks for sharing. I also just found out how to switch mine back to US mode (hold 16 and press WX). As usual I should have looked at the manual first, but I learned much more by asking the forum. Thanks
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:43   #9
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

I had a chat with Coast Guard Victoria a couple weeks ago and we used channel 83. If I want to contact a marina or the railway bridge at Crescent Beach I use 66a. So I am still not clear why or what is the reason. I read your post Stu, and although it was extensive, I can't reconcile the alpha mode use.
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:59   #10
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
Wow very interesting, thanks for sharing. I also just found out how to switch mine back to US mode (hold 16 and press WX). As usual I should have looked at the manual first, but I learned much more by asking the forum. Thanks

There was a long discussion recently about Alpha Channels

The short of it is -leave your VHF in US mode while in Canada & USA & maybe Mexico. / Len


PS. How was SJ River?



Coast Guard using US mode on radio
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:04   #11
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

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Originally Posted by Greg Mason View Post
I had a chat with Coast Guard Victoria a couple weeks ago and we used channel 83. If I want to contact a marina or the railway bridge at Crescent Beach I use 66a. So I am still not clear why or what is the reason. I read your post Stu, and although it was extensive, I can't reconcile the alpha mode use.

If you did, you used 83A, 'cuz that's what Victoria uses.


http://boating.ncf.ca/vhfchannels.html
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:17   #12
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

Setting your VHF to US mode automatically converts ALL the channels required to be Alpha(Simplex) to Alpha.
This covers all "Alpha" problems in US & Canada.
Always leave your VHF in US mode,unless you are going to EU.Asia,Africa.Australasia,etc.
I'm not sure about S. & C. America. / Len
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Old 03-08-2019, 11:35   #13
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>I read your post Stu, and although it was extensive, I can't reconcile the alpha mode use.

Greg, quibbles, but it wasn't "my post" it was simply a link to an earlier discussion started by someone else that covered the same issues: mode and frequencies on different channels.
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:49   #14
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
Wow very interesting, thanks for sharing. I also just found out how to switch mine back to US mode (hold 16 and press WX). As usual I should have looked at the manual first, but I learned much more by asking the forum. Thanks
It's the old adage, when all else fails read the manual.
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Old 03-08-2019, 22:57   #15
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Re: What is “alpha” and why doesn’t my older VHF have it?

My understanding is:
Historically some channels are "simplex" (both participating stations send and receive on the same frequency) and therefore
a) only one at a time can transmit ("speak"), and
b) anyone listening in can here BOTH sides of the conversation.

Most channels, including ALL ship-to-ship are/were simplex - so that anyone could talk to anyone else.

However most ship-to-shore stations were DUPLEX! That is, the ship transmitted on one frequency and the shore station on another. That gave two benefits:
a) If a vessel were appropriately equipped (and the vast majority of small vessels weren't), both parties could talk and listen at the same same time - as on a regular phone or, now, on a cell phone (which operate in duplex mode), and
b) Anyone listening in could only hear one side of the conversation. Typically anyone on another boat could only hear the shore station side as the other end (the boat involved in the conversation) would be transmitting on a frequency only the shore station was equipped to receive.

Here in Canada we had quite a few duplex channels as, before cell phones, the Telcos had extensive facilities so that the maritime community (mostly commercial fishermen, those on tugs and in remote coastal communities) could connect into ("patch") the land telephone system to call loved ones, conduct business, etc. - all at a price of course.

Duplex channels were also use d by various government departments (e.g. Fisheries) and commercially in enterprises such as the big fishing companies like Canadian Fish Company and BC Packers ito provide a modicum of security and privacy

cy.
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