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bajafisher

VHF radio use on LOTW?

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bajafisher

Could somebody help me out with some radio questions? I was wondering if there are any special rules in effect on LOTW for VHF radio use? I realize most boating communities have an 'unofficial' channel for fishermen,etc. and that works quite well..like 22 or 72 in San Diego and Lower Baja...but everyone in a boat at sea also monitors the 'call' or 'distress' channels..you just put it on 'scan'. But I notice here there is a wide diversity of channels being used and not much proper procedure..plus no common 'call' or 'distress' channel. No Coast Gaurd/FCC rules in effect? This practice seems a little odd to me, and quite a disadvantage to a boater in need of assistance, or tragic in a life-threatening situation where seconds count dearly. As everyone knows, this can be a killer lake in a storm. Usually a VHF user will hail (call) another boat name 'twice' followed by his boat name, given 'once', on the designated hailing channel..which is 16 in USA and lots of other countries..get a reply, and then go to another channel for their joint conversation. I sure don't want to preach about this but I've been a sailor for many years and know first hand what the consequences of not educating yourself on radio procedures are..grapple hooking a cadaver off the bottom is not fun..nor is telling a housewife her husband won't be coming home from that fishing trip..and 'floaters' are downright nauseating. Proper procedures are put in place by the Coast Guard and the FCC for a very good reason..they can save your life by providing immediate and positive assistance from someone near you 'instantly', not dialing all over the place trying to reach someone. How would you like to be in sudden and dire trouble, then start shouting all over the dials of your VHF, not knowing if you are reaching anyone who might not be able to respond because of distance, his poor antenna, etc..any number of things can happen..and they do with jarring regularity. I bring this up because of an alarming incident that happened on LOTW earlier this spring. It really got me. An older man and his wife developed engine trouble while fishing many miles out from shore, and to make it worse, a severe storm overtook them while they were adrift..lighting, waterspouts, huge waves, and their engine was out. I heard his frantic calls on 23 because I had set mine on scan all channels..I could hear him, but he could not hear me. I was many miles away, could hear his shouts for help, but could'nt get back to him because he had a poor antenna. He didn't know to call on Channel 16, or even any common local fishermen's channel, but sadly, even if he did, nobody would have heard him, nobody was monitoring..because everybody has their own talk channel. A good practice for fishing and casual use, but a very bad practice if you don't scan the proper call and distress channels. This event ended without fatalities, thank God, but the possibility of a drowning was very possible. Well, my wife made me promise to post this..it ticked her off too..so there it is. Sorry if I seem like a rule-maker or a know-it-all, I'm not..just don't like the looks of floaters.

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Eastwind

Bajafisher,<P>I can only speak for myself regarding the knowledge, or lack of knowledge, regarding radio use. I got my radio several in 1996 when I started to fish Lake Michigan. I did know that channel 16 and channel 9 used to be the hailing channels. Now, according to what the U.S. Coast Guard will tell you on Lake Michigan if you use 16, this channel is now designated for " Emergency" hailing only. Channel 9 is supposed to be the hailing channel and then proper procedure would be to move to another channel. <BR>Now, I only know this from hearsay. Why, because we are no longer required to be licensed in order to operate a marine band radio. When I got my radio, I had to find a number for the FCC in Washington D.C. wait on hold for a long time before getting a live person and then I got brushed off with very few answers to my many questions regarding the rules of Marine Radio use. <P>I just recently realized that I have been hailing people incorrectly for 8 years because I was never taught any different. People broadcast right over ( my friend is one of them) someone else's transmission because they have never been taught any different. It is great that we do not need<BR>to spend money in order to be licensed to operate a marine radio.Unfortunately, because we do not need to be licensed, most of us do not get instructed in proper operation and procedure. But, if we all had to go through the trouble of getting licensed, would less boaters get a radio? I'm not sure what the answer to that is. But, if you did not have a radio, whether or not you knew how to use it would be beside the point.<P>Do you know where someone could get, or purchase , a handbook for correct procedures and operation? Better yet, are there classes available for instruction? I would be interested to know. Thank you for touching on an important subject that all of us fishing or boating big water need to consider.

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Kaz

Baja, East: Yes the Marine Radio is a very necessary tool for safety when used properly. Although LOTW is a International boundary it is not, until lately, patrolled as are other large boarder waters. Because of the informal conditions here, the Coast Guard does not enforce radio communication proccedures. Unlike Baja or even Lk Michigan, LOTW does not have any agency monitoring the emergency channels. I have had a Marine Radio for many years and did get a licence when they were required. As for the channels that are used here, I have found that most of the resorts have selected a channel that they use for the management for their business between their boats and their base station.. They are as I believe; Wigwom 16, Adrian's 82 or 6, Riverbend 88, Sportsman 12, and Zipple 72. The are the other resorts also have chosen their own and I have scaned and heard traffic on 9, 11, 69, 69, 70, and 86. I'm not sure where the people are or if it's just groups who come to LOTW and want to talk back and forth. I do know that if you call a resort as mentioned above, someone will answer. I think most of them have the radio in their office where they have a person by the radio... As for why the person in distress did not answer your call on 23, is that it is a duplex channel used by the old Marine operator for phone push to talk at the boat only. If they would of used most any other channel, they could of had two way communications. Now, if some of you can post on this site, the other channels that specfic resorts use, I can print a little cheat card that can be passed out to those who want that information. Hard water is coming and the radio is a great thing to have when your out on the ice and you need assistance of any kind.. Hope I've add a little input to this subject....Kaz <p>[This message has been edited by Kaz (edited 09-18-2004).]

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rckwll

Hi Eastwind, Have you ever heard Terry from Morson Houseboats on the radio during a Friday or Sat. night? A lesson in how not to use the VHF. I'll be looking for you in three weeks.

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Kaz

Hey Baja, shoot me a Email with a phone number. I'd like to talk to you about fishing in La Paz or Cabo... [email protected] Thanks Kaz

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bajafisher

Eastwind..here is one site for VHF radio use..lots of others in your 'search box' by typing "VHF radio hailing procedures"<BR><A HREF="http://powerboat.about.com/cs/marinevhf/a/VHFetiquette.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://powerboat.about.com/cs/marinevhf/a/VHFetiquette.htm</A><BR> Kaz...my email is [email protected] I will send you an email with our phone number. The Sea of Cortez, East Cape and Baja are my haunts. Unbelievable fishing!<BR>

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bajafisher

<BR>Kaz, I just sent you my email and number. Be glad to discuss Baja fishing. My home area down there is the Bay of Conception, but I have fished the whole Cortez and surrounding Pacific waters for 30+ years now and know it as well as anyone, I suppose. Be glad to help you all I can.<P>Eastwind, I tried entering a link for help on VHF radio hailing procedures, but I fear I may have inadvertently stepped on a rule forbidding unapproved links for this forum. If so, I apologize to the staff, and suggest you search "VHF radio hailing procedures". I know you will find many. It would be nice to have a little more professionalism on the radio. Gives you a better feeling of confidence when out there.

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Daryl

Kaz<BR>I fish mostly in the Morson area and to the north and west.<BR>I use channel 68 unless I get in to a lengthy conversation with someone and then I will change channels.<BR>Morson Marina, Buena Vista, Tamarack, and Grassy Narrows all use 68 also.<BR>My 2 cents worth.<BR>Daryl

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