BOC on VHF Marine Band Radios?

Discussion in 'LOCAL MISSOURI TALK' started by DWB, May 31, 2007.

  1. DWB

    DWB Member

    Messages:
    984
    State:
    Missouri
    Hey folks,

    Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): Do any other BOC in the Missouri area carry a VHF marine band radio when they are out on the rivers or lakes? If so what channels do you monitor? If one does not already exist should we designate one of the working channels on the marine band for BOC members to monitor when out on the water? It seems that if we did it might extend this virtual network of friendship and help to the water, not to mention the benefit in terms of safety. Just a thought, I'd like to hear all of your thoughts and open this up for discussion. Perhaps something like this already exists...

    I personally like to carry a marine band VHF radio on my boat (yes I'm a licensed operator) to hear the latest WX reports and the commercial river traffic. I guess it is probably a carry over from my days in the merchant marine but the soft crackle of the radio is comforting to me.

    DWB
     
  2. cubedweller

    cubedweller New Member

    Messages:
    454
    State:
    MO
    I think this is a great idea. I don't yet own a VHF radio, but will be purchasing one soon (mainly for weather). Since I don't know much about the subject myself, I am keen to see what other people have to say about it while I do research on the side.
     

  3. DWB

    DWB Member

    Messages:
    984
    State:
    Missouri
    Obviously VHF marine band channel 16 is the recognized channel for distress, safety and calling; however, it tends to be a very busy and public channel--especially in areas with a lot of commercial activity. Therefore, private boaters, such as us, tend to use VHF channel 09 to hail another vessel on before switching to a working channel. VHF marine band channels designated as working channels for non-commercial entities are 68,69,71,72 and 78A. So upon hailing another vessel on 09 you would direct them to switch to the working channel of your choice from the list above.

    As a relative newcomer to the Mississippi and Missouri rivers I do not know which if any of these channels gets heavy use or which channels are used for VTS or contacting the locks for transit through. Anyone knowing any of this information please post up as it would be helpful.

    I should note that technically in order to transmit on a marine band VHF you do need to apply for a marine radio operators permit. These are fairly inexpensive (50 bones for 5 years if I remember) and the test is a no-brainer if you have read the pamphlet. I would never want to advise anyone to break the law--and I do have my permit--but I have never heard of anyone being checked for theirs so long as they are utilizing the frequencies appropriately. They only time I remember hearing of anyone being busted was some kids who were jacking around on channel 16--swearing and interrupting commercial traffic.

    Again a run down of VHF marine band channels and their designated use:

    16-- Distress, safety and calling (primarily commercial)
    09-- Calling (preferred for non-commercial)
    68-- Non-commercial working
    69-- Non-commercial working
    71-- Non-commercial working
    72-- Non-commercial working
    78A-- Non-commercial working

    What I would like to see would be to designate one of the "Non-commercial working" channels as a channel for BOC members to monitor when on the water.
     
  4. cubedweller

    cubedweller New Member

    Messages:
    454
    State:
    MO
    I had no idea there was a requisite license -- so I definitely owe you a big thanks for the heads up. I prefer to do things by the letter of the law whenever possible. Luckily, my primary motivation in acquiring a VHF radio was to listen to weather info...
     
  5. Albert7

    Albert7 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    State:
    Chster,Illinois.
    Dan,I've been asking for that info,but no-one knew this stuff.Thanks!
    I too would like to know if there is a haling channel for the locks on the Mississippi. Let's get a BOC channel designate soon!
    Keep up th good work!
    Bite'm Back!
    Albert:roll_eyes:
     
  6. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Out here on the edge of the deep blue sea its hard to find a boat that doesn't have a VHF.When I fish at Santee, BOC members usually meet and have breakfast together and decide what CH we will monitor.Its as simple as that.Since VHF is line of sight you arent going to reach everybody in MO as I'm sure you are aware and you might not even reach someone around the next bend.At Santee the guides are all on their channels also, so if you know them you can hop and pick up info.Having been in and around the military for over 40 years now ,a radio in the background is like music to my ears.If you just want weather but dont care to talk ,you can buy very good weather only radios for much less than a VHF.:big_smile:
     
  7. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    A license for a recreational boater to operate a VHF radio is no longer required by the FCC. I think this requirement bit the dust in 1996?
    You can still have those huge fines thrown on you for improper use though.

    Now if you want to operate a VHF like a base unit in your home, you have to apply for a land license.

    If in doubt call the FCC.

    You are legal on the water. Anywhere else is suspect.
     
  8. DWB

    DWB Member

    Messages:
    984
    State:
    Missouri
    Thanks for the heads up on this, Mark. Looks like I won't be renewing mine then when it comes time.
     
  9. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    Messages:
    7,241
    State:
    DeSoto, MO
    I have a permanent marine band radio mounted next to my fish finder. They are INVALUABLE tools. With the touch of a button you have an army of folks ready to help you out if you get in trouble. As well as instant reliable weather with a one button push as well.

    I like to use mine to talk to the Lock Masters also so I can plan my lock up/down in tournament situations so I dont get burned trying to get through. I simply say 'SeaArk Fishing Boat to Melvin Price Lock Master" tell em what you want, and they will be happy to help out. More often than not, they will give me a time to be at the lock and I drive right in. Now thats service. haha. The auxilliary locks are only 600 feet long, and usually only take 20 minutes to get through. If the lock is going to be busy, they will usually let me know and I can bail early.

    Most importantly, these radio's just might save your life if you get in trouble. For those of you with GPS/Sonar set ups, your marine band radio can be interfaced with your GPS machines, and if you get in trouble the radio will show your coordinates if you go into distress.
    You can find these things for less than 100 bucks almost anywhere. A very valuable safety tool for not much coin.
     
  10. DWB

    DWB Member

    Messages:
    984
    State:
    Missouri
    Thanks Cuz. What channel do the lock masters monitor? Is there a VTS on the upper Mississippi?

    Amen to what Cuz said regarding the safety issue. The GPS/VHF interface he is speaking about is called GMDSS or the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. You get in trouble you just poke a button and your position and pre programed personal information is automatically sent to the appropriate authorities as well as any other vessels in the area equiped to receive such a message.

    On two separate occasions I have been onboard merchant vessels that responded to aid a pleasure craft in need of aid. Once on Lake Superior when two fishermen got lost in the fog and drifted far out into the lake and then again in the Caribbean off of Trinidad when a small motor sailer caught fire. In both cases we responded because of a GMDSS message we received from the vessels.
     
  11. cpalombo

    cpalombo New Member

    Messages:
    318
    State:
    Nashville TN
    Great info. I will be putting mine back on.

    CP
     
  12. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    It really depends on what you are doing with the radio.
    you know how beauracracy is and the wording is on alot of the garbage that gets put out.
    I dont understand all the commercial aspects of it but there is still a license for VHF but in our case its not needed.
    I know if you work on them you have to have a license and there is some wattage issues in there too.
     
  13. cubedweller

    cubedweller New Member

    Messages:
    454
    State:
    MO
    just picked up an ICOM IC-M302 off ebay for a song and a dance...thanks for the info folks.
     
  14. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    Messages:
    7,241
    State:
    DeSoto, MO
    ICOM makes some good stuff too Alex. Good Decision. There is alot of ICOM radios in airplanes so that attest to the reliabillity.
     
  15. BIG GEORGE

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Messages:
    10,362
    State:
    JOISY
    Fine idea Dan. I think ya should run with it and establish somethin for us members to monitor nation wide. Great Idea!
     
  16. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    If you are going to buy a VHF look for one that has DSC capability.DSC allows discreet communications between DSC capable radios.You must apply for a DSC number which was free when I did mine.Its kind of like a telephone number which you simply call that number and your conversations cannot be overheard.The other good feature is that CH 70 is set aside for DSC emergency transmissions.So if you GPS is hooked to the radio,which is quite simple to do,then in case of emergency you can hit CH 70 and broadcast the mayday which will automatically give your position to anyone hearing you.Or you can simply hit the emergency button and they same info is broadcast for you.::smile2:DSC will allow you to tell your buddies where the fish are biting without anyone hearing you.
     
  17. TeamWhiskers

    TeamWhiskers New Member

    Messages:
    536
    State:
    Missouri
    Thanks for all this information first of all. Ive been out on the water before in trouble without a radio and luckily had a cell phone. This has convinced me to add one to my boat now.
    I don’t see why we cant look into the possibility of getting us our own frequency or channel that we can use much like the truckers use channel 19 on the cb. Why don’t some of you look into what it would take or if there are other non-commercial bands that we can use. We just need to keep in mind that many tournaments will not allow us to use any type of communications for fishing information, but we can for emergency situations. I can see where this could be a great asset for our Sport to help each other in a time of need.
     
  18. DWB

    DWB Member

    Messages:
    984
    State:
    Missouri
    Unfortunately, the marine band VHF frequencies are already all set up--each with its own designation so obtaining one just for BOC use is not an option.

    We can; however, all decide to monitor one of the "non-commercial working channels" as a means to communicate with one another without publicly hailing one another on 09 or 16 (I propose channel 71). The link below pretty much lays out the marine band channels and their intended use.

    http://www.csgnetwork.com/marinefreqtable.html

    As was mentioned above if our radios were to be DSC capable then we are talking a whole new ball game. DSC is much more private--like a telephone call that only two parties can hear. We could circulate a "phone book" of members DSC numbers for communication purposes.

    For now I think the best option is to use VHF marine band 71 which is a non commercial working channel for BOC communications.

    If members were to set their radios to scan channels 16, 09 and 71 with the preference being to catch each other on 71 without hailing on 16 or 09 it would be a good start.

    Members with DSC capability could also trade DSC numbers. I would be willing to compile these numbers into some sort of spreadsheet and circulate it among members....just a thought.
     
  19. FishMan

    FishMan New Member

    Messages:
    2,293
    State:
    Tennessee
    Great idea and as B G says let's have one channel for all the country. If we are to use 9 to call then go to out channel just pick one. 69 sounds good to me. easy to remember. My marine radio has a scan feature that switches from 16 to 9. I always new 16 was for business and now I know why 9 is included. I asume other radios scan 9 and 16 also.
     
  20. FishinginDavenport

    FishinginDavenport New Member

    Messages:
    75
    State:
    Iowa
    Just remember that whenever you have the radio on your are REQUIRED by law to also keep a listening watch on 16. I am on the Mississippi at Pool14 and carry a handheld. I may move up to a regular radio in the future. There is no traffic control on the upper Mississippi.