Marine VHF Operation

boatus

Marine VHF Operation. Using a VHF radio is simple, but can be intimidating the fist time. A few basic rules will get you on your way. We discuss basic operation, the difference between simplex and duplex and the procedures for sending and receiving.

Rules for Radio use

  • Turn on radio
  • Adjust Volume & Squelch controls
  • Switch to Channel 16
  • Pick up microphone
  • Depress the ‘push to talk” switch and speak
  • Release “push to talk” and listen

    boatus
    boatus

Basic call etiquette; Simplex calls go like this. Calling Vessel “Capella” this is vessel “Argo” OVER, and you wait for a response. Each time a party finishes their communication they say OVER which indicates the other party can now respond. Pressing the key allows your conversation to be sent and none comes in.

If you are not making a call you should stay on standby on Channel 16 at all times

Squelch Control; Adjust the squelch till the static goes and then turn up slightly.

USCG and BoatUS Foundation,

series on operating and benefits of VHF

USCG and BoatUS Foundation,

USCG and BoatUS Foundation,
USCG and BoatUS Foundation,

Called “Can your hear me?” this series covers VHF and emergency procedures. If nothing else this primer will let you know all the basics.

You can read and listen to each topic and use the pause/play & fwd and back buttons.

  1. Emergency signaling
  2. Rescue 21
  3. Getting to know the VHF
  4. DSC VHF radios
  5. Equipping your boat with VHF/DSC
  6. Installing VHF
  7. Emergency and routine VHF operation
  8. DSC simulation

Simplex and Duplex channels

Duplex refers to a two way conversation like a phone, while simplex means only one side can communicate at a time.

Simplex calls go like this. Calling Vessel “Capella” this is vessel “Argo” OVER, and you wait for a response. Each time a party finishes their communication they say OVER which indicates the other party can now respond. Pressing the key allows your conversation to be sent and none comes in.

Making an Emergency VHF call

  • Turn on adjust volume and squelch
  • Select Channel 16
  • For direst emergencies, the proper distress call is “Mayday.”
  • Clearly say the phrase 3 times
  • For urgent situations, the call is “Pan-pan”
  • After you have stated the appropriate emergency term 3 times,
  • say, “your vessel name” 3 times
  • Repeat “Mayday” and name of your vessel once
  • Report your position
  • State the nature of your distress & assistance required
  • say “Over”
  • Keep Listening to Channel 16 for response or repeat procedure

Receiving an Emergency VHF call

  • Turn on adjust volume and squelch
  • Select Channel 16
  • Monitor Ch 16
  • If you hear an emergency call
  • Write down everything you hear
  • Name of boat, nature of emergency
  • Location, time,
  • Wait two minutes,
  • Vessel transmitting emergency may be out of range of Coast Guard
  • If you do not hear the Coast guard respond
  • Relay the emergency call