Marine Radio Frequencies

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Fanie, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Any one of you clever guys please tell me which radio frequencies you operate on while at sea ?





    I have read somewhere that the HF 2.184MHz marine frequency are being phased out, if, why ?
     
  2. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Standard procedure in Canadian waters is to monitor F3E transmissions on 156.800 MHz (VHF 16) and, if the vessel is so equipped, G2B on 156.525 MHz (VHF 70, DSC). Our Coast Guard has decided not to implement GMDSS Sea Area A2 (shore-based MF stations monitoring J3E single-sideband transmissions on 2182 KHz, with DSC monitoring of G2B transmissions on 2187.5 kHz). The rationale, as I understand it, is that virtually all commercial traffic that goes outside VHF range of shore tends to carry satellite phone equipment, so spending millions of dollars to set up new MF-DSC shore stations was deemed unnecessary. Of course, our existing shore stations are continuing to monitor J3E on 2182 KHz using non-DSC equipment.

    From what I've heard, the HF marine bands at 4, 6, 8, 12, 16 and 22 MHz, along with the MF band at 2 MHz, are still quite popular among cruisers in the busier areas down south, but I have yet to see a boat on the Great Lakes that carries the requisite SSB transceiver.
     
  3. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    The J3E encoding has just been implemented here.

    Look, I'm trying to determine what radio I should have aboard that will work everywhere. No use having a radio and it works only in one place, and it's rather stupid to have a HF, MF, VHF etc (the 10 radio's to cover all there is).

    What is used in open seas by other sail boats ?
     
  4. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Fanie

    With Hf most of us have it sitting on 2182 as a calling frequency, but that's produced a conundrum because recently the emergency frequencies have shifted and 2MHz is no longer monitored here. All emergencyis now on 4, 6 or 8MHz so securite warnigs in Austrlai from shore sations are all on 4Mhz now.

    The most usefull aspect of an HF set is to receive weather faxes since all you need is a laptop computer and nothing else, just output the radio audio to the sound card audio input and it decodes it and displays it on the screen.

    VHF channel 16, but it pays to get a set that has "International" settings since this allows full duplex operation. Most sets have a 2 channel watch and then you can have it on 16 and whatever local ship to ship is designated when at sea and it port the second channel can be the port authority.

    It would pay to see what repeater networks exist in your area and what you need to access them.
    DSC is also becoming usefull, it can be retrofitted to any existing radio with a dedicated dsc mike.

    cheers
     
  5. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    There are a few sets out there that include all the settings, all the frequencies, for marine and ham MF/HF worldwide. The Icom M710-21 comes to mind as an example. But these are not cheap sets; an M710 is an $1800 radio, and by the time you add an antenna tuner, cabling, installation, etc. you can easily be over $4000 on such a rig even before you start looking at Pactor modems and the like.

    On the VHF side, we're getting to the point where in some areas, commercial traffic is only required to keep a DSC watch on 70, and may not be monitoring 16. Add the other benefits of DSC, and considering that a perfectly good Class D VHF-DSC set with a dedicated Ch70 tuner can be had for $300 or so, it would appear that going without DSC is really only a valid option for handhelds. (If you can afford it, of course, a full-duplex Class A set could certainly come in handy at times.)

    My ideal setup, at present, would be an Icom M710-21 with automatic antenna tuner, and an Icom M604 class-D VHF. (Or comparable counterparts from other manufacturers.) These two sets would total about $4000-$5000 installed and would give you full worldwide access to all marine bands and many of the popular ham bands.
     
  6. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    Fanie, It was suggested to me that I get an HF (receiver) to listen to and get slow scan met charts but no one uses them anymore, (unless you know that someone is still operating a Pacific or Indian ocean net) - - i will be using a satellite phone and 2 to 3 years use for less $$$, just to advise or arrival estimates and customs stuff and to fax in your arrival date in Australia where abject ********* seem to reign supreme (see "The Coastal Passage" - - manie downloads it)... and VHF to talk to them (make sure they are not hoons or pirates) when they seem to want to board you - Request a search warrant first and also video everything they do as is your right to protest yourself... Satphone is under AU$1500 and works everywhere and all the time.... (subject to terms and conditions - in small print:D:D:D)
     
  7. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Seems the SATPhone is the all rounder here. I know the calls are ex friggin spensive. It's probably deliberate to keep users fewer.

    Second seems to be HF, at least you can get some distance talking with it, the sun spots are at a low currently so it's limited somewhat as well. The antenna size is a pain. I just missed two Icom M710 sold at a really good price. Oh well.

    VHF is line of sight basically hence the use around harbours and the likes. I think a Yasu handheld 5W would probably be ok. My friend has a VX-7R, 2m as well as marine bands. Great little radio.
     
  8. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Personally I'm not very fond of laptops. You do get these mini PC's, minute little mother boards and you can run it like a normal PC. LCD, keyboard and a bona fide mouse should feel like home :D

    How about a marine modem :D Check the mail once in a while.
     
  9. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Satphones have become the de facto standard for commercial shipping going to/from Canadian waters, hence our Coast Guard's decision not to bother with MF-DSC shore stations. The hardware's getting nice and compact, and much more power-efficient than an SSB, but I can't say I relish the thought of paying $1 per minute and up for voice traffic....
     
  10. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Well, it may be the option to go for. If it's for emergencies only or basic use then it may be a while before you have talked the value of another radio out.

    I better find out what the cost in SA is. Everything here is a ripoff, start with the most expensive phone services and bank charges. The wife just told me an hour ago what our bank charges was for last year. I'm still winching...
     
  11. dobsong
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    dobsong Junior Member

    Australian Frequencies

    See attached for frequencies we use in Australia. because of international convertions/agreements I expect these will be the same/similar to those used in other countries.

    Regards, Graeme
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Fanie
    I have 3 or 4 laptops aboard and would recommend that you find a robust older model like the IBM thinkpad 600X, they are dirt cheap, you can often get them for peanuts and they are almost indestructable. I use these as dedicated navigation and weather fax receivers, their power requirement is also very low and they have serial ports. I also see that there are a new breed of small low power notebooks like those made by Acer which are around $400 new.

    There are fax transmissions you can receive all over the world on HF but they have been rationalised to a few high power transmitters,( eg in the Pacific 2 in Australia 1 in NZ 1 in Hawaii and one somewhere in French Polynesia probably Papeete that is in French) .

    Transmitted on WFAX are Wind and waves, 4 day weather forcasts, pressure charts, water temperature.

    To duplicate this info you would need to have an internet connection onboard via sat.

    I still find the satphone combined setups and running cost too expensive. They are good for short messages but if you want to yak to several people on 10 other vessels for a total of an hour each a week you'll quickly pay for several HF sets.

    One huge advantage of HF is that you can chat endlessly with other vessels and shore stations for free and don't underestimate the value of this when cruising, There are also a variety of nets that operate on HF around the globe, and it might also be worth getting a HAM licence to use the additional HAM frequencies too. There is a community with a huge amount of support on the marine HF of immense value that you would otherwise be unaware of. Information such as difficult officials, hazards, piracy, fee changes, local weather anomolies....whatever it's all there asa free to use cruisers forum.

    I find the HF set to be indispensible and I'd feel bereft without it.
     
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  13. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Thanks Graeme !

    Hi Mike, that is some nice informathion and sounds like good advice. I am a radio amateur and will do the marine radio SSB license as soon as we get a gap in workload here, it's been a bit hectic off late.

    Ok, how do one put that HF antenna up on a 4 meter boat :D

    One Q on the SATPhone. If it reaches anywhere from everywhere, isn't that a better emergency item to have, apart from the radio's ?

    It seems the laptop is something one should have. I'll get one, if all fails there's always google earth :D
     
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  14. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member


    I've always found it best to rig a 4m vessel as a triple masted schooner then the triatics make a passable centre fed antennae. :)


    On my boat I have a demountable HF antennae which simply runs from the stern quarter rail to the masthead. It works very well.
    I'm not keen on insulators in the backstay since it adds complexity in an essential part of the rig and the antennae is within the cone of protection of the mast for lightening..

    The earth plate /ground plane can be a sheet of metal or foil in the bilge inside the boat since it's only an RF ground. Calculate the area for a low capacitive reactance with your hull as the dialectric.

    cheers
     

  15. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    I was really kiddin on the 4m boat... I'll just put a 10m whip on it ;)
     
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