Re: Unlicensed VHF Use

From: Ken Poulton (
Date: Fri Apr 10 1998 - 17:37:54 PDT

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Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 17:37:54 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ken Poulton <>
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Subject: Re: Unlicensed VHF Use
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> My experience and Carlos' recent one prompted me to buy a marine
> transceiver today. I got the new Apelco 520 which is supposedly
> submersion rated and has a 5 watt transmit power mode. Also has big
> backlighted display, and is fairly compact and light.

Regardless of ratings, keep it in a dry bag! Companies building radios
for boaters have no concept of what a radio attached to a windsurfer
goes through. West Marine sells one shaped for a radio.

> The question is - can I use this thing without a license?

Yes. See

> Bob Galvan
> posted some info. on this subject about a year ago or so, but I've
> misplaced it. Also, what is the emergency frequency, Kenneth? I think
> it's channel 16, but do the Coasties prefer that you talk to them on
> channel 22?

The general hailing channel is 16, and is your best bet for reaching a
boat. The Coast Guard seems not to listen on Ch 16 the couple of times
I have tried, but they do listen (and work) on Ch 22, so that seems to
be the right place to reach them. I wrote this on my radio bag so
I wouldn't have to tell someone this if I gave them the radio.

The last thing: if your radio does not have a battery indicator, get
a voltmeter to test your charging process! My new Apelco 510 (warranty
replacement last summer) did not make contact to either the new or the
old charging base, so when I broke my ankle I was out there with a radio
with enough charge to listen for a few minutes, but not enough to make a
call! The Apelco web page FAQ said "bend the charger contacts" so this
must have occurred on a bunch of radios.

Ken Poulton

"This story has the added advantage of being true." -- Henry Kissinger

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