A VHF Primer

From: Annie and Chris McNeil (windsurf@metro.net-DeleteThis)
Date: Mon Apr 13 1998 - 13:47:40 PDT

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Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 13:47:40 -0700
To: wind_talk@opus.hpl.hp.com-DeleteThis
From: Annie and Chris McNeil <windsurf@metro.net-DeleteThis>
Subject: A VHF Primer
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>http://www.boatingsafety.com/vhf1.htm Yes it's true. As recreational
>boaters we need no liscense. I found this article on VHF usage. Its pretty
>readable. Sound like a pro while your drowning and you'll get more
>respect. Also keep in mind that the radios we're carrying are only 1 watt
>transmit power. If your half way to Tomales you may be talking only to
>yourself or an ocasional passing boat.
>VHF Primer, the use and misuse of the VHF.
> "", then silence. "". "" The request was met with silence. Could the
>boat have gone down that quickly? I was in a high speed Sea Tow towboat on
>the west side of Peanut Island, less than a half a mile from the inlet. As
>soon as I heard the initial call, I headed out, violating (don't tell
>anyone) the slow speed zone. "" "" At that moment, a collective look of
>disgust clouded the face of every knowledgeable boater who had been
>standing by to respond, if needed, to the emergency. One can only imagine
>the comments that erupted from the Coast Guard Response team, the Florida
>Marine Patrol, the sheriff's Boats and the local police boats. I arrived
>on scene within two minutes of the initial call, expecting to find a group
>of six-packed sailors. I found, instead, three men in their fifties and
>sixties on a thirty five foot sloop, whose only fault was a lack of
>knowledge of proper VHF radio procedures. The skipper's intentions were
>right on target - his decision a wise one. With an outgoing tide, variable
>winds and heavy boat traffic, attempting to sail through the inlet without
>auxiliary power could have placed his vessel and passengers in jeopardy.
>But his use of a MAYDAY call was an example of ignorance and inexperience
>(and could have subjected him to a $10.000.00 fine.) A VHF radio is one
>of the most important tools on board a boat. Like any other tool, however,
>there are right ways and wrong ways to use it. The quickest way to
>determine the competence of a boater is not by his docking abilities but by
>his use of the radio. A professional will never abuse the VHF frequencies.
>He knows only too well that someone's life may depend on his ability to
> Let's review some VHF radio procedures and techniques: """Mayday, the
>vessel ___________, state your position (preferably latitude and longitude
>or by geographical reference), the nature of your emergency, a description
>of your vessel and the number of people on board your boat. Say again the
>name of your vessel and your call sign. Stay calm and speak slowly. Then
>UNKEY the microphone (release the button) and wait for a response. If you
>get no response after a minute or so, repeat the entire broadcast. If you
>still get no response, consider the possibility that your radio is not
>working and be prepared to use flares and other distress signals to
>solicite help. Use that minute wisely. Get life jackets on everyone, gather
>emergency supplies, get your flares and any other signalling devices ready
>and STAY CALM - you, as Captain, need to set the example for your
>passengers. """""""". The only exception to this rule is if the Coast
>Guard specifically asks for help from vessels in the area or if you are
>required to relay the Mayday broadcast. "" and the name and call sign of
>your vessel. If for some reason your boat does not have a call sign (you
>never licesnsed your radio) don't hesitate to perform the relay - somebody
>could be dying. You may also relay a MAYDAY call if you actually see a
>vessel in trouble (on fire or sinking) or have been asked by the distressed
>vessel's owner or captain to perform a relay. & SECURITY Calls as well as
>the use of the various channels of the VHF frequencies. A word or two
>about radio checks first. Radio checks should, whenever possible and
>especially on busy weekends, be requested on a channel other than 16. Here
>again, you will notice that the professional will seldom, if ever, request
>a radio check - and never on channel 16. Radios today are very reliable. If
>you are receiving, chances are that you can transmit. If you recently
>installed a radio or have done some work on it, use channel 9 or channel
>68. Or you can call Sea Tow on channel 7 or channel 9 for a radio check. We
>will be glad to respond. A Quick Review: "" when immediate assistance is
>required. If, for example, you run out of beer or cigarettes ten miles
>offshore, regardless of how real that emergency may be to you, the Coast
>Guard does not consider that to be a reason for a MAYDAY call. "" running
>through his head). The Coast Guard, and others like Sea Tow, can determine
>the vessel's position with RDF (Radio Directional Finder) gear and
>triangulation - but only if no one else is transmitting on the frequency.
>Now is not the time to be exchanging receipes for Grouper Picatta.
>Standby to assist. If you hear the Coast Guard call for a vessel in the
>area to assist or if you are in the area and the logical vessel to render
>assistance, head for the distressed vessel and, when there's a break in the
>transmissions, call the Coast Guard with your offer to provide assistance.
> This article was
>written by Sea Tow Captain Les Hall (e-mail)
> Copyright 1997 Sea Tow Services International. All rights reserved

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