While it may take a little time and some help from your owner’s manual, ensure
your DSC-VHF radio is connected to your GPS.
5 Ways to Get Your Boat’s VHF Radio
Ready for the Season
recreational boating, cellphones are just fine for routine communications. So
why do you need a VHF radio – either a handheld or fixed mount – on your boat?
Because in an emergency it’s the only thing that can directly connect you to
the U.S. Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system, giving you access to high-tech
emergency response and Digital Selective Calling (DSC) capabilities that can
hasten your rescue.
you have to do now is to ensure VHF radio ready to go for the season. Here are
five tips from the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water to get
you and your radio ready.
- Check the antennae, power and ground to
the VHF radio, and batteries/charger if a handheld. Rusty or ill-fitting
connections rob your radio of range. Hand held VHF batteries need to be
- Read your radio’s manual so you know
features like squelch, scan, and hi/lo power settings. Familiarize
yourself with the most important VHF radio channels.
- For those with non-DSC VHF radios, automated
VHF radio check systems are no longer available. However, you can
make a short radio check voice call on VHF channel 9. Using channel 9 will
not tie up the distress channel 16 and potentially delay emergency
communications by another boat to the U.S. Coast Guard.
- For those with DSC VHF radios, enter the
U.S. Coast Guard coast station group identity “003669999” into the radio’s
DSC memory. Once stored, 1. select “Test Call” from the radio’s DSC menu;
2. select the U.S. Coast Guard number you just entered; and 3. transmit
the call. Your DSC VHF radio’s display should indicate when that test call
is acknowledged and display the acknowledging station’s nine-digit
identity. Note that the identity may be different than the group identity
you previously entered.
- Get your DSC-VHF radio’s Maritime Mobile
Service Identity (MMSI) number by going to BoatUS.com/MMSI. MMSI numbers are
free for BoatUS members or $25 for nonmembers. Don’t forget to enter the
new MMSI number into your DSC VHF radio and ensure GPS connection is made
(if DSC-VHF radio doesn’t have internally).
cruising.coastalboating.net › Seamanship › Radio › RadioBasics
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cruising.coastalboating.net › Seamanship › Radio › DSC_VHF
If a boater has an emergency on the water, there's no better way than to call for help than with a Digital Selective Calling (DSC) VHF radio which can give ...
cruising.coastalboating.net › Seamanship › Radio › US_VHF
These new channel numbers should eventually begin to be displayed on new models of VHF marine radios. Boaters should normally use channels listed as ...
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