VHF Radio Basics
U.S. VHF Channels and Frequencies
Note: VDSMS (VHF Digital Small
Message Services). Transmissions of short digital messages in accordance with
RTCM Standard 12301.1 is allowed.
the four digit channel number beginning with the digits "10"
indicates simplex use of the ship station transmit side of what had been an
international duplex channel. These new channel numbers, now recognized
internationally, were previously designated in the US by the two digit channel
number ending with the letter "A". That is, the international
channel 1005 has been designated in the US by channel 05A, and the US Coast
Guard channel 1022 has been designated in the US as channel 22A. Four
digit channels beginning with "20", sometimes shown by the two-digit
channel number ending with the letter "B", indicates simplex use of
the coast station transmit side of what normally was an international duplex
channel. The U.S. does not currently use "B" or "20NN"
channels in the VHF maritime band. Some VHF transceivers are equipped with an
"International - U.S." switch to avoid conflicting use of these
channels. See ITU Radio Regulation Appendix 18 and ITU-R M.1084-5 Annex
4, summarized here.
Boaters should normally use channels listed as Non-Commercial. Channel 16 is used for calling other stations or for distress alerting. Channel 13 should be used to contact a ship when there is danger of collision. All ships of length 20m or greater are required to guard VHF channel 13, in addition to VHF channel 16, when operating within U.S. territorial waters. Users may be fined by the FCC for improper use of these channels. See Marine Radio Watch Requirements for further information.
NOAA Weather Radio Frequencies
Channel numbers, e.g. (WX1, WX2) etc. have no special significance but are often designated this way in consumer equipment. Other channel numbering schemes are also prevalent.
The order of channels shown is the order they were established and is slowly becoming less "popular" over time than a numerical ordering of channels.
See NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MARINE PRODUCTS VIA NOAA WEATHER RADIO and the NOAA Weather Radio Homepage for more information.
Additional Information, Frequencies, & Charts
Also available are International VHF Maritime Radio Channels and Frequencies, Narrowband VHF Maritime Channels and Frequencies, Radio Information for Boaters , and U.S. Coast Guard VHF Distress and Safety Coverage Charts.
Coastal Boating (Reg. in Ireland No. 443222) is a division of Knowledge Clinic Ltd.
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