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Antony

Hand held radio

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Thanks for the clarification, guys. My radio has GMDSS but as I don't have a GPS attached to it, it probably wouldn't be much use. However as I don't go to sea, that isn't really an issue at the moment.

 

My aerial is an Amateur 144 Mhz mobile antenna with a couple of inches trimmed off the end. It seems to work even better than the usual "White Stick" aerials that most people use, and has the advantage of being flexible so it doesn't break if I forget to lower it under a bridge.

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3 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

For goodness sake nobody mention single sideband or we will be here all day!

Duplex is easier, Over.

 

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I've got a baofeng uv-5r, which you can pick up new for about £25 and reprogram to the UK marine VHF channels (there is a config file floating around the net somewhere).

 

While I'm licensed to use it for UK amateur bands (2m and 70cm) I'm not licensed for marine use, and I think the radio itself wouldn't be legal to use as it's not designed for specific marine VHF. It is however a very cheap way of monitoring, emergency backup, and if you're studying for your ticket, learning by listening to radio procedure. That's probably illegal too however.

 

I've a Sailor R108 on the boat at the mo, so in addition to being able to find my position (my eyes can't always read bridge numbers) via handheld RDF of the Radio 4 LW transmitter, I have a very useful emergency anchor to throw overboard - once I've got my ticket I'm getting one of the old VHF sets with the telephone handset!

 

sailor-r108-302x248-resize.jpg?token=16d

 

 

  • Greenie 1

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4 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I was going to but thought that there was sufficient misunderstanding with simple AM / FM / VHF.

 

I used to QSO all over the world on 11 metre USB & LSB.

 

There  - I've done it !!!

If you are passing through Fenny Stratford on the Grand Union, I can recommend a visit to the National  Radio Centre, part of Bletchley Park  https://bletchleypark.org.uk/visit-us/national-radio-centre 

 

I enjoyed hearing about radio hams are now using spare capacity on old satellites to talk around the world. They didn't seem very excited when I said I had a marine VHF licence ....

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This has been answered here already, but to bust the anachronistic acronyms:

 

Anything ending in F or W refers to the frequency of a transmission

 

VHF = Very High Frequency

UHF = Ultra High Frequency

LW = Long Wave

MW = Medium Wave

SW = Short Wave

 

Anything ending in M or SB refers to the modulation used to impart useful information (voice, data) on that frequency

 

AM = Amplitude Modulation

FM = Frequency Modulation

SSB = Single Side Band

 

CW is an exception, it refers to morse code 'Continuous Wave', which is modulation by turning the transmitter on and off.

 

If frequency is thought of as a coloured torch, with different colours being different frequencies (which they are), modulation is how you use it to send information, such as turning on and off slowly (morse), rapidly (overlaying audio frequencies on it), varying the frequency (FM) or doing weird stuff with phase or making shadow animals....it's up to you really.

 

The confusion often comes because due to historical and practical reasons, certain frequencies were used predominantly with certain modulation methods, AM on MW and LW and FM on VHF for instance, but really you can use anything with anything - there are some amazing new datamodes that work on HF/SW using phase quadrature flux capacitance or summat and computing power, you can barely hear the signal in the noise but its there and works a treat.

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Athy said:

Why i sit still referred to as "VHF", when most of the radio world changed the name to "FM" at least 20 years ago?

I know this has mostly already been done, but I used to be paid to do radio stuff and have worked on professional committees involving OFCOM amongst others, so a bit more clarification:

 

On the contrary, most of the radio world still refers to it as VHF - most of the radio world being uses other than broadcast, which is the only use case where the term "FM" is inaccurately used to refer to a frequency band. In the case of broadcast, VHF transmissions are the only ones in this country using FM and in that case it does provide a distinction in terms of the quality of the broadcast compared to AM transmissions which is I presume why they use that term. In the more general radio world frequency band is normally used to distinguish different applications - personally I did a lot of work in the HF band (used predominantly by amateur radio hams and military) but also on bands all the way from ELF to EHF.

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On ‎06‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 20:42, Antony said:

I know this isn’t a question most of you may not be familiar with as a lot of you have narrow boats and would probably never use one,but does anyone know what the name of the radio you need to go out to sea to keep in touch with the coast guards in case you may need help or suddenly become ill ?

If this is for your little open boat then maybe have a read here https://www.pbo.co.uk/gear/pbo-tested-10-handheld-vhf-radios-44934

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I have just seen this on Gumtree,the seller said it’s in perfect condition and pretty local,i’m thinking of having a look at it on Wednesday after work.Do you think it will do the job ? It looks like a good bargain to me! 

7C27C6B1-0B6B-442C-88FD-C63985763B2E.jpeg

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1 minute ago, Antony said:

I have just seen this on Gumtree,the seller said it’s in perfect condition and pretty local,i’m thinking of having a look at it on Wednesday after work.Do you think it will do the job ? It looks like a good bargain to me! 

7C27C6B1-0B6B-442C-88FD-C63985763B2E.jpeg

Looks like a fixed set not a hand held to me, so not transportable.

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26 minutes ago, aracer said:

I know this has mostly already been done, but I used to be paid to do radio stuff and have worked on professional committees involving OFCOM amongst others, so a bit more clarification:

 

On the contrary, most of the radio world still refers to it as VHF - most of the radio world being uses other than broadcast, which is the only use case where the term "FM" is inaccurately used to refer to a frequency band. In the case of broadcast, VHF transmissions are the only ones in this country using FM and in that case it does provide a distinction in terms of the quality of the broadcast compared to AM transmissions which is I presume why they use that term. In the more general radio world frequency band is normally used to distinguish different applications - personally I did a lot of work in the HF band (used predominantly by amateur radio hams and military) but also on bands all the way from ELF to EHF.

As a 'Ham' (G3LCR back in the late 60's) we had to pretty much build our own radios (or at least be capable of doing so)

 

I spent quite a bit of time CW on 10 metres and voice on 10 metres and 2 metres, I then went to the 'dark side' and used 11 metres on USB & LSM.

 

 

Took my Aircraft VHF (130Mhz) about 35 years ago, and did my Marine VHF (150Mhz) about 30 years ago.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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21 hours ago, howardang said:

It is rather pointless and I tthink illegal as well, to carry a radio if you are not trained or licenced to use it, especially in an emergency. If you have gone to the expense of buying a radio get the training if only for a bit more peace of mind. You know it makes sense.:)

Like others I was under the impression that there is nothing illegal about carrying a VHF radio without an operator's licence and using it only to receive - I did a lot of research on this when I bought my handheld, which was in 2011 I think (so after the 2006 act) and I'm sure I found specific advice that it isn't illegal - it would certainly be unusual to include reception only under the definition of "use". One interesting issue here is that the standard short range operator's licence which is what I presume people on here hold only covers you for use of a radio on a boat, hence if the lock keepers do hold licenses it would need to be some other form of licence (and again there is nothing illegal about using a handheld on land to monitor traffic).

 

Because personally I don't have an operator's licence - I bought my VHF radio for use in an emergency when I go sea kayaking. As mentioned above I've used radios professionally so I'm fully conversant with radio procedure and the protocol for a mayday call is available online - I have it printed out and laminated for reference. I doubt a course would teach me much. Meanwhile there is zero likelihood of being prosecuted for transmitting without a licence in an emergency situation

"

OPERATOR'S LICENCE

It is a legal requirement that anyone using your radio is qualified to do so. The only exception is in an emergency situation when anyone may use the radio to call for help."

http://completeguide.rnli.org/vhf-radios.html

 

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11 minutes ago, aracer said:

VHF transmissions are the only ones in this country using FM

I'm not sure if you are saying that FM is only used within the VHF band, or the VHF band is only FM ?

 

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3 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

As a 'Ham' (G3LCR back in the late 60's) we had to pretty much build our own radios (or at least be capable of doing so)

The main committee work I did also involved RSGB - HF radio stuff, hence of interest to hams and military as I mentioned. I thought of mentioning that, but wasn't sure if hams would be sneered at by some on here (in some areas they are certainly the leading experts - one person I worked with who was probably the best in his field was also a ham).

1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I'm not sure if you are saying that FM is only used within the VHF band, or the VHF band is only FM ?

 

You snipped the important bit at the start "in the case of broadcast". In that context I think it's both, though broadcast certainly isn't my area of expertise.

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Ditchcrawler thank you,I am going for the first one I think.The Cobra one looks perfect for me,cheers I am going to order it now before I get too confused because to be honest I can’t understand half of the long words I read on this forum lol you’re a brainy bunch and I do appreciate all the help you give.Thank you all.

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6 minutes ago, aracer said:

Like others I was under the impression that there is nothing illegal about carrying a VHF radio without an operator's licence and using it only to receive

It is (now) not illegal to listen to radio transmissions using a 'scanner'.

It is illegal to listen to transmissions if using a 'scanner' capable of transmitting.

 

From the Ofcom website :

 

A license is not required to use a radio receiver or scanner as long as it is not capable of transmission. It is not illegal to sell, buy or own a scanner or any other receiver but it should only be used to listen to transmissions meant for general reception. The services that can be listened to under the definition of general reception are:

1. licensed broadcasting stations;

2. amateur and citizens' band radio transmissions; and

3. weather and navigation transmissions 
Radio scanners should not be used to listen to any other radio services, including illegal radio stations (pirates) (by virtue of the fact that they are not licensed radio stations). 

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7 minutes ago, aracer said:

Like others I was under the impression that there is nothing illegal about carrying a VHF radio without an operator's licence and using it only to receive - I did a lot of research on this when I bought my handheld, which was in 2011 I think (so after the 2006 act) and I'm sure I found specific advice that it isn't illegal - it would certainly be unusual to include reception only under the definition of "use". One interesting issue here is that the standard short range operator's licence which is what I presume people on here hold only covers you for use of a radio on a boat, hence if the lock keepers do hold licenses it would need to be some other form of licence (and again there is nothing illegal about using a handheld on land to monitor traffic).

 

Because personally I don't have an operator's licence - I bought my VHF radio for use in an emergency when I go sea kayaking. As mentioned above I've used radios professionally so I'm fully conversant with radio procedure and the protocol for a mayday call is available online - I have it printed out and laminated for reference. I doubt a course would teach me much. Meanwhile there is zero likelihood of being prosecuted for transmitting without a licence in an emergency situation

"

OPERATOR'S LICENCE

It is a legal requirement that anyone using your radio is qualified to do so. The only exception is in an emergency situation when anyone may use the radio to call for help."

http://completeguide.rnli.org/vhf-radios.html

 

I think you may be wrong in your presumption that people on here hold Short Range Certificates. I am pretty sure that a number of forum members hold other certificates. For instance, I have a GMDSS General, an R/T General, and an Offshore Operators Certificate (among others). 

I am sure you are amply capable of operating a radio. That is not in question. However, I don't think it is worth pursuing this so I think it is bed time. 

 

Howard

 

 

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12 minutes ago, aracer said:

The main committee work I did also involved RSGB - HF radio stuff, hence of interest to hams and military as I mentioned. I thought of mentioning that, but wasn't sure if hams would be sneered at by some on here (in some areas they are certainly the leading experts - one person I worked with who was probably the best in his field was also a ham).

 

12 minutes ago, aracer said:

You snipped the important bit at the start "in the case of broadcast". In that context I think it's both, though broadcast certainly isn't my area of expertise.

I just asked because 130MHz (ish) is the aircraft band and is AM

 

The international 'Guard Channel' (monitored by ALL aircraft, Military and Civilian until recently) is 121.50 Mhz AM

The 121.5Mhz AM is the frequency used on LPBs (personal locator beacons) and as the secondary frequency on marine EPIRBS (Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon)

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21 minutes ago, aracer said:

 

"

OPERATOR'S LICENCE

It is a legal requirement that anyone using your radio is qualified to do so. The only exception is in an emergency situation when anyone may use the radio to call for help."

http://completeguide.rnli.org/vhf-radios.html

 

I think this is taken out of context and actually means that if you as a licenced operator have a radio on your vessel it is not illegal for someone else to use it in an emergency. Not that you can go buy a radio and so long as you only use it for emergencies its OK

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6 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I think this is taken out of context and actually means that if you as a licenced operator have a radio on your vessel it is not illegal for someone else to use it in an emergency. Not that you can go buy a radio and so long as you only use it for emergencies its OK

Any one can use the radio 'under supervision' of the licence holder at all times*, but I think you are reading it correctly, if the licence holder is incapacitated then anyone can call for help.

 

*I actually get SWMBO to make some of the calls to lock keepers so she is not 'frightened' of using it and has some idea of how to make a 'call.

 

We actually 'met' on CB (the old days of the 'naughty 40' AM channels) the rest is just 'history'.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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22 minutes ago, aracer said:

 I presume people on here hold only covers you for use of a radio on a boat, hence if the lock keepers do hold licenses it would need to be some other form of licence 

 

You are quite correct.

A short range certificate holder should not use the vhf radio while standing on the ground. 

C&RT may be licensed only to use channel 74  ?

 

 

Also I agree, as  said , it is permitted for a member of the crew  to operate the vhf radio on the boat under the supervision of the certificate holder ... or in an emergency.

 

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49 minutes ago, Antony said:

I have just seen this on Gumtree,the seller said it’s in perfect condition and pretty local,i’m thinking of having a look at it on Wednesday after work.Do you think it will do the job ? It looks like a good bargain to me! 

7C27C6B1-0B6B-442C-88FD-C63985763B2E.jpeg

I am not familiar with that brand

As said that is a fixed vhf which will need  a 12V battery and an antenna. Do not try to operate a vhf without and antenna connected as it will damage the set.

 

If it is a handheld radio you want and you don't want to spend a lot try a Cobra

https://www.foxschandlery.com/cobra-hh125-vhf-radio?gclid=Cj0KCQiAjszhBRDgARIsAH8Kgvf131MsIQzPmuGjgC-wBcTCFlKSlExbyQvjEG3npxVQ1wkZo7xgxpYaAmlQEALw_wcB

 

.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ditchcrawler said:

I think this is taken out of context and actually means that if you as a licenced operator have a radio on your vessel it is not illegal for someone else to use it in an emergency. Not that you can go buy a radio and so long as you only use it for emergencies its OK

You may well be right. But I'm equally sure that if I fall into the sea when out kayaking and use my VHF to call for help I'm not going to be prosecuted - on the contrary whilst I'd be embarrassed at making use of the rescue services, I'm sure they'd much rather I used a VHF to call them as soon as possible rather than relying on flares or prayers.

 

I hadn't even imagined the idea of living on a NB when I bought my VHF (and haven't been out on the sea in a kayak for a couple of years) - I suspect I might go on a course so I can call up the lock keepers (though it seems a phone probably works just as well most places I'd go). It may be more useful for that now given it's not DSC if 16 isn't being actively monitored - is a mayday call on 16 still a useful way to get help?

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7 hours ago, aracer said:

It may be more useful for that now given it's not DSC if 16 isn't being actively monitored - is a mayday call on 16 still a useful way to get help?

I believe 16 is still the appropriate channel to call an emergency. The following is dated November 2018.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/758898/GMDSS_DSC_VHF_Procedures_Nov._2018.pdf

This also says there is no working channel for the coastguard but a call may be made using DSC- which seems a bit bonkers .  

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12 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I'm not sure if you are saying that FM is only used within the VHF band, or the VHF band is only FM ?

 

I don't think so, and if he is, he is incorrect. As already stated, FM refers to the modulation, and VHF refers to fequency.

 

CB operates at around 27 MHz, (HF) and uses FM in the UK. In the USA, it uses AM, as well as SSB.

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3 hours ago, MartynG said:

I believe 16 is still the appropriate channel to call an emergency. The following is dated November 2018.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/758898/GMDSS_DSC_VHF_Procedures_Nov._2018.pdf

This also says there is no working channel for the coastguard but a call may be made using DSC- which seems a bit bonkers .  

I am to far out of date to comment. Got my licence about 40 years ago with an add on to talk to helicopters.

 

It is surprising how far a hand held will go if its high enough. We had a case of an American drilling company hiring hand held for use on the rig only but they were supplied set to the same frequency used by Gt Yarmouth Lifeboat. Well we were over 60 miles away but once a chap took it to the top of the drilling derrick he was being picked up in Yarmouth. Like wise I talked to helicopters that had just taken off from the Indefatigable platforms from the helideck in the Leman gas field 

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