VHF radios are an essential part of the equipment when you put to sea.
There are 56 channels allocated to VHF marine radio in Australia. The frequencies range from 156MHz to 162MHz. Channel numbering is from 1-28 then 60-88 that operate on NFM mode at a maximum of 25 Watts. Many VHF radios today have DSC (Digital Selective Calling) which is virtually a single button paging system that can send a fair amount of data with a single button push. (See DSC in the menu system of Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington.)
Using your VHF Radio If you need information or assistance while you’re out on the water, use the "Calling or the Distress" channel 16 to make the initial contact with our radio base. You will then be asked to go to a “Working” channel which for Crowdy Harrington's area is channel 73. The Radio Operator will advise to change to channel 73 as part of the initial contact. If you have difficulty contacting the base on Channel 16 or Channel 73 please use Channel 21 which is a repeater and could get you out of difficulty. At the moment and until our aerials are upgraded try 21 as a means of contact.
Calling on the Radio Be sure to listen for any other radio traffic before making your call, otherwise you might not be heard or you could interrupt another user’s transmission. Speak slowly and clearly.
Your initial call should be on channel 16 on VHF radios. When making an initial call, give the call sign of Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington three times and your own call sign three times. Your call sign will be the CB number given to you by our base or maybe the number given to you by another base if you have registered with another Marine Rescue Base eg CC55 for Central Coast boat number 55 or the name of your boat eg "LazyBoy" etc. This is to help ensure our radio station knows you are calling them and who you are.
Example: You: “Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington, Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington, Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington. This is (name of your boat) LazyBoy, LazyBoy, LazyBoy. Over”
Our base station will respond and ask you to go to our "Working’’ channel - channel 73. Radio operator: “LazyBoy, LazyBoy, LazyBoy. This is Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington, Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington. Please go to seven three and call back. Over”
You: “Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington, this is LazyBoy. Going to seven three. Over” Now change your radio channel to 73 and call the base a call again.
You: “Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington, this is LazyBoy. Over"
When our radio operator replies seek the information you want or advise your plans. If you are logging on to go out to sea or up river advise the radio operator that you "wish to log on."
You: "Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington, I wish to log on." The Radio Operator will ask you for a little more information if you haven't logged on before and in particular "Your boat registration" "How many persons on board" and "Your mobile phone number"
When your communications are complete, advise the shore station that you’re returning to the calling channel: You: “Thanks Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington This is LazyBoy returning to channel 16. Out" The radio operator will respond: “This is Marine Rescue Crowdy Harrington. Out.” Now switch your marine radio back to channel 16 on your VHF radio and get back to enjoying your day out.