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VHF Radios and Communication Systems

VHF Radios and Communication Systems

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VHF Radios and Communication Systems

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  1. VHF Radios andCommunication Systems VHF-HF/SSB-AIS Terry Sparks Commander USN Retired

  2. Agenda • What Communications Systems are Available? • License Requirements • What Can I Expect when using the different Systems • Operation of VHF • Use of Portable VHF

  3. Agenda • Break – 20 minutes • Digital Selective Calling (DSC) • Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) • Automatic Identification System (AIS) • Installation of VHF Radios • Installation of AIS Receiver

  4. What Communications Systems are Available

  5. What is Available • VHF Marine Radio (Very High Frequency) • VHF Hand Held Radios • HF/SSB Radio (High Frequency/ Single Sideband) • Cell Phone • AIS (Automated Information System) • Satellite Phone also available, but not part of training.

  6. License Requirements

  7. License Requirements • VHF Marine Radio – None US Operation Only • Since 1996 for recreational boaters • In US only communicating with other US Boaters • VHF Hand Held Radios – Same as above • AIS – As required by VHF Radio

  8. License Requirements • HF/SSB Radio • Ships License or Ham dependent on frequency use • Ships License and Call Sign covers EPIRB, Radar, HF, AIS, and VHF • Also requires Operator’s Permit • Cell Phone – None

  9. What Can I Expect when using the different Systems

  10. Prospective of the Horizon • Horizon in NM= • Distance to the horizon in Nautical Miles • 1.17 X square root Sum of heights • Height of Self + Height of other • So if you are both at 8 feet • 1.17 X SQRT(8 + 8) • 1.17 X 4 • = 4.68 NM • A 50 foot Mast at both locations = 11.7 NM

  11. What Can I Expect • VHF Marine Radio • Line of site Communications • Top of Mast to Radio Tower could be 40 miles • Boat to Boat may only be 3-11 miles • VHF Hand Held Radios • 1-3 miles depending on your position and the contact antenna height. • HF/SSB Radio - Potentially Around the world • Cell Phone – Similar to VHF to cell tower, then the world. • AIS – Similar to VHF, • But will work at very low signal levels (digital signal).

  12. Why install a VHF Radio? Chances are: • You do not have the Cell phone number of the boat 100 yards away. • You do not have the Cell phone number of the Coast Guard. • You do not have the Cell phone number of the Ship headed your way. • Your Cell phone will not work.

  13. VHF Operation

  14. The Radio Volume Level in Speaker Push To Talk Channel Select Squelch Threshold to hear DSC Distress Scan 16 Over-Ride Weather

  15. Channel Use • Channel 16 Emergency and Hailing Channel. • “No”Radio Checks • Coast Guard: 22A • Commercial Operations: • 01, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 18, 19, 63, 67, 79, 80, and 88. • Safety: 06 • Used for ship-to-ship emergency coms • Coast Guard S&R • Vessel-to-vessel navigational safety: 13 ** • Noncommercial working channels: • 09, 68, 69, 71, 72, and 78 • DSC – 70 • Port operations: • 01, 05, 12, 14, 63, 65, 66, 73, 74, and 77 • Not for public use: • 15, 17, 21, 23, 81, 82, and 83 ** 1W Power Only

  16. Phonetic Alphabet • Alpha • Bravo • Charley • Delta • Echo • Foxtrot • Golf • Oscar • Papa • Quebec • Romeo • Sierra • Tango • Uniform • Hotel • India • Juliet • Kilo • Lima • Mike • November • Victor • Whiskey • X-Ray • Yankee • Zulu

  17. Radio Use • Listen for anyone else using the channel • Make Sure the Squelch is not to high • Hail on Channel 16 to make contact (or use DSC) • Then move to another channel (61, 63, 64, 68-72 and 78)

  18. Radio Use • When Contacting a Commercial vessel or Bridge, Try calling on 13. (Vessel Bridge to Bridge) • Vessel Traffic System – Commercial Ship routing in Traffic Lanes. Channels 5, 11, 12, 14 • Good to let them know you are there and where you are going and scan for others being routed • Marinas frequently use channel 68 as a contact channel • If you are talking to someone close, reduce power

  19. Emergency Communications 1. The boat is in grave and imminent danger • Distress (mayday) • Calls are used when the boat is in grave and imminent danger and in need of immediate help. • That means someone could die or vessel is sinking fast! • Rescue authorities can reasonably expect you to leave the yacht if a rescue boat or helicopter arrives. (No arguments)

  20. Emergency Communications 2. The boat or a crew member needs urgent help • Urgency (pan pan) • Calls are used when the boat or a crew member needs urgent help • The boat is not in grave and imminent danger. • No one will die if help is slow • The boat will not sink before help arrives

  21. Emergency Communications Example: On Channel 16 Pan Pan, Pan Pan, Pan Pan, This is the vessel Lead Weight. We have a slow leak and the engine has failed. We are at Lat 47.234 Lon 126.234 drifting west at a speed of approximately 1 knot. There are 4 people on board. All have life Jackets on. Lead Weight is a brown vessel with white trim. Standing by on channel 16

  22. Emergency Communications 3. Safety (SECURITÉ) • securtité • Calls are used for navigation or weather warnings. • Pronounced – “say cure it tay”. Example: On Channel 16 Securite, Securite, Securite, There is a large log floating under the water at Lat 47.234 Lon 126.234 drifting East at approximately 0.5 knots.

  23. VHF Operation – Emergency Communications • Call on Channel 16 • Listen for Clear Channel • Repeat: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday • Provide Call Sign (3 times) and Name of Vessel • Provide Position information – “Lat & Lon”

  24. VHF Operation – Emergency Communications • State the Nature of Problem – “Hit underwater Rock Vessel sinking” • Number of People on board and Status – “4 People on Board, one unconscious” • Seaworthiness of Vessel – “Taking on Water” • Describe Vessel – “Cream Colored 45’Sloop” • Channel Monitoring – “Monitoring Channel 16” • Repeat until answered

  25. Emergency Communications • When Reporting a Mayday or Pan Pan: • Make Sure all have Life Jackets on • Make sure someone is monitoring the radio • Be Prepared with Position Reports • Be Prepared to update Personnel Status • For a Mayday, prepare to leave the boat.

  26. Use of Portable VHF

  27. Use of Portable VHF • May be used around the Marina • VHF Not for use in Town as a family radio • Family Radio Service (FRS) is an improved walkie talkie radio system authorized in the US 1996. • This personal radio service uses channelized frequencies in the (UHF) band. • US FRS radios may not be used in MX. Must buy similar radios in MX certified for MX. • Good to have in a Ditch Bag (with Extra Batteries)

  28. 20 Minute Break 11 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 10 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 0 Time to get back to Class

  29. Digital Selective Calling (DSC)

  30. Digital Selective Calling (DSC) • DSC available on MF, HF and VHF • DSC is primarily intended to initiate radiotelephone calls. (Emergency and non-emergency) • DSC calls can also be made to individual stations, groups of stations, or "all stations" in one's reach. • DSC use requires an assigned/unique 9-digit Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) Distress

  31. Digital Selective Calling (DSC) • DSC radio - ability to send an automatic "mayday" that identifies the vessel and location. • Radio May also send information on Type of Issue • Must be set up with MMSI number • Must be tied to GPS position Data to be effective

  32. Digital Selective Calling (DSC) • Allows contacting a friend via DSC without hailing on channel 16 • Like using your cell phone. • Private ship-to-ship calls to other vessels equipped with DSC radio. • If you know the MMSI number of the radio you are calling only that vessel will receive you message. • DSC allows contacting of a Group /Club Privately

  33. Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI)

  34. MMSI Numbers • Unique nine (9) Digit FCC Identification Number • Like your Telephone Number for Radios • Included with Ships License from FCC • May also be Obtained from Boat US and Sea Tow

  35. MMSI Numbers • US VHF Users Only • http://www.boatus.com/mmsi/ • http://www.seasmartvhf.com/ • Those Who Travel/Communicate Outside the U.S. • http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=licensing&id=ship_stations • Must apply to the Federal Communications Commission for a ship station license. • Ships License includes an MMSI • Also need Operators Permit • Installation of Marine SSB requires Ships License

  36. Automatic Identification System (AIS)

  37. AIS • Digital Communication of Ships information • Transmitted on VHF Radio Frequencies • Channels 87 and 88B

  38. AIS Classes • Class A Marine AIS - Large commercial vessels, is the full specification. • May See Class B also

  39. AIS Classes Raymarine AIS 500 • Class B Marine AIS Lighter commercial and leisure vessels. • Must have assigned MMIS West Marine AIS 1000

  40. AIS Classes • Receive (Rx) Monitors the AIS network • Both Class A and Class B • Receives positional data reports for on-screen display. • Dual Channel reads both frequencies at the same time. • Single Channel, reads one channel then the other • Slower to get all the data • Costs less

  41. Stand-Alone AIS

  42. Integrated AIS

  43. AIS Type Information • Name of Vessel • Call Sign • MMSI • Draught • Length • Beam • Position • Lat & Lon • Heading • COG • SOG • CPA • Bearing and Range • TCPA • Destination • ETA • Status • Vessel Type

  44. Installation of VHS

  45. Installation of VHF • Select a location you can use when driving the boat • The Speaker has a magnet in it so be careful of interaction with compass • Make sure the radio is waterproof if in cockpit • An in-line fuse to the radio should be used. • Tap off Breaker feeding Cockpit with heavy wire if long run

  46. Installation of VHF • Antenna should be as high as possible • Max range is proportional to the Antenna’s Height. • Your height plus the height of the other station • NMEA 0183 from GPS (NEMA Out Connection) • Provides position data to radio for DSC • If two radios are used • An antenna switch must be used • Or two Antennas must be installed

  47. Installation of VHF NMEA 0183 From GPS For position RG58/RG8/RG213 In-line fuse + - 12VDC

  48. Another Option

  49. Installation of VHF - Issues • Hum in the radio can occur when charger is on • Poor filtering on charger (Goes away with Charger off) • Can add a large capacitor at point of connection to 12V power. • Poor connection to antenna can result in • Minimal received signal • No transmitted signal • Burning out radio output amplifier