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Old 07-28-2019, 01:16 PM   #1
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Nearly every day I hear the Coast Guard (yes, you Canadians too) broadcasting a lengthy message advising that someone has a stick mic on Channel 16. Often repeated at quarter-hour intervals.

Would someone please explain to these public servants that the one guy who needs to hear this message is electronically blocked from ever doing so!
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Old 07-28-2019, 01:47 PM   #2
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LOL...but it could possibly be their second station unit or handheld that is stuck
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:03 PM   #3
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Or maybe someone will tell them about the messages and to occasionally check their mics.
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:14 PM   #4
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I hesitate to pile on, as the USCG is great. However...
They could save a lot of bandwidth if they shortened their introduction a bit. After the second ďhello all stationsĒ I know who they are. And the word ďbreakĒ is not shorthand for ď excuse me while I take a breath. And I donít think anyone cares that CH16 is 156.8MHz.
On the other hand, I much appreciate that they are out there, so a little extra chatter on the radio just reminds me that they will be there if I need them.
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:17 PM   #5
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LOL...but it could possibly be their second station unit or handheld that is stuck
I don't know about you, but my second radio is normally not tuned to channel 16.
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Old 07-28-2019, 03:27 PM   #6
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After USCG calls on 16, boater are directed to channel 22A for Notice to Mariners. (I believe)

Also, radio check are now automated (repeats what you say) but, I do not recall the station.
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Old 07-28-2019, 03:54 PM   #7
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It would be very helpful if the USCG transferred all non lifesaving conversations to 22 after establishing contact. When they start asking for a land based contact person and phone number, I so want to tell them,"Switch you non essential traffic to a working channel, 16 is for hailing and distress ".

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Old 07-28-2019, 04:12 PM   #8
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Historically, some of the Caribbean islands used the VHF to order pizza.
In the Great Lakes, I have heard so much trash on 16, it made the station useless.
Way out west in vast flat plaines of the US, I am told the VHF channel 16 is utilized by some ranchers and farmer for communication.
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by OldDan1943 View Post
After USCG calls on 16, boater are directed to channel 22A for Notice to Mariners. (I believe)

Also, radio check are now automated (repeats what you say) but, I do not recall the station.

Channel 28 I believe but Iíve tried it a couple times and so far no luck. Either Iím too dim to figure out to use it (likely) or Iíve never been in range.

Bill, I know what you mean about the stuck mic. Iíve often wondered the same thing about the utility of telling everyone there is a stuck mic. However, Iím happy to defer to the professionals of boats countries on this one.

Lately Iíve heard kids playing on channel 16. That really is annoying. I finally heard someone give a gentle reminder to have the adults secure and supervise their radios.

I do have one pet peeve that really annoys me. My experience has been that the Canadian Coast Guard are extremely good with their radio technique. Victoria radio always seems to be staffed by operators who have the ability to speed clearly, at an appropriate speed, and with the mic a good distance from the their mouths.

USCG Sector Puget Sound on the other hand are rather poor in general. Some do it really well, but other times you have to crank the volume way up just to hear them. It has nothing to do with the power of the transmitter but with how clearly they speak, what volume they use, and how far away they are from the mic. Sector Puget Sound could use some good training.
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:32 PM   #10
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Agreed.
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaProf View Post
Nearly every day I hear the Coast Guard (yes, you Canadians too) broadcasting a lengthy message advising that someone has a stick mic on Channel 16. Often repeated at quarter-hour intervals.

Would someone please explain to these public servants that the one guy who needs to hear this message is electronically blocked from ever doing so!
Actually, if they're smart (and I'm not saying they all are!) they'll wait until the open mic station goes off the air. Many (most?) radios will time out after a certain number of minutes of transmitting. Then, at least for a while, they can hear you. Whether or not they're listening is another story...

I helped the CG track down an open mic one day. I asked the operator if he noticed his radio was beeping. He was wondering where that sound was coming from.

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It would be very helpful if the USCG transferred all non lifesaving conversations to 22 after establishing contact.
They do. There's a few pieces of information they have to get, first. Once that's done (and yes, in some situations it can take a while) they switch to a working channel. There's a checklist for this, and a reason for every step on the list. When it's you facing a distress situation, you'll appreciate that you're the #1 priority for that moment.

The one-size-fits-all approach isn't always ideal. But I do see where that's the best approach.
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:02 PM   #12
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Same thing happens in the aviation context, of course, but the difference is that in the rare occasion when an inexperienced controller makes the "stuck mic" broadcast, he becomes an object of ridicule among his peers.
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorGreg View Post
I hesitate to pile on, as the USCG is great. However...
They could save a lot of bandwidth if they shortened their introduction a bit...

You mean ďthis is United States Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound... United States Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound... United States Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound...Ē is too long an introduction? Say it isnít so!
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:10 PM   #14
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:17 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=JDCAVE;786300]
Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorGreg View Post
I hesitate to pile on, as the USCG is great. However...
They could save a lot of bandwidth if they shortened their introduction a bit.../QUOTE]


You mean “this is United States Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound... United States Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound... United States Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound...” is too long an introduction? Say it isn’t so!
When I was a supervisor at Seattle Approach, we had a visit from a bunch of petty officers from VTS at Pier 36. The first question was "where do you plot them?"

the idea that there could be an arrival every 60 seconds and a departure every 75 was a scale they were not prepared for. And that the pace required relying on memory.

I suspect they are not schooled in the scarcity of bandwidth and the need for conservation.
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:17 AM   #16
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[QUOTE=AlaskaProf;786306]
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...the idea that there could be an arrival every 60 seconds and a departure every 75 was a scale they were not prepared for. And that the pace required relying on memory.

I suspect they are not schooled in the scarcity of bandwidth and the need for conservation.
I think this is the key difference.

I had the opportunity to fly in a small plane with a couple of private pilots, in a back seat with headphones on. I, with a boating background, not aviation, was impressed by the brevity of all the comms. I could also clearly see the need, as we transited NYC air space.

The whole thing about saying the call sign of the called and calling stations three times is because, many times, no-one is really paying much attention to the radio. "Hey, was that for us?" "Who was that, anyway?" Boaters don't wear headphones and there's often a lot of ambient noise.

Most experienced watchstanders bend the rules and only repeat twice. It does start to get tedious in busy harbors, where the commercial captains tend to adopt a quicker tempo in their comms.
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:36 AM   #17
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It's real easy why it all doesn't make sense.


Till the FCC and International Maritime Agencies change radio procedures, the USCG will follow them EXACTLY, to be a good example (no matter how stupid it seems) and to keep the lawyers happy.


The reason the USCG does things the way they do has been shaped by lawsuits probably more than any other reason.


I now one of the last big ones was awarded the way I remember it...as not because the USCG did anything considered negligent by human standards or common sense....it was considered negligent because they didn't follow their own procedures.


You want to hear a difference? Listen to radio communications from USCG aircraft that have been expected to use brevity by the FAA. They are a sharp contrast to the USCG "specifically trained and closely monitored" radio operators on ships and land stations.
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:46 AM   #18
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You want to hear a difference? Listen to radio communications from USCG aircraft that have been expected to use brevity by the FAA. They are a sharp contrast to the USCG "specifically trained and closely monitored" radio operators on ships and land stations.

You have been in a lot of different areas, do have any idea as to how and why the transmissions from Sector Puget Sound are so inconsistent? Some guardsmen come through loud and clear, and others are simply clear.
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:50 AM   #19
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Also, radio check are now automated (repeats what you say) but, I do not recall the station.
Automated Radio Check Service uses one of VHF Channels 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 84. Simply tune your radio to the proper channel for your community.
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:03 AM   #20
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Automated Radio Check Service uses one of VHF Channels 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 84. Simply tune your radio to the proper channel for your community.
Thanks for the info. SMILE
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