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Old 06-19-2014, 09:46 PM   #1
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It's beginning to be a real problem in the PNW. I'm always hearing someone broadcasting noise that the squelch doesn't solve. Coast guards of both the US (US Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound) and Canada are always blaring through asking the offending party to check their VHF systems. They seem to be a able to determine the general location of the problem. I wonder if it is because people have the hand-held VHFs on a belt and they are depressing the transmit button somehow?


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Old 06-19-2014, 09:48 PM   #2
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Usually a microphone glitch but occasionally someone puts a mike in a bad pace and the transmit button gets depressed.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:05 PM   #3
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Since we all have simplex radios, it makes no sense to try to transmit to the offending party. When the transmit button is depresses, there's no way to listen to an incoming transmission. The only chance of success is if they have 2 radios tuned to the same frequency at the same time.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:31 PM   #4
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Al your mostly correct however many radios have a TX time out timer, once the radio times out it should go into receive mode at that point a broadcast can get through to the "open mike" but usually these people are oblivious or it is intentional. It's the intentional abusers that tick me off. We have had a few arrested here but they were for false distress calls. Every transmitter has a signature the FCC has the equipment to find and match offenders. Although it's not an easy task.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:16 PM   #5
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Yes, false distress calls are the worst. Many resources are wasted looking for these non-existent persons in need. The new USCG equipment, Rescue 21, will help find and locate some of there perps.

In aviation, we have some cases of "phantom controllers" and pirate radio stations that interfered with air traffic control. Phantom controllers were guys issuing bogus ATC clearances on the freq. Many times, pirate radio stations transmitted at power levels fare exceeding the legal maximums. Other times, interference on the frequency was found to be an industrial site with activities like arc welding that caused interference over a wide range of freq's. I flew airplanes for the FAA specially equipped to identify, track and locate the perps. It was very gratifying to find the offender, especially in deliberate cases.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:31 PM   #6
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Since we all have simplex radios, it makes no sense to try to transmit to the offending party. When the transmit button is depresses, there's no way to listen to an incoming transmission. The only chance of success is if they have 2 radios tuned to the same frequency at the same time.
Pretty much the case. When the Transmitter is in tx mode the receiver rx is muted even if the radio receiver is set to scan. The only hope is someone close by the offending boat will track them down. If it's in close proximity, walking around with a handheld will sometimes identify the boat. Get the two radios close enough together and a self oscillation (loud squeal) will occur.

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Other times, interference on the frequency was found to be an industrial site with activities like arc welding that caused interference over a wide range of freq's. I flew airplanes for the FAA specially equipped to identify, track and locate the perps. It was very gratifying to find the offender, especially in deliberate cases.
Just before I retired, the FCC pushed us all onto digital radios systems. Part of that included reducing the frequency separation in half. Doubled the number of available channels, but created a lot of other problems at radio sites with cross talk, frequency doubling and cancellation, phase distortion, you name it. The new radios weren't really up to the task, even though the manufactures said they were. That's a good part of the reason I retired.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:55 PM   #7
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Poor equipment, poor practices - I agree it's a significant problem.

One thing I did was get a SeaTow ARC (Automated Radio Check) installation at our yacht club - the first on the West coast.

http://www.mbycwa.org/radiocheck.aspx

One small step for boating in the PNW.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:02 AM   #8
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The incidental chatter that is being broadcast indicates that the offending parties are working on deck, which makes me think that it's a handheld device that's responsible.


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Old 06-20-2014, 07:21 AM   #9
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The incidental chatter that is being broadcast indicates that the offending parties are working on deck, which makes me think that it's a handheld device that's responsible.


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I think your likely right and with more people with voice activated mics on their handheld this could be a contributing factor.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:26 AM   #10
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Usually a microphone glitch but occasionally someone puts a mike in a bad pace and the transmit button gets depressed.
That actually happened to me once when I first started boating. The mic swung back against a railing on my center console and keyed the button. A friend we were meeting recognized our voices and told us about it a short while later when we met up.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:26 AM   #11
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The incidental chatter that is being broadcast indicates that the offending parties are working on deck, which makes me think that it's a handheld device that's responsible.


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Could be...same reasons just different device....

Also...a lot of commercial boats have radios mounted outside so the crew can use/hear it while working the deck..they may be even more likely to have issues and cause an open mike situation.
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:01 AM   #12
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Since we all have simplex radios, it makes no sense to try to transmit to the offending party. When the transmit button is depresses, there's no way to listen to an incoming transmission. ..........
I wonder why it is so difficult for people to understand that? Are they all that ignorant?

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Coast guards of both the US (US Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound) and Canada are always blaring through asking the offending party to check their VHF systems.
And the Coast Guard doesn't understand it either? That's pitiful.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:17 AM   #13
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Every transmitter has a signature the FCC has the equipment to find and match offenders. Although it's not an easy task.
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Please explain the exact nature of the signature of each transmitter, and the equipment that the FCC has to measure it?

I'm very curious.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:33 PM   #14
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Anybody remember those RDF's made by Polaris? They had a really ugly dipole antenna but they worked fine. Still see some old boats with these units mounted.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:40 PM   #15
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I had an RDF with goniometer years ago - before ADF. I thought the antenna looked pretty cool!
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:57 PM   #16
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............... Every transmitter has a signature the FCC has the equipment to find and match offenders.
I don't believe that is true but it's certainly possible to manufacture the radios with a signature and the FCC passed on a great opportunity to require VHF transceivers to be licensed and registered.

As it is now, any Tom, Dick or Harry can buy and operate a marine VHF with no identification and anywhere, not just on the water. I've read plenty of stories of hunters, hikers, etc. using the marine handhelds as walkie talkies far from the water.
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:39 PM   #17
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I don't believe that is true but it's certainly possible to manufacture the radios with a signature and the FCC passed on a great opportunity to require VHF transceivers to be licensed and registered.
"Every hoax, including MAYDAY radio checks, is subject to prosecution as a Class D felony under Title 14, U.S. Code, Section 85. Criminal penalties authorized for those found guilty of a hoax include a maximum of SIX years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Civil penalties of up to $5,000 are permitted. Violators are also liable for costs the Coast Guard incurs as a result of the individual's actions. The Coast Guard and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will work closely together, using FCC equipment for identifying the electronic signature of the offending radio. The public's help is welcome in achieving the goal of re- moving hoax calls from the airways."
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:40 AM   #18
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The Coast Guard system now displays intersecting lines from each tower that received the transmission right on the watchstander's screen. That's assuming more than one tower picked it up. They also have RDF equipment on the boats. In our area the watchstanders don't seem to get all that worked up over open mikes on 16. Not sure why, it's a real safety issue.

Never heard of any "signature" other than RDF. It could be they used the term generically to mean RDF and just listening to the characteristics of the comms.
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Old 06-21-2014, 07:22 AM   #19
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Just a few points...

While the Rescue 21 USCG radio system is a nice upgrade it's far from magc. It, or any other triangulation system is real real hit or miss system for triangulating on an open mic. First of all if there are a bunch of boats in an area...it's not accurate enough to pick out a single boat and if boats are on the move...then what? Maybe a resource will get there in time to pick the boat out of a crowd...maybe not....that's why the USCG usually doesn't dispatch for an open mike as it's not definite enough.

I'm not positive but I don't think the USCG vessels have RDF on them...at best a portable unit that unless they have improved dramatically...are difficult to use at best...and they are only on board if specifically sent out for "locate" mission.

Even if the USCG small boats did have them...it is a tedious process locating a vessel with one if you don't already have a reasonable location...and again very difficult with ore than a few boats and they are on the move.

While I'm sure there is electronic gear that can determine a "signature" of a specific piece of electronics.....it's only good for evidence and not location. It doesn't aide in locating a radio...just proving it was the one transmitting. While important maybe for "false distress" calls...I doubt it has any importance in location of a stuck mike.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:05 AM   #20
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I don't believe that is true but it's certainly possible to manufacture the radios with a signature and the FCC passed on a great opportunity to require VHF transceivers to be licensed and registered.

As it is now, any Tom, Dick or Harry can buy and operate a marine VHF with no identification and anywhere, not just on the water. I've read plenty of stories of hunters, hikers, etc. using the marine handhelds as walkie talkies far from the water.
The equipment is made by Harris Corp, it can only match the offender once they are caught. Yes it's a fact that every transmitter has it's own unique signature not by design.
In the past one needed a license to operate a VHF marine unit just like CB Radio required a license many moons ago.
The equipment is not made to find the offending transmitter that's done by triangulation that's the difficult part depending on the length and duration of the transmissions.
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