Communication radio

The American Birding Association has been pushing frs radio channel 11/22 to be used by birdwatchers in the field. Is their anything similar for small boat types/people powered? Pehaps the ACA ?

I’ve used FRS radios before, mostly on paddling trips to Canada, because you’re not allowed to use a VHF without a license there (I carry it anyway, in case of emergencies).

They work fine, and you really don’t need your own channel, just pick one in advance and use it. Their range is limited enough that there won’t be too much traffic on it.

I don’t get the “exclusivity” that people keep demanding nowadays…when it comes to others, it’s “regulate regulate regulate”, and when it comes to oneself it’s “don’t you dare regulate”. Can’t have it both ways! And if special interests take up all the channels, then what is the casual user supposed to do? Just wondering out loud…


"pushing a channel"
I would assume that the reason would be so that a diverse group of birders would be able to listen in on what amounts to a party line. “Roufous Sided Towhee sighted in Hickory Hollow near the waterfall!!!”

VHF channels are assigned, by CG & FCC.


Comparing VHF to FRS is apples and oranges, IMO.

Lives, ships, and commerce depend on VHF, so assigning channels for specific usages makes perfect sense. FRS is an open format for everyone to use for non-essential short-range communication. It’s mostly kids, hikers, and people travelling in car caravans in my experience.

If birders/paddlers/whatever want to be heard as a “party line”, all they have to do is agree to a channel(s) and use them. No need to legislate. We as a society do too much of that as it is.

At least that’s how I see it.


Yeah, but they aren’t talking about legislating anything. I’m glad you mentioned it, as I have a casual interest in birding, and might like to listen in on those channels to see if there is anything going on.

Sounds as if it is similar to the old CB use of channel 18 for truckers. As far as I know, no one “legislated” that designation, although I believe CB channel 9 may have been officially “legislated” as being reserved for emergency traffic. Even if it was at the onerous demands of “legislation”, I can still live with that.

This Sunday at Monksville Reservoir in NJ, FRS channel 5 will be designated, pushed, recommended, but not legislated as the unofficial Paddler Meet channel.

VHF License
Is it the same type of license as was with the CB? How is it monitered? Just curious.

What you’re describing is the same thing I am, I think — designating a channel for the day & using it. Nothing wrong with that.

Ship Station License
A VHF license is pretty much a worldwide thing. In the US, if you stay in territorial waters, you don’t need one anymore. However, if you leave the country, you have to get one. You have to select a call sign, and it is entered into a registry.

Most coast guards enforce it only to the extent they have to — if you’re chattering away on it, they may ask for your license number. The Canadian Coast Guard told me they wouldn’t hold it against me if I used it in a real emergency, but I’d better not get caught using it for routine communication. So, we used FRS, which is legal in Canada same as the US.