radio check

Got an Icomm M32 for xmas & was wondering what the procedure was for getting a radio check. Can I just use Channell 16 & request a check or is there something else I should do ?

use channel 9
16 is for distress situations.

M32 battery

– Last Updated: Mar-09-06 5:27 PM EST –

Did you get the M32 with the LiIon battery? I have the older model with the nicad battery and battery life is horrible. I use 2 base VHF units on my sailboat, and use the M32 for going out in the dinghy, but the battery life is horrible.Goes dead rapidly in hot situations or when stored.Imagine it would be a great radio with the LiIon battery.

vhf channels
Here is a web site with all th different channels and what they are for.

Everyone Is Correct
Don’t use channel 16 for a radio check. Channel 16 should be kept open for distress and/or hailing the Coast Guard. Even when you establish contact with the CG on 16 they will move you to 22A in order to keep 16 free.

There are lots of channels that are free for just talk and differant areas seem to use differant ones. Channel 68 and 69 are so busy in our area that it is sometimes hard to get a word in at all.

Happy Paddling,


16 is used
to make initial contact with other parties. At that point a public channel is chosen and the parties switch. Of course you can agree ahead of time to make initial contact on one of the public channels and forgo initial contact on 16.

Interesting question

– Last Updated: Mar-11-06 10:00 AM EST –

I don't paddle alone, so it's a simple matter to do a radio check with other group members on the channel we agree to use for communication that day, should radio communication become necessary. However, if you're paddling alone, the only channel you're likely to use is 16, in an emergency. Does it not make sense to do a radio check on that channel? Is there actually a regulation or convention against doing so? I haven't seen anything to that effect. This would be an interesting question to pose to the Coast Guard.

If it's not legal or not considered good form, channel 72 seems to be the most popular for general communication (at least around here), so you can probably hail someone for a radio check there.

not in
long island sound.16 is distress only. 9 is the contact channel.

I tried a
radio check on 16 years ago. Coast guard said"signals good, get off the channel" or words to that effect.

I think there’s some
confusion here. Typically mariners monitor 16, as it is a distress channel. It’s also a hailing channel. You would do a radio check on a public channel typically, but it is not aginst the rules to hail a passing vessel on 16, then switch to a public channel. I hold a 100 ton USCG Masters license, but you guys may know better… This is P-net afterall!

Here’s the deal
Certainly try a public channel first for a radio check. That makes sense. But if you get no reaction, as might be the case where I live, it’s OK to do so on 16. That would be fine, just be brief…“Roger that, clear”. In a place like Long Is. Sound there’s plenty of traffic on public channels I would think, so by all means try to stay clear of 16.

Now, for initial contact with an unknown vessel, you’d use 16. Ex: I see the motor vessel Big White heading into shallow water, clearly off course. I’d get on 16 and attempt to contact said vessel. If I was successful I’d say “switch 69”, or another public channel, to which they would respond “switching 69” we’d resume our conversation on 69, but be brief.

Since most vessels monitor 16, this is standard protocal. You would not try to raise them on another channel. You would also not camp out on 16!!

Now, if you know you’re going to be out among the islands and your pals will be also, you may agree ahead of time to monitor an agreed upon public channel, or set a time to make such contact.

I hope this helps answer the question.

Radio Checks
Channel 16 is a designated hailing and distress frequency. The Coast Guard monitors Channel 16 for distress calls, it’s the law. They are not required monitor all the VHF-FM channels, though. Channel’s 16 and 22A are the primary two, with Channel 22A being the working frequency between Coast Guard and the public.

Take a minute to think about how –many- fixed and hand held radios there are out there, especially now that they’re cheap and require no FCC license to operate. Freighters, bulk carriers, commercial fishing vessels, private fishing vessels, ferries, oil tankers, pleasure craft and kayakers. If every one asked for a radio check on Channel 16, not a single Mayday would be heard. All there would be is a bunch of heterodyne and folks stepping over each others signals. It’s very hard to hear distress calls on Channel 16 during the busy summer season with mariners constantly calling each other to switch channels or chit chat. Channel arraignments should be made before you get underway.

My suggestion? Tool around the dial and see which channels mariners use in your particular area to chit chat on. Ask for a radio check on one of those frequencies. Your hand held comes with a list of frequencies and what the FCC designates them for.

when I was told
to “get off 16” for a radio check, it was early spring, I was 25 miles up the Ct. river on a weekday, and there was no one on the air besides the coast guard, monitoring 16. My above comments are based on 32 years of observation, monitoring/using vhf radio roughly 200 hours each sailing season.Approx. 15-20 years ago non distress channel 16 calls were frowned upon, boaters were told to use channel 9. You will notice on many marine radios the channel 9/16 button which gives you instant access to these two channels, one distress, the other a “working” channel.

Here are the listing from the CC

oh dang
here ya go confusing us with facts :wink:

pleasure boats will be co-monitoring 16 and 9. Most VHF’s default to 16 when turned on.

Kayakers do not operate with their radios on constantly in monitor mode.

If you are in trouble and need help use 16. If you need to contact a passing vessel, use 16, as they are probably not monitoring 9.

You can also contact the CG on 22A. If you have a cell phone use it, as the coasties will likely try to take their contact with you to a phone connection subsequent to radio contact.

Even though you may think you’re remote and can make no contact with a pleasure vessel on any public channel, or marine operator, be assured the coasties will most likely pick you up. They have an extensive web of towers and have excellent coverage, even in SE Alaska.

Don’t be afraid of your radio. While asking for a radio check on 16 is not “DESIREABLE”, if it’s your “ONLY” option, and you really feel you need it, do it, be quick, and fear not.

To the guy who tried everything else, perhaps the coastie didn’t realize that. My experiences with them as a licensed captain, or a kayaker have been very positive.

Got the one with the nicad batteries. Was such a bargain $99 . I know about the battery life but figure going out on a kayak just for a day it should be OK. Wonder if you can change it to tne new batteries though ?

radio check
As always you guys have been a great help & my question was more than answered. Thanks

I agree with all you said except:
"…Now, if you know you’re going to be out among the islands and your pals will be also, you may agree ahead of time to monitor an agreed upon public channel,…"

Last year, while we were doing that and I was hailing someone from our group who had paddled off, the CG came on and told us to do our hailing on 16 and then switch channels.

I informed them that we had agreed to hail and talk with our group on 69, but they came back with “Hail on 16, then switch to 69”.

Had to smile at that
You know too well.