Testing VHF rados

-- Last Updated: Aug-08-08 10:31 PM EST --

oops! I meant radio!

Is there a proper way to test the transmit of your radio when there is only one radio in your group or you are solo? Many times I've wondered if my radio was fully functional after dropping or submersing. Something similar to the "radio check" in CB land?


ask for "radio check"on channel 9 NM

Just don’t say “Breaker, Breaker” :slight_smile:

First step is to thumb through

– Last Updated: Aug-09-08 10:59 AM EST –

your owners manual. Look at the frequency list and review what freq is for what purpose and for whom. Your best chance of a radio check is going to be on one of your local working channels. 68, 69, 72 are a few of the common ones. Several ways to ask for a radio check. Most easily understood, "Any station, any station, radio check, over."

Three things to remember that a lot of folks don't really give much thought to. 1) Radio checks are not to be done on CH16. CH16 is a hailing and distress frequency only.

2) The CG does not conduct radio checks. These should be done on your local working channels. If everyone w/a VHF radio asked the CG for a radio check, no distress calls would be heard because of all the transmissions back and forth. The only reason you may hear the CG give a radio check is to avoid #3, which inevitably always happens because it's a proven fact that all common sense spontaneously disappears upon the gripping of a VHF radio.

3) Please don't be like the idiot last week on CH16 and say "Mayday Mayday, this thing getting out?" All because no one answered his intial radio check at 10:00 at night and he figured that saying mayday would get -someone's- attention. It's not cute, it causes a delay in real search and rescue response situations and it's against federal law. Not to say that you'd personally do this.

Probably more than you wanted to know. Hope this answered ur question. Happy paddling!

Great advice, thanks!
Use a working channel for a radio check.

I Should have thought of this myself. :frowning:

I knew enough not to bother the USCG, but when I am out solo I was never quite sure how to check that my VHF was in good working order.

Good to bring the subject up.
Hopefully everyone with a VHF will be checking on the functionality on their equipment before it is time to rely on it.


Testing, testing…



Or just yell: MAYDAY,MAYDAY!

Thanks everbody for the great advice. It sure is nice to get good practical advice rather then a lecture! I figured there was a way to do it but didn’t want to sound like an idiot doing it the wrong way.


Hail a specific vessel
If possible, hail a specific vessel and request the radio check. Technically, general radio check calls are not to be made on working channels either - but in the real world, nobody is going to come chasing after you for it.