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Old 15 August 2012, 18:35   #1
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VHF Question

I have a VHF radio fixed to my RIB console, I had never used it as I have not done the required training, however when passing through the barrier control zone last month London VTS told me to simply listen on channel 14 (without transmitting).

I understand that I could use the radio in a Mayday situation, but is it legal for me to simply listen to channel 16, if I make no tranmissions?

I intend to do the RYA course soon, but have not yet done so.
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Old 15 August 2012, 18:47   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vjmehra View Post
I have a VHF radio fixed to my RIB console, I had never used it as I have not done the required training, however when passing through the barrier control zone last month London VTS told me to simply listen on channel 14 (without transmitting).

I understand that I could use the radio in a Mayday situation, but is it legal for me to simply listen to channel 16, if I make no tranmissions?

I intend to do the RYA course soon, but have not yet done so.
Yes, you can listen to any channel, but you must not repeat anything you hear to anyone else - or even say which vessels were talking. At least, that's what I was told a long time ago.

I find listening to other traffic is the most useful feature of VHF (big ship movements, weather forecasts etc). I rarely use it to speak to anyone. I usually set it to scan all the intership and Coastguard channels.
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Old 15 August 2012, 19:07   #3
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To be clear - if you are in an emergency situation please use the VHF to get help - this is one of few times you transmit without an operators certificate of Compentance aka VHF licence

When you do your course you will sign a confidential agreement - stating you will not disclose anything you hear.

regards

Scott
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Old 16 August 2012, 00:39   #4
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Always legal to listen. Stuff on the airwaves is kind of an open season.

Re: transmitting. Even if it's illegal, if life is at risk or perceived to be so, tansmit.

Easier to get forgiveness than permission.


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Old 16 August 2012, 02:32   #5
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Great, tks! That is very useful to know!
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Old 16 August 2012, 03:52   #6
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Im not sure of the legal answer, but I would imagine as the main concern around VHF 'use' is about transmission then in my humble opinion it would be OK to listen.

Of course in an emergency situation then use it and that would include the DSC function if fitted. If the boat is a second hand boat and a second hand VHF set check if it has DSC fitted what the MMSI number is set to, if the correlating information is from the old owner associated with the MMSI then you might have issues, for example if you had to use the DSC function and the coastguard was trying to get in touch with the old owner due to details being registered on the CG66 form. However they would still know your position and that a boat was in trouble allthough they might have incorrect details registered.

So if your intending on going to sea / lake then do the course as soon as possible, register, get your MMSI number and complete the CG66 form.
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