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Old 18 August 2011, 06:28   #1
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MRCC working & safety VHF channels

Despite all the pilot books/almanacs etc I have and of course internet, I'm struggling to find good info on how UK coastguard stations use VHF.

Could somebody give me an overview on how it all works over there?

For instance, you have continuous listening watch on C16 by all stations for emergency & calling and C67 is for "small boat safety". What exactly does this mean? C67 is for emergency as well but only if you're small? Or is it for filing passage reports etc? Or would passage reports be on another working channel? Does each MRCC have their own different working channels?

I've got a book of marine vhf channels, it lists several working channels for each MRCC but doesn't tell you the specific purpose for each.

Could someone enlighten me please??
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Old 18 August 2011, 06:34   #2
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Ch16 is used as the listening watch by all & is the channel to raise CG on - Brixham / Weymouth or whichever station you require. For routine traffic they'll direct you to another channel - usually CH67 in my experience to continue the transmission.
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Old 18 August 2011, 06:42   #3
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From what I've heard I think they prefer you call them directly on another channel unless it's urgent, although which channel I wouldn't know.
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Old 18 August 2011, 07:17   #4
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Over here the working channels are used for all non-emergency traffic. Announcements of CG info calls will be made on 16 and move to the appropriate local working channel. Other than that, local working channels are general purpose. Hailing the CG for routine traffic is on the working channel.

In addition, our local fisherfolk make good use of the working channels to call in distress issues to the CG, as they know their buddies can't hear them as they're duplex...

(Malin Head CG, this is Sean on the Deep Harvester, we have a wee problem)
Deep Harvester Malin Head what is your problem?
(Malin, we have been taking on water for a few hours and we were OK but then we needed the second pump and that was OK but now the second pump has failed and we thought we'd give you a heads up)
Deep Harvester Malin Head - we are initiating a MAYDAY please advise your exact location
(Ah jaysis Malin, early days for that - could you not just get the lads on the Lifeboat to run a pump out to us? We're only 25 miles off Glen Head)
Deep Harvester Malin Head - R118 will be over your location in 55 minutes, expect to see the CASA topcover before that, please standby for their transmission. Arranmore RNLI have been tasked and should be with you in 90 minutes with equipment.
(Ah nooooo! We just need a pump - that's a wild fuss - we'll be a laughing stock)

It's fun trying to guess the silent half of the chat
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Old 18 August 2011, 08:08   #5
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best using the DSC function on the radio , this give the CG control of the channel they put you too....so civilised DSC Radios...

MMSI Numbers

002320010 MRCC DOVER

002320011 MRSC SOLENT

002320012 MRSC PORTLAND

002320013 MRSC BRIXHAM

002320014 MRCC FALMOUTH

002320016 MRCC SWANSEA

002320017 MRSC MILFORD HAVEN

002320018 MRSC HOLYHEAD

002320019 MRSC LIVERPOOL

002320021 MRSC BELFAST

002320022 MRCC CLYDE

002320024 MRSC STORNAWAY

002320060 JERSEY COASTGUARD

002275100 CROSS GRIS NEZ (Dover straits area)

002275200 CROSS JOBOURG (Cap de la Hague)

002275300 CROSS CORSEN (Brest area)

002050480 MRCC OOSTENDE

002442000 NETHERLANDS COASTGUARD (Joint RCC)

002241008 MRCC MADRID (coordinates SAR ops via 3 MRCC)

002500300 MRCC DUBLIN
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Old 18 August 2011, 09:18   #6
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All CG stations maintain a listening brief on Ch16 and with one exception should be called on that for either routine or emergency traffic. Routine traffic (save for radio checks which are conducted briefly on Ch16) will then be switched to working channel (Portland CG - our local one - invariably designate Ch73 but cannot be reached initially on that channel).

The exception to the above is Solent CG which because of the amount of traffic in their area also maintains a listening brief on Ch67 which should be used directly for all routine traffic. Emergency traffic for Solent CG remains on 16.
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Old 18 August 2011, 09:20   #7
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Quote:
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best using the DSC function on the radio , this give the CG control of the channel they put you too....so civilised DSC Radios...
Good idea but one question:

With my Icom 603 to transmit an individual call, I have to input the recipient mmsi or find it in the directory, then I have to select a channel for the following voice call then send the dsc.

So which channel should you use?
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Old 18 August 2011, 09:34   #8
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I would suggest stick to 16, if its non urgent they will tell you where to go (in a nice way).

If they are stupid busy they will tell you were to go in a more direct way....

They will be ok considering you are nearly french, but less understanding if you use 16 everyday for a radio check.
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Old 18 August 2011, 09:34   #9
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Any clear (check before you send the DSC) working channel: 06, 08, 72 and 77 are the usual ones for general ship to ship.
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Old 18 August 2011, 10:07   #10
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I've been reading up the same trying to work out how to do this on my own newish Icom 505. The extract from the manual below for an individual call looks like I can't specify e.g. Ch 67 as the goto channel which would be really useful. (But I haven't played in anger yet).

"Rotate [CHANNEL] to select a desired intership channel,
push [CHANNELēENTER].

(The diag gives the impression that rotating [Channel] simply scrolls through the preset list below).

ē Intership channels are already preset into the transceiver in recommended
order:
08
69
77
06"

The manual doesn't really cover ship to shore (CG) situations.
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Old 18 August 2011, 10:15   #11
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Coastguard prefers DSC ...

Just thought I'd add that I've noticed recently that all the routine CG broadacsts from Humber CG (the ones on Ch23 at least) are preceded by a general announcment encouraging people to contact them initially via DSC.

I also paid a visit to the Holyhead CG recently who, when asked, expresssed the same preference.
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Old 18 August 2011, 10:20   #12
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Ship to Shore Station you should not need to select channel, since this is selected by shore based station. ( shore stations have limited channels)

the shore based stations are all 00 in front so radio will know its ship to shore...so no need to select channel...


SHIP to SHIP you will select channel.

regards

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Old 18 August 2011, 10:25   #13
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Thanks Scott ...

... that does make sense.

(Much more than the manual does!).
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Old 20 August 2011, 13:31   #14
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Coast stations should always be choosing the working channel be it by dsc or voice vhf.
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Old 20 August 2011, 14:00   #15
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Quote:
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Coast stations should always be choosing the working channel be it by dsc or voice vhf.

prefered your first version better edits don't change on email notification!
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Old 20 August 2011, 14:13   #16
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In this area, seeing that you are from Preston, Liverpool coastguard will generally send you to ch86 after calling them on ch16. 67 used to be used for routine traffic but with the demise of uk coast radio stations they inherited an amount of work and their channels. Thats when Lpool started using 86 and holyhead 84. Prevents bleed over of calls as used to happen when both Holyhead and Liverpool were using 67 at the same time.
Both 86 and 84 are duplex channels which is a pain as you don't hear the shipside transmission on routine calls which would be useful to hear in the event of large vessels being on the move in a particular area during foggy weather. Because of this in the event of a casualty service where it is preferable to have casualty/lifeboat/coastguard rescue team/helicopter all able to talk to and hear each other on vhf then ch67, which is Simplex, is used.
We speak to Lpl regularly when training and on the workboat. We never use DSC, it is not neccesary here, the airwaves are not overloaded here and its just another complication in what should be a simple task.
Bottom line here-call liverpool coastguard on ch16 and go to whichever channel they nominate. And enjoy the benefit of a fairly local MRSC, which we will not have if this lot of elected clowns go ahead with their closure plans.
(By the way have you done a radio course? and if so did they not tell you about coast stations choosing the working channel??)
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Old 20 August 2011, 14:15   #17
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yeah first was better then spotted where you were from- the sentiment is still the same---if you have done a radio course and they didnt tell you about coast stations they want shooting! The edit would only let me put so many words back in and I ran outa space! Hope the other info helps
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Old 20 August 2011, 14:19   #18
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Quote:
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Ship to Shore Station you should not need to select channel, since this is selected by shore based station. ( shore stations have limited channels)

the shore based stations are all 00 in front so radio will know its ship to shore...so no need to select channel...


SHIP to SHIP you will select channel.

regards

Scott

but i already know lol i am SRC Assessor too...and make sure people are told this on course...

Scott
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Old 20 August 2011, 16:36   #19
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yeah yeah it all got mixed up I know Scott and so do you I was answering neils posts hence the preston comment. It sorta got mixed up with your post telling me I'd edited the post before ...ooh m'head hurts now too much bobbin about at sea and too little alchohol for a saturday night
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Old 21 August 2011, 10:55   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPR View Post
Ship to Shore Station you should not need to select channel, since this is selected by shore based station. ( shore stations have limited channels)

the shore based stations are all 00 in front so radio will know its ship to shore...so no need to select channel...


SHIP to SHIP you will select channel.

regards

Scott
DSC works fine for calls to the coastguard ... but don't forget the ship-to-shore one that regularly goes wrong when trying to call a marina that only has Ch80. No point trying to raise them by voice on a calling channel first (and have you ever tried to find their MMSI to call them by DSC??) Not enough people check their almanacs, pilot books, or Admiralty lists to find out the working channels for ports and marinas.
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