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Old 03 May 2022, 06:10   #1
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Spoiling Days on the Water - Rant Warning

I spent a couple of very pleasant days on the water over the Bank Holiday weekend. On Saturday we trundled up to Bucklers Hard for a picnic and on Monday we took advantage of the spring tide and went to Ashlett Creek and the Jolly Sailor pub.

I have the VHF on Channel 16 but I am fearful that if I continue to do so, I may suffer an on air outbreak of swearing rage at some individual who just happens to be the the eighty seventh person who has asked Solent Coastguard on Channel 16 for a radio check since I've been listening.

I don't know why it grates so much.

There are several options for getting a radio check, if needed.

Channel 65 - Calshot NCI (there are other NCI stations but all on Channel 65)
Channel 68 - various harbour offices
Channel 80 - marina working channel

I guess if you are out in the sticks, then Channel 16 may be the answer but in the Solent it just serves to try and spoil my day.

Over and out!
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Old 03 May 2022, 07:01   #2
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I spent a couple of very pleasant days on the water over the Bank Holiday weekend. On Saturday we trundled up to Bucklers Hard for a picnic and on Monday we took advantage of the spring tide and went to Ashlett Creek and the Jolly Sailor pub.



I have the VHF on Channel 16 but I am fearful that if I continue to do so, I may suffer an on air outbreak of swearing rage at some individual who just happens to be the the eighty seventh person who has asked Solent Coastguard on Channel 16 for a radio check since I've been listening.



I don't know why it grates so much.



There are several options for getting a radio check, if needed.



Channel 65 - Calshot NCI (there are other NCI stations but all on Channel 65)

Channel 68 - various harbour offices

Channel 80 - marina working channel



I guess if you are out in the sticks, then Channel 16 may be the answer but in the Solent it just serves to try and spoil my day.



Over and out!


That’s the Solent for you
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Old 03 May 2022, 08:50   #3
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Or even 67? Anything but 16
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Old 03 May 2022, 08:50   #4
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The patience of the Solent Coastguard personnel never ceases to amaze me.
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Old 03 May 2022, 09:33   #5
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I thought C16 was the reservations channel for the Hut?

I have a vague memory of a bank holiday on the Solent many moons ago, would have been the 80s, when someone kept trying to raise a yacht called 'Soufflé' on C16. This went on a for a few minutes before someone else came on and said something along the lines of the base being too thick for the soufflé to be raised.
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Old 03 May 2022, 10:28   #6
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Well I suppose carrying out a radio check with anyone - even the "wrong station" is at least better than not bothering, then finding out the hard way your vessel does not have comms when needed.

Maybe some believe it should be done on CH16 as that is what they'll transmit if in distress, or that their radio has the power to reach the CG???

I do agree it is frustating when it can and should be done on another frequency / station e.g NCI on CH65, a harbour authority etc...keeping CH16 clear.

I rarely hear radio checks on CH16 out and about off the S Devon coast.

Maybe it is a Solent / Solent boater thing.
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Old 03 May 2022, 11:18   #7
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Seems to be quite bad on the first nice boating weekend of the year.

Had an odd one yesterday where it seemed like someone was constantly broadcasting on ch16 - I had radio on dual watch and had to turn it off because it was constantly making a transmission of white noise on 16 with 'busy' illuminated on the radio.

It wasn't my squelch set wrong before anyone suggests that!
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Old 03 May 2022, 23:04   #8
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A bit further east over in Poole Bay and along the Purbecks I receive all the Solent CH16 radio requests as well as and perhaps even more annoyingly a lot of french transmissions which personally I find even more irritating.
On a calm clear day I've picked up Dover Coastguard and Falmouth coastguard transmissions too but more of a rarity. I can't understand how the VHF reception on my rib is so good while huge construction vessels I work on in the North Sea can barely communicate with each other even when in sight of one another
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Old 04 May 2022, 02:08   #9
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Over and out!
Yes, that one grates on me...
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Old 04 May 2022, 05:31   #10
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"Over & Out"???

Guy - if you are going to whinge, get the prowords right!

MGx
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Old 04 May 2022, 07:03   #11
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"Over & Out"???

Guy - if you are going to whinge, get the prowords right!

MGx
Apologies - am I trip trapping over your bridge?

I guess when you aren't teaching people to reverse trailers, you are one of the people cluttering up Channel 16.
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Old 04 May 2022, 14:08   #12
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While annoying to you, maybe the radio checks help the Coastguard folks stay awake. I would imagine that monitoring a channel could get a bit boring at times.
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Old 04 May 2022, 14:49   #13
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While annoying to you, maybe the radio checks help the Coastguard folks stay awake. I would imagine that monitoring a channel could get a bit boring at times.
Whether that is the case or not the official guidance from the NCI website
https://www.nci.org.uk/stations/solent-vhf-radio
is quite clear - radio checks should be made to the nearest NCI station on Ch.65:

Channel 65: National Coastwatch Institute UK channel - call direct (not via 16) for radio checks, present weather, inshore weather forecast, and local information...
Call signs... Calshot Tower: "Calshot NCI" - Lee on Solent: "Lee NCI" - Lepe Country Park: "Stone Point NCI" - Portsmouth area: "Gosport NCI" - Needles: "Needles NCI"



Channel 67: In the Solent area is monitored by the Coastguard ("Solent Coastguard") for routine small boat traffic; call direct, not via channel 16; but for radio checks, to minimize Coastguard workload, call the nearest NCI station on channel 65 !
(the exclamation mark is theirs!)


Channel 16: Emergency calls to HM Coastguard ("Solent Coastguard"). Not to be used for routine calls - for routine calls to HMCG call direct on channel 67 (see below). Calling Channel: users must transfer immediately to a working channel (normally 06, 72 or 77)

I seem to remember also that last year they were at times making hourly announcements on Ch.16 to the effect that radio checks were to be made on Ch.65.
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Old 04 May 2022, 15:01   #14
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While annoying to you, maybe the radio checks help the Coastguard folks stay awake. I would imagine that monitoring a channel could get a bit boring at times.

If the coastguard is specifically hiring folks with narcolepsy then a crow scarer in the office would be a quick fix.
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Old 05 May 2022, 10:33   #15
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Well I suppose carrying out a radio check with anyone - even the "wrong station" is at least better than not bothering, then finding out the hard way your vessel does not have comms when needed.

Maybe some believe it should be done on CH16 as that is what they'll transmit if in distress, or that their radio has the power to reach the CG???
I think there is a good argument that the marina you are sitting in is the wrong place to make a radio check. I've never felt the need to make specific radio checks unless I thought something was faulty or I had been tampering with equipment.
  • it tells you the radio is working at the start of the day not after bouncing around, so I have a backup anyway.
  • if I can hear the general chatter there's a good sign the radio is working (although obviously Tx and Rx is not the same)
  • if I am going on any significant journey that is out of the ordinary (and where I might be more concerned about comms than normal) I will call the CG with my plans anyway which proves its working
  • if I was in the solent on a BH presumably the fastest way to get help is not to call CG on Ch16 - its just to ask one of the many boats that's only a few boat lengths away!


Quote:
I do agree it is frustating when it can and should be done on another frequency / station e.g NCI on CH65, a harbour authority etc...keeping CH16 clear.

I rarely hear radio checks on CH16 out and about off the S Devon coast.

Maybe it is a Solent / Solent boater thing.
I suspect its a positive feedback loop. You hear someone else make a Ch16 Radio Check and thing, "mmm, perhaps I should check mine", then the next person is thinking "mmm, everyone seems to do this". Next time out they do the same again. Go to a more remote area with less traffic and you don't hear people doing it, so it seems odd to do so. Really instead of answering helpfully the CG should just reply "Vessel Calling Solent Coastguard, please conduct radio checks with [correct call sign of relevant NCI station] on Channel-6-5. Solent Coastguard out." That would break the feedback loop.

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While annoying to you, maybe the radio checks help the Coastguard folks stay awake. I would imagine that monitoring a channel could get a bit boring at times.
That may be true in very quiet areas but in the Solent its so busy, especially on holiday weekends that they genuinely are concerned about missing mayday traffic amongst the constant pointless calls - and that's despite having the ability to digitally redirect calls to any of the other rescue coordination centres in the country if they are swamped!
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Old 06 May 2022, 21:34   #16
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I wouldn't call the S.Devon coast....Exmouth, Teignmouth, Torquay, Brixham, Dartmouth, Salcombe, Plymouth a "remote area".

Maybe goes to prove the "Solent boater" has a totally differentl attitude to everyone else. ...along with the fabled and most challenging Solent Chop.
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Old 07 May 2022, 08:46   #17
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I wouldn't call the S.Devon coast....Exmouth, Teignmouth, Torquay, Brixham, Dartmouth, Salcombe, Plymouth a "remote area".

Maybe goes to prove the "Solent boater" has a totally differentl attitude to everyone else. ...along with the fabled and most challenging Solent Chop.
It's not very scientific but I just did a screen capture from AIS tracker to look at the difference in traffic between the Solent and Brixham (other similarly busy areas are available). I tried to print them at the same scale.

I'm a Solent boater and I'm also an occasional Outer Hebrides boater. My attitude doesn't really change although I can't recall ever having heard a radio check request in the Outer Hebrides.

My rant wasn't meant to be a competition between boating areas.
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Old 07 May 2022, 09:40   #18
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I agree the Solent is av ery dense and busy leisure and commercial shipping / boating area.

It follows that even a small %age of peoplein this area erroneously using C16 for a radio check = a lot of calls.

I'm not sure AIS is he best measure of leisure boating activity, as many - prboably the vast majority?- of leisure users do not have it, although I don't have any data on this.
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Old 07 May 2022, 09:42   #19
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PS....I do generally agree with your rant
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Old 13 May 2022, 20:53   #20
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The strange thing is in the commercial world we never do a radio test despite being out in far worse conditions and more frequently than the average leisure boater. We simply continue using the radio for routine calls, in and out of harbours / VTS / talking to other vessels, and rely on those to check our TX signal.
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