VHF Testing help. Is it working?

swavings

Newbie
  • May 30, 2012
    86
    106
    Newbury Park, CA
    Name
    Scott Swaving
    Boat
    Cobia
    Hello Forum,

    I need some help with my VHF radio.

    i currently have my boat trailered at home and I’m trying to confirm if my radio works.
    I’m in Simi Valley, probably 30 miles from the coast.
    i am a new owner to this boat. When I turn the vhf on at home, there are a couple of bands... wx and another. When on wx, it gives me 11 channels or so, and 1 and 2 give me a weather update.
    vhf is a standard horizon.

    when I try and pick a channel, 27, 9, 72 etc and do a radio check, it never gets answered.

    anyone willing to do a FaceTime call with me to help me out?
     
    Upvote 0

    Larry3215

    Almost A Member
    Mar 1, 2014
    119
    32
    67
    Name
    larry
    Boat
    SeaNymph
    There is a small problem with what you are asking. It is an FCC violation to use your marine radio when on land, and the potential fine is substantial. I would suggest you stop broadcasting.

    Violators may be subject to the penalties authorized by the Communications
    Act, including first offense fines as high as $16,000 for each violation
    or imprisonment for up to one year. Your radio equipment can also be
    seized and forfeited to the U.S. Government.

    I would suggest you drive down to the coast and put your boat in or at least very close to the water - like at the ramp, although even that is illegal.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: One_Leg
    Upvote 0

    Larry3215

    Almost A Member
    Mar 1, 2014
    119
    32
    67
    Name
    larry
    Boat
    SeaNymph
    Once you have your boat on the water, there is a proceedure for calling the coast guard for a radio check or you can try the general broadcst method you have been doing. I would suggest you read up (Google is good) on the correct way to do a radio check first or you may get ignored or get a warning from the CG folks. They take proper radio procedures pretty seriously.
     
    Upvote 0

    Shewillbemine

    "should of" is NOT a thing
  • Oct 19, 2012
    2,679
    3,113
    California
    Name
    Shewillbemine
    Boat
    Chips N Guac
    In addition to the whole "it's illegal" thing, you aren't going to be receiving or sending very well because you're on land. A lot of these signals are line of sight, and being inland surrounded by mountains and buildings means your broadcast is just bouncing around against obstructions.

    Do it the moment you get to the launch ramps and get your boat in the water.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: plj46
    Upvote 0

    plj46

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Jan 7, 2008
    8,816
    12,020
    Socal
    Name
    john
    Boat
    24 ft grady white
    That far from the coast you won't get anything.You can also call out a check on channel 27 and Seatow has an automated response that will play back you calling for a check.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: sickcat
    Upvote 0

    I hate seals

    Advertiser
    Advertiser
    Aug 24, 2004
    4,060
    801
    50
    SD
    Name
    Bryan Z
    Boat
    36' Hatteras
    As "plj46" stated.


    Try this. https://www.seatow.com/tools-and-education/automated-radio-check

    Use 27 in the San Diego area.

    It’s simple to use:

    1. Automated Radio Check Service uses one of VHF Channels 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 84. Simply tune your radio to the proper channel for your community.
    2. Conduct a radio check as you normally would.
    3. Upon releasing the mic, the system will replay your transmission, letting you hear how you sound.
     
    Upvote 0

    Laukia

    boss
    Nov 30, 2004
    954
    352
    Carpinteria
    Name
    Dave R
    Boat
    28' Carolina Classic (sold) Pursuit 2350 FreeSwimmer
    If you're serious (and you should always be serious dealing with your radio) I would buy a Shakespeare ART-3 tester. Leave it onboard and you can always test your receiver and antenna anytime.
     
    Upvote 0

    Derby

    My "Member" is Well Known.
    Sep 9, 2010
    5,094
    2,564
    SouthBay SF
    Name
    The Kid
    Boat
    Aquasport 222 FFV
    Do you have a buddy with a hand held VHF? Or shop around for a hand held as a back up. I have one I keep on the boat for emergencies.

    It's a good idea to own a back up handheld.

    That would answer your question and give you a layer of safety on the water with your PLB and life vests.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: marlyn and Laukia
    Upvote 0

    Mike_I

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    May 19, 2006
    1,235
    592
    Irvine
    Name
    Mike_I
    Boat
    Cabo 216 First Love
    A little over dramatic.

    There is a small problem with what you are asking. It is an FCC violation to use your marine radio when on land, and the potential fine is substantial. I would suggest you stop broadcasting.

    Violators may be subject to the penalties authorized by the Communications
    Act, including first offense fines as high as $16,000 for each violation
    or imprisonment for up to one year. Your radio equipment can also be
    seized and forfeited to the U.S. Government.

    I would suggest you drive down to the coast and put your boat in or at least very close to the water - like at the ramp, although even that is illegal.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: the SLIDER
    Upvote 0

    Mike_I

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    May 19, 2006
    1,235
    592
    Irvine
    Name
    Mike_I
    Boat
    Cabo 216 First Love
    You don't call the coast guard for a radio check.

    Once you have your boat on the water, there is a proceedure for calling the coast guard for a radio check or you can try the general broadcst method you have been doing. I would suggest you read up (Google is good) on the correct way to do a radio check first or you may get ignored or get a warning from the CG folks. They take proper radio procedures pretty seriously.
     
    Upvote 0

    Mike_I

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    May 19, 2006
    1,235
    592
    Irvine
    Name
    Mike_I
    Boat
    Cabo 216 First Love
    I'm a retired radio guy and have the test equipment you need to test your radio, too bad you're not near south O.C. Even if you get a radio check while on the water it doesn't mean your radio is operating at 100% but it's better than nothing.

    Hello Forum,

    I need some help with my VHF radio.

    i currently have my boat trailered at home and I’m trying to confirm if my radio works.
    I’m in Simi Valley, probably 30 miles from the coast.
    i am a new owner to this boat. When I turn the vhf on at home, there are a couple of bands... wx and another. When on wx, it gives me 11 channels or so, and 1 and 2 give me a weather update.
    vhf is a standard horizon.

    when I try and pick a channel, 27, 9, 72 etc and do a radio check, it never gets answered.

    anyone willing to do a FaceTime call with me to help me out?
     
    Upvote 0

    Derby

    My "Member" is Well Known.
    Sep 9, 2010
    5,094
    2,564
    SouthBay SF
    Name
    The Kid
    Boat
    Aquasport 222 FFV
    ou don't call the coast guard for a radio check.

    He is trying to troubleshoot in his driveway in Simi Valley. Dont think CG is going to hear him on 16.

    Nevermind. I get what you are saying. Yeah I dont call CG for radio checks either.

    carry on.....
     
    Upvote 0

    the SLIDER

    https://multimediabylj.com
    Jun 11, 2015
    2,079
    4,890
    Dana Point
    Name
    L J
    Boat
    arima - the SLIDER
    My fixed radio in the boat worked with my back up handheld VHF at home. Could not get anyone to respond on the water. Tried 27 and nothing. Reconnected my antenna and now works good on the water over 35 miles. Still 27 radio check gets nothing.

    Only real radio check is on the water to other boats and 16. Don't assume anything. Too damn important.

    Or go "Old School".

    840r_side_1_2.png
     
    Last edited:
    Upvote 0

    acefuture

    @acecraftco
    Apr 3, 2019
    736
    730
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Name
    Ace
    Boat
    Always changing
    27 works very intermittently. When I wired in my new VHF and antenna 27 wouldn't work for me so I found a Boat US boat at the fuel dock and asked him to do a test for me on 72, worked perfectly so we went out. Left it on 16 and would regularly hear the weather updates and on 72 I'd hear chatter about how John and Dave have been good and fishing catalina on the weekends and what kind of sandwich they were going to eat once they got there.

    Don't do radio checks on 16, CG will bark at you. Just ask someone on the water or at the launch ramp to do a test for you on 68-72
     
    Upvote 0

    sickcat

    Silverback
    Aug 5, 2003
    3,736
    1,770
    64
    LA
    Name
    Kerry
    Boat
    Yellow spot
    I'll add two things. When doing a radio check with another boat ask for their location. Not much of a test if they are close to you (maybe a mile or less).

    Don't assume because you hear chatter on the radio or get the weather loud and clear your radio is working. Transmitting is a different animal with much more energy going through the antenna. As pointed out already testing with a SWR meter is a good place to start. IMO it is a good idea to try for a radio check offshore (27 or another boat) to make sure your getting good range when transmitting.

    Here in SoCal don't bother the coasties asking for a radio check.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: swavings
    Upvote 0

    MYNomad

    Heading South
    Dec 12, 2007
    4,177
    4,776
    Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
    Name
    Rick
    Boat
    Yes
    The comments above about legality are correct.
    I used to talk to the boats from my driveway all the time....


    "Illegal".......lol.....so is going 70 mph in a 65 zone......happens every second of every day....

    Actually, speeding is only an infraction. Illegal transmissions are a misdemeanor and can be a felony. And although rarely prosecuted, it does happen. But what a crappy world it would be if we only obeyed the laws we agreed with or feared getting caught. That is the obvious mindset of most "repentant" criminals across the spectrum. They are only worry because they got caught. I take pride in being a good citizen -- I comply with laws even when I disagree and even when I know I won't get caught. I don't poach, don't litter, don't transmit illegally, and I don't do anything else that I would be ashamed to have published on the front page of the NYT. I have raised my kids that way and it has served them well. If they saw me disregarding the laws I don't agree with, they wouldn't be the outstanding people they are. Try it. You might like it.
     
    Upvote 0

    plj46

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Jan 7, 2008
    8,816
    12,020
    Socal
    Name
    john
    Boat
    24 ft grady white
    The legal issue with using a VHF on land might have something to do with aircraft communications for smaller planes.
     
    Upvote 0

    swavings

    Newbie
  • May 30, 2012
    86
    106
    Newbury Park, CA
    Name
    Scott Swaving
    Boat
    Cobia
    Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. I’m going to drive it down to harbor tomorrow and do a proper check. Being inland 30 miles I realized that I wasn’t going to find other boats.

    I wasn’t doing radio checks to the coast guard on 16 or anything.

    I will get a handheld as that is a good idea for back up.

    I appreciate all the responses. Just a new owner learning everyday.

    I will be heading out of Channel Islands harbor on Friday morning. Good luck to everyone out there.
     
    Upvote 0

    Mike_I

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    May 19, 2006
    1,235
    592
    Irvine
    Name
    Mike_I
    Boat
    Cabo 216 First Love
    Don't quote me since it's been years since I dealt with FCC stuff but you can operate ship to shore. You have to be licensed and something to do with being a commercial enterprise doing marine associated business. But not legal for the average Joe Schmoe boater.

    The legal issue with using a VHF on land might have something to do with aircraft communications for smaller planes.
     
    Upvote 0

    Mike_I

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    May 19, 2006
    1,235
    592
    Irvine
    Name
    Mike_I
    Boat
    Cabo 216 First Love
    You're absolutely right regarding radio checks. I installed a new antenna on a friends boat but forgot to bring my thru line watt meter to test my work. He said he'd just get a radio check next time at the ramp. I told him it doesn't mean the radio is operating correctly and that you have no antenna issues. Since he knows everything about everything even things he knows nothing about, I disconnected the antenna then shoved one end of the roll of solder in the so-239 antenna connection. I switched to the weather channel which came in loud and clear. I told him to return the antenna and get his hundred plus dollars back and I would sell him my magic roll of solder for half the price of the antenna. He got my point. The only way to confirm your transmitting at max power and there are no antenna issues is by using an inline wattmeter.

    I'll add two things. When doing a radio check with another boat ask for their location. Not much of a test if they are close to you (maybe a mile or less).

    Don't assume because you hear chatter on the radio or get the weather loud and clear your radio is working. Transmitting is a different animal with much more energy going through the antenna. As pointed out already testing with a SWR meter is a good place to start. IMO it is a good idea to try for a radio check offshore (27 or another boat) to make sure your getting good range when transmitting.

    Here in SoCal don't bother the coasties asking for a radio check.
     
    Last edited:
    Upvote 0

    sickcat

    Silverback
    Aug 5, 2003
    3,736
    1,770
    64
    LA
    Name
    Kerry
    Boat
    Yellow spot
    The comments above about legality are correct.


    Actually, speeding is only an infraction. Illegal transmissions are a misdemeanor and can be a felony. And although rarely prosecuted, it does happen. But what a crappy world it would be if we only obeyed the laws we agreed with or feared getting caught. That is the obvious mindset of most "repentant" criminals across the spectrum. They are only worry because they got caught. I take pride in being a good citizen -- I comply with laws even when I disagree and even when I know I won't get caught. I don't poach, don't litter, don't transmit illegally, and I don't do anything else that I would be ashamed to have published on the front page of the NYT. I have raised my kids that way and it has served them well. If they saw me disregarding the laws I don't agree with, they wouldn't be the outstanding people they are. Try it. You might like it.

    The world would be a better place if more people thought as you do - thank you!!

    Teach your children well...
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Larry3215
    Upvote 0