3 Tips for Using a VHF Radio | BoatUS

3 Tips for Using a VHF Radio | BoatUS


Lenny Rudow here for BoatUS Magazine! When you’re on a boat, your most important
lifeline to the outside world is your VHF radio. Now, most of you probably already know the
basics of VHF radio operation. Things like, in an emergency, call the Coast
Guard on Channel 16. Now, if you’re not familiar with the basics
of VHF operation, head for BoatUS.com/Magazine. [LINK IN DESCRIPTION] On the magazine section
of the website, we have an article on VHF protocol. It’s very informative. Aside from that, today we’re going to talk
about three tips that will help you make even better use of your VHF. Ready for tip number one? Always make sure your antenna is completely
vertical. See, here’s the thing. When your antenna sits cocked at an angle,
it’s not going to get the best range. The signal radiates at 180 degrees from the
tip, so anytime it’s tilted, you’re not getting as much range as you can. To maximize the distance you can communicate,
you really want that antenna completely vertical. Tip number two: When you’re speaking into
the mic, hold it at a 90 degree angle to your face. And don’t smash it up against your mouth or
speak directly into it. If you do so, your own breath can cause wind
noise in the mic. Tip number three: Make sure that your radio
is DSC active. This means the Coast Guard will know your
exact position if you ever have to call them in an emergency. Remember that in order to have DSC active,
your chartplotter and your VHF have to be interfaced with each other. You also have to register your VHF with an
MMSI number with the Coast Guard so they have all the information about your boat. Now don’t worry. This is actually a really easy process. You can register for an MMSI number for free
at BoatUS.com/MMSI. And on top of that, having your units interfaced
is not a big deal. We’re talking about connecting two wires here,
people. A few minutes on the BoatUS Magazine section
of the website and you’ll know how to do it, no problem. I’m going to tell you right now, folks, out
of all three tips, the most important one is making sure your radio is DSC active. In fact, Coast Guard statistics tell us that
even though all the fixed-mount VHF sold these days, in fact for the last decade, have the
ability to use DSC, only a small fraction are actually activated. So, if you’re uncomfortable with doing the
process yourself and you don’t want to deal with interfacing your VHF with your GPS, please
by all means, take your boat to a pro and let them do it. Just make sure you get it done. Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. If you have any comments for us, please leave
them in the box below, and we hope we see you round at BoatUS.com.

11 thoughts on “3 Tips for Using a VHF Radio | BoatUS

  1. i think with boatUS registration your MMSI data is only available to US bodies. The internationaly accesible MMSI reg is some 220$ if you boat is USA flag

  2. I have a handheld VHF for about a year in which I’ve entered my MMSI number. I’m in process of installing a fixed mount VHF in my boat. Do I use the same MMSI for both radio units?

  3. If your marine radio doesn't have gps/dsc capabilities just have a handheld GPS unit and read the coordinates. The marine police/coast guard will walk you through it. BTW, all you have to do is ask for help on channel 16 and they will ask all the necessary questions to find you. Very simple

  4. Some of the newer DSC radios have GPS built in and do not require separate wiring to an external GPS. I registered my MMSI at boatus.com and it was very easy, thanks for that service!

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