VHF callsign.

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rockhopper
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VHF callsign.

Post by rockhopper »

I am sure there is a simple answer to this one but having scanned Ofcom's site and the RYA site too it is currently as clear as the Bristol Channel on a Spring tide.

I have just passed the VHF Marine Operators test and received the Short Range Certificate (what is it with photo-booth photographs that always makes you look like a criminal ...or is that just me?).
Anyway, I thought that, as I do not have a boat with a name or a fixed set that they would alocate a call sign for me to use, however the only number given is the Certificate number which does not appear to be what I am after.
Can anyone shed any light?

Owen
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Post by Owen »

This has caused quite a debate within our club as some meets bring out a lot of paddlers (can be up to 30 in mid-summer), we've been looking at using VHF to keep control. We tried using people's christian names but with Owen, Euan, Ian, and Alan and Nick and Mick things didn't quite work out.
Some people use boat type i.e. Kayak Avocet or Blue Romany, but again with so many boats this can get confusing. When I'm out on my own or just with a small group I tend to use "Orange Kayak". It really doesn't matter what you use as long as you remember it and it clearly identifys who you are. You could use "Rockhopper".

Chris Bolton
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call sign

Post by Chris Bolton »

The licensing of radios and the competence of operators are completely separate. You are now qualified to use a radio, but the call sign will depend on the radio you're using.

A fixed installation will be issued with a call sign, but a handheld transmitter will not. The usual practice is to use the name of the boat, or if it doesn't have a name, use something descriptive like 'Essex Kayak' (actually not a very good call sign as it might not be heard clearly on a poor transmission) , or Rockhopper - which is quite distinctive.

The above is, I think, still correct despite the introduction of DSC, but somebody who knows about DSC may correct me.

Chris.

rockhopper
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Post by rockhopper »

So I presume that does mean that I can pick my own.
I did think that I had heard the tutor on the course mentioning about someone else issuing you with a call sign (thought it was two digits and two letters) although my brain could well have been in neutral and freewheeling at the time.

over.......(sorry, just getting in a bit of practise!)

Elliot
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Post by Elliot »

Agree with Owen and Chris. what you like providing you are identifying vessel type, to give the CG an idea of what they are dealing with and identifying yourself.. ''sea kayak rockhopper'' seems fine if you are comfy with it.

cj
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Post by cj »

my call sign is rockhopper

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ChrisS
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Post by ChrisS »

My call-sign is Spartacus!

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Martin S
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Post by Martin S »

ChrisS wrote:My call-sign is Spartacus!
No I am Sparticus!

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Post by MikeB »

I am Spartacus

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Jim
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Post by Jim »

rockhopper wrote:So I presume that does mean that I can pick my own.
I did think that I had heard the tutor on the course mentioning about someone else issuing you with a call sign (thought it was two digits and two letters) although my brain could well have been in neutral and freewheeling at the time.

over.......(sorry, just getting in a bit of practise!)
I think, with a portable set you can use whatever callsign you want, however it is a good idea to use the CG66 system to file a route plan with the coastguard, in which case the callsign you give yourself on that is the one you need to keep for the rest of that trip. You could however use a different one on your next trip and CG66, say for example if you found yourself paddling with another Rockhopper. The danger with non-unique callsigns like your boat model is that in a "busy" area you may well find someone in another group is also using your callsign.

As has been mentioned 'fixed' sets in yachts and ships are assigned a callsign, I have a feeling the MMMSI number has something to do with the DSC part of modern VHF (we had a discussion about this before so a search should provide a definite answer, unlike my head) - it could be if you were taught to use DSC they might have been talking about that? Of course there is only one handheld with DSC so it will rarely be relevant in the handheld world.

Jim

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CaptainSensible
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Post by CaptainSensible »

Anything over 8 feet long has to be registered over here (and your chosen name stuck on the boat = four lots of letters/numbers for a kayak), so my callsign will end up being my boat name (which is unique - the first one I chose was already taken by someone else).

If I was over there, I would fill out a CG 66, choose my own callsign (for a handheld VHF) and keep it. You don't have to stick it on your boat, so there is less need to be fussy (e.g. you could use "Rockhopper 99" or something). Presumably, the CG won't allow two people to have the same callsign on their database?

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capsized8
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Post by capsized8 »

Jim wrote:[As has been mentioned 'fixed' sets in yachts and ships are assigned a callsign, I have a feeling the MMMSI number has something to do with the DSC part of modern VHF Jim
Hi Jim

The MMSI number is a recognition number issued to that radio. You can use it to selectively call another DSC unit who's number you know without causing interference on ch16. For example communicating with the CG. If you use the radio as a standard vhf unit this number is not sent. Should you use the DSC feature your recognition number will be transmitted. If you are in difficulty the CG will know immediately what the vessel is etc. Also the line of communication is greatly improved using digital signals.

Pete
peace and good padlin.

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ChrisS
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Post by ChrisS »

The relevant terms of a Ship Portable Radio Licence say you should use one of the following means of identification:

The "T" reference number indicated in the licence
An MMSI number indicated in the licence (for DSC sets only)
The vessel's name

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Post by Zoe Newsam »

Just a little piece of advice when choosing a callsign- DON'T use your boat make or model (ie 'Sea Kayak Romany' or 'Explorer' or 'Rockpool'). Chances are there may be others of the same make in your group, and it make identification difficult for Coastguard/ Lifeboat etc in a situation where they need to ID you quickly.
Zoe Newsam
Sea Kayak Guide & Mountain Leader

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ChrisS
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Post by ChrisS »

A feature of GPS equipped DSC that you might or might not find useful is that the sets can receive digital Position Request Calls and you can set Postion Reply to Automatic. Then someone else with a DSC set who knows your MMSI number can find out your position whenever they want too. e.g. the coastguard could check on your position without bothering you.

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Adam_Bolonsky
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Re: VHF callsign.

Post by Adam_Bolonsky »

rockhopper wrote:
I have just passed the VHF Marine Operators test and received the Short Range Certificate
This thread is of real interest to me as, here in the US, there are no licensing requirements for a VHF. Buy a radio and you can use it.

During the summer season one does hear a lot of wayward radio use and waste of the spectrum, but generally usage is responsible and good.

The change took place sometime during the 70's or 80's. The thinking was, the more boaters with VHF radios the safer the waters.

We've also got a FRS spectrum - family radio service. The radios are available for around $40 US a pair. Their range is short and the spectrum is not monitored by rescue resources, nor are rescue resources reachable on the band, but the FRS option is a handy one for groups that want an inexpensive way to keep in touch on water. VHFs can then stand by as emergency backups in case we need to make a pan-pan, securite, or mayday call on VHF ch. 16.

Is there a similar spectrum in the UK? And has there ever been a legislative push to do away with VHF licensing?

Adam

paddlingtravelers.blogspot.com - A US-based sea kayaking blog.


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Post by Chris Bolton »

Adam wrote:Is there a similar spectrum in the UK? And has there ever been a legislative push to do away with VHF licensing?
Yes, there is a similar spectrum in the UK - it's OK between group members but no use for anyone else. My view is that if I'm going to carry a radio I might as well make it as useful as I can.

The UK Government view on marine VHF licensing is that we have to have it, to meet international law, but as from last October the licenses are free.

rockhopper
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Post by rockhopper »

Thanks Luke,
I thought that there was more to it.....however, after visiting the Ofcom site and negotiating their pages I feel that i will have to have a bit of a lie down to recuperate....don't make it very 'accesible' do they?. Whatever happened to good old straight to the point plain English.

Hopefully, I appear to have registered which seems to be a step in the right direction.

Rog.

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geyrfugl
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Post by geyrfugl »

If your sea boat has any character at all, she should have a name. I know that plastic and fibreglass kayaks don't have _much_ character, but if you have personalised her at all, she still has enough character to deserve to be known by something more than the generic model and colour.

Mind you, not every name makes a good call sign - mine is called
"Piqqalujamik takujumavunga" :-(

OK, it means "I want to see an iceberg" in West Greenlandic.

My daughter's boat is the one called "Geyrfugl" which makes a much better callsign (and forum user name...)

Andy

rockhopper
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Post by rockhopper »

Mmm !
only thing is, is that I have four boats, so I actually feel like a bit of a kayak slag (can I use that word on this forum or will Mark give me a damn good telling off?).
I fear that if I named them all I might forget myself at some point and in a moment of exhileration shout out the wrong name which may be embarassing for me and also my boat may never forgive me. Better for them to remain nameless so I can call each of them 'my lovely boat' without fear of putting my foot in it.

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Post by Skua »

When thinking up a name for your boat- give some thought to spelling it phonetically in times of poor reception! Short, sharp, clear and concise are far better than long winded and ambiuous.

Some ideas - names of stars:
Polaris is a common one!
Alpha Centuri is a bit too long!
Betelguis is a bit too demonic.....

Scottish Islands?
Rivers?
Seabirds?

My boats are named after Roman Gods of the Chase (Diana for my fishing kayak, then we also have Orion and Artemis and Nanuk - Inuit for "The Hunter", so close on the theme).
My touring boat is named after a bird - SKUA!! Which also happens to be the model.

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CaptainSensible
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Post by CaptainSensible »

My boat is called "YAK 88" :P

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Ceegee
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Post by Ceegee »

Thats why we have the international alfabet - Yankee Alpha Kilo eighter eighter.

Working on mining & construction sites overseas, we used two/three initals for individuals (should work fine in a largish group - my favourite Whisky Papa - Walther Pienaar), or department codes (e.g. Echo one, two etc. for Engineering etc. - boat names could be substituted e.g. Romeo Hotel). The chances of name conflicts within VHF range are minimal.

Regards,

Sierra Charlie Golf (Steve - CeeGee)

Skua
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Post by Skua »

Shouldn't that be "octo eight"?

Phonetic numbers folks:
una one
bisso two
terra three
quarte four
panta five
sox-i-six
septe seven
octo eight
nove niner
nadazero

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB »

Phonetic numbers (and alphabet) as well as emergency protocols are here

8 = eight = "ait"
9 = nine = "niner"

Mike.

rockhopper
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Post by rockhopper »

Okay, so now I have received the communication back from Ofcom who have confirmed my Username I have been back to their website to see what to do next however....considering that the heading for their site says:
Ofcom. Office of communications....
it is quite the worst and most confusing site I think I have ever been on. Not what I would call user friendly and with no 'help' tabs to guide you through the process.
Looks like I will have to revert back to the good old fashioned method of phoning someone up and talking to them !!!

rockhopper
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Post by rockhopper »

Ah, the joys of speaking to someone....
With the assistance of a very helpful chap to guide me through the sections and pages I have now finally managed to download my license.
Hooray !

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adrian j pullin
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Post by adrian j pullin »

A number of suggestions above lead me to think that people are forgetting what your call sign is for. It is to allow you to communicate with others effectively. If you select an obscure or difficult to understand call sign you are not helping that communication. Particularly in an emergency, this could be significant.

Personally, I use "kayak Adrian". It tells everyone else (particularly the coastguard) what I am and I am much more likely to hear my own name than anything else if someone is calling me. I know that it works from talking to Holyhead coastguard from Hilbre Island when they picked up a conversation between a group of us paddling round Hilbre in December. They called me because they could identify my call sign.

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