So, in follow up to my last post about daily check-ins via SSBs, when in transit, boats must monitor Channel 16 on the maritime mobile band very high frequency (VHF) radio for emergency communications like May Day. Of course, sailors being a social lot, use VHF also to communicate with others underway nearby (SSB for longer distances). We have the luxury of an Automatic Identification System (AIS) transmitter and receiver (some folks only have transmit). So, for folks with all three, you can see the names of nearby boats, length, speed, and most importantly… direction. When we set an alarm as well, we’re able to see when a ship is going to run into us so we can get out of the way (red arrow)
So, what can a social lot do with all three? In the boxes the boats “s/v five and dime” and “s/v el con viento” can see us ahead of them (blue hearts), hail us (green arrow) on Channel 16 of the VHF, give us a non emergency channel to switch to, and then just chat away!
You can’t do this with old school radar, but since many boats don’t have AIS, we switch to radar as well (for those Find Waldo folks, it isn’t in this picture but if it did, boats would have shown up as little fushia blobs).
Brought to you live, from the oceans using Don’s mobile phone as a hot spot… Let me know if this is interesting or not so I know how to spend my time 😉