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Welcome to our learning page!

When we find awesome things we feel need to be shared we put them here for you to find them!

By Matt Schafer, Oct 2 2019 06:18PM

Ever wonder why your cell signal drops out and comes back while driving? Maybe wondering why you get better cell signal on one side of your house or the other?


At Vernon Communications we pride ourselves in providing education for our clients. We help them understand why things happen, not just that they happen. This helps you make better smarter decisions on your own!


Come on down to the store and we can show you how a FREE SureCall Path Survey can be the first step in seamless communications!

By Matt Schafer, Aug 27 2019 08:31PM

Content copied from: https://www.groundcontrol.com/BGAN_Cost.htm


Why Is BGAN Service So Expensive?

We agree that the cost of BGAN satellite Internet service is very expensive when compared to cellular services or other satellite dish services. The primary reason is because you are transmitting to a satellite over 22,000 miles away using the L-Band frequency. L-Band is the only frequency that allows a portable satellite antennas to deliver high-speed data over satellite. The good news is if one employs a few simple tricks while using a BGAN terminal, the cost of service can be drastically reduced.


WHY L-BAND FREQUENCY IS EXPENSIVE

The L-Band frequency is the same frequency used by satellite telephones that you may recall have very high $1 per minute calling costs. The L-Band has a very long wavelength and as such it has low effective bandwidth... or In other words, the amount of data that can be pushed though one L-Band satellite is much less than the Ku-Band or Ka-Band frequencies used by larger satellite dishes, such as iDirect, Hughesnet, Exede, and Ground Control. Since the L-Band effective bandwidth is smaller, the price for transmitting high speed data through it is much higher. However, with standard BGAN Internet service, you only pay for the data transferred, no matter how long you are online, unlike satellite telephones, where you are charged by the minute.


The greatest advantage of L-Band is it requires only a very small antenna to connect, so BGAN terminals are portable enough to carry. Satellite dishes on the other hand are very heavy, and only certified installers are allowed to point a fixed satellite dish. Obviously, cellular services do not have 100% coverage, and this is especially true during a disaster, such as a hurricanes or floods.


REASONS WHY BUYERS CHOOSE BGAN

► BGAN terminals may be used ANYWHERE the sky can be seen ...globally.

► BGAN terminals are carry portable, and can be pointed and operated by anyone.

► BGAN is a satellite service is reliable, even in areas of localized disasters such as floods.

► BGAN service rates can be drastically lowered by using BGAN Best Practices.


THE BOTTOM LINE

When High-Speed Internet connectivity is a requirement, no matter the location, BGAN service is the only viable "Carry Portable" solution we know of.


By Matt Schafer, Aug 27 2019 08:13PM

Content From Wikipedia,

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadband_Global_Area_Network)


The Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) is a global satellite network with telephony using portable terminals. The terminals are normally used to connect a laptop computer to broadband Internet in remote locations, although as long as line-of-sight to the satellite exists, the terminal can be used anywhere. The value of BGAN terminals is that, unlike other satellite Internet services which require bulky and heavy satellite dishes to connect, a BGAN terminal is about the size of a laptop and thus can be carried easily. The network is provided by Inmarsat and uses three geostationary satellites called I-4 to provide almost global coverage.


Details

Downlink speeds of high-end BGAN terminals are up to 492 kbit/s and upload speeds are also up to 492 kbit/s - Best Effort as BGAN Background IP (BIP) is a contended (shared) channel. As with all geosynchronous satellite connections, latency is an issue. Common latency is 1–1.5 seconds round trip for the Background IP service. It is slightly better for the Streaming services at 800 ms – 1 second. This latency is mainly due to the great distance that has to be traveled before a packet can reach the Internet, but is slightly exacerbated by the back-end technology as normal latency over a Very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system is roughly 550 ms. BGAN users frequently use PEP software or other TCP packet accelerators to improve performance, and the BGAN user is often assigned a non-routable IP address and routed through a NAT server; this increases security and helps control usage costs.


BGAN terminals are made by multiple manufacturers. They all have similar capabilities. The main two that apply to basic BGAN usage are the Standard Background IP (Internet) and Telephone Voice. Data costs from the many ISPs that offer BGAN service average about US$7.50 per Background Megabyte. Voice calling is on average US$1 per min and varies slightly based on the destination of the call (Land lines, Cell phones, other Satellite phones which are the most expensive).


BGAN can be easily set up by anyone, and has excellent voice calling quality. It uses the L band, avoiding rain fade and other issues affecting satellite systems operating at higher frequency bands.


Signal acquisition

The actual process of connecting a BGAN terminal to the satellite is fairly straightforward. The BGAN terminal needs to find its position using GPS, before it can negotiate with the satellite, so a clear view of the sky is necessary to begin with. Once the GPS position is obtained, it does not need to do that again unless it is moved to a different region. Obtaining the initial GPS position can take a few minutes. The terminal then needs a line-of-sight to the geostationary satellite so a user would normally be outside, and have a general idea of what direction the satellite would be (with a compass if necessary). Turning the terminal slowly by hand, it will give some indication when the satellite is found. Then usually with the touch of one button, the terminal auto-negotiates with the satellite and connects. The average pointing time for a BGAN unit is 2 minutes, under a minute with an experienced user and a good signal. BGAN is being used in the world today for disaster response, telemedicine, business continuity, remote site monitoring (telemetry), military use, and recreational use.


Terminals

Terminal manufactures are Thrane & Thrane, Hughes Network Systems,[2] and Addvalue. Terminal cost is between US$500 and US$5000 varying based on class and capabilities of the various systems. Depending on terminal type users can connect their computers via USB, Bluetooth, WiFi, or Ethernet connection(s). This allows them to access the Internet, check e-mail, download files, or any other Internet activity they might do at a home or office. Many come equipped with a regular RJ11 Phone Jack for making PSTN calls, using an ordinary telephone handset, and many terminals have an ISDN connection to do ISDN phone calls. Some BGAN terminals have both so users can make either type of phone call. Users can also send faxes or SMS text messages. Most BGAN terminals can support a router or switch device so users can plug in multiple computers or even VOIP phones and set up a mobile office.



Now that you have the idea, call us and rack our brains for answers!

Lets start your next adventure right! 778-932-0539

By Matt Schafer, Aug 14 2019 07:47PM

Original Link: https://www.rei.com/blog/news/which-satellite-messenger-should-you-get

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This is a copy of the content from the link above, it is intended as information for our customers to use to help in their buying decisions. All pricing mentioned is from the original vendors website and does not reflect vernon communications pricing. Only a comparison of the price points.

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WHICH SATELLITE MESSENGER SHOULD I GET?

Comparing the SPOT X, SPOT Gen3, Garmin inReach Mini and Garmin inReach Explorer+



With the recent launch of two new satellite messengers, the Garmin inReach Mini and the SPOT X, backcountry enthusiasts have more options than ever for staying connected when venturing off the grid. You might be wondering, “Which satellite messenger is best for me?”


We’re here to help you make that decision with a rundown of the major differences between four of the most popular satellite messengers we carry at REI—the Garmin inReach Mini, Garmin inReach Explorer+, SPOT X and SPOT Gen3.


What is a Satellite Messenger?

All four of these devices have a number of basic functions in common. When activated with a satellite subscription, all of them let you do the following in (most) places without cellphone reception:


Track your journey (default of 10 min. intervals; can be customized as needed)

Send text-based messages to your personal contacts

Create shareable online maps of your adventure so others can follow along in (near) real time

Automatically post updates, including GPS location, to your Facebook or Twitter accounts

In case of a non-life-threatening emergency, alert your personal contacts that you need help

In case of a life-threatening emergency, activate an SOS button (protected against accidental activation in your pack) that directly notifies emergency responders of your distress signal, as well as your GPS coordinates

Notably, all four devices are impact-resistant and rated IPX7 waterproof, meaning they’re protected from water submersion up to 1 meter deep for at least 30 minutes (i.e., They’ll definitely do just fine hanging off the back of your pack in a rainstorm.) Additionally, SPOT X is also considered dustproof (IP67 rating).


Beyond having these baseline functions in common, each device offers a distinct set of features. Read on to understand the differences between these key features:


Messaging Capabilities

Navigation Aids

Size/Weight

Device and Satellite Subscription Plan Costs

Coverage

Battery Life, Type and Performance

Comparing Messaging Capabilities

Three of these four devices—the Garmin inReach Mini, inReach Explorer+ and SPOT X—have 2-way messaging capabilities, meaning you can both send and receive messages—to cellphones, email addresses and, in the case of Garmin, to other inReach devices. In case of a life-threatening emergency, you’ll also be able to text directly with rescue personnel to explain your emergency and receive confirmation if and when help is on the way.


The SPOT Gen3 can only send messages. (And it’s priced accordingly; more on that shortly.) Aside from the device’s SOS function, you have three message options to choose from—a check-in message, one other preprogrammed custom message (composed at home, not on the device) and a request for help in non-life-threatening situations. Messages can be sent to up to 10 contacts predetermined before your trip. A green light confirms that your message has been sent.


Shop Garmin inReach Explorer+ 2-Way Satellite Communicator, Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator and moreShop Garmin inReach Explorer+ 2-Way Satellite Communicator, Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator and more

Shop Garmin inReach Explorer+ 2-Way Satellite Communicator and moreShop Garmin inReach Explorer+ 2-Way Satellite Communicator and more

Shop Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator and moreShop Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator and more


The two Garmin devices allow you to send a wide variety of preset texts, including messages customized ahead of time at home, or custom texts typed on the device itself. Neither has a built-in keyboard; typing messages is moderately time-consuming on the inReach Explorer+ (using predictive text and arrow buttons to navigate an on-screen keyboard), and highly time-consuming on the inReach Mini (using arrow buttons and a vertically scrolling alphabet to select letters one by one). In both cases, if you’re planning to message frequently, you may be best off pairing your inReach with a Bluetooth-capable smartphone and instead composing texts in Garmin’s Earthmate app (free with the purchase of an inReach device).


The SPOT X does not integrate directly with smartphones, but instead, has its own built-in, lit QWERTY keyboard, allowing you to easily and quickly compose messages from the device itself. The compact keyboard is reminiscent of certain early smartphone keyboards; typing on it may take some practice. As with both Garmin devices, you can also compose preset messages at home (e.g., “I’m feeling incredibly awesome!” or “I love you, honey” or “Are we there yet?”), and then send them with the press of a button once you’re in the backcountry, preventing you from having to type long messages on the device itself.


Navigation Aids and Other Unique Features

The Garmin inReach Explorer+ boasts a panoply of features. It is the only one of these four devices that also serves as a handheld GPS navigation unit with built-in topo maps and sensors, including a barometric altimeter and accelerometer that provide detailed metrics on your journey. You can also create a breadcrumb trail as you go, and then use it to navigate your way back the same way you came.


When paired with a smartphone and the Earthmate app, the inReach Mini offers most of the same functionality. On its own, without a paired phone, it still lets you follow routes (pre-uploaded to the device) and drop waypoints as you go. Additionally, one unique feature is that it can be synced up using ANT+ wireless technology to compatible wearables like the Garmin Forerunner 935 or Fenix 5 series watches, so you can send and receive inReach messages, or even trigger an SOS, on your watch.


You can also request basic or premium weather updates at any time on both Garmin devices. Depending on your subscription plan, additional fees may apply.



Though the SPOT X does not feature maps, sensors or weather updates, it has several built-in navigation tools, including a compass and programmable waypoints. Each SPOT X also comes with a unique U.S. mobile number to make it easy for friends and loved ones to send your device text messages from their cellphones. (By comparison, messages are sent to the Garmin devices via a customized inReach email address or through the Earthmate app.)


The SPOT Gen3 does not have any navigational features.


Shop SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger and moreShop SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger and more

Shop SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger and moreShop SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger and more


Size/Weight

The Garmin inReach Mini is the tiniest of all these devices, with the SPOT Gen3 not too far behind.


Both the SPOT X and Garmin inReach Explorer+ are larger and heavier than the other devices by a few ounces. Compared to each other, they’re in the same ballpark—though the SPOT X is slightly lighter.



Here are each device’s key dimensions, starting with the smallest and lightest weight.


Garmin inReach Mini: 3.9 x 2 x 1 in. (3.5 oz.*)

SPOT Gen3: 3.4 x 2.5 x 1 in. (4 oz.*)

SPOT X: 6.5 x 2.9 x 0.9 in. (6.7 oz.*)

Garmin inReach Explorer+: 6.5 x 2.7 x 1.5 in. (7.5 oz.*)

*All given product weights include battery weight, whether batteries are integrated or removable.


Device and Satellite Subscription Plan Costs

Choosing what you want to spend depends on which features matter most to you. Each device is priced to reflect the level of features it offers.


SPOT Gen3: $149.95

SPOT X: $249.95

Garmin inReach Mini: $350

Garmin inReach Explorer+: $450

However, evaluating the cost of a satellite messenger is not as simple as looking at the device price tag. Each one also requires purchasing a satellite subscription from Garmin or SPOT.


SPOT plans require a 12-month contract, billed monthly or annually, plus a $19.99 activation fee. The basic SPOT plan ($199.99/year) provides tracking options of 5-, 10-, 30- or 60-minute intervals. Upgrading to 2.5-minute tracking intervals costs an additional $99.99/year. Notably, unlike Garmin, SPOT also offers a Gen3 device rental program for one-time uses, or if you want to try the product out before buying.


SERVICE PLAN COST

Basic Service Plan

S.O.S

Help

CheckIn/OK

Custom Message

Basic Tracking

$199.99/year or $19.99/month

Tracking Upgrade

Extreme Tracking

$99.99/year + Basic Service per year or $9.99/month + Basic Service per month

Garmin offers a broad variety of plans, including monthly (“Freedom plan”) or annual, plus an activation fee ($24.95 annually for Freedom plans; $19.95 once for annual plans). Tiers range from the most basic Safety plan to the Extreme plan.


SERVICE PLAN COST

Safety

Unlimited SOS

10 Text Messages*

Unlimited Preset Messages

10 Minutes+ Tracking Intervals

$0.10 ea. Tracking Points

$0.10 ea. Location Pings

1 Text Message ea. Basic Weather

$1.00 ea. Premium Weather

Annual/Contract: $11.95/month


Freedom Plan: $14.95/month



Messages (each)*: $0.50


Recreation

Unlimited SOS

40 Text Messages*

Unlimited Preset Messages

10 Minutes+ Tracking Intervals

Unlimited Tracking Points

Unlimited Location Pings

1 Text Message ea. Basic Weather

$1.00 ea. Premium Weather

Annual/Contract: $24.95/month


Freedom Plan: $34.95/month



Messages (each)*: $0.50


Expedition

Unlimited SOS

Unlimited Text Messages*

Unlimited Preset Messages

10 Minutes+ Tracking Intervals

Unlimited Tracking Points

Unlimited Location Pings

Unlimited Basic Weather

$1.00 ea. Premium Weather

Annual/Contract: $49.95/ month


Freedom Plan: $64.95/month



Messages (each)*: N/A


Extreme

Unlimited SOS

Unlimited Text Messages*

Unlimited Preset Messages

2 Minutes+ Tracking Intervals

Unlimited Tracking Points

Unlimited Location Pings

Unlimited Basic Weather

$1.00 ea. Premium Weather

Annual/Contract: $79.95/ month


Freedom Plan: $99.95/month



Messages (each)*: N/A


*160 characters


Though not equivalent in every detail, the inReach Recreation tier is fairly comparable to the basic SPOT plan. Both plans offer basic messaging, plus unlimited 10 min. interval tracking and SOS capabilities. At this tier, if you plan to use your device regularly, the annual cost of SPOT service is about $100 less than Garmin inReach service.


By contrast, let’s say you really only want a satellite device for summer backpacking trips, so will only require active satellite service for a few months each year. In this scenario, because Garmin offers monthly options, three months of Garmin inReach Recreation service costs about $90 less than basic SPOT service.


Coverage

The Garmin devices operate on the Iridium satellite network, which provides 100 percent pole-to-pole coverage, with no gaps or fringe areas. (Yes, this means that should you wish to venture to the South Pole, or the middle of the Pacific Ocean, your inReach device will keep you connected.)


The SPOT devices operate on the Globalstar satellite network, which provides SPOT messenger devices with coverage for virtually all of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, portions of South America, portions of North and South Africa, Northeast Asia, and hundreds of miles offshore of those areas. A detailed coverage map can be found on the SPOT website.


Battery Life, Type and Performance

Battery life of these devices depends on many factors, including:


Frequency of tracking intervals—the more frequently your device logs or reports GPS coordinates, the more quickly it will eat through its battery life

Temperature—extreme hot or cold can decrease battery life

Whether the device has a clear line of sight to the sky—the battery may drain faster in exceptionally dense tree cover, or if you try to send messages from indoors or inside a cave

Whether it’s connected to ANT+ or Bluetooth wireless technology—using either one can decrease battery life

Frequency of message-checking intervals—a higher frequency can decrease battery life

For comparison, here’s the vendor-provided information on battery life of each device, assuming a full charge in optimal operating conditions, with continuous 10-minute tracking intervals:


Garmin inReach Mini: 50 hrs. (2 days)

Garmin inReach Explorer+: 100 hrs. (4 days)

SPOT X: 240 hrs. (10 days)

SPOT Gen3: 17 days

With less frequent tracking intervals, battery life capacity improves significantly. For example, both Garmin devices have an extended tracking option—30-minute tracking intervals, with messaging, detailed track lines and Bluetooth disabled—that lengthens their battery life by weeks. (Total battery life of up to 20 days for the inReach Mini, and up to 30 days for the inReach Explorer.)


Similarly, the SPOT devices can last nearly three times as long when they’re set to 60-minute tracking intervals (vs. the default 10-minute intervals).


Three of the four devices—the Garmin inReach Mini, Garmin inReach Explorer+ and SPOT X—operate on an integrated, rechargeable lithium ion battery that recharges via an included micro USB charger.


The SPOT Gen3, on the other hand, operates on 4 AAA lithium batteries, 4 AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries or 5-volt USB line power. This allows you to easily carry external power packs or backup batteries to swap out on the go if need be. Note: AAA alkaline batteries will work, too, but are not recommended for optimal performance.


The Bottom Line: Which Satellite Messenger Should I Get?

As you’ve probably figured out, your answer will depend on your unique needs. Ask yourself the following questions, and then read on for our high-level summary of each device:


What are your biggest priorities? Easy, quick messaging? Battery life? Cost savings? Compact size and weight? Navigational tools?

Do you need a device for just one or two major adventures per year, or are you looking for something to use regularly year-round?

How important to you is 2-way messaging, and how often do you plan to use this feature?

Will primarily preset messages (including custom ones you create at home before leaving for your journey) suffice, or do you want the flexibility to easily type messages in the backcountry?

Do you plan to also carry a smartphone and use it in conjunction with your satellite messenger, or do you want a standalone device?

Shop Garmin inReach Explorer+ 2-Way Satellite Communicator, Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator, SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger, SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger and moreShop Garmin inReach Explorer+ 2-Way Satellite Communicator, Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator, SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger, SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger and more

Shop Garmin inReach Explorer+ 2-Way Satellite Communicator and moreShop Garmin inReach Explorer+ 2-Way Satellite Communicator and more

Shop Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator and moreShop Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator and more

Shop SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger and moreShop SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger and more

Shop SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger and moreShop SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger and more


Choose the Garmin inReach Explorer+ if you’re seeking a full-featured 2-way messenger, handheld GPS navigation tool, tracker and SOS device that can be used anywhere on the planet. It’s ideal if you’re planning deep backcountry explorations and value robust navigational assistance, data tracking and a user-friendly interface. Though it’s the heaviest and most expensive of all four devices reviewed here, it provides plenty of bang for your buck as a standalone, do-it-all device or when paired with a Bluetooth-capable smartphone.


Choose the SPOT X if you adventure year-round and want a good value not only for baseline tracking and SOS capability, but also for receiving and sending custom messages with ease. Its battery life is two-and-a-half to five times as long as the other 2-way messengers discussed here, and it doesn’t require pairing with a smartphone for relatively fast composition of messages, making it a great standalone messaging device. Plus, its built-in compass and programmable waypoints are ideal for activities like hiking and backpacking.


Choose the Garmin inReach Mini if you’re seeking an impressively compact, forget-it’s-there satellite lifeline with 2-way messaging capabilities. It’s great for gram-counting adventurers (backpackers and thru-hikers, trail runners, etc.). Though it accomplishes all of the basic functions of a standalone device, typing custom messages on the device itself is time-consuming. Its functionality and user-friendliness soar when paired with a Bluetooth-capable smartphone—so if you’re already planning to carry your phone, it’s an especially great choice. But even without, it provides solid tracking and SOS capabilities all over the globe. Plus, if you own a compatible Garmin wearable, the watch integration is a huge boon.


Choose the SPOT Gen3 if you want just the essentials of a satellite communication device: GPS tracking, SOS capabilities and 1-way satellite messaging to let your friends and loved ones know whether you’re doing OK or need help. It’s compact, lightweight and far and away the most budget-friendly option for those who adventure regularly but don’t need fancy bells and whistles. It offers set-it-and-forget-it tracking and peace of mind that you'll be able to call for help in case of emergency.


By guest, Aug 13 2018 03:02PM

Use a VHF Marine Radio for Emergencies on the Water:

The Coast Guard encourages boaters to invest in a VHF-FM radio as their primary means of distress calling. VHF is superior to cell phones for boating emergencies. When a Mayday is sent out via a VHF radio it is a broadcast to Coast Guard radio stations as well as any VHF-equipped boat within listening range. Nearby boaters can often offer immediate assistance long before a Coast Guard vessel or towing service can arrive.


VHF Operator's licence:

Any person who uses the radio to transmit must have a Restricted Radio Operator’s Certificate – Marine ROC(M). You don't need a Certificate just to listen to weather channels. GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) was added to courses and ROC exams in 2005 - anyone with a current certificate remains qualified to operate a marine radio. Teach your children never to talk on the radio unless they have an ROC(M). More...


VHF ship's radio licence:

Licences for a ship's VHF radio station may be exempted for recreational boat radios used in Canadian waters. You should maintain the licence if you plan to travel to other countries or boat near U.S. waters. More...


Foreign visitors:

To legally transmit using VHF radios on a foreign boat in Canada require a valid Ship Station Licence (2003: $150 for 10 yrs) and operator's licence from your home country. Transmitting around the Canada/U.S. border is usually ignored, but make sure you follow proper radio procedures. More...


GMDSS:

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System began in 1999. Ships will send distress calls electronically using Digital Selective Calling (DSC) on the Great Lakes, as well as coastal waters. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to monitor Channel 16 in coastal waters. Channel 16 (and 2182 kHz) will also be monitored by the Canadian Coast Guard until further notice.


Other Marine Radio Services in Canada includes telephone, high seas telephone, Navtex, pollution reports, satellite phones, radiomedical, links, and a cute cartoon about "boat anchors".


New boats are now being sold with VHF radios as standard equipment, sending people onto the water without a proper operator's licence which would at least ensure they know basic radio procedure.


Heard on VHF channel 16 (Lake Ontario summer 2001):

"Vessel going down, this is [station] Coast Guard radio. What is your position and the nature of your distress?"

... I'll leave it to you to see the humour in this.

Top

VHF Channel Usage

The VHF working channels table lists channels for pleasure boats in different parts of Canada. I created this table with input from two VHF instructors and Coast Guard employees since there is just too much information in the federal publication (RBR-2 (former RIC-13 Table of Transmitting Frequencies). Note that if you travel, channel usage is different in each part of Canada. Some channels are listed for non-commercial use, but use them with care (monitor for at least 10 minutes to make it is not currently in use). Read the letter from Industry Canada [Government Directory] explaining usage of unassigned channels. We also provide a Pacific region VHF channel list contributed by a course instructor on the west coast.


A after a channel indicates U.S. mode; B is International mode. Look for a switch on your VHF radio "International - U.S." and set it to "International" setting in Canada. For general information about how VHF communications works, see Wikipedia.org: Marine VHF radio.


Channel 16 is for distress and calling only. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) provides continuous service (monitoring, response, weather alerts) on VHF channel 16 (156.8 MHz), and on 2182 kHz. Call a Canadian Coast Guard station on their working frequency (22A or 83A depending on region), for making a radiotelephone call or to report a Float Plan. In an emergency, mariners may obtain medical advice by calling an MCTS Centre and requesting to be connected to a medical professional via the MCTS Telephone System. (Marine Communications and Traffic Services)


In a typical day, the CCG handles:

1,127 marine radio contacts, assists in 19 search and rescue operations, services 55 aids to navigation, surveys 5 km of navigation channel, saves 8 lives, manages 2,346 commercial ship movements, as well as other duties.


The 8 primary Search and Rescue Stations in the Great Lakes are: Tobermory, Goderich, Meaford, Amherstburg, Port Dover, Port Weller, Cobourg, Kingston.


Making a VHF radio call:

Learn how to call another boat, harbour, bridge, or marina. Once a vessel has responded to your call, change to one of the VHF working channels authorized for pleasure boats to continue. If these are busy, you may use channels designated for non-commercial and intership communications, but you must note all restrictions. If channels are shared with commercial and official government organizations, use them only if they are "quiet" of that use for at least 5 minutes.


Canadian working channels:

General channels for recreational boaters are 06 and 68 when calling a ship or shore station. See our list of VHF working channels for Canadian regions. Note that the west coast uses different working channels from the east coast and Great Lakes, and Canadian channel usage is different from the U.S.A. Once you cross into American waters you must have the ROC(M), a valid ship's radio licence, and follow their regulations for marine radio usage.


The St. Lawrence Seaway uses 11, 12, 13, 14. Contact locks and large ships on 13. Channel 68 is a main working channel for boats, but may also be used to call marinas and harbours (73 in the Pacific region). Don't call them on 16!


It is illegal to use channel 70 for intership communication. Channel 70 is reserved exclusively for DSC: Digital Selective Calling digital safety and distress calls, part of the new GMDSS international marine emergency system. Channel 65A is restricted to Search and Rescue operations only. Boaters must not use these as a talking channel.


The U.S. allows Channel 9 as a second calling channel for recreational boats. This channel is not a calling channel in Canada. [www.uscg.mil]


Canadian Coast Guard monitors 83A (157.1 MHz). (CCG monitors Channel 22A in some areas that borders the U.S. in Pacific Region.) CCG uses 1-3, 23-28, 60, 64, 84-88 for public correspondence. They will tell you which channel to switch to for making a VHF radiotelephone call via the Marine Operator. For long-distance calling, you must have an existing account or a valid ship's licence for billing purposes.


Print and fill out a form for a Mayday distress call for your crew and guests. Hopefully, you will never need it!


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