Tuning in the Coast Guard
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Click here to see more photos... My VHF radio, like most modern sets, has scanning capability. I can pick a set of channels to be scanned. While I am out daysailing from Fairport I typically scan 16 and all of the Coast Guard working channels. I hear all of the CG communications. When they are engaged in operations I hear about it. When they bring in the helicopter from Detroit for search and rescue I hear the comms between the surface craft and the helo. If you want to hear it all, program your VHF radio to scan these channels: 16, 21, 22, 23, 81, and 83. Just remember to take you radio off scan and pick a none USCG channel when you make a call.

The USCG also has some operational frequencies that are not marine VHF. If you have a programmable scanner you might be able to hear your local Coast Guard on some of these (MHz):

162.02          164.9125
162.125         164.9875
162.225         165.2125
162.25          165.3125
162.325         165.5625
162.5625        171.2375
163.125         171.3125
163.175         171.3375
163.4375        171.3625
164.3           381.7
164.55          381.8
USCG Auxiliary officers who are also ham radio operators have been known to use 143.28 and 143.875 MHz.

The following are VHF search and rescue (SAR) frequencies that are used when there is a missing or sinking vessel (MHz):

156.3    (VHF CH6)
156.6    (VHF CH12)

The following frequencies are for shipboard simplex or repeater use on commercial vessels:


Click here for a table of VHF channels
Click here for maps of Fairport
USCG web site

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Copyright ©1999 Dan Pfeiffer