Station 20 Salish Seas
Stationt 14 Gibsons
Station 50
Station 37 Sooke
July 6th, 2007
July 6th, 2007

Important VHF radio bulletin

Important VHF radio bulletin for anyone with a modern marine VHF radio or looking to purchase a new radio

Several models of modern VHF radio that classify marine radio channels into groups (US, Canadian, or International) are incorrectly assigning the Canadian Ch 83 to a duplex (Bravo) mode. Currently the Canadian Coast Guard - Pacific uses channel 83 A (Simplex) as their primary working channel. This means that anyone with an affected radio set in the “Canadian” mode will not be able to communicate with the Coast Guard on this channel.

Known manufacturers with this issue:
Raymarine (most models)
Uniden (most models); the latest Uniden radios appear not to transmit or receive on 04A in USA mode.

Some ICOM radios are affected and others are not.

Manufacturers NOT affected:
Standard Horizon

It is important to check your radio´s user manual and verify its channel assignments. Most radios are hard coded and these channel assignments cannot be changed. You should look closely at the channel specifications of your radio before purchasing a new marine radio and ensure it has the correct channel assignments.

In most cases switching the radio to US mode will give you access to Ch 83A. The worse case scenario occurs with some GPS connected radios that automatically select your channel group (US/Canadian/International) based on vessel position - in these cases it is impossible to override the group and it may be impossible to access the required channel. The Uniden 525 series of Class D DSC radio is an example of this.

David Rees-Thomas
Manager of SAR/Operations

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