Does anybody know if there are any marine operators still around? Mainly looking for lake Michigan area, but I figured with the use of cell phones, most of these channels are pretty quiet.
Marine freqs are still used all over the world there is call in points all over the great lakes for the freighters. That makes a lota calls from freighters to land spots this link is in the Erie, Detroit river, lake St Claire, and lake Huron.
Detroit and St. Clair Rivers Calling-In-Points -Boatnerd.com
I am sure if you search you will find for lake Michigan the call in points. go in to the RR for finding the freqs used for Marine and just use them in your scanner.
The local Maritel service out of Portland was on channel 26, KOE815. Occasionally the shore transmitter would play a recording saying "this is KOE815, Maritel marine operator located in Portland, Oregon. Ready to place your call on channel two six." So then to actually get the system's attention you'd key up briefly to get the prompt, "this is KOE815, Maritel marine operator located at Portland, Oregon. To place a call please key your microphone for an additional five seconds now."
At that point you'd key up for a few more seconds and the operator (don't know where their switching office was) would come on the air and set the call up. When monitoring the shore channel, one would always hear a ~60 pulse-per-minute 1000 Hz tone in the same cadence as the busy signal on the landline, when the ship side was keyed up, so basically you'd end up only hearing one side of the conversation. (But don't bother asking me what I had for breakfast this morning.)
I guess they're still in business and it must still be on 26, but I haven't heard anybody using it in a very long time. Maybe I should kerchunk it one of these days and see, out of curiosity.
Looks like they have coverage around Lake Michigan, though: http://maritelusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/LicensedArea-660x370.jpg