Encrypted Marine Channel 16 on The Shoreline?

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sefrischling

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Last night and again this morning I have now twice heard radio transmissions on Marine Channel 16 that were clearly encrypted. I heard this by Niantic Bay and again this morning by Giants Neck Beach.

Both transmissions lasted only a few minutes of what I assume was back and forth, but I have never heard anything encrypted on Marine Channel 16, ever, anywhere in 20 something years of listening to scanners.

Anyone hear this? Anyone ever heard of anyone ever using encryption the Marine International Calling/Distress Channel?
 

sefrischling

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Are you scanning with an analog scanner? It could just be a digital modulation you are hearing.
Marine Channel 16 is only transmitted in analog, never digital, globally and is monitored 24/7 by Navies and Coast Guards around the world for distress and alert calls. I am also using a 396xt and this was not digital noise from hearing a P25 radio on an analog radio, this was encryption. It sounds quite different.
 

RKG

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Telephony on Marine Channel 16 is limited to analog FM voice. 47 C.F.R. sec. 80.207.
 

sefrischling

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Thanks RKG, I knew there was something official on this, I just didn't know where.

I have a lot of USCG, DHS and Navy activity around where I live, but on Ch 16 and 22A they are only analog and in the clear, on all the standard Marine Channels they are only analog and in the clear. I wonder who is monkeying around with the encryption stuff and why the heck would you chose that channel?
 

jhal94

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Marine Channel 16 is only transmitted in analog, never digital, globally and is monitored 24/7 by Navies and Coast Guards around the world for distress and alert calls. I am also using a 396xt and this was not digital noise from hearing a P25 radio on an analog radio, this was encryption. It sounds quite different.
Oh ok then. I was more concerned that you thought a digital signal was actually encryption. There is P25 on the coast guard channels sometimes too so I was speculating that it could have been them. It could always be an image, is there a CTCSS or a DPL tone with it?
 

sefrischling

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jhal94

Yes, USCG uses some P25 systems, but none are tied to standard international Marine VHF channels. Marine Channel 16 is Rx/Tx 156.800, no PL/DPL.

The USCG description of this channel's use is "International Distress, Safety and Calling. Ships required to carry radio, USCG, and most coast stations maintain a listening watch on this channel."
 

jhal94

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jhal94

Yes, USCG uses some P25 systems, but none are tied to standard international Marine VHF channels. Marine Channel 16 is Rx/Tx 156.800, no PL/DPL.

The USCG description of this channel's use is "International Distress, Safety and Calling. Ships required to carry radio, USCG, and most coast stations maintain a listening watch on this channel."
I realize what the rule is i'm saying it could be an image (an offset reflection/spurious emission) of a different freq. It could be one of the DHS frequencies in your area especially w/ encryption. I know the unidens don't automatically detect pl/dpl so I would put it in search mode and see,
 

sefrischling

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jhal94

It just popped up again now for 3 or 4 minutes, heard on the 396xt, 346xt and two Baofeng UV-5R radios. Sounds like low watt portables. When the ships use Marine 16 it is loud and clear, when the USCG hits the mic it is blasting, this sounds like portables, fairly faint signal tonight.
 

jhal94

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If it's portables id be willing to bet its some kind of image from a federal agency. Especially if they're making a conversation 3-4 minutes long. Scan the rest of VHF and federal UHF range for similar transmissions and see if anything matches what you're hearing now. When you find it look up the CTCSS or DPL assuming it has one and report it to whatever agency uses that tone (FBI: 167.9, exc...)
 

ecps92

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When you say Encrypted, are you indicating P25, DVP/DES or Speech Inversion ??

Last night and again this morning I have now twice heard radio transmissions on Marine Channel 16 that were clearly encrypted. I heard this by Niantic Bay and again this morning by Giants Neck Beach.

Both transmissions lasted only a few minutes of what I assume was back and forth, but I have never heard anything encrypted on Marine Channel 16, ever, anywhere in 20 something years of listening to scanners.

Anyone hear this? Anyone ever heard of anyone ever using encryption the Marine International Calling/Distress Channel?
 

N1SQB

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I dont know if you all are aware but a lot of modern marine radios have a "scramble" option that can be purchased separately. My Icom IC-M504 can have a separate plug in "scramble" board installed for this purpose. UT-112

From the brochure:

Other features
• Dual/tri-watch function for monitoring Ch.16
and/or call channel
• Instant access to Ch. 16 and call channel
• 7 levels adjustable backlit display and keypad
• Convenient “TAG” scanning function
• Optional Voice Scrambler, UT-112 for private
communication
• Weather channels with weather alert function

I found this on the description of the option board:

UT-112 VOICE SCRAMBLER UNIT
Provides up to 32 codes for private communication.

Now as far as usage or where ( what channels ) it is or isnt proper to use this option on, I have no idea. More research will be needed I guess!
Figured I would pass this along! This is most likely what the OP heard. The one interesting thing I read on the manual, at least for this radio, is that the scramble option automatically shuts off on channels 16 and 70.

Manny
 
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KB7MIB

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There is another thread here on the forums about P25 useage on the VHF Marine channels. I wouldn't be surprised if some local or state agency, a commercial business entity, or even private citizens, showed up on any Marine VHF channel with P25 encrypted comms, whether they know what channel(s) are programmed into their radios, or not.
 

Spec

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I dont know if you all are aware but a lot of modern marine radios have a "scramble" option that can be purchased separately. My Icom IC-M504 can have a separate plug in "scramble" board installed for this purpose. UT-112

From the brochure:

Other features
• Dual/tri-watch function for monitoring Ch.16
and/or call channel
• Instant access to Ch. 16 and call channel
• 7 levels adjustable backlit display and keypad
• Convenient “TAG” scanning function
• Optional Voice Scrambler, UT-112 for private
communication
• Weather channels with weather alert function

I found this on the description of the option board:

UT-112 VOICE SCRAMBLER UNIT
Provides up to 32 codes for private communication.

Now as far as usage or where ( what channels ) it is or isnt proper to use this option on, I have no idea. More research will be needed I guess!
Figured I would pass this along! This is most likely what the OP heard. The one interesting thing I read on the manual, at least for this radio, is that the scramble option automatically shuts off on channels 16 and 70.

Manny
Speech Inversion or Rolling Code Inversion are the options on this unit
 

sefrischling

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N1SQB

I had seen that on some radios but as that one says, I thought it was automatically disabled on every radio on Channel 16 ... because scrambling Ch 16 is pointless. That may be it though.

The audio does not sound digital, it has some static pop to it, so it is analog.
 
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