Marine Radio Transmission

shirsch101

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I live right outside of Philadelphia with the Delaware Rive approximately 10 miles away. I was surprised that I would not be able to hear any traffic with a BCD536HP and a wide band discone outdoor antennas. Any suggestions
 

a417

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what's your southeastern skyline look like? If you're up against a hill, you've got geography working against you.
 

WB9YBM

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I live right outside of Philadelphia with the Delaware Rive approximately 10 miles away. I was surprised that I would not be able to hear any traffic with a BCD536HP and a wide band discone outdoor antennas. Any suggestions
1.see if there's a closer frequency you can receive; if nothing's heard, your receiver might be dead. If you're hearing something weakly (indicating a working receiver) then:
2. check your antenna system for shorts, opens, etc.
 

captainmax1

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I listen to Marine transmissions all the time from 10-20 miles away. I do live on flat land in the Florida Keys with water all around. I can receive close marine transmissions with just a handheld in my vehicle around here. At home I have an outdoor discone only 15 feet high. Unless you have terrain with hills and large wooded areas, you should be able to receive Marine activity with an outdoor discone. I can listen to Marine on my Uniden BC125AT, Uniden BCT15X, BCD536, BCD436, SDS100, Uniden Atlantis 295 and Uniden UM415.
 

trentbob

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So I live near the Delaware River in Bristol PA. I monitor marine frequencies everyday. I use a 150 450 800 ground plane. Although I use a 100 + 200, I use my 536 for conventional stuff including aircraft, rail and Marine.

it is odd that you're not getting anything. I'm going to give you a list of the frequencies that are busy all the time for your specific area. I would just monitor them. Of course, sector Delaware Bay on 16 + 22, Ops are on 81 and digital CG121 and 409. All vessels monitor Channel 13. Large ships talk to each other dealing with each other and to the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, tacony-palmyra Bridge and the Delair railroad bridge to coordinate openings. That's it. Activity is busy on these channels all the time. You can monitor Channel 14 also if you want but I don't bother, busy shipmaster kind of stuff, occasionally on the weekends you will hear the Coast Guard auxiliary out of Bordentown on channel 83.

If you are 10 miles from the river in the Philadelphia area and have a rooftop that is capable of VHF High then you should have no problem receiving the Coast Guard on channel 16 and 22, you may not get all of the boats but you certainly should get fixed stations on the river depending on exactly where you live.

I trust that you are using a good low loss coax and not a long feed of something like RG58, it's not as critical on VHF high as it would be on ultra-high frequencies.

Just monitor the frequencies I gave you and make sure you're not listening to a bunch of trunking systems on various favorites list at the same time as you will miss many conventional Transmissions of any type. Turn off any systems you have toggled on and just listen to those specific marine frequencies. If you hear nothing throughout the day, then you have a problem that needs to be addressed.
 

trentbob

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I'm not sure if your level of experience with the 536 but thinking of the basics here oh, do you have all your service Types on? By default when you get your radio they are not all toggled on. Make sure all service types are enabled. Let us know if you at least get sector Delaware Bay on 16 + 22. They've been busy today as they've had a number of alerts.

I don't have time today to take a look but last I remember there wasn't a service type for marine radio it was under various transportation service types. That may have changed but I don't think so since there hasn't been any firmware updates for well over a year, actually those changes would have been made in the database, maybe, but just make sure you enable all servers types.
 
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trentbob

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Obviously I meant to say service types not server types. Just check your menu. I did look it up and you're mostly going to see Federal service type for Coast Guard or other service type for marine frequencies but it doesn't say Marine.

This might very well be the answer to your problem.
 

trentbob

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Yep I'm going to be on my cell phone till late tonight and I don't have hpe software to view this on the go. It looks like at least six other people have seen this so if somebody wants to chime in.

If you are saying that all service types including Federal and other are enabled and you are not receiving Channel 16 and channel 22 Coast Guard transmissions from sector Delaware Bay and your antenna coax is good quality and not compromised and you are using a antenna capable of VHF High then I'm stumped LOL.
 

dlwtrunked

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...

If you are 10 miles from the river in the Philadelphia area and have a rooftop that is capable of VHF High then you should have no problem receiving the Coast Guard on channel 16 and 22, you may not get all of the boats but you certainly should get fixed stations on the river depending on exactly where you live.
...
The Coast Guard transmitters are often on high ground on towers not close to the water (and often not close to USCG port facilities) so they are easily heard at a distance but if he is 10 miles from water, knowing the terrain around Philadelphia, hearing vessels may be difficult and perhaps not possible. Where I live I can hear CG transmissions on 16 (being renamed 1016), 22 (actually you mean 22A which is being renamed 1022), and other USCG channels using just an HT but in many years of monitoring, only heard a boat once on the Potomac River using a 48 ft tower and is half as far away as the USCG transmitter site. Additionally, when I drive down I-64 to Norfolk, I only hear vessels when I get quite close to there. Also, marine radios are limited to 25W--less than most mobile 2 meter rigs.
 

trentbob

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The Coast Guard transmitters are often on high ground on towers not close to the water (and often not close to USCG port facilities) so they are easily heard at a distance but if he is 10 miles from water, knowing the terrain around Philadelphia, hearing vessels may be difficult and perhaps not possible. Where I live I can hear CG transmissions on 16 (being renamed 1016), 22 (actually you mean 22A which is being renamed 1022), and other USCG channels using just an HT but in many years of monitoring, only heard a boat once on the Potomac River using a 48 ft tower and is half as far away as the USCG transmitter site. Additionally, when I drive down I-64 to Norfolk, I only hear vessels when I get quite close to there. Also, marine radios are limited to 25W--less than most mobile 2 meter rigs.
Yeah I go way back to the change over to VHF High. I also agree about the difficulties in picking up the vessels themselves. We do have huge cargo ships on the Delaware with high mounted antennas. We also have a lot of Tugs because these ships need qualified pilots as the captains are not qualified on the river. It is a long distance that sector Delaware Bay covers and they do use various transmitters depending on their target direction.

I absolutely feel like the poster should be able to pick up 156.8 and 157.1 without any difficulty whatsoever and they have been very busy today with advisories and routine notices to mariners.

Hopefully I'll be able to get on my desktop later tonight which I rarely use anymore and take a look. It could be so many things relating to the antenna setup.
 

hill

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Not that it help with the vessels and receiving them, but below is the from the USCG NAVCEN. It shows the Rescue 21 sites for Sector Delaware Bay.


I don't live in Pennsylvania, but have spent a lot time delivering in this area. Based on the terrain of this area I think their are a lot of obstructions to block VHF signals from the river to West Chester.
 

hill

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Also VHF-FM Marine Channel 13 156.65 Mhz is a 1 watt channel. Marine radios reduce power automatically on it. There is a way on most to bring it up to 25 watts for a brief transmission. With it being used to making passing agreements with large vessels or get a drawbridge opened all are very close and don't need high power.

There have accidents years ago with a vessel transmitting at 25 watts and blocking signals from users transmitting at 1 watt.
 

trentbob

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Thanks for that, I am located across from Burlington New Jersey on the other side of the Delaware River in Bristol PA near the Burlington-Bristol Bridge.

I guess to think a scanner with a rooftop antenna anywhere in the region would be deaf on channel 16 and 22 is tough for me to imagine but there's so many variables.

Yes on the low-power on channel 13 on the river LOL. The river varies in width and loaded ships outside of the channel are usually doomed. By the Philly waterfront you have lots of room but there are places up by me where it gets pretty dicey like what happened today. The bridge operators of the three large bridges that these ships need openings for are very professional and skilled... it does get a little tense sometimes when there are workers on the bridge or the bridge police are not fast enough to get traffic under control. You know there's cussing going on on the bridge LOL.

Everybody knows where everyone else is and sometimes the bridges go to higher power to speak to each other or further. Thanks for that great map.
 

WB9YBM

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The radio and antennae are new and work on other frequencies.......
"new" doesn't always mean "working" but since you also said it works, maybe it's a case of being in a "signal shadow"--some tall building or other metallic/semi-metallic thing getting in the way...?
 

WB9YBM

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I listen to Marine transmissions all the time from 10-20 miles away. I do live on flat land in the Florida Keys with water all around. I can receive close marine transmissions with just a handheld in my vehicle around here. At home I have an outdoor discone only 15 feet high. Unless you have terrain with hills and large wooded areas, you should be able to receive Marine activity with an outdoor discone. I can listen to Marine on my Uniden BC125AT, Uniden BCT15X, BCD536, BCD436, SDS100, Uniden Atlantis 295 and Uniden UM415.
Certain constructions can cause signal problems, too. For example commercial buildings (everything from strip malls to office buildings) have steel girders (plus all of the ductwork for HVAC, behemoth metal machinery on the production floor, etc etc etc) and I've found that this stuff can really do a number on radio signals.
 

KEWB-N1EXA

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Acushnet Heights District New Bedford, MA
I live right outside of Philadelphia with the Delaware Rive approximately 10 miles away. I was surprised that I would not be able to hear any traffic with a BCD536HP and a wide band discone outdoor antennas. Any suggestions
Most Marine radios operate at 1 watt or 25 watts selective . My Standard "Nova"runs 1 watt unless you hit the high power button on the mic or you manually overide the channel on the radio from Lo to Hi.
I monitor My harbor of New Bedford MA and the Cape Cod Canal. Lots of stuff is loud and clear or nothing if its A hand held or Low antenna at 1 watt. Id say 10 miles inland is a good haul for marine comm's Signals between boats ships and bridges. On open water or low land 1 watt can go to the Horizon pretty easy. You really don't use 25 watts unless you need to get over a land Mass or 15 mile call across A Bay.

I'd say you need an Antenna pretty high up to listen to marine comm's miles away inland. A discone is a good choice because they are pretty
efficient at 150-160 Mhz.

Most ships no matter what the size are going to use hand helds at 1 watt or on thier Navigation bridge talking to the Harbor Pilot or Mechanical bridge but still at 1 watt unless they switch to 25 watts.

Pete N1EXA
 
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shirsch101

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Basically I have given up on anything other than receiving Coast Guard transmissions from Philly, Any ideas on those channels?
 

KEWB-N1EXA

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Basically I have given up on anything other than receiving Coast Guard transmissions from Philly, Any ideas on those channels?
How strong are you picking up the Advisories on CH22A 157.1000 ?

Where I'm located Im getting on CH16 156.800 Coast Guard Groups Boston ,South East Mass (Woods Hole) and Long Island NY.

It is Location, Location, Location...
 
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