Ask Sail: New VHF Nomenclature

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NEW VHF NOMENCLATURE

Q: I am a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and we regularly use channels 83A and 22A when working. They say these channels will soon be renamed, including regatta race committee channels 78A and 79A. What is going on?

D. Arnold, Miami, FL

GORDON WEST REPLIES

The answer is international politics and agreements. According to the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Communications (rtcm.org), these simplex channels will soon be dropping the suffix, “A” and the numbers “10” will proceed them instead. For example, race committee channel 78A will soon show up on brand-new VHF radios as “1078.” Similarly, Coast Guard working channel 22A will soon show up as “1022.” Be warned: marine VHF radio manufacturers may take some time to address this issue of channel numbers for the current A channels.

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May 2017

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