Sailing out of The Hamble this morning, it was just another day on VHF channel 16 for The Solent Coastguard team and the channel is constantly blocked. The trouble is, all these things are inaudible to the radio-check culprits. All they hear is others checking on channel 16, and they think: “Ooh, I’d better do that too”.
We had not even exited The Hamble before number three of the radio checks voiced over our VHF. Whilst we discussed this, numbers four and five voiced. The correct use of VHF seems to be forgotten by many who constantly clog up the emergency channel, VHF channel 16, checking if they can be heard!
Maybe they have never done a RYA SRC radio course or maybe they have forgotten everything they learned. Radio checks should not be done on VHF channel 16.
As we listened to the drone of checks coming over our VHF, the Coastguard rescue helicopter was performing a rescue of a motor yacht; surely they needed the channel to coordinate and they can’t use the channel.
There’s no need to check every time you go out, start of season or after changing any equipment will suffice. If you feel that you need to do a check, better to do it with a marina or some other station.
If you must carry out radio-checks with The Solent Coastguard team, do it on channel 67 which is their working channel and not on VHF channel 16.