Distress Frequency Change This Week
Published on August 1st, 2013
July 31, 2013 – Pacific Coast of North America
Offshore sailors make note: Effective Thursday, August 1, the US Coast Guard will no longer monitor voice frequency 2182 kHz for International distress and safety. They will also drop 2670 kHz for marine information and weather broadcasts, and they will discontinue monitoring the International Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress frequency 2187.5 kHz.
“This termination decision was made after a review of Coast Guard medium frequency (MF) communications sites revealed significant antenna and infrastructure support degradation that put the Coast Guard at risk of not being able to receive and respond to calls for assistance on the 2 MHz distress frequencies,” said a Coast Guard spokesman.
Radio guru Gordon West responds, “This is actually a good call. Atmospheric noise on 2 MHz causes even the best of radio systems to not hear much beyond 30 miles ground wave, and 30 miles to shore is the typical maximum range of the Coast Guard’s excellent Rescue 21 VHF channel 16 coverage.
“U.S. Coast Guard Communication Stations (COMMSTA) and Communications Area Master Stations (CAMS) will continue their guard of the following High Frequency safety frequencies:
VOICE: 4125.0 kHz; 6215.0 kHz; 8291.0 kHz; 12290.0 kHz;
DSC: 4207.5 kHz; 6312.0 kHz; 8414.5 kHz; 12577.0 kHz; 16804.5 kHz
“VHF Channel 16, 156.800 MHz, will CONTINUE to offer the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 fabulous coverage throughout boating areas of the United States from Coast Guard units, on land, at sea, and in the air. VHF Channel 70 will CONTINUE to be the DSC call up channel to the Coast Guard.
Only Medium Frequency 2 MHz, here in the U.S., is being dropped by the Coast Guard for a continuous radio listening watch.
Internationally, 2182 kHz remains the International distress and calling channel. It will still be an on scene distress working channel, and will continue to be an authorized calling channel,” writes Gordon.