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I hear about a dozen radio checks on channel 16 daily. What's up with that? Do VHF radios go bad that often, that people have to do that even when they usually have cellphones at hand? Or do people just like to hear themselves on the airwaves?

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Consider someone may be selling their boat and testing it for the buyer. They could be entertaining a landlubber or two. Never know- dream along w/ me.
folks donot realize or remember that 16 is emergency channel--not spozed to do radio checks there----they probably donot use their boat often and need to see if their words are gonna be heard as they hit something and sink?? is how ya checks yer mike on yer radio -- butcha do it on channel 68 or other nonemergency channel
this I didnt know. preshate the "radio check!"
Radio checks are supposed to be done on channel 9. Like Karen said, folks just like to know that they have a working radio.
First of all, it is illegal to use channel 16 for anything but hailing and emergencies. If someone needs a "radio check" it should be sought on channel 9, which is the channel the Coast Guard will strongly suggest should the call on 16 be picked up by a CG radio operator.

Secondly, cell phones are not recommended for serious communication on a vessel. If you are in trouble, only the person on the other end of your phone will know it. If you broadcast a call for help on channel 16, most boats in the area will know since if your vessel is underway, you are supposed to monitor 16 and some could possibly come to your aid even before the Coast Guard.

With all the new shore stations the USCG is bringing on line, there is a good chance that they will be able to get a good approximation of your location even if you are not using a VHF radio with DSC.

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