Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Cruisers' Party Line: VHF Radio

While out cruising, our main method of communicating with other cruisers is the VHF radio. It has a range of up to 25 miles, and all boats have one. Most boats have two or more. We have one main unit, with two microphones, and a handheld that we can take to shore.

So, for you landlubbers, the basic process is you call the boat you want to chat with on channel 16, which everyone monitors. Then you arrange to move your conversation to another channel. At this time, any number of boats may also move to that channel to get the scoop on whatever fascinating bit of info you might be chatting about. Most radios even have a 'dual-watch' feature, which enables you to monitor channel 16 and another channel at all times...the ultimate in eavesdropping convenience.

John and I have had our share of fun lurking on the VHF, and any boater who denies having listened in is absolutely fibbing!! But...we've gotten pretty tired of the constant chatter in the busier anchorages, and listening in to others talk about their dinner plans, or their next anchorage, gets a bit tiring, not to mention that you often need to physically drop whatever you are doing to go and change the channel, so we rarely have the energy or interest anymore to do much lurking.

But...for Amy and Strahan, this was a new phenomenon and the source of endless entertainment. As a result of constant listening and channel changing, Amy was in the know. She could tell you which boat was dining where, and with whom. And who was leaving the anchorage, and where they were heading. Who was going snorkeling and at what time. And so on.

Sure is quiet around here these days...


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Hi - thanks for leaving a comment on the blog! Cheers - John and Naomi