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latserrof

Marine radio scanner

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Hi,

I have a bunch more cruises coming up, and I'm thinking about buying a handheld scanner to listen to marine traffic. Can anyone recommend a not-too-expensive one? I've googled a bit, but without much luck. Are most transmissions nowadays encoded, and would that be an obstacle? Thanks.

 

 

latserrof

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Dear latserrof,

So great that you are interested in marine operations while cruising.

 

Unfortunately due to Cruise Critic policy I can't suggest a company or model of scanner for your use.

 

I do personally scan during our trips of the ship and even local authorities since being a retired emergency service worker in the past.

 

It is very interesting to listen to the ship operations with are various departments from bridge operations to tour and hotel services. But to hear the communications of the ship to tug boats interesting and how special the handling is so precise. The frequencies can be found thru different websites you can google too.

 

No not all operations are encoded and clearly heard with verbal exchange.

 

I do suggest you to google portable scanners. Frequency range is 156.0 to 157.0 US Coast Guards is 157.0 to 157.175. So you don't have to get scanners that are digital or trunk operated unless you intend additional use in the future.

 

I hope this little information is helpful.. Bon Voyage...

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Short range communications are completed with marine band VHF radios, which are not encrypted. The marine band VHF channels & frequencies are readily available in the public domain. The frequencies are standard world wide. You should have no problem finding a scanner for these VHF frequencies.

 

Internal ship communication may not be so easy to pick up. On my last company we used portable UHF radios, but propagation through the ship was still very poor, due to steel bulkheads. Therefore, we used a repeater system, with each portable radio accessing one of many Tx/Rx aerials throughout the ship, which then re-broadcast the signal ship wide. Each portable radio was individually toned, which served 2 functions - it opened the Tx/Rx aerial and also provided info on the central receiver which radio was transmitting. Unfortunately, if your ship uses this type of system, your scanner would need to be programmed for the tones to receive any signals from the repeater system.

 

You could pick up direct signals but in my experience without using the repeater system it was limited to line of sight, at fairly close range. While the ship's radios Tx at 25W, the portable radios are only 1W or 5W.

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Thanks, that's just the kind of info I'm looking for. I'll probably buy a handheld analog, 200 or 300 channels, of a brand beginning with W or U, respectively, for about $80.:ship:

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Dear latserrof,

So great that you are interested in marine operations while cruising.

 

Unfortunately due to Cruise Critic policy I can't suggest a company or model of scanner for your use.

 

I do personally scan during our trips of the ship and even local authorities since being a retired emergency service worker in the past.

 

It is very interesting to listen to the ship operations with are various departments from bridge operations to tour and hotel services. But to hear the communications of the ship to tug boats interesting and how special the handling is so precise. The frequencies can be found thru different websites you can google too.

 

No not all operations are encoded and clearly heard with verbal exchange.

 

I do suggest you to google portable scanners. Frequency range is 156.0 to 157.0 US Coast Guards is 157.0 to 157.175. So you don't have to get scanners that are digital or trunk operated unless you intend additional use in the future.

 

I hope this little information is helpful.. Bon Voyage...

 

Unless CC has changed the rules in the past few days, there is no rule that prohibits you from recommending a scanner or a company to buy one from unless, it is a travel agent.

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Posted (edited)

Check w. the cruise line about their policies on bringing onboard portable scanner and whether you are allowed to use it ... you might find broad restrictions about taking along similar devices including 2-way radios and even satellite phones, with theirs & the ship captain's written and expressed approval. To monitor VHF marine and air bands, you'll just need a digital PLL receiver to listen in non-encrypted traffic mostly on open channels.

 

Uniden models are nice but still loved my "old" portable Radio Shack Pro with 500 programmable trunking channels, coupled to external hi-gain antenna - you will find nice pre-owned ones on eBay.

 

Scanner Radio Pro is a nice app, I recommend it for listening hobbyists, not direct scanning but relayed feeds ... if there are breaking "incidents" around, good odds it will be picked up & being monitored. ...

 

Otherwise, you might consider a portable marine VHF radio, it will scan/monitor Ch. 9 and 16, newer ones also get NOAA alert while on standby. FCC license to own/use no longer required in the USA, but being a transmitter - the cruise line, ship and its captain might ...

 

Happy DXing

Edited by mking8288

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The standard VHF maritime frequencies are readily available. This site, in addition to those maritime frequencies, also lists the frequencies used by cruise line crew and staff such as housekeeping, security, engineering, etc.

http://www.scanmaritime.com/

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Otherwise, you might consider a portable marine VHF radio, it will scan/monitor Ch. 9 and 16, newer ones also get NOAA alert while on standby. FCC license to own/use no longer required in the USA, but being a transmitter - the cruise line, ship and its captain might ...

 

Happy DXing

 

Any portable marine VHF radio brought on board a ship will be subject to the ship's Flag State regulations for radios. While a Radio Certificate may not be required in the U.S. it is required in other countries. My experience is Canada & UK and both Shipping Acts still req certification, even for VHF radios. To put into perspective, on my last ship all Deck Officers and myself had portable dual band VHF/UHF radios with the intra-ship UHF, company ship/shore UHF and a half dozen VHF channels. All other officers and crew had a UHF radio for intra-ship, as they did not have radio certification.

 

Channel 16 is the International calling & distress channel and around ports, most of the chatter comes from pleasure craft. We had 1 VHF continuously on 16, but rarely transmitted on that frequency. Ch 9 if my memory is correct is a ship/shore & inter-ship channel, but is not one I frequently used. If you want to listen to the Bridge VHF coms you will require a scanner that picks up more than Ch 9 & 16.

 

Should you purchase an actual VHF radio with Ch 16, you should also be aware of the statutory silence periods, which are for 3 minutes, twice an hour - starts at 00 and 30.

 

Personally, I suggest a scanner is both a better and safer option.

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Short range communications are completed with marine band VHF radios, which are not encrypted. The marine band VHF channels & frequencies are readily available in the public domain. The frequencies are standard world wide. You should have no problem finding a scanner for these VHF frequencies.

 

Internal ship communication may not be so easy to pick up. On my last company we used portable UHF radios, but propagation through the ship was still very poor, due to steel bulkheads. Therefore, we used a repeater system, with each portable radio accessing one of many Tx/Rx aerials throughout the ship, which then re-broadcast the signal ship wide. Each portable radio was individually toned, which served 2 functions - it opened the Tx/Rx aerial and also provided info on the central receiver which radio was transmitting. Unfortunately, if your ship uses this type of system, your scanner would need to be programmed for the tones to receive any signals from the repeater system.

 

You could pick up direct signals but in my experience without using the repeater system it was limited to line of sight, at fairly close range. While the ship's radios Tx at 25W, the portable radios are only 1W or 5W.

Had on problem picking up Cunard Vessel operations with ship and on the balcony.

 

Harbor ops always no problem with USCG....

 

Sent from my SM-G950U using Forums mobile app

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Thanks, that's just the kind of info I'm looking for. I'll probably buy a handheld analog, 200 or 300 channels, of a brand beginning with W or U, respectively, for about $80.:ship:
Yes I use those brands and also Old 1000 channel Rad Shk. Can even use smartphone app with scanner capabilities for scanning.

 

Sent from my SM-G950U using Forums mobile app

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Check w. the cruise line about their policies on bringing onboard portable scanner and whether you are allowed to use it ... you might find broad restrictions about taking along similar devices including 2-way radios and even satellite phones, with theirs & the ship captain's written and expressed approval. To monitor VHF marine and air bands, you'll just need a digital PLL receiver to listen in non-encrypted traffic mostly on open channels.

 

Uniden models are nice but still loved my "old" portable Radio Shack Pro with 500 programmable trunking channels, coupled to external hi-gain antenna - you will find nice pre-owned ones on eBay.

 

Scanner Radio Pro is a nice app, I recommend it for listening hobbyists, not direct scanning but relayed feeds ... if there are breaking "incidents" around, good odds it will be picked up & being monitored. ...

 

Otherwise, you might consider a portable marine VHF radio, it will scan/monitor Ch. 9 and 16, newer ones also get NOAA alert while on standby. FCC license to own/use no longer required in the USA, but being a transmitter - the cruise line, ship and its captain might ...

 

Happy DXing

The u but never had a problem bringing on board.

 

Sent from my SM-G950U using Forums mobile app

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The u but never had a problem bringing on board.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Forums mobile app

My gears stay put ...

For listening hobby, I prefer to use a programmable Yaesu portable (or one of the newer Baofeng's) over the bulky RS Pro-92 with Trunking 800 channels - I know that the cruiseline we often go with do not welcome them onboard; and, I leave them at home. Scanner apps will usually give easy access to live coverage of major incidents with first responders - not always - picking up aviation, marine & ground units, medevac & sometimes short range PTP non-encrypted dispatch, etc.

 

Once I am on a cruise, the mindset is vacation and cruising, not worrying about the command on the bridge, as that is what they get paid to do. Noticing where the nearest AED is located within reach, IMO, is more important as critical minutes count, just saying.

 

Very important, I probably should've be more definitive, always check and verify with the cruise line about being allowed to bring onboard any 2 way radios or even portable handheld scanners - different & sometimes strict rules governed when in "foreign" ports, including Canada, Mexico, Bermuda & the Carib's ... When in doubt, leave them behind, even if it is just a scanner, as most are easy to set them on a fox hunt for radio traffic.

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Thanks, that's just the kind of info I'm looking for. I'll probably buy a handheld analog, 200 or 300 channels, of a brand beginning with W or U, respectively, for about $80.:ship:

 

Look luck on your search and research. Don't need anything fancy just basic for local traffic and monitoring.

 

Being a Retired Incident Commander 24 years from local jobs to World Trade Center 93 operations and Airport Ops, just being aware of whats happening in the neighborhood is interesting. Friends even use the radio when attending NASCAR events and heard teams exchanges info for the next move. Today we had a very bad set of storms coming thru and monitoring with the right frequencies gave me an idea how extensive the neighborhood was effect and activiate the needed help.

 

Good Hunting......

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Thanks to all for the input, it's all very helpful. Last night I "won" a Whistler WS1010 for $42 on ebay, so I'll start there. It has 200 channels, including about 50 marine channels pre-programmed. I'm not a sailor, but one of the things I enjoy about cruising is learning about marine operations, so I hope a scanner might provide me a little more insight and entertainment.

Any more advice for a newbie will be appreciated.

 

 

latserrof

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Congratulations!

 

Read the manual, do a lot of google-ing, and keep notes of your frequency finds and observations.

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