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  Calls for "RADIO CHECK" Elicit No Replies

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Author Topic:   Calls for "RADIO CHECK" Elicit No Replies
DWS posted 04-30-2008 03:01 PM ET (US)   Profile for DWS   Send Email to DWS  
I have a Standard Horizon PS 1000 remote mounted radio with all functions on the microphone. Out of the blue, I don't think I am transmiting. When asking for a radio check on many different channels I get no response. Yet the TX indicator appears on the screen when the [push-to-talk] button is pushed. The same antenna I have always used is hooked up. Any thoughts?
bluewaterpirate posted 04-30-2008 05:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
First check the squelch setting.
jimh posted 04-30-2008 05:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In order to make rudimentary tests of a VHF Marine Radio without any test equipment, you need at least two other VHF Marine radios. Call the radio under test A, and the other radios B and C.

A trasmits. If either B or C report reception, A is confirmed. If neither report reception, A is suspect.

A listens for B and C. If A can hear either B or C, A is confirmed. If A cannot hear either B or C, A is suspect.

The reason for using two other radios to test A is to prevent a false indication from a bad radio being used for B or C.

If A, B, and C can all hear each other, then comparative checks can be made for modulation level. A and B transmit in sequence and C reports the relative modulation. Then B and C transmit in sequence and A reports relative modulation. Finally, A and C transmit in sequence and B reports relative modulation. If all the transmiters are properly adjusted, all comparative reports will be equal. If not, it will be easy to deduce which radio has low modulation.

Chuck Tribolet posted 04-30-2008 09:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Do the weather channels work? That's a good quick test of
whether the radio can receive.

You don't need two other radios to determine if A basically
works. One is enough, provided the weather channels work on
both, so you know the receivers work.

And at this point, that's what you are look for. JimH is
using EEspeak again when he starts talking about modulation.
And I don't even think that two radios are required for that.
Just have B compare your audio volume to the weather channels.


Chuck

jimh posted 04-30-2008 11:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If two guys have two radios, there is no guarantee either of them work. The third radio increases the chances someone has a working radio.

The weather channel transmission is a good reference for modulation level, assuming the NOAA technician set it up properly.

Another rudimentary test of the transmitter: observe the voltage drop when transmitting at 25-Watt level. If the transmitter is really trying to generate 25 watts of radio frequency power, it will draw about 8 amperes. That ought to be enough to make the supply voltage sag a bit. That is a sign the transmitter is probably trying to generate some RF.

Chuck: is RF okay as an acronym?

jimh posted 04-30-2008 11:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Reception of a NOAA weather channel is dependent on being in range of one.

The simplest explanations of lack of response to the call for a RADIO CHECK are:

--no one was listening
--people were listening but did not bother to reply

cindalyn posted 05-01-2008 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for cindalyn  Send Email to cindalyn     
I'm having the same problem with the same radio (Standard Horizon PS 1000).
I hear the wearher channel/s supurbly - all the time. Very clear and nice volume.
I hear chatter on occassion but rather muted.
I don't seem to get any responses to my transmissions even though I'm in a fairly high traffic area.
Is it possible I have a setting wrong? I keep reading the manual but to be honest, some insturctions get lost with me.

Ron

bluewaterpirate posted 05-01-2008 04:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
One more time ...... check your squelch settings. They should be set so you don't hear static which is one tic past 4 on the settings bar.
bluewaterpirate posted 05-01-2008 04:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Correct my last to read on tic past 3 on the squelch bars.
cindalyn posted 05-02-2008 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for cindalyn  Send Email to cindalyn     
bluewaterpirate - I spent a lot of time playing with the squelch but I'll give it another shot when I get to the boat again.
I don't recall that there is a 'settings bar' showing but maybe I wasn't paying attention. Do you have the same radio?
bluewaterpirate posted 05-02-2008 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Yes .....
JMARTIN posted 05-03-2008 03:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
When you push the SQL button, SQL and the setting bar appears on the top of the display screen. You push the up or down arrows to change the setting and you can see the bar change. You leave it alone and it times out after 5 seconds and the bar goes away. It's like changing the volume. Press the VOL button and VOL and it's bar appears on the display. Up arrow increase the volume and the bar, down arrow decreases both. John
cindalyn posted 05-03-2008 09:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for cindalyn  Send Email to cindalyn     
Probably a dumb question but do you have to set the squelch for each frequency you program into memory or does one adjustment take care of all.

Also, is the squelch different for the receive and transmit frequencies? If not, why do I get the weather stations so clearily but not other transmissions and appear not to be transmitting?

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-03-2008 10:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Squelch only affects receive. It does not affect transmit.
What squelch does is to set a received signal strength below
which the radio ignores the signal and shuts up. It should
be set just above the background noise level. That may
change a bit depending on where you are, but not by much.
It doesn't seem to change across the marine VHF band. You
want to set the squelch by turning it down until the radio
makes white noise (sorta like hissing. You'll KNOW it when
you try it), then turning it up a bit until the noise goes
away.

If you get the weather stations, your receiver is working.
Do you not receive transmissions from one friend whom other
friends hear?

Transmit and receive are generally on the same frequency.
There are a few exceptions, but they are the marine telephone
channels, and aren't much used any more (the time has come
for the FCC to take them back, and turn each into two regular
simplex (receive and transmit on same frequency) channels.


Chuck

swist posted 05-04-2008 07:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Yes squelch is pretty much set-and-forget. Turn it all the off and then advance it until the noise just stops.

The only time I've ever had to fiddle with it is in trying to receive a very weak signal which the squelch has deemed to be too noisy and is squelching. But I have always found those signals to be so noisy and hard to hear that the squelch was probably right in the first place.

Casco Bay Outrage posted 05-04-2008 04:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
In the PS 1000 manual, page 22, Item 10 Basic Operation

10.1 Reception

1. [discusses install and proper power connection]
2. Press and hold the [Pwr] key on the RAM+ mic or on the front panel of the PS 1000 until the radio turns on.
3. Press the [SQL] key, then press the [Down arrow]key until the busy icon appears. This state is known as "squelch off"
4. Press the [VOL] key, then press the [up arrow] key until the noise or audio from the speaker is at a comfortable level.
5.Press the [Up arrow or Down arrow] key to select the clear channel.
6. Press the [SQL] key. then press the [Up arrow] key until the random noise disappears (and [Busy} icon disappears.
7. Press the [Up arrow or Down arrow] key to select the desired channel
8.

END

GreatBayNH posted 05-04-2008 08:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
If you have a backup handheld VHF radio you could call yourself. Just a thought.

-Seth

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-04-2008 10:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
But get up on the bow so you don't generate feedback.


Chuck

cindalyn posted 05-04-2008 11:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for cindalyn  Send Email to cindalyn     
Seth I don't have a portable so that's out. Sure would make it easier though.

Chuck from what you're saying, since I'm receiving the weather station so clearily my squelch is set up OK and I should leave it as-is?

CBO, I keep a copy of the instructions in the boat. I've tried making all my adjustments while underway. I think what I need to do is find a spot where there are a lot of boats, set anchor and focus specifically on setting up the radio.

Ron

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-05-2008 08:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
It depends on how close the weather station is. If it's
real close, you can turn the squelch all the way up and still
get it. Just do what Casco Bay said and don't worry about
it further.


Chuck

gvisko posted 05-07-2008 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for gvisko  Send Email to gvisko     
I had the same thing happen to my Icom M502A.
I sent it back to Icom and said it was a defective pa
module. They replaced it and it lasted for 6 months
and then it happened again. I found I could not trust the
radio so I bought and installed a new Icom 504 and it
works great.


George V

swist posted 05-08-2008 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Sligthly off-topic, but it would help if calls for a radio check would state the location of the boat. That lets the responder judge whethere he is giving useful information by replying, particularly when other replies are being received.

A positive response from a boat 200' away doesn't necessarily mean your radio is working well.

DWS posted 05-08-2008 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for DWS  Send Email to DWS     
I too seem to get great reception of the weather channels and can hear many boats in the area and I state my location ie:RADIO CHECK LONG BEACH HARBOR or ALAMITOS BAY and have not gotten any answears, But since I hav'nt been out since I started this thread the squelch seems to be the first thing to look at, Although it all worked fine until my last time out, Could be that the squelch was inadvertantly changed without me knowing.Since I remove the RAM mike and power every thing down each time the boat is put away. Hope to check that soon.
Fish Stick posted 05-12-2008 03:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Fish Stick  Send Email to Fish Stick     
DWS,

I too boat out of Alamitos Bay, and there are times when it is tough to get some one to call back on a radio check. Try channel 9 on weekends, the CGA often monitors just to perform this service.

If I haven't used the radio in a while and want an immediate response, I will hail Vessel Assist on 16 for non emergency traffic and then have them select a different working channel.

The dispatch can give you feed back on your transmit strenght from both the Catalina, and Newport towers.

I am happy to report they received a strong signal at both locations, 3 weeks ago, from a PS 1000 and 4' Digital brand antenna.

I believe both sites are over 20 miles from the entrance to Alamitos Bay, and it is the best test I know of for checking your radio.

-Joe

jimh posted 05-12-2008 09:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The group interactive behavior of VHF Marine Radio equipped boats is an interesting topic, and perhaps someone could investigate it and write a paper.

I don't know how to offer repair advice about a radio when all that is known is that no one replies to calls for a radio check.

David Pendleton posted 05-14-2008 08:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Here's a tip when wanting a radio check.

Pick a marina in your area other than the one you are in.

Hail them.

Ask for their phone number, or the price of gas on the fuel dock.

When they answer, thank them. If they don't, try another.

bluewaterpirate posted 05-15-2008 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
I use Sea Tow of Tow BoatUS to check my radios. If you have either service in your area they will be more than happy to conduct a radio check with you (even if your not a member, imagine that. When you hail them on 16 they will switch you over to their local working channel.

Many local Sea Tow affiliates will also conduct DSC testing for you. Just call their local office for the particulars before getting underway. I exchanged MMSI #'s with my local affilate so it's just a mere formality to start the process. I also file float plans with them.

Tom

Liteamorn posted 05-15-2008 05:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Liteamorn  Send Email to Liteamorn     
I usually test my radio by responding to a requested "radio check". At least you know someone is on the channel and most likely they will respond back.
28 Reborn posted 05-16-2008 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for 28 Reborn  Send Email to 28 Reborn     
The test of weather a VHF radio is "Puting-Out" or not requires an "SWR" tester. These can be purchased from West Marine with the Shakespeare part # ART-2.

This little device (1/2 a cigarette pack) will show you on a meter what amount of "Reflected Energy" (an indication of how good your antenna and solderings are) and how many Watts of power your VHF is transmitting into the antenna cable.

You want as little reflected energy value as possible (2 or less) and as high a Wattage as possible being output by radio.

Keep in mind that all (legal) VHF radios are limited at 25 Watts of transmit power. any value above 20-22 watts is common.

If "Reflected Energy" is very high (3.5-4+) than there is a problem with antenna cable connector behind radio, bad cable or crapped-out antenna. If Wattage Output value is very low or dead than the "TX Board" is cooked and the radio needs to go back to the manufacturer for REPAIR!

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