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VHF Course

"Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!

This is kayak Sam, kayak Sam, kayak Sam.

My position is sat on the settee south from the coffee table, 2 feet.

I have been swatting up in preparation for tomorrow's VHF course and think my head is in grave and imminant danger of exploding!

I require immediate assistance.

There are two people on the settee surrounded by books and papers.

Our intention is to attend the VHF course tomorrow.


Think we better carry on swatting up! 


Stay tuned to find out how we get on tomorrow.

Marine Radio Short Range Certificate Course

After surviving a late night cramming session, we turned up for the VHF radio course (Marine Radio Short Range Certificate Course)  at the West Wight Sports Centre bright and early yesterday morning. The course had kindly been arranged for club members by Chris Barry and was taught by Neil Hitchcock from North Quay Marine Services. 

We were quite quickly introduced to these bad boys, which by the end of the day we would come to know quite intemeately and be able to press all the right buttons!

(Picture for ilustartion purposes only - I didn't manage to get a photo of the actual model we used)

The day was quite intensive with lots to cover before the dreded final exam or 'little test' as Neil quite kindly refferred to it. After learning some basic physics behind how radio signals work, we split into two groups each armed with a VHF radio and were designated as 'vessels' named Sunrise and Twilight which we would remain as for the rest of the day. The radios were real but had been rigged up so that we would only be transmitting to each other and weren't at risk of the coastguard turning up on our door step!

The main topics we covered included:

  • Initiating communication with another vessel.
  • Mayday definition and protocal.
  • Pan Pan protocol for urgent situations.
  • Digital (DSC) functions of VHF radios.
  • Uses of the different VHF channels.
  • Global Maritime Distress and Saftey Systems (GMDSS) - EPIRB's, PLB's and the likes.

We had the opportunity to practice various scenario's and become familiar with how to operate a VHF efficiently. At the end of the day came the dreded written and practical test. I am happy to confirm that we all passed and are now licensed to operate VHF radios.

It could have easily been a very long, laborious day as let's face it, it didn't have the makings of a very exciting topic. I have to say though on behalf of everyone that Neil was a brilliant instructor and we all found the course very enjoyable.

Hopefully none of us will ever have to utter the words "Mayday Mayday Mayday" over the radio but as kayakers, a VHF radio is not only a useful means of communication but could also be a life saving piece of saftey equipment and having been trained in how to efficiently operate one is invaluable. I know a habndheld VHF is next on our list of kit to purchase.

A second one of these courses is being run in a couple of weeks time which is now full but I believe there is a possibility of running the course again in future if there is enough demand. Good luck to all those on the next course.


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