Making a VHF Radio Call


Your radio station call sign is "VX 4139" and is aboard a boat called "Tugboat Annie". (If you do not have a call sign, use your name or boat name.) Here's what you should do contact the boat "Queen Mary", whose call sign is "VA 7112".

  1. Listen to Channel 16. Turn the squelch control down until you hear radio noise for at least 10 seconds to make sure no one else is using the channel.
  2. You say:
    "Queen Mary, Queen Mary, Queen Mary, this is Tugboat Annie, Tugboat Annie, Tugboat Annie, Victor X-Ray Four One Three Niner. Over."
  3. Wait at least ten minutes to allow Queen Mary's crew to check for an open channel.
    Queen Mary responds on Channel 16:
    "Tugboat Annie, Tugboat Annie, this is Queen Mary, Queen Mary, Victor Alpha Seven One One Two. Go to channel Seven One. I say again, Seven One. Over."
  4. You reply:
    "Queen Mary, Queen Mary, this is Tugboat Annie. Roger, [switching to] seven one."
  5. Now, you both switch to your working channel, making sure it's still "clear".
    You say:
    "Queen Mary, this is Tugboat Annie. Over."
  6. If the channel is not clear, start over at #1; don't just "transmit over" people already using the channel.

Term French Meaning
Mayday m'aidez Danger to life
Pan Pan en panne Danger to property
Securite securit? Danger to safety

Acknowledge Let me know that you have received and understood this message.
Correction An error has been made in this transmission. The correct version is...
Go Ahead Proceed with your message.
Over My transmission is ended and I expect a response from you.
Out This conversation is ended and no response is expected.
Read Back After I say OVER, repeat this message back to me exactly as received.
Roger I have received all of your last transmission.
Received Number Receipt of your message number ... is acknowledged.
Stand By Wait until you hear further from me.
Verify Check with the originator and send the correct version.
Words Twice Send [or sending] each word twice.

Rookie Mistakes:

  1. Calling every minute or less.
  2. Not turning your "squelch" control off to listen before using a channel.
  3. Using "high" power, when "Low" power would do. Your radio antenna hears a fraction of the transmissions that the Coast Guard tower hears!
  4. Transmitting when the channel is being used.