Not all weather channels are the same on different radios

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by designer, May 17, 2019.

  1. designer

    designer Paddler

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    This is a preseason note to possibly save some people the grief I went through. Though the Marine Channels are on consistent frequencies across radios - channel 16 is the frequency as channel 16 on another radio - that is not the case with weather channels. Specifically, West Marine radios - which are rebranded Uniden radios - number their weather channels differently than Standard Horizon.

    So you can be listening to weather channel 4 on your Uniden (West Marine) radio and not hear that weather station on your Standard Radio - because the frequency designated for weather channel 4 is different for each of those two radios. If I recall, channel 4 on the West Marine was the same a Channel 7 on the Standard - something like that.

    I thought one of the radios was broken because it couldn't "hear" the weather station on one when both were on the same channel. I even had a friend make a portable, take apart and fit inside a 1.5 inch diameter (about 18 inches long) PVC pipe beam antenna to give me better reception. The beam worked great - but turned out to be unnecessary. Once I opened the user manual and compared the weather channel frequencies assigned to each channel, I saw they were different. If channel 4 is picking up the weather forecast on frequency 162.450 MHz on radio A, no matter how good an antenna is connected to radio B, it will not hear the weather station on channel 4 if ITS channel 4 is on frequency 162.500 MHz.

    On the plus side, though the receive portion of my antenna is optimized for the weather stations, the transmit portion was optimized for Marine Channel 16 (and other communication channels). So if I am "out there" (and have that antenna with me), I can reach out pretty far.

    I'd lend it to people on Jones Island who wanted to communicate with their friends back in Anacortes. I'm sure those Anacortes friends were on a boat so it was Marine-to-Marine contact.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  2. dvfrggr

    dvfrggr Paddler

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    Just throwing this out there, you made no mention of the frequency programming between units, whether US, CAN or international.
    Dave
     
  3. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    More info please, as this contradicts my (limited) understanding of antenna reciprocity.
    VA7YAK
     
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  4. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Dave-
    I checked a few user manuals and the WX channel assignments didn't vary - they were the same whether the US/CAN/INT was selected.
    But, you are right in pointing out that having the 'wrong' channel set selected can cause problems. (Fortunately Ch 21B (CAN) is the same as WX8 on most radios.)
     
  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Here's something from 2007 that I found when looking around for VHF information:
    Bulletin Ch 83.JPG
     
  6. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    John, the muddle on 83, 83A, and 83b on my vintage ICOM M-88, purchased in 2007, I believe, resembles some of the muddle in the bulletin above.

    The Manual, printed in 2002, has it this way:

    83: INT and CAN: duplex: 157.175 TX and 161.775 RX (no USA designation)

    83b: CAN: 161.775 RX only (no USA or INT designation)

    83A: USA and CAN: simplex: 157.175 TX and RX (no INT designation)

    Complicating matters further, the Manual identifies WX 9 as RX only, using 161.775 as the frequency (identical to 83b). Further all nine WX designations are the same for USA, INT, and CAN.
     
  7. designer

    designer Paddler

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    It's fine that this is morphing into a discussion of the Marine Channel issue rather than the weather channel issues. Others have reported that weather channel frequencies are on the same WEATHER CHANNELS across many of their radios. In my case, one radio was a West Marine 150 and an old Standard Horizon. When I got rid of the West Marine unit, I also recycled the manual. So I don't have those two sets of channels vs weather frequency differences to post. I'm pretty sure I did give the explicit difference in a much earlier post. Perhaps, over time, it's been sorted out and now they are all the same.

    Nooka - I didn't want to get into tech details at that point in the post. This was a 3 element beam with the PVC pipe as the cross piece and storage case. The elements screwed into the side of the PVC; director, driver, reflector. The director and reflector elements were cut for the 162.500 region of the weather stations and the driver was cut for the 156.8 region of channel 16. That's what I meant by "optimized". More accurately, it was a compromise all around - but much better than the marine radio rubber ducky. On the other hand, directionality can be a bug, not a feature, if pointed in the wrong direction.

    Once I realized I wasn't hearing the weather station because it was simply on a different channel between radios, I no longer carried the beam. Then again, just because an item that has minimal use has never stopped me before. Those screw apart wine glasses get very little "use" time, but they add elegance to my instant mash potatoes and foil pouch ingredients topping.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  8. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I had some conversations about the WX channel difference and looked it up. The radio was a Standard Horizon HX230S. Looks like channels 4 - 10 were different from other radios.
    Here is their WX list:
    Channel Freq
    1 162.550
    2 162.400
    3 162.475
    4 163.275
    5 161.650
    6 161.775
    7 162.425
    8 162.450
    9 162.500
    10 162.525


    Given the vintage of the HX230S and the data in my newer HX300 manual, it looks like Standard has ... gotten on board and now matches the other radios. So this was a fun exercise but apparently only germane if you are using a 10 year old radio.