Q: I would love to see a short clip telling us what happened to the radio check repeater we used to have in Huntington Harbor on channel 27. Loved the ability to check the radio on the automated system. Will we ever get it back? Is there an alternative? Thanks.
A: The Log reached out to Sea Tow, which operated the service, and was told in late 2020 Sea Tow was informed by the FCC that the entity which held the licenses to the VHF frequencies required to operate the Automated Radio Check never filed the proper paperwork with the FCC to allow Sea Tow to operate on those frequencies despite the obligation to do so. Therefore, in full cooperation with the FCC requirements, Sea Tow was required to cease operating the Automated Radio Check system.
“Although the use of VHF radio has greatly declined over the past many years due to cell phone use, we were sad to see the system go as boaters still did utilize the service and the VHF radio is still one of the best methods to get help in an emergency,” said Capt. Joseph J. Frohnhoefer III, CEO of Sea Tow Services International, in an email. “As we do not see the system coming back, Sea Tow now recommends that all boaters utilize VHF Channel 09 to conduct radio checks and do not use VHF Ch. 16 which is designated as an International Distress, Safety and Calling frequency.”