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Sea Tow Automated Radio Check system is gone nation-wide

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Sea Tow Automated Radio Check system is gone nation-wide

Old 10-12-2020, 05:36 PM
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This horrible development with seatow shutting down automated radio checks has caused the “16-Symbol” to be shown in the night sky, the alarm has been activated and the Knights of the One Six are marshaling. Methodically preparing for action. Transmission buttons on microphones are lubricated. Batteries are charged and engine charging systems, antennas, cables are methodically checked and then checked again. Then comes the waiting, hoping, some actually praying, the anticipation is brutal and then it happens, that nervous voice comes up on “16”, (Kenney Chesney Tune, Anything but Mine can be heard playing in the background).

“CCan I get a radio check PPPPLEASE????”

Tooth pics fall out of mouths, dip spit is expectorated and steaming cups of coffee (yeti tumbler) are slammed down faster then Jessie James or Doc Holiday could draw a pistol, mikes are pulled off the brackets and drawn towards lips. Some faces fixed in a cruel grin, others displaying looks of excitement & delight that could be described as sexual, hand holding the microphone dripping sweat and trembling from the excitement and anticipation, the words coming out produce orgasmic pleasure BUT can’t let the excitement show, gotta sound salty, like this is not a big deal, after all it’s $hit every one should know,

“get off 16 do your radio checks elsewhere”

Radio speaker chirps, squelch breaks from others Knights of the One Six talking over each other , but you were first. Silence for a few seconds and then then it happens, CG comes up and makes a transmission that 16 is not for radio checks.

All the work, expense and time spent monitoring 16 is validated, it actually happened, you’ve defended 16 from a radio check and life will never be better then it is right fukcing now.......

Last edited by Mpellet; 10-13-2020 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 10-12-2020, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Koopa253 View Post
Lol, you guys are funny. Does a radio check tell you how strong your signal is?

IMHO, for this reason when answering a radio check I think its always best to reply with your location (so the transmitter can determine distance and therefore strength) as well as a statement about clarity (ie "loud and clear")- never understood why people would use the military "5x5" which is a statement of both strength and clarity, when they realistically can't know the former without a meter. Prolly cause it sounds cool and all the other yuks using 16 for radio check are using it.
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Old 10-12-2020, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Koopa253 View Post
Instead of relying on someone else to determine if your radio is working each time you go out, why not get a cheap handheld radio so you can radio check yourself. It good to always have redundancy on such an important safety item.
A great idea but not sure I would trust a connection that close. You are testing radio and antenna,
Old 10-12-2020, 06:38 PM
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If a radio check is not done on channel 16, how will it be known that it works on channel 16?

Might work well on another channel but not work well, or at all, on channel 16.

Of course it might also work on channel 16 at a particular point in time, but then not work later on.
Old 10-12-2020, 07:00 PM
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And ironically of course, the reply "Get off 16, this channel is not for radio checks" serves as a perfectly acceptable response to the caller's radio check.





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Old 10-12-2020, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SpacerM View Post
IMHO, for this reason when answering a radio check I think its always best to reply with your location (so the transmitter can determine distance and therefore strength) as well as a statement about clarity (ie "loud and clear")- never understood why people would use the military "5x5" which is a statement of both strength and clarity, when they realistically can't know the former without a meter. Prolly cause it sounds cool and all the other yuks using 16 for radio check are using it.
correct, when responding to a radio check you are supposed to provide your location in response.
Old 10-12-2020, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Koopa253 View Post
Lol, you guys are funny. Does a radio check tell you how strong your signal is? If your really concerned about signal strength every time out why not install an antenna tester? You understand that your radio check call is transmitted through the local tower right? Yes, cheap handheld vhf (few hundo) that’s submersible should be on all boats without two independent/redundant radios, IMO. I use this method as my antenna is both vhf and AIS. If I can see I’m getting AIS targets 20 miles out and can transmit and receive to local handheld; I assume I’m good for the fishing I do which is in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan De Fuca (not offshore). You can call it bad advice but I would rather do that then bog channels down with radio checks all day. I installed my radio and antenna and know when they are working properly and have the tools and parts with me shall I need to address issues (with exception to solder). I would never go offshore without two radios. If your really concerned about the signal strength each time out, Shakespeare has the ART-3 Tester which is billed to eliminate radio checks.
The ART-3 device is a VSWR device that can measure output power out of a transmitter and impedance match between the transmitter and its load (the antenna). It cannot tell if your voice is garbled with static or some other sound problem, and cannot tell if your receiver in your VHF transceiver is working. When I was a kid in the 70's, I used to use one of these to tune the impedance of my CB antenna to my CB -- those were the days.

I am not sure what you are talking about when you say your local tower. I am not aware that voice (analog) VHF signals close to land are being repeated via a tower, and doubt it highly. It is of very little value to boost signals close to shore since we should be able to hear them any way. It is the ones offshore that we really want to hear, and thus the reason for tall towers. The reason for tall VHF towers is that the signal propagation is line of sight. Boats over the horizon (unless you are a flat Earther) can only be seen by tall towers. Imagine shining a spotlight toward the top of a hill. You can't see it on the other side (ignore clouds which reflect visible light frequencies), but a tower taller than the hill could.

There are AIS repeaters, but those do not boost all voice communications. That would be a massive load to monitor all analog signals on all channels. AIS is digital of course, which makes it less susceptible to noise and capable of further transmission distances, and easier to repeat.

As far as bogging down channels, I usually do not hear many important conversations on 68. Usually, can someone bring me ice for my beers when at the dock and is anything biting when away. If memory serves correct, even the coasties say to do radio checks on 9, right? I would do them on 68-72.

Old 10-12-2020, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gamefish25 View Post
no sir.

cheap and safety do not go together and a handheld is worthless offshore for the most part.
No.

With a handheld 5 ft above the water your radio horizon is 3 mi.

With an antenna 11 ft above the water IE an 8 ft antenna mounted on a gunnel it's only 4.7 mi.

The reason VHS do anything good at all is because of coast guard stations with 100' antennas. They have about a 20 mi range . Which doesn't do much for you 50 mi offshore.........

Vhfs are great, but they are very limited on smaller boats. Really a near shore radio. Not offshore.

If you venture more than 20 miles offshore, you should have a sat phone and a SSB. Don't count on vhf. Yeah, that pesky safety gear is expensive.



Last edited by mbb; 10-12-2020 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 10-13-2020, 06:47 PM
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I think the Coast Guard Rescue 21 towers are 400 feet tall. Supposedly good for a handheld 1 meter above the water 20 miles out. Impressive.

Back to Sea Tow. I always wondered how they managed access to the old "marine operator" channels? It really was marketing genius, and I was surprised no other shoreside marine businesses followed suit. For the price of a simplex repeater and antenna gear, they got free advertising on public access radio channels. Brilliant.

I wonder if someone, somewhere got bent out of shape, and brought the whole thing down?
Old 10-13-2020, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by RickC137 View Post
Back to Sea Tow. I always wondered how they managed access to the old "marine operator" channels? It really was marketing genius, and I was surprised no other shoreside marine businesses followed suit. For the price of a simplex repeater and antenna gear, they got free advertising on public access radio channels. Brilliant.
I believe the old coast station frequencies were auctioned off and bought by an outfit called MariTel some decades back, and SeaTow's service was a collaboration with them. I haven't seen much mention of the company in recent years and wouldn't be surprised if they had become defunct or lost interest. A decent chunk of the marine band in the US has been sold off or re-assigned to other users, e.g. railroads, which is why your radio has a US / International (and sometimes Canada) switch.
Old 10-13-2020, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by requiem View Post
I believe the old coast station frequencies were auctioned off and bought by an outfit called MariTel some decades back, and SeaTow's service was a collaboration with them. I haven't seen much mention of the company in recent years and wouldn't be surprised if they had become defunct or lost interest. A decent chunk of the marine band in the US has been sold off or re-assigned to other users, e.g. railroads, which is why your radio has a US / International (and sometimes Canada) switch.
Perhaps we are on to something...

I still really would like to find out what happened.

Sea Tow corporate says they are not at liberty to discuss it. Which makes me think they got in trouble.
Old 10-14-2020, 07:50 PM
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Uh oh, looks like lawsuit was filed on or about 09/26/2020.

Bass, Berry & Sims filed a lawsuit Friday in Tennessee Eastern District Court on behalf of MariTEL Inc., a radio communication services business, and its affiliates. The complaint accuses Sea Tow Services International Inc. of continuing to use the plaintiff's licensed spectrum for transmission after the expiration of nine-year agreement. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendant. The case is 3:20-cv-00424, Maritel, Inc. et al v. Sea Tow Services International, Inc.

Last edited by RickC137; 10-14-2020 at 07:55 PM.
Old 10-14-2020, 09:57 PM
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It never worked consistently for me anyway. Always prefer Channel 72 (in our waters) and get the confirmation from a live human being.
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Old 10-15-2020, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by RickC137 View Post
Uh oh, looks like lawsuit was filed on or about 09/26/2020.

Bass, Berry & Sims filed a lawsuit Friday in Tennessee Eastern District Court on behalf of MariTEL Inc., a radio communication services business, and its affiliates. The complaint accuses Sea Tow Services International Inc. of continuing to use the plaintiff's licensed spectrum for transmission after the expiration of nine-year agreement. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendant. The case is 3:20-cv-00424, Maritel, Inc. et al v. Sea Tow Services International, Inc.
Wow! Nice find! I figured someone was suing them when corporate says they will not talk about it.

Here is something I found online "Automated Radio Check, which is provied by Sea Tow in association with MariTEL" back in 2013 when they were seeking additional stations be setup. So I am guessing the service started c. 2011?

So was Sea Tow paying to use it? Did they want to continue to use it and were denied a renewal or a crazy price?

Very sad that such a valuable service can go poof like that

Perhaps we should write MariTEL inc.

A quick search and I cannot find their website...
Old 10-15-2020, 06:34 AM
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Seem there have been some law suits launched by MariTEL in the past... Havent read this one yet but saw brief mention about USCG wanting to use certain channels for AIS and being denied: USCOURTS-dcd-1_03-cv-02418-0.pdf
Old 10-15-2020, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
Wow! Nice find! I figured someone was suing them when corporate says they will not talk about it.

Here is something I found online "Automated Radio Check, which is provied by Sea Tow in association with MariTEL" back in 2013 when they were seeking additional stations be setup. So I am guessing the service started c. 2011?

So was Sea Tow paying to use it? Did they want to continue to use it and were denied a renewal or a crazy price?

Very sad that such a valuable service can go poof like that

Perhaps we should write MariTEL inc.

A quick search and I cannot find their website...
https://www.otesat-maritel.com/
Old 10-15-2020, 07:14 AM
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That is a bummer but certainly explains why i wasnt getting the ST RC on 27 in CB which has been around for quite some time. It is amazing they are suggesting using 16.
Old 10-19-2020, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
I just tried it and its gone!

It worked two weeks ago

https://www.seatow.com/arc

"The Sea Tow Automated Radio Check System is no longer available."

This was a highly valuable service

I am guessing they got rid of it to cut costs?

What a shame!!!

credit to @Mpellet for pointing out in a different thread

Oh, golly. I guess I have some work to do. Thanks for the heads up.

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