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The Frugal Mariner
Saltwater Suzi and Cap'n Larry's "Boating on a Budget" 
How to's, Information, Education & Fun Stuff about Boats, Sailboats, and Cruising
CURRENT MOON

Before you go sailing check your local National Weather Service forecast by "City, ST" or Zip Code

 

 

Weather Radio

There is a button on your VHF radio which says WX

or maybe WX Alert.  Press that button and you will be listening to one of the computer generated voices of NOAA's weather radio (assuming, of course, your radio is turned on.)  Press your channel button or dial up or down to change to one of the seven frequencies you wish to hear.  On some of the channels, there will be only static, or no sound at all.   You will find one,  two or maybe three which are broadcasting a weather report.   One of these is for your area.
"Many NOAA Weather Radio receivers are also programmed for three additional frequencies; 161.650 MHz (marine VHF Ch 21B), 161.775 MHz (marine VHF Ch 83B) and 163.275 MHz. The first two frequencies are used by Canada for marine weather broadcasts. 163.275 MHz was used by the National Weather Service for internal coordination in the event of a power outage but is no longer in active use."
You may be a little curious, as we were, why there are 10 weather channels on your VHF radio but only 7 transmitting channels.   We looked on the National Weather Service Site and e-mailed the Weather Service and we were pointed to this, quoted from the NWS website:
Further, regarding this, please note that the weather channel and the frequency list are not standard through the industry and government.  For instance:
Channel Frequency
1 162.425 Mhz
2 162.450 Mhz
3 162.500 Mhz
4 162.475 Mhz
5 162.525 Mhz
6 161.650 Mhz
7 161.775 Mhz
8 163.275 Mhz
9 162.400 Mhz
10 162.550 Mhz
Channel Frequency
1 162.550 Mhz
2 162.400 Mhz
3 162.475 Mhz
4 162.425 Mhz
5 162.450 Mhz
6 162.500 Mhz
7 162.525 Mhz
NWS Frequency / Channel List
Icom Frequency / Channel List
We are not picking on ICOM here, it just happened to be the first one at which we looked.  We are just pointing this out so that you will understand that for the rest of this dissertation, we are going to be referring to frequencies and not channels.  You will need to look at your VHF Radio's instruction manual to correspond the frequencies to the channels on your radio.

East Coast Chart of Weather Stations.

This one is for all of you snowbird cruisers who will be heading south sometime in October or November  (or later for the more robust or less sane cruisers.)

You get up in the morning and while drinking your morning coffee, you're deciding whether to get underway or stay at anchor for the day and relax and read and maybe snuggle a little.  Of course the biggest factor in this decision, other than degree of lethargy, is what the weather prediction is for the day. 

You turn on your VHF weather radio and listen.  And you take some notes.  And it sounds great.  Or it doesn't.  And you make your decision.  And it's the wrong one because you're listening to a station that's 80 miles north of you.  You failed to take into consideration that you traveled 63 miles yesterday and you should be listening to a completely different station.  

That's what this chart is for - to help you pick which station is the right one to which to listen.

We've put this in order by latitude from north to south.  Print out this chart, fill in the  channel for your radio for each frequency listed and store it in your log book or somewhere convenient.

EAST COAST NOAA WEATHER RADIO STATIONS' FREQUENCIES SORTED BY LATITUDE
(COURTESY OF THE FRUGAL MARINER)

Latitude (N) Station Frequency (MHz) Channel
(fill in yours)
45 02' Meddybemps, Maine 162.425
44 40' Jonesboro, Maine (Marine) 162.450
44 32' Ellsworth, Maine 162.400
44 08' Dresden, Maine 162.475
43 44' Falmouth, Maine 162.550
43 09' Deerfield, NH 162.450
42° 37' Gloucester, Mass.
(Marine)
162.425
42 21' Boston. Mass 162.475
41 39' Bourne/Hyannis, Mass 162.550
41° 49' Providence, RI 162.400
41° 21' New London, CT 162.550
40°  28' New York City, NY 162.550
40° 10' Howell Township, NJ 162.450
39° 21' Atlantic City, NJ 162.400
38° 46' Lewes, DE 162.550
39° 17' Baltimore, MD 162.400
38° 45' Manassas, VA 162.550
37° 55' Heathsville, VA 162.400
36° 54' Norfolk, VA 162.550
36° 08' Mamie, NC 162.425
35 33' Windsor, NC 162.525
35 16' Cape Hatteras, NC 162.475
35°  05' New Bern, NC 162.400
33° 41' Myrtle Beach, SC 162.400
33° 23' Georgetown, SC 162.500
32° 47' Charleston, SC 162.550
32° 26 Beaufort, SC 162.450
31° 15 Brunswick, GA 162.425
30° 30' Jacksonville, FL 162.550
29° 11' Palatka, FL 162.425
29° 11 Daytona Beach, FL 162.400
28° 05' Melbourne, FL 162.550
27° 28' Ft. Pierce, FL 162.425
26° 41' West Palm, FL 162.475
25° 48' Miami, FL 162.550
25 30' Princeton, FL 162.425
24° 54' Tea Table Key, FL 162.450
24° 33' Key West, FL 162.400

SAME Weather Alerts from NOAA

One other thing you need to know, involves the FIPS (Federal Information Processing System) as it relates to SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding)  weather alerts.  You program into your VHF radio  your local area SAME number and if there is a weather alert for your local area, your radio will alert you.  Again, read your instruction manual.

One word of caution - if you are traveling out of your SAME area, you will either need to reprogram every day you travel, or turn the feature off so it doesn't drive you buggy with alerts for an area other than where you are.

Here's where you can get the FIPS SAME code for your area:
                                                           NWR Specific Area Message Encoding
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