The Waterway Radio and Cruising Club is an association of amateur
radio operators who also share an interest in recreational boating.
The Waterway Net, which is sponsored by the Waterway Radio and
Cruising Club, meets on the air every morning of the year for about
an hour starting at 0745 ET on a frequency of 7.268 MHz LSB. The main
purpose of the Waterway Net is to encourage amateur radio
communications to and from boats with an emphasis on safety and
weather information. Position Reports help
keep live-aboards and cruising boats in touch with families and
friends and Float
Plans provide a strong measure of safety for off-shore passage
Begun in the early sixties, the Waterway Net is one of the oldest, continuously operating nets in amateur radio.
Today the WRCC has around eight hundred dues paying members and
anyone holding an Amateur Radio License of any class is eligible to
join. Membership in the WRCC is not a
prerequisite for participation in the Waterway Net, but a general
class or higher license is required.
The Waterway Net is a controlled net. It is recommended that one
listen for a while to learn the Net
Procedures, but anyone with a general class license or above is
invited to check in at the appropriate time or to join in on the
special interest nets that often follow.
In an emergency, FCC rules permit anyone, licensed or not, to use
any frequency to summon help. All boaters with high frequency SSB
radios aboard should know that the 20 meter amateur frequency of 14.300 MHz is active for about
eighteen hours a day and is always available for emergency
Hurricane Season is Fast Approaching!: (from the Hurricane Watch Net) Currently, members of the Hurricane Watch Net are preparing for what looks to be an overly active season. Just recently, April 10th, Dr. Bill Gray and his team at Colorado State University issued their first forecast for the 2013 Atlantic Basin Season. He is predicting 18 named storms, 9 of which to become hurricanes with 4 of those as major hurricanes (Cat 3 or higher). This is double as predicted this time last year, and the 2012 season ended with 19 named storms, 10 which became hurricanes and 1 that reached major hurricane status. Plus, no one can forget the havoc caused by Isaac and Sandy!
As a reminder, the Hurricane Watch Net activates whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of landfall, or, at the request of the forecaster at the National Hurricane Center. You may also sign up for free weather emails that include the Tropical Weather Outlook as well all advisories just moments after they are issued by the National Hurricane Center. Our website is www.hwn.org.
(Update 2-12-2013) Bahamas Reciprocal License Info: Anyone planning a trip to the Bahamas should check out the URCA website. The most recent ruling states that you will be required to get a Bahamas Reciprocal License each year you visit the Bahamas. Annual license renewals are no longer available. URCA, Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority, require all to complete and submit a license application form, Amateur Radio Services, $10 application fee as well as the $25 license fee. The application form can be downloaded from the link, above. Also, check out our Bahamas Reciprocal info on this page.
Congrats to Waterway Net Member, Dick Giddings!:
Dick Giddings, W3RDT has received the Ocean Cruising Club's Award of
Merit for 2012 for his work on the Cruizheimers Net and the Doo Dah Net,
and for helping mariners afloat as he often does on the Waterway Net.
From the OCC's press release:
Dick Giddings - is one of the unsung heroes of the cruising community.
"Disabled, living on the smell of an oilrag." For many years he has
given selflessly and unstintingly of his time and effort to create a
safe passage for cruisers by providing a radio network that covers N.
Atlantic and the Caribbean waters (which is where a huge number of OCC
members land up!). It's a check-in service, provides weather routing but
even more importantly contact between cruisers and shore as well. He
keeps a watchful eye on cruisers and if they don't log in, he puts the
word out to emergency services. The stories are too numerous to mention
where a cruiser has been unable to contact home except via Dick
Like Big Boats? (and who doesn't?): Some web sites that are fun to follow are
the Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale and New York Harbor Web Cams. These are all live, full
motion and display some interesting views. During the recent Sandy "Super Storm", the New York Harbor web cam
gave a live 24 hour a day feed from the Staten Island waterfront. Prior to the recent Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show,
I watched many fancy yachts being unloaded from cargo transport ships. Also, daily, you can watch the big cruise ships come and go.
There are several URLs, but the easiest way is to go to the Port Canaveral Web Cam site, then, in the upper left corner,
you'll see a drop-down menu with the other web cams. Also, the Ft Lauderdale site has three cameras which you can choose from.
In a smaller window, just below and to the left of the main window, there is an AIS display, identifying each vessel in the area.
Club Related Gear: WRCC
members should fly the club's burgees whenever possible. This
lets other members know if you're in their anchorage, marina,
etc. Flying the burgee also is a means of showing others that
you are a member of a very special group of boaters/ham radio
Burgees, embroidred shirts, caps and other club merchandise can be found on our WRCC Store page.
FCC to Kill LightSquare Proposal: The FCC plans to kill a proposal to build a new national high-speed wireless network after concluding that, in some cases, it would jam personal navigation and other GPS devices.
Astronomy/Satellite Tracking Software: A couple of free computer programs that should be of interest to boaters is Orbitron and Stellarium. Orbitron is strictly a satellite tracker, while Stellarium does this and shows all the heavenly bodies in the sky. Orbitron has a "Predict" mode that will tell you when and where a particular satellite will be visible. With Stellarium, you can set the time window ahead to any time you wish to see if any satellites will be visible at that time. With both programs, once installed, you will first need to set your current location so that the program will know what to display for your area. For those of you who own smartphones, there are many apps that have similar features, most are free.
How and Where to Check in to Customs: For those of you who are returning to the states from the Bahamas, etc., here's information of how and where to check in if you're returning to Florida.
BoatUS Foundation's Top Picks For On-the-Water Weather Services:
A Look at Cell Phone, Smart Phone, Chartplotter, and Computer-based Weather Service
ANNAPOLIS, Md., August 12, 2010 - On the afternoon of July 25th, a fast moving storm packing 70 mph winds, rain and lighting swept across the Chesapeake Bay. Over the next two hours, US Coast Guard Sector Baltimore, MD, received 37 calls from mariners in distress. Unfortunately many boaters and anglers, unaware of the supercell's fury, were caught unprepared. But it didn't have to be this way.
Today there are dozens of hi-tech ways to receive up-to-the-minute weather information aboard your boat. The BoatUS Foundation recently reviewed 28 products and services to see which provided mariners with the best information and has issued its recommendations for its top "picks."
"Sometimes bad weather can approach with few visual signs," said Program Manager David Carter. "Having these resources available can complement your VHF radio's weather broadcast."
The review, which covered satellite and phone-based weather services for the coastal inshore and inland boater, included free cellular phone text messaging services to fee-based subscription services that display weather information on a chartplotter. Each weather service includes hardware, such as a standard flip phone, smart phone, computer or chartplotter, as well as the software designed to present the information.
Foundation staff limited their focus to the actual content and depth of weather information provided. This included the ability to deliver local, land-based weather information (current conditions such as temperature, wind or barometric readings), hazardous weather warnings, radar imagery, land and marine forecasts, and NOAA buoy reports.
The BoatUS Foundation's weather service "picks" are:
Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning: A person who is drowning doesn't usually look like the typical 'drowning victim' that you see on TV. A crew member who falls overboard and appears to be OK, could actually be drowning! An excellent article by Mario Vittone that explains this can be found here.
Now this just isn't right!
USCG CFL Lamp Warning: The US Coast Guard has issued a Marine Safety Alert on the newer CFL fluorescent lamps, saying that they could cause RF interference with certain communication and navigation equipment. The USCG alert is not clear, whether it refers to the AC or 12v DC type of lamp (or both). The type of lamp in question should have the following statement printed somewhere on the packaging: "This product may cause interference to radio communications and should not be installed near maritime safety communications equipment or other critical navigation or communication equipment operating between 0.45-30 MHz."
New Florida Anchoring Provision Is Now Law!:
House Bill #1423 and other related information can be found HERE.
Thank you for your kind donations:
In Memory of Bob Thompson, KD3DV:
In Memory of Jean Freeman, KC4BGQ
In Memory of Bill Marsh, K9SGH
The Waterway Radio & Cruising Club
We would also like to thank those who have donated funds, in addition to their annual dues, in order to help with our club's finances. Donations are always welcome and should be addressed to Sec/Treas (Club address on Club Info page).
Lake Okeechobee Water Levels: You may still want to check with lockmasters, etc., to determine local conditions.
Masses of Sting Rays Found!: Dr. Jim, K4TCV, sent these photos of sting rays during their migration near the Yucatan Peninsula. Sandra Critelli, an amateur photographer, took these amazing photos. The population in the Gulf of Mexico migrates, in schools of as many as 10,000, clockwise from western Florida to Yucatan.
Switlik Life Raft Recall: Marti, KF4TRG sends notice that the Switlik Parachute company has a recall for it's marine life rafts. For more information, visit this website.
WRCC Recruitment Flyer: Download this flyer (right), print it out, and post it at your nearest marina, marine supply store (West Marine, Boat U.S., etc.,) even Radio Shack. You could also use it as a handout at your local ham radio club. The Waterway Radio & Cruising Club is conducting a recruitment campaign for new members and this flyer is just another way to get the word out. With the recent dropping of the morse code requirement, more and more boaters will be getting their licenses; we need to let them know what services the Club
provides. You will need Acrobat Reader to view and print this flyer. Download pdf flyer (236kb).
Join the fun! The Waterway
Radio & Cruising Club is holding a membership
recruitment campaign. If you, or someone you know,
would like to become a member, please go to the Club Info page and
download a membership form. Only requirement is that you hold a
valid amateur radio operator's license. Of course, to
participate on the Net, you must have a General class or above,
license. Owning a boat is not required; only the love of
boating. Waterway Net members are known for their love of the
water, boating and ham radio. For the cruising boater, the Net
is also a great way of keeping in touch with other boaters
while offering a safer transit, through our daily weather
reporting and position reports. Also, every fall, we hold a
combination picnic/flea market in Melbourne, FL.
Notes from the Webmaster -
Members: Your input is necessary to keep our web site current
and interesting - please feel free to send news items, articles
for the Technical Corner, corrections, updates, suggestions,
problems and complaints to the