Marine VHF and Railroad Service Searches

SAVANNAH, GA – I found myself with some time to play radio today and because of the Federal Holiday, there wasn’t much military aviation traffic to be heard.  After awhile, I came up with something interesting to do with the Uniden BC796D.  I put it in service search and did computer logging with ID Tracker III; alternating between Marine VHF and Railroad every few hours, I wanted to see what frequencies were active in the Savannah area and just how active they are.

Here are the results for Marine VHF:

Service Frequency Channel Hits
Marine 156.150 Ch. 3 10
Marine 156.325 Ch. 66 1
Marine 156.400 Ch  8 2
Marine 156.425 Ch. 68 2
Marine 156.475 Ch. 69 11
Marine 156.650 Ch. 13 103
Marine 156.700 Ch. 14 16
Marine 156.800 Ch .16 19
Marine 156.900 Ch .18 14
Marine 156.950 Ch. 19 2
Marine 157.050 Ch. 21 58
Marine 161.950 Ch. 27 1
Marine 161.975 AIS 1 4

The only real surprise in this table is that I would have thought Ch. 16, the hailing and distress frequency would have had more hits.  Ch. 13 by far was the busiest as would be expected from the Savannah River working channel.  Vessels moving up and down the river and around the port use it for deconfliction purposes and it stays busy.  Ch. 3 yielded some weak recordings, possibly from a boatyard or marina, the most clear transmission was a requesting for someone to meet at the “boat dock.”  Even though the Coast Guard isn’t using Marine VHF as frequently as it used to, Ch. 21, one of their working frequencies for this area, was busy today with Auxiliary activity and a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-146 that’s visiting Hunter AAF.  Ch. 18 and Ch. 19 are Commercial channels and although most of the recorded traffic was weak, I definitely heard Moran on Ch. 18, so I wonder if it is in use by Moran tugboats?  Ch. 68 is used by Isle of Hope Marina and I only recorded one vessel communicating with them today.  I think Ch. 69 is used by several area marinas, accounting for more traffic on it.

Here are the Railroad results:

Service Frequency Channel Hits
RAILROAD 160.245 Ch. 9 – Norfolk Southern 17
RAILROAD 160.275 Ch. 11 – Norfolk Southern 12
RAILROAD 160.320 Ch. 14 – CSX 13
RAILROAD 160.410 Ch. 20 1
RAILROAD 160.440 Ch. 22 3
RAILROAD 160.485 Ch. 25 – CSX Southover Yard 24
RAILROAD 160.530 Ch .28 11
RAILROAD 160.590 Ch. 32 – CSX Road 131
RAILROAD 160.665 Ch. 37 9
RAILROAD 160.830 Ch. 48 13
RAILROAD 160.950 Ch. 56 – Norfolk Southern Road 95
RAILROAD 161.010 Ch. 60 – Norfolk Southern 41
RAILROAD 161.100 Ch. 66 – CSX JA Dispatch 46
RAILROAD 161.250 Ch. 76 3
RAILROAD 161.340 Ch. 82 – CSX 10
RAILROAD 161.370 Ch. 84 – CSX 1
RAILROAD 161.490 Ch. 92 – Norfolk Southern 34

Although I’m a newbie at Railroad Monitoring, I’m not surprised by anything in this table.  The CSX and Norfolk Southern road channels were the busiest followed by the CSX JA Dispatcher and yard frequencies.  I think Ch. 60 and Ch. 92 may be Norfolk Southern yard frequencies but I’m not sure.  Ch. 48 may be a yard frequency as well; the recorded traffic was weak but it sounded like they were giving orders and trouble with an engine was mentioned.

This was an interesting experiment and one that I’m going to keep in mind for other slow MilCom days. Doing it on Marine VHF only on a Saturday might be even more interesting, more marina type traffic might be captured and it would be fun to see what kind of recreational traffic it might find.

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