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 VHF Activated Fog Horn?
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Author Previous Topic: To Insure or Not Insure? Topic Next Topic: Hillsboro Inlet conditions  

Sea Gull

RO# 11632

Posted - Apr 28 2010 :  17:23:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The latest LNM for District 1 has a description of a proposed change that caught my attention.

The USCG is proposing to change the Race Rock fog signal to a VHF radio activated signal. In reduced visibility you can tune your radio to channel 79 and key the mic 5 consecutive times. This will activate the fog signal for 45 minutes.

I have seen this used in aviation to turn on runway lights at unmanned airfields, but this is the first time I have heard of this technology being proposed for marine navigation.

Has anyone else encountered this before?



Homeport: CT

chriscraft67

RO# 12563

Posted - Apr 28 2010 :  17:53:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Given the amount of traffic at Race Rock during the warmer months, that horn should be on almost continuously. My concern is that passing boaters would turn the horn on just to see if it works or to impress their passengers, even in good weather.

Good idea if it's not abused.



Homeport: Norwich, CT Go to Top of Page

Planeguy

RO# 1963



Posted - Apr 28 2010 :  18:17:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The lighthouse at the mouth of the Huron River from Lake Erie has that feature.

My tolerance for Islam ended on 9-11-01!

Homeport: Huron, Ohio Go to Top of Page

Sandy

RO# 1159

Posted - Apr 28 2010 :  19:29:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'd hope the radio activated signal access would 1st be energized by a visibility/reflectivity system to eliminate the misuse factor. That would certainly make it a bit more tolerable for nearby residents if full time interval-soundings is an issue, & cut down on power usage, but when it's quite foggy the normal automatic soundings seem safer to me.

Sandy

Homeport: The Vineyard Go to Top of Page

TSR

RO# 23542

Posted - Apr 28 2010 :  23:09:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The harbour at Bayfield, Ontario (Lake Huron) has a VHF activated fog horn, and there could well be a number of other harbours with similar devices on the Great Lakes (I'd have to check my charts).

I cannot recall over the past number of years that it has ever been set off in good visibility, so it would appear that misuse is not an issue. I suspect that the procedure and channel to use is not known by many recreational boaters.



'99 Four Winns 258 Vista

Homeport: Bayfield, Ontario Go to Top of Page

CaptJon

RO# 3880

Posted - Apr 29 2010 :  06:35:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
##**x+= to the choice of using ch79. US Govt gets in the habit of utilizing commercial freqs (like 79) for their operations. There are some commercial users on Ch 79 in the Eastern LIS area, so now they will have to try to find another "house" channel or listen to idiots clicking on the radio 24 hours a day. Why didn't they use the gov't freq ch 82 which is hardly ever used in that area? Or maybe ch67 a low power under-utilized bridge to bridge channel?

RTFM

Edited by - CaptJon on Apr 30 2010 08:42:28

Homeport: Annapolis Go to Top of Page

cgpuddles

RO# 31926

Posted - Apr 29 2010 :  08:13:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It might be new to your area, but the idea itself is not new. As a few others have said it is used throughout the Great Lakes. Not just for fog signals but a few different uses. For example, the Saint Mary's River which connects Lake Superior to Lake huron uses the same idea to either dim, or turn up the intensity of range lights in the river. Very little abuse that I've seen.

Mike
1998 Maxum 2400 SCR
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Edited by - cgpuddles on Apr 29 2010 08:14:56

Homeport: Go to Top of Page

bradt

RO# 31225

Posted - Apr 29 2010 :  09:08:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I installed a signalling device (Signal Mate) which automatically sychronizes the boats sounds and lights (activates fog horn, running lights, anchor light, etc...) just push the button for the condition your in (ie...underway in fog; anchored in fog; under tow)....Easy installation.

SlapShot
Carver 444 CPMY
Annapolis, MD

Homeport: md Go to Top of Page

KPMid

RO# 22903

Posted - May 02 2010 :  00:29:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chriscraft67

Given the amount of traffic at Race Rock during the warmer months, that horn should be on almost continuously. My concern is that passing boaters would turn the horn on just to see if it works or to impress their passengers, even in good weather.

Good idea if it's not abused.



There are several lights/signals in Puget Sound that have had VHF activated fog signals for a couple years now. Visibility still needs to be restricted before it can be activated. This prevents exactly what you just described.



Homeport: NY Go to Top of Page

Sandy

RO# 1159

Posted - May 02 2010 :  14:20:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I believe a lot of small airports have a similar system to activate runway lights. Hmmm...I wonder how I could rig a dock light to respond to vhf clicks from, say, 1/3+nm? When on, the dock light acts as effective range light when threading a long channel at that distance away.

Sandy

Homeport: The Vineyard Go to Top of Page

rawidman

RO# 25110

Posted - May 04 2010 :  07:41:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sandy

I believe a lot of small airports have a similar system to activate runway lights. Hmmm...I wonder how I could rig a dock light to respond to vhf clicks from, say, 1/3+nm? When on, the dock light acts as effective range light when threading a long channel at that distance away.



It wouldn't be difficult for someone with electronics experience. You would need a VHF receiver, an electronic counting circuit to count the clicks, a relay to turn on the light, and a timing circuit to turn it off after a certain time.

Another option would be to transmit a certain frequency audio tone (like touch tone telephones use) to key the relay instead of "clicks".



Ron
2000 Camano Troll

Edited by - rawidman on May 04 2010 07:42:02

Homeport: Charleston, SC Go to Top of Page

Sandy

RO# 1159

Posted - May 04 2010 :  13:12:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Ron. I appreciate the reply. This is , of course, one of Those Ideas that will likely join the crowd up there on the dusty Those Ideas Shelf.

On the other hand , hardware stores sell inexpensive weather resistant wireless devices with remote battery transmitter like a garage opener and an outdoor receiver to turn a wired circuit on/off, and is often used for switching Xmas lights or similar from indoors. I wonder if there is any (legal) way to extend the short effective transceiving range to the 1/3+ nm I'd need to switch the dock light from the channel? No idea what frequency such a device operates on, but if the receiver end was somehow tunable to a marine VHF or FRS ch. frequency it would be easy. That's a bit of a stretch, though.


Sandy

Homeport: The Vineyard Go to Top of Page

rawidman

RO# 25110

Posted - May 04 2010 :  14:30:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sandy

Thanks, Ron. I appreciate the reply. This is , of course, one of Those Ideas that will likely join the crowd up there on the dusty Those Ideas Shelf.

On the other hand , hardware stores sell inexpensive weather resistant wireless devices with remote battery transmitter like a garage opener and an outdoor receiver to turn a wired circuit on/off, and is often used for switching Xmas lights or similar from indoors. I wonder if there is any (legal) way to extend the short effective transceiving range to the 1/3+ nm I'd need to switch the dock light from the channel? No idea what frequency such a device operates on, but if the receiver end was somehow tunable to a marine VHF or FRS ch. frequency it would be easy. That's a bit of a stretch, though.



If you really want to persue this, I think there are systems that can be activated with a telephone (normally used to turn on heat or AC, etc.) that you could connect to your dock light.

Start with these people:

http://www.smarthome.com/_/index.aspx


Ron
2000 Camano Troll

Edited by - rawidman on May 04 2010 14:35:30

Homeport: Charleston, SC Go to Top of Page

Sandy

RO# 1159

Posted - May 04 2010 :  21:26:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks again. That Smartlink w/ cell phone control via cell-internet to "home" modem switching is pretty slick. I don't pretend to completely understand it, but since the dock is not mine (very small 8 slip boatyard) and there is no landline phone access there, I'm not about to go adding a lot of semi-bulky devices to the pilings w/ outlets. Also my cell is a little too primitive at present for that web-based system.
After your good coaxing, I found another set of basics that might work up to 3000' using a key fob. Unfortunately 200-300' is normal without a big(?) antenna. 3000' would be great. http://www.controlanything.com/Relay/Relay/KEY_FOB . If that was set up in a very small (unobbtrusive) weather-resistant case with one controlled outlet or light fixture, and didn't require the big antenna for needed range that would have potential. This is getting closer (but still needs a case) : http://www.controlanything.com/Relay/Device/Ultimate_Light_Control (Headache alert: don't watch the video.)

Now I'm finding quite a bunch of mid to long range wireless controllers, but the cost is pushing the needle on the ridiculometer for this potential basic use. . Luckily , it's not something I need. Just could be handy someday .

Very sorry Sea Gull, didn't intend to hijack your thread.

Still way unlikely I'd ever get anything actually set up , but I'm seeing some interesting possibilities now.....


Sandy

Homeport: The Vineyard Go to Top of Page

Ironworks

RO# 20174



Posted - May 05 2010 :  01:04:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here in Ohio we are past high tech. The Toledo Harbor Light has the fog horn blowing 24-7 rain or shine. So if it is ever foggy, no problem, it is already on.

44' Viking ACMY Diesel
10 ft Zodiac 20hp Johnson


Homeport: Toledo Ohio. Go to Top of Page

rawidman

RO# 25110

Posted - May 05 2010 :  06:38:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sandy

Thanks again. That Smartlink w/ cell phone control via cell-internet to "home" modem switching is pretty slick. I don't pretend to completely understand it, but since the dock is not mine (very small 8 slip boatyard) and there is no landline phone access there, I'm not about to go adding a lot of semi-bulky devices to the pilings w/ outlets. Also my cell is a little too primitive at present for that web-based system. ...........



Go back and look at the systems that impress a code on the electric power system. I'm pretty sure they make a system that can be controlled by an ordinary telephone with a phone call.

The receiver can be on the dock and control the light.

X-10 is one brand that I've had experience with and use in my home.


Ron
2000 Camano Troll

Homeport: Charleston, SC Go to Top of Page
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