VHF Radio - What Marinas or NPS Stations Are Monitoring?

Not open for further replies.
GregC is right about the tow captains using 14 when they are enroute to finding you. Though after they search fruitlessly for you for 30 minutes, all the while you are hailing on 16, they do seem to switch from 14 to 16 to find you. Once they get to you, you mention you were hailing on 16, and they will notchalently say, oh we were on 14. If they are coming for you, be prepared to give them VERY specific details about where you are (always knowing MM or nearest canyon is a good plan)

On a more fun note! I remember sitting around the dinner table late at night listening to many "radio to phone" calls.
Guy: Hi honey, over.
Women: Hi - are you having fun.
Guy: Yes, we caught a lot of fish today -Over.
Women: Why do you keep saying over
Guy - Cause we're on a marine radio and when you're done talking you say "over", over
Women - That doesn't make sense, who over
Guy: I don't know, thats just what you do, over
Too funny

Everything from it's snowing at home, to I'm divorcing you. Hours of cheap entertainment
I remember the 70's and 80's when we were on the north end of the lake out of bullfrog my dads friend did quite a lot of business through that, he would be up later to make his phone calls. I remember one night the operator in window rock telling him, you know I have kids and have to get home, was a great time to be on the lake.
Several times we could hear both sides but the boater and NPS could not hear each other - we relayed for them and once the boater was nearby and we went out and helped them [rental houseboat stuck in mud]
To clear up some misinformation...

North Lake Marine Channels
9 - Fuel Dock
10 - Working Channel Exec Services (They don't ask to change channels)
12 - Dry Storage
14 - Secondary Boat Rental Channel (Usually hail them on 16 and they will ask you to change to 14 to make conversation)
16 - Hailing and Emergencies (This is the NPS Channel which has repeaters on the lake.) (Believe Halls and Halls Fuel Dock also monitor 16)
61 - Ticaboo on Lake Services
68, 69, 71 - Open Public Channels

I'm not as familiar with South Lake, but I know the hailing and emergency Channel will still be 16 and I do believe Exec Services monitors 18 down there. Hope this helps.

Exec Services does not monitor 16. If you need a tow out on the lake your best chance is to hail Park Service on 16 and they will relay necessary information to Exec. They should know to ask if you except the Exec Services charges because they will not run 30 miles up lake just to find out you don't want to pay for the service. Basically if you have any sort of emergency out of Bullfrog Bay your best bet is to hail Park Service on 16. You may have to repeat yourself several times before you get a response. I would imagine key words like Emergency, Danger, and Help would aid in getting someones attention on 16. I used to monitor audio and video for distance classes and I will say, you zone out sometimes and just focus in on key words like your name, help, uh oh...haha.

Also Exec Services will not go out if they don't think they can make it back before dark. They aren't allowed to operate their tow boats after sunset. If you have an immediate emergency Park Service will tow your boat to a beach and bring people back to Bullfrog. Then you'd have to contact Exec Services in the morning or arrange other plans to retrieve your boat.
Last edited:
This information is beyond invaluable. I've taken several Lake Powell trips and did just fine, but now looking back realized how unprepared I was. I now have my Standard Horizon GX1700 installed on its own battery. That battery will also work nicely in case my starter battery ever dies on me. I noted down the various channels and so forth everyone mentioned to follow protocol and can leave my radio on now since I have it on its own battery. Thread https://wayneswords.net/threads/keep-dsc-equipped-vhf-radios-turned-on-24-7.690/ mentioned group MMSI of 022 222 222. I'm not sure how group MMSI's work. I always thought of MMSI really only used when you use DSC emergency call they can look up your MMSI to get more info about you. How does a group MMSI work and is it actually in use on Lake Powell?

Beyond ensuring my boat maintenance is up to date, I'm also thinking I'll just rent a Satellite phone for the trips I head out just in case. And pack blankets for a possible overnighter. I have friends I fish with but doubtful they'd head out at night for a search - most likely I'd have to spend an overnight on the lake if I had boat trouble and couldn't reach anyone before dark.

I had some friends just last week turned off their boat motor in gear so the prop wouldn't turn while they trolled. When they tried to take it out of gear, they couldn't. It was stuck. Can't start the boat motor when it's in gear. They had a 9.9hp kicker that got them back. But being in a canyon it could have been tough to communicate with anyone although they probably could have used trolling motor to get out. But they were 20+ miles up river. The weather was fine and their kicker worked, but their experience had me thinking I need to be more prepared.
So. what are your thoughts on the 1700? Did you get to use it much? Sq
Haven't really tried it yet. My use is really like an insurance policy on my annual lake powell trip. I'll have a better review next trip I go. Doubtful but I'll be curious if any boats on the AZ lakes use them. Would love to get my fellow boaters I go with to have them.
One of the key features of DSC is its ability to send your location along with your identifier (boat name and ownership). In order to do that though (unless your new radio has GPS built-in), it needs to be connected to your chartplotter or mapping device (fishfinder w/ mapping). Manufacturers have a simple cord that connects one to the other that provides that info to the radio. It SHOULD come with the radio or chartplotter, but it almost never does. When connected, It will show a mark on other chartplotters similarly connected showing your position as well as boat name and such, on every boat within range. As to the NPS being capable of recieving DSC calls, I'm not aware of a satisfactory answer to that question, either yes or no.


ps... just checked, yep GX 1700 does send GPS data!! Good for you!
I think NPS have repeaters all over the lake maybe I’m wrong but I bet they are able to monitor the entire lake

I wouldn't count on it. I recall reading somewhere, that NPS has an antenna on top of Navaho mountain. That is only 30 miles to Bull Frog, easily reachable "if" you have line of site to Navaho. I'd expect they have radios in each marina (and on their boats of course), but I don't think they are monitored 24/7. Last year I was in Dungeon monitoring a distress call from West Canyon, the NPS dispatch said it will take 60 minutes to get there as the ranger was woken at home and was driving to the Marina.

Navaho mountain is over 10,000 feet, assuming NPS has very sensitive commercial radios/antennas/filters, they can easily pick up a 25 watt fixed mount and likely even handheld radios as well (line of site.)

You must know the limitations of radio, if you are stuck back in a canyon, your likely out of luck. You must move to a location with line of site to Navaho (North side of the main channel for example.)

See the above link to leaving your DSC capable radio turned on 24/7. The benefit of DSC is not only is the NPS notified (I hope their DSC is hooked up), but every DSC equipped boat near by will also alarm and ring loudly (even if the volume is turned all the way down so your not disturbed at night by non emergency traffic.)

If your distress call doesn't reach NPS, hopefully someone in range and with line of site to Navaho can relay your distress call.
I think NPS hears everything on the lake whether they respond or not I believe they have the means to do so.
I was camped in padre last July and we heard a distress call from gunsight, a woman had a heart attack water skiing this was in July it took over 90 minutes for a rescue boat to get to them. In the meantime over the radio they were able to find an AED from someone listening to the call. life flight was another hour away I’m positive she didn’t make it and it was horrific to think about what these people were going through knowing life flight was that far off. In daylight I would go for the fastest boat and radio for an ambulance at the ramp.
So. what are your thoughts on the 1700? Did you get to use it much? Sq

I installed one in our houseboat last year, works great and very nice not having to hook up a GPS. Plus the GPS gives you course and speed, so we now have that information in the upper and lower stations (I installed a RAM mic in the bridge.) The RAM mic also has an intercom, the upper or lower station can ring each other, it beats yelling down below "Bring up another beer." :)


  • 20170617_112706_001.jpg
    489.2 KB · Views: 19
  • 20170621_152733.jpg
    253.7 KB · Views: 17
I installed one in our houseboat last year, works great and very nice not having to hook up a GPS. Plus the GPS gives you course and speed, so we now have that information in the upper and lower stations (I installed a RAM mic in the bridge.) The RAM mic also has an intercom, the upper or lower station can ring each other, it beats yelling down below "Bring up another beer." :)
Thanks for that info. Sq
Not open for further replies.