Marine VHF Channels and Licensing

I had much trouble finding an official listing of Marine VHF Channel allocations in Singapore. I finally stumbled across a seemingly partial listing and then stumbled across a more comprehensive unofficial listing, and then another, and then another. So for both your convenience and mine, I’ve compiled the data here.

Like almost everything else in Singapore, operating a non-“household” device requires a license, and using a Marine VHF set is no exception. You are required to pay an annual License Fee of S$50 in addition to an unspecified Fee for Frequency (“Depending on the bandwith of the frequencies”) and for Application & Processing (also “Depending on the bandwith of the frequencies”).

I would also caution that it is an offence to listen or repeat transmissions or the contents of a transmission not intended for your license class (if you don’t have a license, it is thus not for you unless: read next point) or for general information. As to what exactly general information is… This is something we apparently inherited from the UK during WWII (iirc) to prevent rogue transmissions or signal interception from the enemy. If you think, that “general information” applies to you, you should probably read the section in the Telecommunications (Radio-communication) Regulations on Licensing. 🙁

If you’re looking for the Channels/Frequencies of most Consumer-grade walkie talkies in Singapore, you’ll be wanting to look at PMR446, which is what we use, which is in the UHF band.

They have CTCSS (Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System), DTMF and DCS (not DSC; Digital Coded Squelch NOT Digital Selective Calling) tones that help to stop one hearing unwated transmissions from other people on the same channel. It is sometimes called Privacy Tones, Privacy Codes, Digital Channel Guard, or Groups. It should be noted that it will NOT prevent interference when 2 people on the same channel transmit at the same time, even if if they are in different privacy groups. It only helps to prevent hearing transmission from those in other groups. Also, those who don’t use Groups (often setting Group to 0 [Zero] or Off)  will be able to hear everything that everyone in that channel is saying, even from those who are in Groups.

The Uniden brand of walkie talkies use Groups differently (though they still have standard CTCSS and DCS tones, albeit under a different name). I haven’t been able to pinpoint how they do it. They do have DTMF tones though so perhaps that is it. It is unlikely that they prevent all the problems noted above though.

There is also a Digital PMR (dPMR) band of frequencies that uses digital signals instead of analog signals though I don’t think this is legal in Singapore.

In Marine VHF (156.0 to 162.025 MHz) there are a number of things to take note of:

  1. Simplex vs Duplex Transmissions
    In Simplex transmissions, all communications takes place on only 1 frequency. This means that communication can only take place in one direction at a time. In Duplex, 2 frequencies are allocated, (from your perspective) one for you to transmit, and another for you to receive.
  2. No CTCSS or DCS (not DSC) tones
  3. DSC
    Digital Selective Calling. This sends a predefined message (among many others) containing information about your self such as MMSI number (license required), message (SOS? Require Assistance), etc.
  4. Bandwidth
    The Marine VHF Channels are often very busy. To prevent interferene on adjacent channels, and if your device supports it, make sure the bandwidth is less than 25KHz, meaning 12.5KHz. If in doubt, always choose narrow bandwidth instead of wide bandwidth.

As far as I know and/or could find out, these are the channels currently in use in Singapore, subject to possible errors. Keep in mind, Malaysia and even Indonesia may be using the unlisted channels so don’t take it to mean an unlisted channel is unused. Standard disclaimers apply.

 

Marine VHF Channels in Singapore

Channel NameChannelFreq AFreq BS/DUsageDescription
Channel NameChannelFreq AFreq BS/DUsageDescription
Public Correspondence3156.150160.750DShip to Unknown/Marine Telephone Operator Unknown
Public Correspondence4156.200160.800DShip to Unknown/Marine Telephone Operator Unknown
Pulau Ayer Chawan Operations5156.250160.850D1. Requesting for information for vessels berthing/unberthing at Pulau Ayer Chawan and VLCC berths.
Singapore Refinery Centre5156.250160.850D1. Requesting for information for vessels berthing/unberthing at Pulau Merlimau.
Cruise Bay Control5156.250160.850D1. Requesting for clearance by vessels to enter, move within, or leave Cruise Bay Sector.
VTIS working channels7156.350160.950DVTIS working channelsAs an analogy to aviation, this is the Air Traffic Control frequency (Tower, Ground, TRACON, etc, all in one).
Note: This channel is listed on the MPA website as a VTIS Working Channel but is not assigned a location so perhaps it is used as a secondary.
Port Safety Marine7156.350160.950D1. Co-ordinating marine emergencies by MPA.
Police Coast Guard7156.350160.950D1. Requesting for assistance from Police Coast Guard.
Singapore Port Operations Control9156.450S1. Communicating distress, urgency and safety matters.

2. Broadcasting maritime safety information such as navigational and meteorological warnings and other urgent safety related messages.
VTIS East (Sector 9)10156.500S1. Reporting confirmation of arrival by vessels when abeam of:

Horsburgh,
Karang Galang Light,
and Eastern Buoy

2. Reporting and listening by vessels in Sector 9, STRAITREP operational area(area between Long. 104°02.1'E and 104°23.0'E).

3. Providing traffic information in Singapore Strait.
As an analogy to aviation, this is the Air Traffic Control frequency (Tower, Ground, TRACON, etc, all in one)
East Control12156.600S1. Reporting by vessels moving in the port area east of Long 103°51.2'E. All vessels within this area should maintain a listening watch on this channel.

2. Requesting clearance by vessels before moving into the East Sector.

3. Reporting arrival and anchored positions by vessels in East Sector.

4. Providing port traffic information.
Hydrographic Department13156.650S1. Navigation aids and Hydrographic survey activities.
Sembawang Control (reserve)13156.650SPMC NO. 17 of 2001
"Bridge to Bridge", "Ship to Ship"13156.650S"VHF channel 13 is designated by the Radio Regulations for bridge-to-bridge communications. The ship called may indicate another working channel on which further transmissions should take place. The calling ship should acknowledge acceptance before changing channels." - PMC NO. 21 of 2004
Possibly limited to 1 Watt TX power.
VTIS Central (Sector 8)14156.700S1. Reporting and listening by vessels in Sector 8, STRAITREP operational area (area between Long. 103°44.5'E and 104°02.1'E).

2. Providing traffic information in Singapore Strait.
As an analogy to aviation, this is the Air Traffic Control frequency (Tower, Ground, TRACON, etc, all in one)
Singapore Port Operations Control16156.800S1. Communicating distress, urgency and safety matters.

2. Broadcasting maritime safety information such as navigational and meteorological warnings and other urgent safety related messages.
This is also the international calling frequency. You should always be listening to this channel (even if you're not expecting a random ship to be calling you). Those familiar with aviation, this is functions both like a UNICOM and guard frequency, in addition to other things.
Keppel Control18156.900161.500D1. Requesting for clearance by vessels to enter, move within, or leave Keppel Sector.
Bukom Operations19156.950161.550D1. Requesting for information for vessels berthing/unberthing at Pulau Bukom and Shell SBM.
Singapore Pilots20157.000161.600D1. Requesting for pilotage service and pilotage information.
Sembawang Control21157.050161.650D1. Requesting for clearance by vessels before moving within the East Johor Strait Sector.

2. Reporting arrival and anchored position by vessels in the East Johor Strait Sector.
"The reserve channel is
VHF Channel 13. In the event that Channel 21 is
inoperative, vessels shall check with Port Operations Control Centre on VHF Channel 12 for instructions" - PMC NO. 17 of 2001
Jurong Control22157.100161.700D1. Requesting for clearance by vessels before moving within West Jurong and West Johor Sectors.

2. Reporting arrival and anchored position by vessels in West Jurong and West Johor Strait Sectors.
Public Correspondence (Singapore Radio)23157.150161.750D"Watch and reply"
Ship to Unknown/Marine Telephone Operator Unknown
Public Correspondence24157.200161.800D"Traffic List broadcast and Public Correspondence service"
Ship to Unknown/Marine Telephone Operator Unknown
Cyrene Control25157.250161.850D1. Requesting for clearance by vessels before moving into the East and West Jurong Sector.

2. Reporting arrival and anchored position by vessels in East and West Jurong Strait Sector.
Public Correspondence25157.250161.850DShip to Unknown/Marine Telephone Operator Unknown
Maritime Security26157.300161.900D1. Security matters.
Public Correspondence26157.300161.900DShip to Unknown/Marine Telephone Operator Unknown
Public Correspondence27157.350161.950DShip to Unknown/Marine Telephone Operator Unknown
Tug Deployment/ Waterboats61156.075160.675D1. Requesting for tug service, and supply of water to vessels at anchor.
Sinki Control68156.425S1. Reporting by vessels when underway in the Sinki Sector. All vessels within this area should maintain a listening watch on this channel.
West Control68156.425S1. Reporting by vessels when underway in the port area west of Long 103°51.2'E. All vessels within this area should maintain a listening watch on this channel.

2. Providing port traffic information.
69156.475SFrequently used by kayakers and for internal communications on a large vessel.
Distress monitoring (DSC Only)70156.525SDSC OnlyThis is for use by DSC capable sets only. Do not broadcast your voice distress call over this channel (use Channels 16 or 9 instead). MMSI Number of POCC: 005630002
VTIS West (Sector 7)73156.675S1. Reporting confirmation of arrival by vessels when abeam:

Pulau Iyu Kechil
Pulau Jangkat Beacon

2. Reporting and listening by vessels in Sector 7, STRAITREP operational area (area between the line joining Tg Piai and Pulau Karimun Kecil and Long. 103°44.5'E).

3. Providing traffic information in Singapore Strait.
As an analogy to aviation, this is the Air Traffic Control frequency (Tower, Ground, TRACON, etc, all in one)
Port Health/ Immigration74156.700S1. Requesting for Port Health or Immigration clearance.
Channel 16 Guard (lower)75156.775SChannel 16 GuardCurrently, channels have 25KHz spacing (frequencies are 25KHz apart from the next). Originally, it was 50KHz. This channel is thus reserved to make sure that Channel 16 is not interfered with as it is only 25KHz away from it.
Channel 17 Guard (upper)76156.825SChannel 16 GuardCurrently, channels have 25KHz spacing (frequencies are 25KHz apart from the next). Originally, it was 50KHz. This channel is thus reserved to make sure that Channel 16 is not interfered with as it is only 25KHz away from it.
Marina Country Club (Punggol Marina)77156.875S
Raffles Marina77156.875SVerified.
AIS 87B87B161.975SAIS OnlyDo not transmit anything on this frequency. Only approved and licensed AIS Transmistters/Tranceivers may transmit.
AIS 88B88B162.025SAIS OnlyDo not transmit anything on this frequency. Only approved and licensed AIS Transmistters/Tranceivers may transmit.
Freq A: Simplex frequency, or Duplex frequency usually used by Ship Stations
Freq B: Duplex frequency usually used by Coast Stations
S/D: Simplex or Duplex
Usage: Official description by MPA (or other reliable sources)
Description: Notes added by me or potentially unofficial due to conflicting information from official sources (noted by "quotation marks").

 

Sources:
http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/port_and_shipping/port/port_clearance_formalities/vessels_arriving_to_singapore/vhf_communication_in_port_and_singapore.page
http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/port_and_shipping/port/search_and_rescue/global_maritime_distress_and_safety_system%28gmdss%29.page
http://www.findaport.com/country/singapore#health
http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/circulars_and_notices/pdfs/port_marine_circulars/pc01-17.pdf
http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/circulars_and_notices/pdfs/port_marine_circulars/pc04-21.pdf
http://www.noonsite.com/Countries/Singapore/PortofSingapore?rc=RepairFacilities

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