In Georgetown, the cruisers run a morning radio net on the VHF which we find quite informative (channel 72 at approx. 8:00 AM). The “net controller” will list announcements, call for questions and allow businesses to come on the air and tell what’s happening at their place. They also ask any new arrivals to the area if they’d like to come on the air and give their names and boat particulars (we did so, and were recognized by our boat name later in the day when we were playing volleyball). Boats that are departing the area can also come on and say their goodbyes should they choose. Probably because there are so many boats in the area, they have also designated channel 68 as the ship-to-ship hailing frequency, which helps to keep the normally-used channel 16 free for emergency traffic.
Since we have arrived though, we have also noticed a couple of radio anomalies that are starting to drive me a bit crazy. Throughout our trip we have noticed that cruisers will often use a bit of radio “short hand” when talking to their buddies. After hailing someone on the normal hailing channel (in this case 68) and making contact, it is required to then select a working channel and move your traffic to that station (go there to talk). People will generally just call out a number such as 71, the implication being that after confirming that we have both heard that number by repeating 71, we will both switch to that channel. On the ICW, when the normal hailing frequency was 16, we often heard people say “Up 1?” suggesting that they both go up 1 channel to 17, which is by default on low power, perfect for the close proximity of most of the vessels in the ditch. Here though we keep hearing people say “up and up” which apparently means the same thing. OK, we get that (you go up and I will also go up). But can someone explain why some people feel it necessary to say “72, up and up” or even better, “67 and down” (I JUST heard that one)? I have mellowed a lot in the last few years but some things still drive me crazy. I just don’t get it. Is there some logic to this or is everyone just playing copy cat? If so, we refuse to play.