How To Test VHF Radio? A Guide For Beginners!

If you are an apprentice to use VHF radio, you may not know how to test VHF radio to check if the device is working properly! 

Testing your device before using it for a real job is important because if the device is not working properly in emergencies, Your life could be in danger, so it’s always better to know if the device is working perfectly or not.

In this comprehensive guide on how to check a VHF radio, we’re going to show you the best method that you can follow to check your device. 

How To Test Vhf Radio?

There are so many ways to check it, but we’ll only share the most useful and widely used way, the most popular way of checking it is by performing a DSC Test Call.

The USA Coast Guard started offering a great service called automated Digital Selective Calling test call to check a VHF radio. But if you want to follow this method, you have to make sure that your device has the DSC feature

If you’re using a Fixed Mount VHF radio, you don’t have to worry about it because all fixed-mount marine radios certified by the Federal Communications Commission since 1999, and they do not allow a radio if the device doesn’t have a DSC test call capability.

When you are ready to check your device, the very first step you will need to take is to make a DSC test call. You can do it simply by entering the US Coast Guard’s coast station group identity number like this (003669999) into your radio’s DSC memory.

Once you do it, a demo call will be executed automatically if you follow the below steps properly:

  • On your fixed-mount radio menu, select (Test Call)
  • And then select the USCG number and send the call
  • You’ll see a hint on your display when the test call is acknowledged.

Some considerable things when checking a VHF radio:

As we know, we can use the different channels for multiple purposes in a marine radio, but in the case of testing your radio, you should not use channel 16.

Because channel 16 is specially designed for emergencies, this channel is only used when people need emergency help for saving their life in open water.

You can use other channels like channel 9 that has been created by the FCC as a boater’s calling channel.


In the case of maintaining enough safety in open water, a VHF radio plays an important role. Your cell phone might not work properly in seawater where a VHF radio offers a great range of communication with others. 

But did you know how important is it to check VHF radio before you use it for your boat or vessel in the case of fishing or other jobs? 

Hopefully, the guide on how to test VHF radio was helpful for you. To check it, all you need to do is just make a demo call via the DCS feature to your Coast Guard.