USCG Stops Monitoring 2182 KHz

The U.S. Coast Guard has decided to terminate the monitoring of  2182 kHz, which was first designated more than 65 years ago, as an international distress frequency. “Advancements in satellite, digital, very high frequency (VHF), and high frequency (HF) radio communication equipment, including satellite service provider competition, have improved service and reduced costs of this equipment causing MF radiotelephone to become obsolete,” explained a Coast Guard notice published in the US Federal Register on July 15/13.

“The site deterioration, costly upkeep, and extensive maintenance required to support this legacy MF system, as well as the relatively minimal use by mariners, has led the US Coast Guard to discontinue support of the MF system,” the Coast Guard added. The 2182 kHz frequency was first designated at the International Telecommunications Union Radio Conference in Atlantic City, NJ, in 1947
Many countries terminated their use of 2182 kHz after 1999, but the US Coast Guard continued to use this frequency for “watchkeeping” from shore in order to support smaller vessels that operate between approximately 20 and 100 miles from shore that were not subject to the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

Effective on August 1, 2013, the Coast Guard will terminate its use of 2182 kHz for these watchkeeping purposes, said the notice. “Mariners should not need to purchase any new equipment to make this change from 2182 kHz to other GMDSS [Global Maritime Distress and Safety System] distress frequencies,” noted the Coast Guard.

Conversely, the Canadian Coast Guard will continue to monitor 2181 KHz. A CCG Supervisor cites the following:

“As far as the Canadian Coast Guard is concerned , we are still monitoring 2182 KHz, for the time being and as far as I know, there are no plans to stop doing so for the foreseeable future. We've been hearing about the death of 2182 kHz for years now but Canada has still continued to monitor this distress frequency. The traffic has decreased in the last few years to the point of practically being non-existent with the newest  technology which is available”.


1) Jacob Goodwin
2) Don Dupuis Supervisor CCG Halifax

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