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LED lighting may cause interference to VHF and AIS Reception

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As reported by the Arctic Sounder, the U.S. Coast Guard has issued a marine safety alert following reports that certain types of lighting may cause interference with radio reception.

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In a number of instances, they found that VHF radios and AIS (automatic identification system) receivers suffered a lot of interference when they were used near LED lights. Those included navigation lights, searchlights, floodlights and those attached to the inside and outside of the ships in question.

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Potential interference of VHF-FM Radio and AIS Reception.

The U.S. Coast Guard has received reports from crews, ship owners, inspectors and other mariners regarding poor reception on VHF frequencies used for radiotelephone, digital selective calling (DSC) and automatic identification systems (AIS) when in the vicinity of light emitting diode (LED) lighting on-board ships (e.g., navigation lights, searchlights and floodlights, interior and exterior lights, adornment).

Radio frequency interference caused by these LED lamps were found to create potential safety hazards. For example, the maritime rescue coordination center in one port was unable to contact a ship involved in a traffic separation scheme incident by VHF radio. That ship also experienced very poor AIS reception,” the Coast Guard noted in the alert. “Other ships in different ports have experienced degradation of the VHF receivers, including AIS, caused by their LED navigation lights.”

Read the whole Artic Sounder article


Read Coast Guard Marine Safety Alert 13-18