New HF radio net specifically designed to assist trans-Atlantic cruisers

 

SSCA Commodore Glenn Tuttle of KPC and Dick Giddings of KNC, Dover, North Carolina
SSCA Commodore Glenn Tuttle of KPC and Dick Giddings of KNC, Dover, North Carolina

Seven Seas Cruising Association (ssca.org), and Marine Weather Center (mwxc.com) are pleased to announce the formation of a new high frequency radio net specifically designed to assist trans-Atlantic cruisers.

Since 2015, Seven Seas Cruising Association has sponsored a dedicated HF Cruisers’ Radio Net, operating seven days a week and licensed by the FCC as Coastal Station call sign KPK. This net, usually hosted by SSCA Commodore Glenn Tuttle, reaches cruisers along the southern US Coast and in the Eastern and Western Caribbean, allowing them to communicate with each other and with friends, family, and emergency services on shore.

This spring, Chris Parker of the Marine Weather Center will begin a seasonal Trans-Atlantic schedule, with a scheduled weather broadcast on frequencies 8.137 USB and 12.350 USB at 2200 UTC. Glenn Tuttle of KPK and two other Coastal Stations have committed to provide a Cruisers’ Radio Net one half-hour prior to Parker’s broadcast, at 2130 UTC. 

Cruisers who rely on their HF radios understand that good propagation—how signals travel from one station to another—is required for effective communication and that having active stations available for relay increases that effectiveness. Curt Barth, a long-time cruiser and SSCA Commodore, understood the importance of multiple stations working together to provide relays and asked the SSCA Board to authorize and support these efforts.

“When any vessel has an emergency at sea, it’s vital that they have support and contact with people who may be able to help them, either by getting to their location or by providing valuable information. Having four radio stations working together could certainly provide cruisers and their families with peace of mind and may save lives,” said Barth.

The purpose of the Trans-Atlantic Cruiser’ Net will be to listen for any emergency or priority traffic, to pass marine safety information, and to assist any vessel with our land based services. These services may include radio checks, float plans, telephone contact with family & friends, boat to boat relays, access to medical or mechanical professionals, calls to marinas, internet searches, or other assistance. All members of this net are experienced in communicating with the USCG Rescue Coordination Center in Miami, FL.  Glenn Tuttle is also an active member of the USCG Auxiliary as a HF Telecommunications Operator.

Utilizing a net control station and relay stations, this net should have effective communications with vessels making the transatlantic passage between Europe and the Caribbean. This new net will welcome all vessels, at no cost. These SSB nets do not require an Amateur Radio License, only a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit for the radio operator, and a Radio Station Authorization License for the Vessel.  No tests are required for these licenses.  

The Trans-Atlantic Radio Net began operation in April, utilizing SSB frequency 12.350 at 2130 UTC (1730 Eastern Time) and will immediately precede Chris Parker’s scheduled weather broadcast on frequencies 8.137 USB and 12.350 USB at 2200 UTC.

Gary Brown
Gary E. Brown is the Editorial Director of All At Sea Caribbean. He is a presenter on Island 92, 91.9 FM, St. Maarten, and the author of the thriller/sailing adventure Caribbean High. For more information, visit: garyebrown.net