SSB Coconut Telegraph Back on the Air

Bill Woodroffe

Those cruising the Caribbean who want to know the latest need only tune into the SSB (single side band) Coconut Telegraph. The premier SSB net in the Eastern Caribbean resumed November. It operates at 8 am AST (-4 hrs. GMT) on 4.060 MHz from Monday through Saturday. Additionally, and in cooperation with SSB station KPK, the Coconut Telegraph net controller checks in on that net at 8:15. KPK operates daily as part of the Seven Seas Cruising Association and the Caribbean Safety and Security net on 8.104 MHz KPK handles traffic from all the Caribbean. 

“More and more cruisers have access to Cell Phones, Wi-Fi, Sat Phones, and local VHF nets and may consider SSB an outdated communication method,” says Bill Woodroffe, on Kalunamoo, one of the Net controllers. “Not true! SSB is alive and well and serves many useful purposes as most other methods have restricted coverage or capabilities. No, you will not be able to ‘surf the net’, but getting weather reports and grib files, send/receive email, international news and the ability to communicate long distances with multiple cruisers for free makes SSB more than a hobby. In times of emergency, you can always count on SSB to get you connected to the proper authorities. At those times, you may even use the expanded HAM frequencies and nets without the need of a HAM license.”

Carol_Bareuther
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.