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Caribbean & Beyond: SSCA Obtains New FCC License to Benefit Cruisers

By SSCA — last modified Nov 15, 2018 12:55 PM
When Glenn Tuttle was asked to join the Board of Directors of the SSCA, he thought to himself, “How could he combine his passions; cruising and radio communications and serve SSCA?” He realized that perhaps he could make useful contributions to the organization and the cruising community by promoting the use of radio communications among cruisers.

Published: 2015-09-15 23:00:00
Topics: Caribbean Sea , Communications

A full-time live-aboard for over 30 years, who’s cruised 10 years in remote areas of the Southern and SW Caribbean, spending months at a time at anchor without cellular or Internet access, Glenn realizes the importance of the HF/SSB radio aboard cruising vessels.  Although a satellite phone is a great resource, and he used an Iridium phone during his cruising in the Caribbean, it is not a replacement for a HF/SSB radio. This was proven last summer when he was involved in the rescue of two Bahamian fishermen

Glenn suggested to the Board that they establish an SSCA Voice Service (not a formal net) on the HF radio band to assist cruisers in remote locations who are without cellular and Internet access, in order to relay priority and emergency information and to provide any vessels needing assistance with additional resources.  The assistance could include radio checks, float plans, telephone contact with family/friends, boat to boat relays, access to medical or mechanical professionals, marinas, Internet searches, or other assistance that he might be able to provide to cruisers in remote locations.  All vessels are welcome to participate in this service provided by the SSCA.

However, in order to reach the far corners of the Caribbean and beyond, a land based radio and antenna system is needed, similar to the excellent system used by Chris Parker of the Marine Weather Center.  Such a radio station, operating on the marine bands from a land station requires a “Public Coast License” from the FCC.  The SSCA is pleased to report the SSCA was successful in obtaining such license, and is now authorized to operate under the call sign “KPK” from Glenn's residence in SW Florida.  Glenn has erected a 70’ tower with a rotatable directional beam antenna tuned for the 8 Mhz marine band which will effectively reach the entire Caribbean and beyond.

The SSCA welcome any comments and suggestions from cruisers regarding this proposed service.  The FCC license authorizes us to operate on 8.104, 8.137, and 8.152

At this time, KPK are standing by at 0700 hrs Daylight Savings Time & Eastern Standard Time (1100 hrs UTC in the Summer and 1200 hrs UTC in the Winter) on frequency 8.104 for any vessel needing the assistance of land based resources.

KPK are also standing by following both the Cruiseheimers morning net and the Doo Dah evening net, both on 8.152, most days.

KPK are also authorized to operate on 12.350 and are working on expanding the antenna array to include that frequency and monitor at 1800 hrs EDT when Chris Parker has his net for vessels in the Atlantic and beyond.

See the KPK Noonsite Listing for the latest information about this service.

About the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA)

SSCA, a non-profit, international organization with nearly 10,000 members, has been supporting liveaboard cruisers for over fifty years. The goals of the original founders are still the goals of SSCA today: sharing cruising information, camaraderie, and leaving a clean wake. Monthly Bulletins. Active online Discussion Board is open to everyone. Links page lists special discounts available to members. 150 cruising station hosts worldwide. Equipment Survey and other publications available. Regular gatherings with cruising seminars held annually in several locations. Just $55 a year per boat.
Roger says:
Sep 30, 2015 03:05 PM

Spoke to Glenn this morning. The SSCA has entered into a partnership with the Caribbean Safety and Security Net. Since the Caribbean Safety and Security Net no longer has a radio presence (they still have a web presence) they will be passing data to Glenn and Glenn will be passing data to them.

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