The key to success on all HF radio nets is relay stations. In particular, the Waterway Radio & Cruising Club Net has been serving amateurs on boats for over 53 years. This amateur radio net has assigned north and south relay stations in order to adequately cover the entire Eastern half of the United States. It’s the characteristics of HF propagation that determines where the signals bounce off the ionosphere back to earth. So a station in Florida may be heard very well in Maine, while not readable in Georgia.
The marine radio nets, such as the Cruiseheimers and Doo Dah Nets also count on relay stations to make the nets effective. The good thing about boats operating on these nets is an FCC Radio Station Authorization, and a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit is required, which is easily obtained without a test. The Radio Station Authorization is valid for 10 years, and the Operator’s Permit does not expire. On the other hand, land-based marine stations are highly regulated by the FCC, and a specific need for such a station must be shown. Presently, there are four such coastal land stations on the east coast of the United States that are actively involved with the cruising community. Chris Parker, (WCY); Dick Giddings, (KNC); Jim West, (KJM); and Glenn Tuttle for the SSCA, (KPK).
The SSCA’s HF radio service net has been in existence for several years now and is on the air daily at 1215 hrs UTC on frequency 8.104. The purpose of this service is to:
1. Pass emergency & priority traffic, as well as traffic related to safety and security.
2. Provide current news updates of interest to cruisers from such sources as the Caribbean Safety & Security Net, Noonsite, The Salty Southeast Cruisers Net, Caribbean Compass, Bahamas Chatter, and others.
3. Provide any vessels needing assistance with land -based resources.
This net can assist with radio checks, float plans, telephone contact with family & friends, boat to boat relays, access to medical or mechanical professionals, marinas, internet searches, or any other assistance that we may be able to provide.
Through a partnership with the Caribbean Safety & Security Net, any report of a safety & security nature occurring in the Caribbean made to this station will be provided to the CSSN. Likewise, any recent incident posted on the CSSN website will be announced during this broadcast. Although this net is a service provided by the SSCA, all vessels are welcome and encouraged to participate in this service. You do not have to be an SSCAmember to use this net.
We are seeking volunteers to assist with relays on the SSCA net. This is one of many ways to contribute to the SSCA and our mission of serving cruisers. All you need is a single sideband radio on your boat, and typical boat licensing from the FCC. A relay station during an emergency could literally mean the difference between life and death.
Glenn Tuttle is the Net Manager and is usually located in Punta Gorda, Florida. When Glenn & Eddie are off cruising, he continues to run the net from their boat, Tothill, (WDH2932). Jim West, KJM is the Assistant Net Manager, located in the mountains North of Atlanta, Georgia.
Anyone wishing to help out, it’s very easy, all you need to do is tune into SSB frequency 8.104 each morning at 1215 hrs UTC or 0715 hrs EST and let us know you are willing to act as a relay station. Our area of operation is from Nova Scotia to South America, so relays are very important.
A big thank you to Michael on S/V Panda in Panama, Jeff on S/V Ujammin in Colombia, and Bill on Kaluna Moo in the Eastern Caribbean, and to Kim on the S/V Gabriel in the ABC Islands for their continued support of the SSCA HF Radio Net.
Anyone wishing to lend a hand, please send an e-mail to Glenn at [email protected] and to Jim at [email protected]