Communications While at the Sea – Maintaining Contact with the Land
New York (USA), October 28, 2012
While you are at sea, you can maintain contact with land through different means of communication. These include:
1. VHF Radio
This radio operates two-way, as receiver and transmitter. Frequency range is between 156 to 176 MHz. This radio is used in communicating with marinas and harbors and calling rescue services. It functions on specified channels like Channel 16 at 156.8 MHz is international calling and distress channel. Channel 9 functions as a secondary distress channel. This radio set can be portable or fixed. Although this radio uses single-direction transmission or simplex transmission, most are set for duplex transmissions for simultaneous transmissions in different directions. Radio’s signal strength determines communication quality. Curvature of earth and height of antenna on your yacht play an important role in effective communication.
2. Satellite Phone
This functions through orbital satellites. You should have necessary hardware like modems, phones, and equipments to avail talk-time connection and broadband services from satellite service providers. There are four main satellite communication networks. These are Iridium, Inmarsat, Thuraya, and Globalstar. Iridium is the most commonly used network. Although it is not very fast at 2.4 kbps, it is very reliable. It has a huge network of sixty-six low-orbit satellites spread across 480 miles above earth. This provides extensive global coverage for your yacht while at sea. Iridium OpenPort offers 32 to 128 kbps.
3. Single Sideband Radio (SSB Radio)
This operates on medium and high frequencies. The medium frequency wave functions only between thirty and three hundred miles. You can send emails through this system to base stations around the world. However, slow connection speed could pose problems. Ionosphere conditions and time of the day determine quality of transmission.
4. Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
This is a purely safety equipment and is used for communicating distress signals only. On entering water, it will automatically transmit distress signals and provide latitudinal and longitudinal position of your yacht to the nearest receiving base. Rescue ships and other help can reach you easily.
Guide to Sailing and Ocean Cruising in a Medium Sized Yacht
The Complete Reference Guide to Sailing and Ocean Cruising in a Medium Sized Yacht