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The Coast Guard is soliciting public comment on the need to continue providing high frequency (HF) radio broadcasts of weather forecasts and warnings. Their intentions are to discontinue the service unless sufficient need is shown to support funding of upgrading and repair of the hardware infrastructure necessary to run the service. If you do any coastal cruising you will no longer be able to turn on your VHF in the morning and catch the weather report. Their are alternatives, but none are as easy, inexpensive or time proven as the VHF radio broadcast. The link below takes you to the latest bulletin regarding this and includes instruction on how to submit comments. In my opinion this is one of the most valuable services the Coast Guard provides, keeps people out of harms way, and saves lives. It may be this is someones ill-fated idea to cut a budget or it may just be the GAO's need to justify a budget but if we remain silent the service could be just a memory in the near future. I urge all association members to submit their comments and let their collective voice be heard. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-7945.pdf
Joe Wergers Utopia Fleet 7/Oceanside, CA 78 C25 FK/SR #381
Don, I'm not very knowlegeable of the system but it would seem if there are 900 VHF transmiitters they may be replicating the HF transmissions. Perhaps you know or someone else who is familiar with it can chime in. The notice does not touch upon it.
I listen to the weather & warnings from my house on my portable VHF before going out each time and find the information very valuable. I read through the notice and while it doesn't specify that they would be shutting down VHF as well, I thought it prudent to ask: <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Dear Mr. Levin, The issue regarding the Coast Guard no longer providing marine weather forecasts & warnings on HF radio has been noted on the Catalina 25 250 & Capri International Association forums. The general question is whether the USCG intends to stop VHF broadcasts as well as HF. From the notice we've read this doesn't seem to be the case, but I thought I'd ask. If you have a moment, perhaps you could respond in the forum itself (click on the link above, you don't have to be a member to respond). If that's inconvenient, I can post any response you'd care to make to me in the forum to clear it up.
Got to give him credit, very quick to respond: <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Hello and thanks for asking. VHF will continue and is not a part of the concern. Please note the attached Federal Register Notice.
I learned today; <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">HF... IS WEATHER VOICE FORECASTS OVER THE SSB...since vhf is no good much more than 25 miles from land...it takes the place of "weather radio" for cruisers. It is also text weather (SITOR) and weather fax (WeFax). You only use weather radio (VHF) today ... but if you hope to cruise someday ... it is in your interest to make sure this stuff is still there for you when you do need it OR simply to help your fellow sailors out there who do cruise. <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
You can receive weatherfax without a SSB radio by using a digital shortwave radio and input the signal into a computer running weatherfax software. For less than a couple hundred bucks, any cruiser can get weather info from the current system. There are other sources obviously - sat nav weather plotting is on XM? Anyway, I love this.. we're building a huge wall in Iraq - but we can't afford to upgrade an existing safety system? I do not buy the argument the CG puts forward regarding the equipment and the technology... They should replace the whole system with whatever technology is best at the moment... Thanks for this post! As a cruiser who intends to purchase a bigger boat for offshore passages, I fully intend to use the CG as much as possible... I will write and I believe anyone who intends to cruise should as well... Thanks againfor this post!
Never been offshore and probably never will be but, I've been following Donna Lange's weather problems and it seems to me she never mentioned CG weather info. I think that the reasoning for the CG to discontinue this service is that it is likely to be redundant to other, more readily available systems. I really don't know for sure but, safety is their business. Therefore, if they thought that the service was necessary to keep cruisers safe (and thereby decrease the requirement to put Coasties at risk in a rescue) they wouldn't consider eliminating it.
Now there's an opinion worth everything you paid for it!
<font size="3">Sten, please... don't use the CG as much as possible! It's better to stay safe than to utilize their excellent rescue resources
<font size="4"></font id="size4"> I've been known to hail the coasties for all sorts of reasons. To report a small ferry doing donuts in Narragansett Bay. 3 old guys without pfd's in a thunderstorm trying to cross the bay without a radio or anything else. Why is marker 14 not where it is supposed to be? It was later found ashore.Shoot me if you are a terrorist, but I call in every boat anchored somehow near a bridge for fishing purposes - probably... Not taking chances... Coasties love me, I am their second line of defense. I was in Montauk NY during the remains of hurricane Emily, when a fellow sailor was somehow blown away with only one paddle on his Zodiac, sans motor, Coasties responded not from NY, but from Castle Hill in RI. Probably because the DSC showed me in their region..? Dunno..
What I do know is that I want the Coasties to be better funded than the other branches of the military. Our coastlines are as vulnerable as our other borders. When Osama and his peeps learn how to sail, I give up... But until then the coasties should provide as many services as possible and in return, I promise to use them as much as possible.
"reasoning for the CG to discontinue this service is that it is likely to be redundant to other, more readily available systems"
Indeed. NWS broadcasts weather on VHF channels too. The Coast Guard broadcasts (naturally) have a bit more marine info. I'm not sure how much money this would save though, as they basically read the pertinent bits of the NWS forecast as part of their 'notice to mariners' broadcast.
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by ClamBeach</i> ...NWS broadcasts weather on VHF channels too...<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"> Do you mean HF? Again, the confusion here seems to be that nothing will change on VHF (where NOAA broadcasts continuously)--just HF/SSB. Right?? Does NOAA broadcast on HF?
But those broadcasts go out 200 nautical miles? I don't think so.. I want the CG to identify the other redundant readily available systems before they wipe this one out! C'mon - we can buy thousands of crappy Hummers without steel plating to protect our guys, but we can't continue one simple weather info system? That's it - i'm running for president... Look, it's pretty simple... First they come for our weather info - what's next the markers because everyone has a GPS? We are NOT talking about VHF - this is SSB stuff... When you are 1500 miles off - you might need this thing they are trying to wipe out....
Why should the USCG be responsible to produce a weather service for someone 1,500 miles offshore? If a cruiser wants to go that far offshore, they should have INMARSAT or some other service for communication and weather info.
Why should we (the US) generate gps data? Turn it off! That's my tax dollars too. The whole world uses it. Without charge... I might not win this one here - that is for sure. But my point is, we spend tons of money on useless wars, useless space explorations, etc... But we can't continue to fund this? The fact that there is even a discussion about this on a sailing website saddens me.
I suspect that the reason the CG is even paying lip service to this proposal is because of the increased availability and use of satelite weather information. There may also be some pressure to make room on the HF band for Homeland Security/military purposes, who are the primary users of the HF band.
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by redviking</i> <br />Why should we (the US) generate gps data? Turn it off! <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
The GPS is not a system that exists for the sole benefit of say cruising sailors, but is rather a Department of Defense developed system. Turning the signal off for civilian use probably wouldn't save the government any money. On the other hand, it sounds like the USCG HF weather system only benefits those who have not updated their equipment to take advantage of the newer technologies, and with no governmental, commercial, or military value, this system is being considered for elimination because it is an obsolete technology similar to when they turned off commercial morse code a few years ago (sorry Paul).
Notice: The advice given on this site is based upon individual or quoted experience, yours may differ. The Officers, Staff and members of this site only provide information based upon the concept that anyone utilizing this information does so at their own risk and holds harmless all contributors to this site.