About this page.
RadioFax broadcasts are still a valuable source of weather information.
This page may remind those who vaguely remember the long lamented Bracknell GFA broadcast. Following the discontinuation of GFA, the Royal Navy enhanced its transmissions from Northwood - GYA. This page lists the Marine content of the Northwood schedule and adds some comments.
On this page -
The technology is obsolescent and it will probably be replaced by a satellite based system at some future time. There are some dedicated equipments available but, usually, most people use a standard HF/SSB receiver and a laptop.
There is ow an Tablet decoder app that can work simply using the sound from the radio. There are several PC packages around such as Mscan or JVcomm.
Although a RN broadcast, the charts are from the UK Met Office.
There are some unsatisfactory features that may get rectified in time. First, as a power saving measure, the transmitters are switched off between charts. Thus there is no tuning signal prior to the start of a broadcast. This will create difficulties when receiving charts around dawn and dusk since, at these times, the optimum frequency can change quickly due to rapid changes in the characteristics of the ionosphere.
Secondly, the chart headings are difficult to read. It will be necessary to refer to the schedule to know what chart is being received. Thirdly, because much of the output is computer generated, the lines tend to be rather thin and not too easy to see.
The highest frequency now used by Northwood is 11086.5 KHZ. This limits the day time range for good reception by yachts that are unlikely to have optimum aerial configurations.
A schedule sufficient for most sailing purposes is at the Yachtcom site.
Full details of frequencies, call signs and schedules can be found at the RN Northwood site.
The Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) provides a RadioFax service as a contribution to the GMDSS. Schedules, frequencies and call signs are at the DWD radio-fax broadcast schedules.
Most use ful is the
- US NWS publication, WORLDWIDE MARINE RADIOFACSIMILE BROADCAST SCHEDULES, mentioned earlier
The Yachtcom site gives brief details of Radiofax transmitters worldwide.
Although "old tyechnology" radio fax is still a useful service capable of reception over large areas.