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. A separate page deals with reception problems.
- Radioteletype - NAVTEX problems
- A novice's view about HF reception problems
- Northwood Radio Fax Schedule and DWD
- Do we really need RadioFax?
- Marine HF, Amateur Radio, Telephone or INMARSAT?
On this page -
There are some dedicated equipments available but, usually, most people use a standard HF/SSB receiver and a laptop. The NASA HF3 is a very cheap set that does a good enough job for most needs although it may need more careful tuning than more expensive sets, The Sony CF-SW7600GR is a good radio
There is ow an Tablet decoder app that can work simply using the sound from the radio,
As the future is in some doubt, it may be the most sensible buy. For software, there are several 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. Third, 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.
The schedule below is of those transmissions likely to be of use to leisure and professional sailors. Some transmissions are for the use of Naval aircraft and submarines but of no interest to the sailor.
Area_: North Atlantic and Mediterranean
Full details of frequencies, call signs and schedules can be found at the US NWS publication, WORLDWIDE MARINE RADIOFACSIMILE BROADCAST SCHEDULES,.
A brief version is at the Yachtcom site.
The Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) provides a RadioFax service as a contribution to the GMDSS. How long this service will continue is uncertain. The technology is obsolescent and it will probably be replaced by a satellite based system within the next 5 - 10 years. Schedules, frequencies and call signs are at the DWD radio-fax broadcast schedules link.
Most use ful is the
- US NWS publication, WORLDWIDE MARINE RADIOFACSIMILE BROADCAST SCHEDULES, mentioned earlier
Also useful is the
Although "old tyechnology" radio fax is still a useful service capable of reception over large areas. See my page on HF reception problems.