Scout Radio & Electronics Service Unit

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2015/2016 Radio Scheds

Did you know that the ocean racing yachts have to carry several pieces of radio equipment including both VHF and HF Radios? Depending on your location, most of our Amateur Radio Equipment is capable of receiving either VHF or HF position reports directly from each yacht taking part.

All boats shall be capable of transmitting/receiving, as a minimum, on the following frequencies:-
VHF – International Marine Channels 16, 72, 73, 80 and 81
HF/SSB – 4483kHz and 6516kHz (Remember all HF transmissions are Upper Side Band)
This is in addition to sat phones and other tracking devices.

All Yachts are required to maintain a 24 hour listening watch for the duration of their race on VHF Channel 16.

The Sailing Instructions will require that boats report by radio when they are in the vicinity of Green Cape and make a declaration confirming their time of passing as well as the following:

  • The HF radio is fully operational
  • Liferaft(s) are on board
  • Engine and batteries are operational
  • Boat and crew are in a satisfactory condition to continue
  • The skipper has comprehensively considered the most current weather forecast and
  • the boat and crew are fully prepared for the conditions forecast.

Regular radio scheduled contacts must be made by all boats. The motor vessel “JBW” will be the Radio Relay Vessel. “JBW” will conduct radio skeds for position reports and listening schedules and monitor the race frequencies. If required, Hobart Race Control will conduct the sked. Hobart Race Control is based at Tascoast Radio at The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. “JBW” will maintain a continuous listening watch on the following frequencies throughout the race:

  • 0700 – 2000 hours on 6516 kHz
  • 2000 – 0700 hours on 4483 KHz
  • VHF Channel 16.

Daily position reports will be conducted as follows:-

  • 1905 hours on 26 December 2015 on 6516kHz
  • 0005 on 27 December 2015 and on each subsequent day on 4483kHz
  • 0735 and 1705 hours on each subsequent day on 6516kHz

A weather report may be issued at this time.

The position report routine will be as follows:
(a) “JBW” will commence transmission on 6516/4483kHz (as appropriate) two minutes prior to the sked time with a long tuning call and contact Hobart Race Control. All boats shall tune their radios during this period and not during the schedule.
(b) Each boat when called shall make a position report on 6516/4483kHz (as appropriate) as follows: its Latitude and Longitude in DEGREES and WHOLE MINUTES (not decimals) as at 1900 on 26 December 2015 and at 0000, 0730, and 1700 as appropriate, on subsequent days (not at the time of reporting). If the position is copied, the boat name and its position will be repeated and the next boat called without a break in transmission.

Information extracted from Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions.

Enjoy your Christmas and holidays.

Philip – VK3JNI

Software Defined Radio using a cheap USB stick

Marine vessel locatons see:
http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:145/centery:-36/zoom:5

Wondering how they track these vessels, it is done via AIS receivers located around the coast.  Vessels carry a AIS transmitter connected to a GPS and regularly transmit their locaton.

If you would like to try to build a little AIS receiver and you are located around the coast, read on.

SDR AIS Decoding using a cheap USB DVB-T Stick

Hi all, here is a little project for the tech savvy Venturer, Rover or Leader.  This project will be of particular interest if you live near the coast. You can use a DVB-T STICK to build a low cost AIS Receiver. Full credit and thanks goes to the team from MarineTraffic.com …  For more detail see: http://tinyurl.com/oo4r594

If you have not played with the AIS display provided by MarineTraffic.com this may be something new for your JOTA / JOTI station.

During the warmer months I run a smart phone app that puts me on the MarineTraffic.com map when on my little boat..  You may even spot our real yacht SwingShift around the bays or lakes. Enjoy! – Philip VK3JNI