Welcome to the Waterway Net Web Site!
The Waterway Radio and Cruising Club is an association of amateur radio operators who also share an interest in recreational boating.
The Waterway Net, which is sponsored by the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club, meets on the air every morning of the year for about an hour starting at 0745 ET on a frequency of 7.268 MHz LSB. The main purpose of the Waterway Net is to encourage amateur radio communications to and from boats with an emphasis on safety and weather information. Position Reports help keep live-aboards and cruising boats in touch with families and friends and Float Plans provide a strong measure of safety for off-shore passage makers.
Begun in the early sixties, the Waterway Net is one of the oldest, continuously operating nets in amateur radio. Today the WRCC has around eight hundred dues paying members and anyone holding an Amateur Radio License of any class is eligible to join. Membership in the WRCC is not a prerequisite for participation in the Waterway Net, but a general class or higher license is required.
The Waterway Net is a controlled net. It is recommended that one listen for a while to learn the Net Procedures, but anyone with a general class license or above is invited to check in at the appropriate time or to join in on the special interest nets that often follow.
In an emergency, FCC rules permit anyone, licensed or not, to use any frequency to summon help. All boaters with high frequency SSB radios aboard should know that the 20 meter amateur frequency of 14.300 MHz is active for about eighteen hours a day and is always available for emergency assistance.
SEE NEWS &
EVENTS PAGE FOR ADDITIONAL NEWS AND INFORMATION
BoatUS recently published an updated version of their smartphone app which has a lot of new features including tide charts, weather, and a fun photo sharing tool. BoatUS Members, show your digital Member card for discounts at over 1,000 participating marinas and boating businesses nationwide! For more information, visit BoatUS.com/app.
In order to provide guidance for continued Waterway Net operations in the face of disruptions to service - either because of atmospheric interference or persistent interference from terrestrial sources beyond the reach of regulatory actions - this alternate plan for daily net operations has been formulated. This plan would be activated ONLY if necessary. For more important information about this plan, click HERE.
There are several streaming online programs that are part the TWIT (This Week In Tech) internet network. One of these is "Ham Nation". This series is hosted by Gordon West, WB6NOA and Bob Heil, K9EID. They discuss many topics of interest to the ham community, sometimes mentioning new radios/equipment, rules, band changes, etc., before others do. The show is live every Wednesday evening, but I find it more convenient to watch a replay of it later. This way I can Pause and Restart at my leisure (and also skip the commercials!). Their website gives you the option to view previous shows.
Ham Nation is about to celebrate their 200th show anniversary the first part of the coming year.
This link will take you to a recent show that mentions the history of the show and the two hosts. http://twit.tv/show/ham-nation/168
Anchoring in Florida
On Sept 3 in Vero Beach I had the privilege to represent the WRCC at a meeting held by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to discuss three topics. Recent attempts in the FL legislature to return the right of local communities to establish local rules and regulations was discussed by parties on both sides of the issue. Another problem in FL is derelict boats and how to deal with them and finally some concern about heads. Representatives from the City of Miami Beach, Ft Lauderdale, SSCA, and BoatUS among others were allowed three minutes to discuss the issues. There were about 75 in attendance with 30 speaking. The representatives from FL Fish and Wildlife took notes and ran a well-organized meeting. Another meeting was scheduled for the next evening on the West Coast of FL.
Once the notes and comments from those two meetings are summarized, a concept questionnaire will be released for the public to fill in and return via the internet.
As for our input, I pointed out that liveaboards should not be confused with transient cruisers. We agree that there are sufficient laws to cover heads, and we also do not like derelict boats in anchorages we use. However, uniform, well published state wide rules concerning anchoring are a benefit to our community as we move around the state. Further, if shore based communities are to restrict anchoring in certain areas that represents a danger to navigation and for other valid reasons, other than "get that boat out of my backyard", then sufficient alternative anchoring areas should be mandated at the same time as restrictions are imposed.
There are several websites where you may obtain additional information on the subject. A few of those are:
I am writing to alert all of our Waterway Radio and Cruising Club members of two public workshops to be held in early September by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) to present three concepts that are under consideration to develop proposed state legislation which would grant limited authority to counties and municipalities to regulate anchoring 'on the waters of the state of Florida'.
Because of the importance of the issues to be discussed, which include granting residential homeowners virtual control over large swaths of state-owned bottom land maintained by all of the taxpayers, it is incumbent upon all of our members to familiarize themselves with each of these issues and be able to speak knowledgeably about them. Background on this is available at the following web sites:
The above links also contain several comments by boat owners and Florida residents which help frame the issues involved. If you are a Florida resident, whether you live on the water or not, you should be as involved as possible in the ongoing discussion to include informing your local legislators as well as the FWCC of your views. If you are not a Florida resident you should make your views known to the FWCC. Keep in mind that these meetings are scheduled the first week of September when most cruising boaters are not in the state.
The Waterway Radio and Cruising Club will be sending a representative to the Vero Beach meeting on 3 September to express our position on the 'concept' proposals. This position will include development and rigid enforcement of state and local derelict/abandoned boat regulations and the adoption of the principle of no residential buffer regardless of the final form of the state's anchoring regulations.
Regards and 73
New technical and operational personnel have been hired and training is almost complete.
The parent company, Shipcom, operates two coastal HF stations: WLO and KLB. A full frequency list, and schedules for weather and traffic lists can be found here: http://shipcom.com/frequencies.html
Station WLO is operating daily until 10PM. Beginning this weekend, WLO will resume 24-hour operation. Station KLB is operating on 8MHz and 12MHz at the moment, with plans to resume on other marine bands soon.
WLO uses multiple 5KW transmitters and a large antenna farm to communicate with ships at sea. Services include voice (marine operator) via SSB radio, telex, and Pactor email. High seas weather and traffic lists are read several times a day.
Coverage areas by WLO include the North and South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and often into Europe and the Mediterranean. Station KLM covers much of the North and South Pacific Oceans.
Registration for use of these services is very easy via the shipcom.com website. Prices are amazingly low (e.g., $0.99 per minute) and service quality is high.
For newbies to HF/SSB communications....Why should you be interested?
There are several reasons, including medical and safety. If you're on the high seas and have an emergency at 0200, a marine operator at WLO or KLB might well be your best bet for establishing solid communications with whomever you wish to contact: family member, Coast Guard, etc., etc. Likewise, someone ashore or on another boat wishing to contact you can book a call with one of these shore stations. Several times a day they read traffic lists, i.e., ships/boats for whom they are holding traffic.
This is a proven system which works like a charm, even when other means of communication don't.
On behalf of the cruising community, a hearty thanks to Rene Stiegler K4EDX/W4WLO and to the good folks at ShipComm for revitalizing these important radio services for mariners.
- Bill, WA6CCA
There are several URLs, but the easiest way is to go to the Port Canaveral Web Cam site, then, in the upper left corner, you'll see a drop-down menu with the other web cams. Also, some sites have more than one web cam to choose from.
In a smaller window, just below and to the left of the main window, there is an AIS display, identifying each vessel in the area.
Burgees, embroidred shirts, caps and other club merchandise can be found on our WRCC Store page.
A Look at Cell Phone, Smart Phone, Chartplotter, and Computer-based Weather Service
ANNAPOLIS, Md., August 12, 2010 - On the afternoon of July 25th, a fast moving storm packing 70 mph winds, rain and lighting swept across the Chesapeake Bay. Over the next two hours, US Coast Guard Sector Baltimore, MD, received 37 calls from mariners in distress. Unfortunately many boaters and anglers, unaware of the supercell's fury, were caught unprepared. But it didn't have to be this way.
Today there are dozens of hi-tech ways to receive up-to-the-minute weather information aboard your boat. The BoatUS Foundation recently reviewed 28 products and services to see which provided mariners with the best information and has issued its recommendations for its top "picks."
"Sometimes bad weather can approach with few visual signs," said Program Manager David Carter. "Having these resources available can complement your VHF radio's weather broadcast."
The review, which covered satellite and phone-based weather services for the coastal inshore and inland boater, included free cellular phone text messaging services to fee-based subscription services that display weather information on a chartplotter. Each weather service includes hardware, such as a standard flip phone, smart phone, computer or chartplotter, as well as the software designed to present the information.
Foundation staff limited their focus to the actual content and depth of weather information provided. This included the ability to deliver local, land-based weather information (current conditions such as temperature, wind or barometric readings), hazardous weather warnings, radar imagery, land and marine forecasts, and NOAA buoy reports.
The BoatUS Foundation's weather service "picks" are:
To view the full report and details on each pick's features, Foundation Findings #49 - Weather to Go, go to BoatUS.com/foundation/Findings/49.
Now this just isn't right!
You may still want to check with lockmasters, etc., to determine local conditions.
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73, Bill - N4UMS