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News & Events


Contents


WRCC Annual Picnic Info
Link to Luncheons Info
Alternate Operation Plan
Weather Forecast Zone Changes CQ100 Virtual Radio
New Ham Frequency Charts Space Station Tracking
Latest Florida Anchoring Info Bahamas Cruising Fees
Amended Bahamas Fishing Regs WX Reporters Guide
DIY GPS Position Encoder WRCC Merchandise Store
USCG to Discontinue "*CG" Boat U.S. Membership
USCG SSB Emergency Freqs Florida Antenna Statutes
NWS HF High Seas Xmit Times App for locating Marine Debris

For the navigation-challenged!
I never was good at navigating!



  WEATHER FORECAST ZONE CHANGES

Currently there are 8 marine zones covering the Atlantic offshore waters. These 8 zones will be reconfigured into 18 zones. According to the OPC, "Marine observations, local effects, and customer feedback all indicate that the current marine zones are too large to provide the necessary detail for the marine community. This reconfiguration will serve to improve the precision of marine warnings, forecasts and other services by allowing forecasters to be more area specific." New Atlantic Wx Zones

Each and every morning our tireless and dedicated WRCC weather reporters must download an increasingly large amount of weather data and organize it into a product that is accurate and informative for our cruising members and non-members alike. Then as soon as Net Control has finished asking for emergency traffic, this information must be read over the air; all in about 10 minutes or less. If you don't think that can present a challenge on certain days, I invite you to join our ranks and give it a try. We are always looking for fresh volunteers.

With the reconfiguration of the Atlantic zones - which I do not disagree with, mind you - we are faced with some delicate choices. Which areas and products do we include in our reports, and which must we leave out? For example: What is now (ANZ085) Baltimore Canyon to Hatteras Canyon, by the time this article goes to press will have become (ANZ825), (ANZ828), and (ANZ925). Let's face it, we simply do not have enough time in our allotted slot on the Net to read all the weather for every zone, especially with the approach of storm season when we must begin reporting the tropical weather as well.

So, here's the plan. Beginning approximately April 2, 2014, our weather reporters will no longer read the weather for (ANZ085) as it will soon become obsolete. Instead we will provide the following:

(ANZ898) - The synopsis for the New England Waters (during the appropriate seasons).

(ANZ899) - The synopsis for the Mid-Atlantic Waters (during the appropriate seasons).

No daily reports will be given for these new zones or any of the existing zones remaining after the reconfiguration. For example; the Offshore Waters Forecast for the SW N Atlantic Including the Bahamas, the South Florida Coastal Waters Forecast, and the Gulf of Mexico Offshore Waters Forecast will not automatically be read. Only the synopses and any watches or warnings will be provided.

For the time being we will continue to provide Current Conditions in the form of Buoy Reports. We may add a few or remove a few as deemed appropriate in order to keep our reports timely.

We will continue to conclude our reports by reading the following:

"THAT COMPLETES THE WEATHER. WE HAVE WEATHER AVAILABLE FOR ALL ATLANTIC AND GULF ZONES IF YOU NEED IT. ARE THERE ANY FILLS REQUIRED OR ANY REQUESTS FOR ADDITIONAL WEATHER?"

Take this as a hint. If you NEED daily reports (forecasts) for a given area, JUST ASK! Also, please take the time to print out a copy of the forecast zones in the link above to use as a reference in the event you desire additional weather.

Clearly it is the intent of the Ocean Prediction Center to provide mariners with more detailed and area specific weather products. With this goal in mind there are a number of excellent resources being brought on line even as we speak. The link to one such site is listed below, and although it's experimental, it promises to yield tailored weather data based on a number of criteria including weather zones and latitude and longitude.

http://preview.weather.gov/edd/index.php?t=marine

Initially this transition will take some getting used to and more than likely require a little "tweaking" to get everything running like a smoothly oiled machine, but let's not forget, we've been doing this for over 50 years! I think we can handle it.

73 and smooth sailing,

Ridge - N3JUY
Rear Commodore/Weather Coordinator


WATERWAY RADIO AND CRUISING CLUB

ALTERNATE OPERATIONS PLAN

February 19, 2015

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.

Frequency Change

The Net Manager shall explore the status of frequencies in the general vicinity of 7.268 MHz to identify options for Net operations. Such options shall be outside the range of interference causing the activation of the Alternate Plan and shall exclude frequencies ordinarily used by other nets.

With a frequency selected, the Net Manager shall inform the Net Control and all WRCC members with operating assignments that the alternate frequency will be used until further notice.

Net Control shall announce on 7.268 MHz at 0745 EST/EDT that the Waterway Net will meet for normal operations on 7.XXX MHz, beginning immediately.

Notification

The WRCC Secretary shall issue a notice via email to all members announcing the change in operating frequency, the reason there for, and the expected date for commencing operations. For three days before the shift in frequency, announcements shall be made during regular Waterway Net operation.

For the first five days of operation on the alternate frequency, the member assigned, as either North Relay or South Relay shall shift to 7.268 MHz no less than once every ten minutes and announce the frequency currently used by the Net.

The Scuttlebutt and the club web site shall publish the Alternate Operations Plan and the duration for its activation.

Duration

At such time as the interference causing activation of this plan has disappeared, or diminished to levels considered acceptable for net operations, the Net Manager shall declare that the Net return to normal operations on 7.268 MHz.

Notification of the termination of the Alternate Plan shall follow the same sequence as outlined for its activation: announcement by Net Control, communication to all with operational assignments, reminder on the alternate frequency by North or South Relays, notice from the club Secretary, and notice on the web site and in the Scuttlebutt.


  Amendment to the Sportfishing Regulations in the Bahamas:
Nick Wardle writes, "For the avoidance of doubt and misrepresentation, spear fishing regulations have NOT been changed from what they have been for many years. You have always required your Fishing Permit to be endorsed to allow spear fishing, but Customs, when issuing the permits, appear to have been unaware of that requirement, so ignorance was bliss. You could and still can, of course, only use hand-propelled/aimed Hawaiian Sling or pole spear (with or without rubber band to propel) - spear guns have always been illegal. The regulation reads "unless otherwise authorised by the respective permit".

Update from Nick: (11-16-07) "They have relaxed the conch so you can now have six aboard at any time; also ten crawfish, but that depends on you having your fishing permit endorsed to allow spearfishing. That has always been the case, with no changes - Customs mostly did not bother to even ask, when you cleared in, but I believe they now do. It's not clear about demersal fish (60lb or 20 fish, as one grouper could be over 60lb!)
When we have more clarification, we'll announce it on the net."

You may download the Amended (Oct. 2007) Press Release (pdf file - requires Acrobat) explaining the new changes here.


  DIY GPS Position Encoder:  Sam, N4UAU, suggests using the "TinyTrak3" as an inexpensive way to transmit your position, connected between a serial GPS and your radio transmitter. You can purchase PCB, case and all parts, cables and assemble it yourself. Click image for details.


Latest Florida Anchoring Information: 
BoatUS Offers Updated Florida Anchoring Information Tip Sheet

Great to Carry Aboard!

TALLAHASSEE, FL, October 22, 2012 - Since it was first made available at no cost two years ago, some boaters have called it one of the most helpful documents to have aboard when anchoring in waters across the Sunshine State. Others are saying it's a great educational tool when they are confused about local and state anchoring regulations. Now, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) offers an updated "2013 Florida Anchoring Information" sheet to clarify for everyone, from the boating public to government agencies, the current status of the 2009 passage of Florida House Bill 1423 and the five pilot mooring field projects. Most importantly, the 2009 law gave relief to many boaters and meant they no longer had to fear their boat "overstayed its welcome" and needed to move on.

"Every boat owner wants to follow the law, but in Florida, some boaters, anglers and sailors may still fear a visit from law enforcement that will force them to move on from an anchorage," said BoatUS President Margaret Podlich.

Four of the five pilot project areas include the City of St. Augustine, Monroe County (Key West, Marathon), City of Sarasota and City of Petersburg which have established mooring fields and passed local anchoring ordinances. These areas will be used to test policies that promote public access, enhance navigational safety, protect maritime infrastructure and the environment, and deter improperly stored, abandoned, or derelict vessels. As of press time, the fifth pilot area, Martin County/City of Stuart, was still drafting an ordinance likely to come on line in 2013.

The 2009 law also clarified the meaning of "live-aboard": Full time, active cruisers who sleep on their boats with no permanent residence on land are no longer considered live-aboards under this law and, as a result, their anchoring cannot be regulated by local governments, other than in pilot project areas. (For more: FLHB 1423, Chapter 2009-86, Section 6)

BoatUS has been monitoring the pilot program and investigating its impact on boaters. "We recognize that there are still boaters who have not heard of the legislation but continue to arrive and enjoy Florida's gorgeous waterways," said Podlich. "They should know it is illegal to restrict anchoring of non-liveaboard vessels in Florida outside of mooring fields, except in the jurisdiction of the five pilot projects. In 2014, the anchoring ordinances of these five localities will expire unless renewed by the Florida Legislature. In the meantime, boaters should know that anchoring close to the any of the five pilot program mooring fields today can be limited by these participating local governments."

BoatUS encourages boaters to become familiar with these local regulations and provide the association with feedback on how they are working. To download and print a copy of the Anchoring Sheet, go to: www.BoatUS.com/gov/flanchoringsheet, or for more on this issue and to provide comment, go to www.BoatUS.com/gov/floridaanchoring.asp


CQ100 Virtual Radio:  Read Terry's, K1LCH article about a new way to receive the Waterway Net over the Internet using VOIP technology. This could be of great help when you are traveling without your rig, or when propagation is poor.    ARTICLE


Waterway Net Annual Picnic to be held Thursday, Oct. 24th, 2019

New Bern KOA

Waterway Radio & Cruising Club Picnic has changed time, day of the week and location. Due to a combination of circumstances over which we had no control, we found it necessary to change the date or location because the Native Rhythms Festival took over Wickham Park. Then, the Seven Seas Cruising Association also had not announced the date/location for their annual GAM with which we have customarily coordinated. Many sites were considered basing the selection on availability, accessibility, and cost. Having to move quickly to assure availability, we narrowed it down to three locations, and New Bern, NC KOA is the final choice.

To accommodate people coming south on the water, and with the timing of the Annapolis Boat Shows, we have moved the date back to Oct. 22-24, with the actual picnic lunch on Oct. 24th. This seemed to be about the most convenient timing to allow the exodus from the Boat shows to reach New Bern. We found so many things going on in New Bern at this time, the mid-week dates troubled us a little, until we realized that we are all retired or “on vacation”, and every day is Saturday. So we took the Oct. 22-24 dates, reserved the Meeting Room and a group of campsites for those dates and started putting out the word.

The cost will be $20 per person by personal check and $21 for PAYPAL and, as always, we ask you to pay in advance. Send checks made out to WRCC to WRCC Secretary, 27 Cheyenne Court, Palm Coast, FL 32137. Contact Capt Jeanie at Secretary@WaterwayRadio.net to arrange PAYPAL payment So now,.....we have arranged for camping, both for RV and tent, and something novel: KOA Kabins. We have arranged for a catered meal, by Smithfield’s in New Bern for Thursday's noon meal. They provide everything and clean up after. You will have Fried Chicken, Pork BBQ, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Hush Puppies and Iced Tea (both sweet and unsweetened). Also Mrs. W3RDT has been baking and has four different kinds of cookies for dessert. Many of you already know about Judy's Cookies! I hear that there will be a keg of Yuengling beer someplace around the meeting room.

If you have any Nautical or Ham Radio Flea Market items, bring them along. We can set up a Flea Market in the Meeting Room. Scott Berg-WA0LSS will be bringing all of Bill Trayfors-WA6CCA equipment to sell, so bring your checkbook, too!

We have learned, from past experience that certain insurance companies don't cover boats south of Cape Hatteras before November 1st or in one case November 30th. What we also learned is that since New Bern is so close to the latitude of Cape Hatter-Ass, you can get a waiver from every one we have had contact with in the past, merely with a phone call or an email.

Incidentally, if you like eating out, New Bern has a plethora of great eating places, and Madame Secretary, Capt Jeanie and Judy & I are conspiring to maybe have a luncheon or a dinner at one of these restaurants. More news later.

Hotel/Motel info:
(Also check Trip Advisor for B&B info)   Link: New Bern Hotel Deals

Check with VRBO.com or HOMEAWAY.com for nice houses to rent nearby.

There is a long dock, approximately 100 feet at the KOA Campground which will be dandy for dinghy tie up. Because of some submerged stumps in the area, we don't recommend trying to tie up cruising boats, although it has been done.

The KOA activity rentals will be available to all of our group who are interested in kayaks, paddle boats, paddle bikes or regular bikes.

The Neuse River off the campground has a large area suitable for anchoring in settled weather, but it is a little too exposed to a long fetch in windy conditions. The Trent River offers much more protected anchoring just past the (normally open) railroad Bridge. There is an “unmarked” channel between the railroad bridge and the center of the high rise bridge just upriver, and we recommend leaving that area clear. The anchorage area is plenty wide enough for many boats so it is easy to leave that clear channel for work boats.

Approximately a 5 mile drive to the New Bern airport, and Bob & Ann from Jule III will be available to offer rides, as will Judy and I. There is a shuttle from the marina at the Hilton, but we don't know if it will be operating, so anybody staying at the Hilton/SkySail Marina, or the marina at the Galley Store can call us for as ride, or you can ride the dinghy just up the Neuse to the KOA. We hope to have others offering to provide rides, but for now, here are two phone numbers:

Dick and Judy: 252-523-7146

Bob & Ann: 703-403-8777

Some will find New Bern an interesting historical location. Tryon Palace is the original home of the capitol of Carolina, before it became two states. The Palace tours are a favorite among tourists. See: https://www.tryonpalace.org/tickets-and-tours

There is also a Trolley Tour available around historic old town, and information can be found online at: https://www.newberntours.com/

For those inclined to stick around a little longer, New Bern is a very busy place this time of year with a Mum Fest the week before our picnic, and Halloween Ghost Walk in some the old homes the week after the picnic.

There is no lack of opportunities to EAT in the area. Marinas are conveniently near the KOA, and a nice hurricane hole that we became fond of is in Duck Creek, just south of the Route 17 Hi Rise bridge. Motels and hotels are also a short distance from the KOA.

The KOA is easy to find. It is along Route 17 and the north outskirts of Bridgeton and the entrance is well marked and can be seen from Route 17. If you are arriving by dinghy, the KOA is just past the Bridgeton Municipal Marina and a railroad bridge (normally open) and KOA has a large pier with a cupola at the end and a few boat slips. No problem for dinghy tie ups, but if trying to dock a cruising boat, you should be aware of numerous stumps and debris on the bottom, thanks to several recent hurricanes. An additional note about trying to dock in the shallow slips: The tides on the Neuse River are wind driven, so don't rely on any Tide Tables that you might have!!! Anchorage nearby is good in settled weather, but up the Trent River beyond the RR bridge is a much better choice if it is windy.




Helpful App for locating Marine Debris: (from Sam N4UAU)
MDR Logo The free Marine Debris Tracker app was created by the NOAA Marine Debris Division and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative (SEA-MDI) at Univ. of Georgia. This app will work on your smart phone or tablet, both iOS and Android. This app will allow you to enter coordinates for any debris that you may spot and view debris sightings from other boaters. To install, just go to either the App Store (iOS) or Google's Play Store (Android)


  ARRL charts showing new Ham frequencies. These are .pdf files and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. They can be printed from the same program. Choose either the color version or the B/W version.


  Coast Guard to discontinue use of *CG: The U.S.C.G. has announced that they are asking all cell phone providers to stop allowing the sequence, *CG to be used to contact the Coast Guard. 911 will still be allowed as a secondary option, but VHF radio is highly recommended. Using VHF makes more sense anyway: if there are other boaters in your vicinity that can offer help, they're not going to know you have a problem if you use your cell phone! Also, using marine VHF gives the rescuers a chance to triangulate your position, saving valuable time in an emergency.


Weather Reporters Guide -   Marti, KF4TRG has published her Weather Reporters Guide for Net reporters and any other interested parties. The Guide is in pdf format (Acrobat Reader required) and can be downloaded HERE.


For WRCC shirts, pins and burgees, check our new WRCC Store page .


Note: Membership in Boat U.S. increased from $19 to $25 on Jan. 1, 2006. WRCC members can get a 50% discount by using our group ID number when applying. The number is published in the current Scuttlebutt.


New U.S.C.G. SSB Emergency Hailing Frequencies


Florida Antenna Statutes and FCC ruling pertaining to amateur radio (pdf file)


New National Weather Service Offshore & Highseas Times for HF

Voice broadcasts of National Weather Service marine forecasts from NMN Chesapeake, VA and NMG New Orleans, LA were modified on June 15, 2005 to accommodate a greater range of products and reduce mutual interference between these and other stations.

NMG/NMN HF voice starting times were: 0330, 0500, 0930, 1130, 1600, 1730, 2200, 2230 UTC

NMG/NMN HF voice starting times are changing to: 0330, 0515, 0930, 1115, 1530, 1715, 2130, 2315 UTC

Frequencies for these stations are:

Chesapeake (NMN) 4426, 6501, 8764, 13089, 17314 kHz (USB)

New Orleans (NMG) 4316, 8502, 12788kHz (USB)


  •   International Space Station Tracking:

    For those of you who would like to watch the ISS as it passes over your location, I have included the following widget.




    Latest News On Bahamian Cruising Fees (12/09/2003) - According to Noonsite.com, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism released the following information:

    "The Bahamas has given due consideration to the concerns of the boating community and has decided, as an interim measure, that, with effect from December 1, 2003, the current Fees of $150 for boats up to 35 feet in length and $300 for boats over 35 feet, shall be valid for two entries during any 90 day period."

    "In the long-term, The Bahamas Government is considering an annual fee structure and will continue the dialogue with both the domestic and international boating community to determine how such a policy can best be implemented."

    According to the Noonsight article, the intent is to allow an additional entry into the Bahamas at no charge as long as it occurs within 90 days of the original issue of the Cruising Permit.