Tag Archives: Marine Radio

Reuters: Cyber threats prompt return of radio for ship navigation

eLoran (Image Source: UrsaNav)

(Source: Reuters via Ken Hansen and Dan Hawkins)

LONDON (Reuters) – The risk of cyber attacks targeting ships’ satellite navigation is pushing nations to delve back through history and develop back-up systems with roots in World War Two radio technology.

Ships use GPS (Global Positioning System) and other similar devices that rely on sending and receiving satellite signals, which many experts say are vulnerable to jamming by hackers.

About 90 percent of world trade is transported by sea and the stakes are high in increasingly crowded shipping lanes. Unlike aircraft, ships lack a back-up navigation system and if their GPS ceases to function, they risk running aground or colliding with other vessels.

South Korea is developing an alternative system using an earth-based navigation technology known as eLoran, while the United States is planning to follow suit. Britain and Russia have also explored adopting versions of the technology, which works on radio signals.

Continue reading at Reuters online…

FCC: Expanded use of marine HF frequencies on land

Many thanks to an SWLing Post contributor who shares a link to the following public notice from the FCC:

Wireless telecommunications bureau seeks comment on request by Shipcom, LLC, and Global HF net, LLC, to allow use of high seas marine frequencies by first responders and federal agencies during disasters

Section 80.123 of the Commission’s rules permits very high frequency public coast stations to provide service to units on land under certain conditions, but does not allow high frequency (HF) public coast stations to provide such service. In 2010, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Mobility Division (Division) granted Shipcom, LLC (Shipcom), a waiver of section 80.123 to permit the use of HF public coast frequencies by first responders during catastrophic situations when normal communications systems are not available. The Division concluded that this limited use of HF maritime spectrum would enhance public safety during catastrophes. The waiver permits service to land-based (base and mobile) Public Safety stations on HF frequencies in the event of a natural or man-made disaster that renders the normal communications infrastructure inoperable, and monthly testing/training to familiarize personnel with how to operate the equipment and make sure it is operable.

Click here to download the full FCC Public notice (PDF).

Incident highlights importance of marine radio communications

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Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, John Drake, who shares the following news via The National Post:

AHOUSAHT — Nobody saw the wave coming.

According to stories told by survivors on board the Leviathan II it broadsided the vessel, perhaps the biggest tourist boat in Tofino, as it was heading back from a day of visiting Hot Springs Cove.

The boat had turned its side to the waves rolling in across the open ocean to watch seals on Plover Reef.

The 27 people on board were not aware of the disaster about to unfold when a large roller wave rose up and knocked the boat over on its side, rolling it again and again.

As the ship tossed and began to sink, the passengers, dressed in street clothes, were cast about like rag dolls. Many were thrown into the water. Heads hit bulkheads and glass windows. Some were trapped inside, struggling to get free.

The ship sank at the stern, staying afloat only because air had caught in the bow.

[…]Some people were covered in diesel, making it harder to grab them and pull them onto a boat, said carver Joe Martin, whose relatives were out halibut fishing when they heard of the disaster over marine radio.

[…]Living in a remote community on the West Coast comes with its advantages, such as the beauty and wildness of the landscape. But it also has its privations.

Read the full story, along with video coverage, at The National Post website…