WLO and KLB: Marine HF/SSB Services Now Restored
I am pleased to announce that marine operator services through station WLO in Mobile Alabama and station KLB in the Pacific NW are now both operating at nearly full steam.
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 ShipCom for revitalizing these important radio services for mariners.