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Posts: 13
Default Does the US Coast Guard need to continue HF high seas weather broadcasts?

As many of you know, the Coast Guard published a notice last
April(http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/..._WX_Notice.pdf)
noting that their high power high frequency (HF) transmitters were at the
end of their useful life, and asking whether a need existed for them to
continue broadcasting high seas weather forecasts and warnings by single
sideband voice, facsimile charts and text. VHF broadcasts (channel 22 and
NOAA Weather Radio) and NAVTEX are not affected. High frequency distress
watchkeeping is not affected either, though in the future it may be if
transmitters cannot be replaced.

So far about 900 comments have been posted at http://dms.dot.gov/. A half
dozen or so commenters say HF broadcasts are no longer necessary, but the
majority want them retained. Comments can be read online.

The comment period closes on August 24th, about ten days from now. Once
closed, ABS Consulting, under contract to the Coast Guard, will use those
comments in preparing a business case study to the Coast Guard regarding the
continuation of these broadcasts. The Coast Guard plans to publicly release
that study after it is completed, about six months from now. Continuation
of these broadcasts may depend however on whether Congress decides to
appropriate funding for their replacement; so far they have not done so.
Agencies are prohibited from spending money Congress has not appropriated.
Excepting Guam, 20 such Coast Guard high power transmitters are used to
broadcast weather, each of which cost about $200,000 US to purchase and
install ($4 million total).

Today the Coast Guard posted a webpage describing the situation. See
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/...-WX_notice.htm

(note the $20M total on the webpage refers to the cost to replace all Coast
Guard high power HF transmitters, not just those used for weather
broadcasts. That error will be corrected.)

If you sail in areas outside those covered by VHF broadcasts and have not
already posted comments to dms.dot.gov, please do so by the 24th of August.
If you do send in comments, please provide as complete information as
possible: who you are, where you sail, and why the information can't be
obtained by other means.

JoeHersey


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