When Glenn Tuttle was asked to join the Board of Directors at the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), he thought to himself, “how could I combine my passions, cruising and radio communications, and serve the SSCA?” Tuttle realized that perhaps he could make useful contributions to the organization and the cruising community by promoting the use of radio communications among cruisers.
A full-time liveaboard for over 30 years, who’s cruised in remote areas of the southern and southwest Caribbean, spending months at a time at anchor without cellular service or Internet access, Tuttle realizes the importance of having HF/SSB radio aboard cruising vessels. Although a satellite phone is a great resource (he used an Iridium phone during his cruising in the Caribbean), it is not a replacement for an HF/SSB radio. This was proven last summer when Tuttle was involved in the rescue of two Bahamian fishermen.
Tuttle suggested to the SSCA Board that they establish an SSCA Voice Service (not a formal net) on the HF radio band to assist cruisers in remote locations, who are without cellular or internet access, in order to relay priority and emergency information and to provide any vessels needing assistance with additional resources. Assistance can include radio checks, float plans, telephone contact with family/friends, boat-to-boat relays, access to medical or mechanical professionals, marinas, Internet searches, or other assistance that he might be able to provide to cruisers in remote areas or offshore.
All vessels are welcome to participate in this service provided by the SSCA. However, in order to reach the far corners of the Caribbean and beyond, a land-based radio and antenna system is needed, similar to the excellent system used by Chris Parker of the Marine Weather Center. Such a radio station, operating on the marine bands from a land station requires a Public Coast License from the Federal Communications Commission. The SSCA is pleased to report it was successful in obtaining such a license, and is now authorized to operate under the call sign “KPK” from Tuttle’s Florida home. Tuttle has erected a 70-foot tower with a rotational directional beam antenna tuned for the 8 Mhz marine band, which will effectively reach the entire Caribbean and beyond.
The SSCA welcomes any comments and suggestions from cruisers regarding this proposed service. The FCC license authorizes the organization to operate on 8.104, 8.137, and 8.152. At this time, they are standing by between 0700 DST (1100 UTC) And 0730 DST (1130 UTC) on frequency 8.104 for any vessel needing the assistance of land-based resources. Additionally, they are considering standing by after the Cruiseheimers morning net on 8.152 is concluded (except days when they have a tech net, etc.), and after the Doo Dah evening net on 8.152, to assist any vessel with land-based resource assistance.
The SSCA is also authorized to operate on 12.350 and is considering expanding Tuttle’s antenna array to include that frequency. Please send any suggestions and comments to: SSCAVoiceNet@gmail.com