Chris Parker’s New Schedule (and exciting SSB news!)

FYI!  Chris Parker has exciting news about his new SSB setup for communicating with cruisers in far away places – we always had trouble hearing him in Panama and other Western Caribbean locales.  The new antennas should eliminate most communications issues!  Can’t wait until we can resubscribe because it means we’re off cruising again!  🙂   Here’s the e-mail from Chris:

Weather off the Cristobal Jetty, Panama

Weather off the Cristobal Jetty, Panama

Wx Update, SSB Nets SCHEDULE CHANGE, Mon27, 11p – Chris Parker

You may know I spent all summer (June till early October) making improvements to operations at Marine Weather Center. Briefly:

Installed new dual-band, high-gain, directional Yagi antenna, custom made by Opti-Beam in Germany for the 8MHz and 12MHz channels we use.
Optimized the horizontal loop antenna we’ll continue to use on 4MHz.
Antennas are mounted atop a new radio tower.
Purchased new radios, and will use 2 radios simultaneously (each on its own band) on each Net.
Built a new office so I could properly install and use all the new gear, and install additional computer monitors to improve my forecasting.

If you are anywhere in the W Atlantic/US E Coast/Bahamas/Caribbean, you should hear me VERY WELL when you are on the correct channel, at the right time, and I have the Beam pointed in your direction.

I’ve received terrific signal reports from Trinidad to Maine to Panama, and many points between (in the case of Trinidad and Maine, these were the 1st contacts I’ve ever made from Florida without great difficulty, so I’m REALLY EXCITED, and I’m confident almost all clients will hear me MUCH BETTER (and I’ll hear you better) than with my previous set-up..

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Times/Frequencies change only slightly (some Nets have not changed, some are 15-30 minutes different from old schedule).

2. At any given moment you can choose the best of 2 channels: either 4.045 & 8.137…or 8.137 & 12.350.

3. Antennas for 8.137 & 12.350 are directional…if you’re on 8.137 or 12.350, it is IMPORTANT that you listen when my Beam is pointed at you.

4. For this reason, Nets will start promptly at the designated times. If I am not done working traffic from a previous Net, I will need to STOP the previous Net so I can remain on schedule. If this happens, I’ll try to estimate when I’ll return to the previous Net.

5. Since 8.137 & 12.350 are directional, I’ll be more-focused with my Synopsis at the start of those Nets (comments for areas outside my Beam are irrelevant).

6. Feel free to hail me on ANY Net when you hear me call for traffic. Synopses are beamed to specific areas, but I’ll take traffic from ANY Subscribing Vessel on ANY Net. If you hear someone I don’t, please offer to relay – once I turn my Beam in their direction, I may be able to hear the vessel directly, but I’ll need relays to help establish contact.

7. I’ll use only 3 channels: 4.045 USB / 8.137 USB / 12.350 USB (I’m substituting 8.137 USB for 8.104 at 1230 UTC, and dropping 6.221 USB which has not had traffic in a year).

8. NEW SCHEDULE is subject to change based on feedback from clients

9. I suggest you download the following 2 .pdf files:

COVERAGE MAP (shows direction/coverage of Beams):

Times/Frequencies SPREADSHEET:

When using the 2 .pdf files, color-shaded areas on the MAP are targeted at the Times/Channels OUTLINED IN THE SAME COLOR on the SPREADSHEET.

FOR INSTANCE, Coverage Map has GREEN swath pointed South from Florida to W Caribbean…and I Beam antennas in this direction at the Times/Channels outlined in GREEN on the SPREADSHEET.

10. If you lie a little outside Beam Coverage (see map), then you’ll still hear me, but not as strong. When we make contact I’ll turn my Beam toward you, and we’ll hear each other better.

11. Vessels transiting W Atlantic S of Bermuda may do best with times/channels for E Caribbean/Bahamas

12. Vessels considerably away from a Beam (including in Gulf Of Mexico): use 4.045 USB (omni-directional), or let me know you plan to contact me and we can set a time/channel

13. Vessels on Pacific Coast of C America use times/channels for W Caribbean

14. I am located in Central Florida (28N/82W). Beams originate from this location.


SUMMER SCHEDULE (thru Saturday Nov1 2014, and beginning Monday March9 2015)

START TIME Channels Beam Direction Synopsis Area

6:40am AST/EDT (1040 utc) 4.045 USB Omnidirectional Bahamas & E Caribbean
6:40am AST/EDT (1040 utc) 8.137 USB 120T Bahamas & E Caribbean

7:30am AST/EDT (1130 utc) 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB 040T US E Coast/W Atlantic (N&W of Bermuda)

8:30am AST/EDT (1230 utc) 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB 120T E Caribbean

9:00am AST/EDT (1300 utc) 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB 180T W Caribbean (local time utc-6 = 7am)

after 9am 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB 120T When done in W Caribbean, check
after 9am 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB 040T for traffic to the ESE & NE


WINTER SCHEDULE (Monday Nov3 2014 thru Saturday March7 2015)
START TIME Channels Beam Direction Synopsis Area

7:00amAST/ 6:00amEST (1100 utc) 4.045 USB Omnidirectional E Caribbean
7:00amAST/ 6:00amEST (1100 utc) 8.137 USB 120T E Caribbean

7:30amAST / 6:30amEST (1130 utc) 4.045 USB Omnidirectional Bahamas
7:30amAST / 6:30amEST (1130 utc) 8.137 USB 120T Bahamas

8:30amAST/ 7:30amEST (1230 utc) 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB 040T US E Coast/W Atlantic (N&W of Bermuda)

9:30amAST / 8:30amEST (1330 utc) 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB 180T W Caribbean (local time utc-6 = 7:30am)

after 9am 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB 120T When done in W Caribbean, check
after 9am 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB 040T for traffic to the ESE & NE



  1. Hi, You probably already know this, but on the possibility you don’t know it, when listening to HF, or any frequency, you can use more than one Beam antennia, connected together in different directions, to get great signal pulled in from multiple directions.

    For instance, instead of needing to rotate the beam to say the West and then to the South to pick up two different stations, you can simply have both the west and south beams connected. There are impedience and some other factors to consider, but certainly doable.

    For transmission, sending out the one signal onto two beams will about half the power output to both beams, but as power is not so important as gain, the result will still be a good signal. If there was a problem due to power, then depending on the rules in use, a complimentary power amplifier can be used on each beam to bring each beam up to the max allowed radiated power.

    This can be done for say four beams, so all directions covered with great received signal and great outputted signal also.

    It means then not needing to worry about which direction the beam is pointing, unless say a lot of interference is coming from one direction in which case you could turn off that beam or rotate a single beam or more, to the direction that avoids the noise.

    Hope that helps.

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