Watch the resurgence of amateur radio

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Current Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) regulations require every ship to carry old-fashioned HF radiotelephone and radiotelex equipment, but traditional radio is rarely used on board ships. The problem is twofold. Today’s satellites are more convenient and reliable than HF radio, and most terrestrial radio stations have shut down or operated with reduced availability.

In times of peace and prosperity, the death of traditional radio is not an issue on anyone’s radar but, COVID-19 has reminded us that we need to be prepared for the unexpected, especially given that systems modern technologies like satellite radio are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. The good news is that HAM radio has seen a resurgence in the past few months. Around the world, thousands of new amateur radio operators have used their time in quarantine to study for a radio license and many are waiting on HF stations like 14.300 MHz provide free information and services to ships.

Recently, the popular YouTube channel Ham Radio Crash Course (HRCC) invited gCaptain to discuss the use of radio at sea. In this episode, gCaptain founder and HAM radio operator K5HIP, John Konrad, discusses the use of amateur radio on board ships, including how gCaptain used radio to broadcast major news

If you would like to help maintain this vital link, we encourage you to subscribe to the HRCC youtube channel, apply for an amateur radio license, discuss the topic on the gCaptain forum, and, The most important, start using your HF radio at sea to connect to maritime radio networks like 14,300. The more we learn about and use these free services, the more likely they will be available during the next global crisis.

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