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Old 11-06-2014, 15:12   #1
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NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

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: HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

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.

Bill
WA6CCA
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Old 11-06-2014, 15:45   #2
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Re: NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

That's great Bill - thanks for posting.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:21   #3
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Re: NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

Bill,
Thanks for the update....(after a few months of part-time SSB/Voice operations, it's nice to see 'em back to 24/7!!!)


Just some further details....

Quote:
Voice
Shipcom is the United States' only 24 hour provider of HF SSB radiotelephone (and VHF radiotelephone) Ship to Shore voice service. ShipCom stations WLO WCL KLB and KNN are all remotely controlled from Mobile, Alabama where operators are on duty 24 hours per day 7 days per week for radiotelephone Ship to Shore and Shore to Ship calls.

The ShipCom operators can provide vessels with weather information and are always available should an emergency ever arise while you are at sea. Using ShipCom for SSB Voice is simple.
Simply tune your radio to the appropriate channel (one that is listed as monitored 24 hrs/day), as listed on the frequencies page HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels , and call one of the ShipCom stations, by depressing your microphone, and (as an example) saying "Whiskey Lima Oscar, Whiskey Lima Oscar, WLO this is sailing vessel Annie Laurie, WDB6927, calling on channel 1212, 1212, over". The operator will ask you for your position and will optimize the radio circuit before placing your call. For Shore to Ship calls, the calling party should give the operator the name of the vessel and radio callsign. ShipCom will broadcast a list of vessels that we are holding calls for at the top of each hour following the weather broadcast.)



Quote:

Digital Selective Calling(DSC)
In addition to monitoring the six International GMDSS DSC frequencies, for Distress, Urgency, and Safety messages, Shipcom can also respond to routine DSC calls.

Also, ShipCom can provide automated radio TX acknowledgements via your DSC equipment on frequencies 8414.5 and 12577.0. WLO's MMSI is 003660003. Send a "Safety Test" and you will get an automatic acknowledgement.

Quote:
Email

ShipCom provides radio email service via HF SSB radio. The ShipCom system supports SITOR, AMTOR, PACTOR and PACTOR II. No special software is needed to access the ShipCom email system. Vessels equipped with GMDSS HF SITOR may send email via the ShipCom system using the SITOR terminal. Crew members on any vessel may setup an account with ShipCom which will allow them to access Internet email via the ship's SITOR system without any charges being incurred by the vessel. Vessels equipped with Pactor and Pactor II modes of transmission enjoy faster throughput and the full ascii character set. The ShipCom email system also offers weather, news and sports information.

To access the ShipCom email system, simply tune your radio to the appropriate frequency as found on the frequencies page. For SITOR/AMTOR modes place an ARQ call to 1090 (XVSV). For Pactor modes, call WLO-1.





Quote:
Amver/OBS

Vessels may send AMVER and OBS messages through WLO/KLB free of charge using the SITOR system or via the Marine Operator. For SITOR use the command AMV+ . For OBS use the command OBS+ . Be sure and end your report with KKKK . To send via the Marine Operator call on one of our voice channels.

Weather

ShipCom transmits hourly weather and traffic list on selected ITU HF SSB voice channels. For a schedule of the weather products and broadcast times see the frequencies page. Virtually any weather product is available via ShipCom's HF SITOR / Pactor system on demand. All ShipCom weather products are automatically updated from the National Weather Service. Vessels sending AMVER and OBS messages are entitled to receive free weather products via SITOR.

Fax

Vessels using ShipCom's SITOR or Pactor systems may send text messages to any fax machine world wide. Messages are composed on the ship's SITOR terminal and are sent to any fax machine using the send fax command. While it is possible to send a fax message from Shore to Ship on suitably equipped vessels, ShipCom does not recommend this practice as delivery is usually difficult and the sender is charged for failed delivery attempts.

Satellite

ShipCom can send messages to any satellite terminal in the world. Messages may be billed to Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express or to your home or business telephone. Messages to satellite terminals should be addressed to wloradio@wloradio.com and must include the Vessel name, radio callsign, MMSI and the satellite number if known.




--- Shipcom Radio's Station WLO (in Mobile, AL) broadcasts hourly id's / traffic lists / etc. as well as offshore and hi-seas weather seven times each day....on ITU channels 405, 607, 824, 112, and 1641.
Please see their frequencies page for details...
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

--- Shipcom Radio's station KLB (near Seattle) broadcast hourly id's / traffic lists / etc. and offshore/hi-seas weather on 2 of their 4 HF freqs, ITU channels 805 and 1209....and also have full use of 417 and 1624 (all four of these frequency's transmitters and receivers are near Seattle, but are controlled remotely from Mobile, AL)....
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

Please have a look at their pages...
HF SSB Radiotelephone Email, Fax, Satellite Marine Messages, Telex Sitor & Marine Weather Services
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels



--- Most Atlantic sailors find WLO's coverage to be excellent throughout the entire N. Atlantic, Caribbean, and Med....but, they also cover the Pacific (from both KLB and WLO)....

--- Pacific sailors should be able to use WLO (Shipcom's main station) on 1212 and 1641, as you move farther south from the Pac NW (and even 824 at night)...
Not sure how well you'd hear WLO in the Pac NW, as their antennas are not configured for that area....but once near S. Cal or farther south and west, you can work WLO fairly well (even though their KLB station is designed for "Pacific" coverage, their 4mhz and 8mhz KLB channels are mainly for the N. Pac with 12mhz and 16mhz covering the N. Pac and Central Pac (as well as some S. Pac)...
Depending on the particular day and time-of-day, you should be able to work WLO or KLB most of the way across the Pacific...(and don't forget that after you contact them on 16mhz, you can try 18mhz and 22mhz as well....as these higher freqs can be very good for long distances of >4000 - 6000 miles, for significant parts of the day...)

ShipCom LLC :: Marine HF Radiotelephone and HF Single SideBand Email
HF SSB Radiotelephone Email, Fax, Satellite Marine Messages, Telex Sitor & Marine Weather Services
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

BTW, Shipcom also has 24/7 HF-DSC capability (using separate receivers of course), and will respond to DSC calls promptly....and I've found if radio propagation is a bit iffy or signals are noisey, that a DSC call gets their attention quickly and they will be calling YOU....


--- Here is a video showing how easy it is to raise WLO, and place a phone call...



--- If you haven't watched these videos....I recommend you do so, before you leave port...
Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call
Even if you don't have an Icom M-802, videos # 4, 5, 6, 9, and 10 WILL be very helpful to you!!!
(especially video #4, which SHOWS how to choose the proper channel/freq for your communications path, time-of-day, etc...)




Fair winds..

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:43   #4
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Re: NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

Cool. I used WLO in the past, not often, but its nice to have the option back.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:47   #5
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Re: NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

Great news. I have a fixed installed sat phone on my boat, but I don't plan to activate it. Email via Winlink and Sailmail will be my main means of communication with the land world when out of mobile phone range. But the ability to have a voice call from time to time, without setting up a sat phone account, would be great to have.

Do you happen to know what the phone patch charges are? I don't find them anywhere. Is it $0.99 just for the U.S., or can you call anywhere?
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:22   #6
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Re: NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

Dockhead

Can you pick them up? I've tried but I can't get on my set here in DK.
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:55   #7
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Re: NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

Dockhead, et al,
1) WLO has been a 24/7/365 public coast station for decades, handling SSB/Voice and data/SITOR/PACTOR traffic, from vessels all over....(and I've used them from all over the N. Atl., Med, and Caribbean)....

It's just been the past few months, during a change in ownership/management, that they maintained their data services, but had limited SSB/Voice services...(During this time, I've personally spoken to both Rene and the new management, and they're back with gang busters!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Can you pick them up? I've tried but I can't get on my set here in DK.
If you've attempted to contact them during the past few months, without success, then you should try again now!!!
FYI, If you can hear ham stations from the US (southeast US), you'd certainly be able to hear WLO (from Mobile, AL USA...)
It's about a 4900 mile path to Denmark....and you should be able to work 'em on 16mhz, (and some on 12mhz, 18mhz, or even 22mhz...depending on time of day)...(you should have good results in from late-morning thru the evening, up to midnight, 1100z - 0200z, on 16mhz....but also try 12mhz, and/or 18mhz...)
And/or send 'em a DSC call and instruct them to meet you on ch. 1807...
If you're still having trouble working them, perhaps there is a radio issue on-board and/or on-board RFI??




2) It used to be $0.99/minute for US calls....and I assume it still is...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
But the ability to have a voice call from time to time, without setting up a sat phone account, would be great to have.

Do you happen to know what the phone patch charges are? I don't find them anywhere. Is it $0.99 just for the U.S., or can you call anywhere?
Your best bet for determining their charges for telephone calls outside the US, would be an e-mail inquiry to them directly....

info@shipcom.com




Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:45   #8
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Re: NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
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: HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

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.

Bill
WA6CCA
Thanks for the post Bill. I think I will set up an account in case I need to use this service. Heading south to Mexico this year and points west eventually.
cheers,
Gord
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:18   #9
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Re: NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

Good news, the old days are back, godda love it.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:40   #10
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Re: NEW: Now You Can Call the Marine Operator

Carstenb,

The best way to know when you have propagation and on which frequency is to listen to their scheduled weather broadcasts.

The general rule is that if you can hear them loud and clear, then they'll very likely be able to hear you.

Example:

At their scheduled WX broadcast time, tune to the different frequencies until you determine which is the strongest signal from them.

Then, when the WX broadcast is complete, call them on the same band.

Bill
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