Marine Weather Center Blog

Spring/Summer SSB Weather Nets Schedule

It’s “Spring Forward”, when the US does its semi-annual time-change ritual. This always creates a certain amount of confusion and frustration, but we can’t control local time zones, so we have to deal with it.

One option would be to keep the “Zulu” times constant throughout the year, and let the folks who change time worry about when to listen.

But radio propagation changes during the year:
8-megs tends to be best for about 2 hours beginning at sunrise, but propagation is closed until sunrise.
4-megs tends to be best for an hour before & an hour after sunrise.
12-megs tends to be best about 1-3 hours after sunrise.
Sunrise varies by almost 2 hours during (later in December-January / earlier in May-June) so it is even more important to work the bulk of our traffic earlier in the morning from April-October, versus December-February.

Unfortunately that leaves us with March, where we have this time change, but the sun does not rise very early.

We also have a migration pattern:
Winter: almost 100% of traffic is S of 30N, and I can hit that traffic with the antennas pointed in only 2 directions from Florida (to the ESE and S).
Spring/Summer/Fall: traffic is spread-out, including areas N of 30N, so I’ll need to turn antennas NE at a designated time to work traffic offshore including Bermuda-Azores, along the US, and into Canadian Maritimes.

Finally, as you know, I made a huge investment of money and time in new antennas/radios last summer. As a result, folks are hearing me much better, and over a much larger geography, and I’m handling more traffic.

Today, vessels in E Caribbean offered feedback that 8:30am AST is too late for the Net, due to their need to plan their day, and also propagation was weaker at 8:30am than earlier in the morning.

As a result, I want to try the following:

We’ll ADD a new Net:
6:00am AST/EDT (1000 utc) on 4.045 & 8.137 USB, antennas turned ESE, with Synopsis/Forecast for E Caribbean (If propagation is not open to E Caribbean at 6am, please LET ME KNOW when it opens, and we can adjust the Start Time to that time).

The next Net is as published:
6:30am AST/EDT (1030 utc) on 4.045 & 8.137 USB, antennas turned ESE, with Synopsis/Forecast for Bahamas (this is best Net for VESSELS MOVING N from E Caribbean to Bermuda/30N).

We have more traffic in Bahamas and elsewhere S of 30N than I can work in an hour, so, until further notice, the Net which begins at 6:30am will continue till 8am…then:

8:00am AST/EDT (1200 utc) on 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB, antennas turned NE, with Synopsis/Forecast for US E Coast (this is best Net for VESSELS N&W of Bermuda and N of 30N).

As more traffic moves N of 30N versus S of 30N, the start time of the 8:00am Net will shift to 7:30am (I’ll email when that happens).

8:30am AST/EDT (1230 utc) on 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB, antennas turned ESE, with Synopsis/Forecast for E Caribbean
9:00am AST/EDT (1300 utc) on 8.137 USB & 12.350 USB, antennas turned S, with Synopsis/Forecast for W Caribbean

As always, I respond to every Subscribing Vessel I hear. You are free to hail me anytime, but we are likely to hear each other best when my antennas are pointed somewhere close to (within 45-degrees either side of) your location.

I will post the above to the NEWS section of my website, but the schedule on the “Learn More about SSB Nets” page will not be updated for a week or two.

I am open to making further changes to best satisfy the needs of Subscribing Vessels, so, if the above schedule is not working for you, let me know your concerns, and I’ll assess whether we can make further tweaks to the schedule.

Thank you for your continuing support!…Chris.

The official and essential book for boaters by Chris Parker.

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