Whangaparaoa, New Zealand
Latitude 36° 37.149’South
Longitude 174° 46.481 East
8752 kHz (main working channel)
Hours: Monday-Saturday NZST 7:15am (May – November only)
Tel: 09 424 5765
Information supplied by owners:
Gulf Harbour Radio (GHR) is a licensed coast radio station whose primary purpose is to provide current weather analysis and forecasts for cruising yachts and fishermen in the Southwest Pacific. Gulf Harbour Radio is also an official part of a suite of communications for Civil Defence in the event of a national or local disaster where other forms of communications are cut off.
It was established in 2012 when Patricia and David from SV Chameleon decided to take a year off cruising to establish a land home. Initially we arranged to talk to friends from our dock who were departing for the Islands and needed to be updated on what to expect weather wise. It sort of grew and by the end of the season over 500 boats had been in contact either on air or via email! We went cruising again in 2013 but now operate full time in the cruising season which is May to mid November.
GHR operates from our home on a ridge between Gulf Harbour and Tindalls Beach in Whangaparaoa, just north of Auckland, New Zealand.
Radio equipment includes a SteppIr vertical antenna on the roof, an Icom M710 SSB transceiver and an Elecraft K3 amateur radio. The Linear amplifier is an Icom 2KL. Transmission is pretty good but we are close to power lines so we suffer from a lot of noise and have trouble hearing weak stations. For this reason we appreciate relays!
GHR uses a number of weather models for forecasting purposes. David analyses their output and chooses a model for the day to broadcast to our listeners. In some cases different models are used for different geographic locations based on our experience and input from users. We also monitor various met services and utilise their data if appropriate. We have set a format for our transmission but we are quite willing to change should better ideas arise which would benefit all. GHR can and does use email for yachts who are on passage and are encountering difficult and worrying conditions.
GHR is not a check-in service but we can coordinate radio skeds for boats in difficulty. GHR does not offer routing services but will give an opinion on existing routes if desired. GHR does not give advice. We provide forecasting data to the best of our abilities but the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the crew and yacht are as always in the hands of the captain.
We are both scientists but more important for this role, we have been living aboard and cruising around the world for 15 years. Much of this time has been in the area we are now covering so we bring a wealth of practical experience to our listeners.
- Patricia, a Kiwi, has a masters science degree with hons in chemistry from Victoria University in Wellington and has been for many years a ham radio operator. Her callsigns are K6AHS and ZL2RK.
- David hails from the USA with a BSc from Miami University in marine science and meteorology. On arriving in New Zealand he was lucky to attend the forecasters course at NZ MetService so has managed to get to grips with systems that go the reverse way from what he was used to in the northern hemisphere! He has always been keen to share his knowledge with cruisers to help them become more independent. From time to time when the weather is quiet he gives mini seminars on air relating to features of importance.
Gulf Harbour Radio operates Monday – Saturday from May to November on either 8752 or 8116 kHz. 8116 was the main frequency to use but there seems to be a bit of competition from Asia so we mainly use 8752 unless we get the dreaded radar noise.
Other frequencies that have been allocated to us and maybe used for close or distant boats are 6230 and 12,353 and 12,365 kHz.
We start with a general chit chat at 1915UTC which is NZST 07.15am. David then does a thorough round up of weather in and between the Islands at 7.30am NZST. He starts in the east and works west. He includes passage weather when needed. If you have a particular need which is not covered then just call and ask when given the opportunity. Remember that we use an amplifier so don’t be surprised if you can hear us but we cannot hear you. Please help out with relays if you can. We also would recommend that participating boats have their detail logged with the Yachts in Transit website so we know who we are talking to and have your boat details if needed. We like to know who we are talking to and this helps in an emergency.
GHR is a free service. This gives us a degree of freedom to express our opinions should the skippers actions or ideas warrant. It also means we can take time off when we feel the need!