News Around the Republic of Mexico | May 2009
|Cruisers Stay in Contact on the ‘Coconut Telegraph’|
Capt. Pat Rains - The Log
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News and weather change quickly, but cruising boaters don’t have to be out of touch when they’re south of the border.
This time of year, several thousand cruising yachts from the U.S. are traveling along Mexico and Central America’s Pacific coast. They can use single sideband (SSB) radios to get news and weather, and to communicate worldwide.
SSB networks are simply an organized meeting place on a particular radio frequency at an established time, where an unlimited number of boaters can meet and share the latest weather forecasts and local news. Nets are usually controlled by one person, who acts something like a telephone operator to direct the flow of callers. This method of sharing information is sometimes called the “coconut telegraph.”
Here are three SSB radio nets to get you started.
Southbound Net: This is great for first-timers heading south along mainland Mexico and Central America. It meets on frequency 4054 kHz on the upper sideband at 0145 Zulu, which is 8:45 p.m. in Puerto Vallarta.
Amigo Net: Weather buff Don Anderson gives excellent weather reports for all of Mexico on frequency 8122.0 kHz at 1415 Zulu. At 15 minutes before the hour, Anderson gathers on-site weather reports from yachts along the coast.
Picante Net: Good for Mexico, this net meets on frequency 6212.0 kHz on the upper sideband at 1230 Zulu, which is 7:30 p.m. in Puerto Vallarta.