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New Zealand is a small country in a massive ocean. This affects its provision of GMDSS weather services in some unexpected ways. For example, vhf coverage is so thin that DSC VHF has not been implemented; also, NZ yachts are permitted to modify ham SSB sets so that they will transmit and receive on the marine frequencies. That is the arrangement we currently have on True. Taken together these facts have unusual consequences, including

1: In some places (e.g. Port Fitzroy in Great Barrier Island) VHF reception is impossible because of the high hills all round, but it is easy to get Internet weather using a mobile phone; or by weatherfax using SSB.

2: In other places, SSB Weatherfax is by far the best option, but the only nearby station, Wellington, has limited transmission times, so it is occasionally desirable to get weatherfax from Australian stations over 1000 miles away

3: VHF weather forecasts are excellent, but if not available, the amateur radio station at Russell broadcasts forecasts on a daily schedule (see Noonsite for details). Sadly they had to close their SSB service recently.

4: In the Pacific there are other services that do not exist elsewhere, such as Tsunami information, that need to to be allowed for. We were in New Zealand at the time of the Japanese tsunami which was still half a metre high when it reached new Zealand (but only inches when it reached our mooring at Panmure). Regular information was provided by the Civil Defence website.

5: Direct website Grib services  can be useful if Internet connection is available, but a fee may be charged




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Noonsite is an immensely useful resource for any cruising yacht transiting oceans or visiting new countries and cultures.