8752 kHz or 8779 or 8297 kHz. (In that order depending on interference).
Monday-Saturday UTC 1915. NZST 7:15am
May 1 - November 30 each year.
Gulf Harbour Radio is a licensed coast radio station, ZMH286, whose primary purpose is to provide current weather analysis and forecasts for cruising yachts and fisherman in the Southwest Pacific. Gulf Harbour Radio, GHR, 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. We take Sunday off to accommodate our new sport.
GHR operates from our home on a ridge between Gulf Harbour and Tindalls Beach in Whangaparaoa, just north of Auckland NZ. Latitude 36° 37.149’South and longitude 174° 46.481 East. Radio equipment includes a SteppIr vertical antenna on the roof for TX, an inverted V dipole down the southernside of the house for RX, an Icom M710 SSB and an Elecraft K3 radio. The Linear amplifier is an Icom ZKL. 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! We replaced the inverted V with a Double Bazooka in 2016 and this helped our hearing ability. It will be a little higher in 2018 with the hope of improvement.
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. We have a short period before the weather update to take positions for those who are registered on YIT. These are posted on the site within the hour. 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. Call signs are K6AHS and ZL2RK. David hails from the USA with a BSc from Miami University in marine science and meteorology. On arriving in NZ 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, ZMH286, operates from Monday through Saturday from May thru November on either 8752 or an alternative frequency 8779 or 8297. (Other 8 MHz frequencies are available to use if these given problems as the season goes by). Other frequencies that have been allocated to us and maybe used for close or distant boats are 6230 and 12 353 and 12365 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 YIT web site 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. ref www.yit.nz
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! To cover fixed costs both GHR and YIT appreciate donations. (ref www.yit.nz and click on "We need your suport')
Lat 36* 37.149’ South,
Long. 174* 46.481’ East