YOTREPS 2.0 ? Love at second sight…

The YOTREPS module

The YOTREPS module

Have you ever fooled around the AirMail program and found this “module” under, surprise surprise, the MODULES tab? I have been getting a lot of inspiration from it, which in turn has got me thinking about ways to change around the Southbound Evening Net.

Or maybe it was the other way around: I was looking for inspiration on how to change how we do things and then found, or rather, rediscovered  the YOTREPS thingy.

It is love at second sight.



Revised Zones for new East Pacific Forecast

EPAC zones

Click for full size map

They Listened…

It’s very interesting the way NOAA is approaching the launch of its new East Pacific forecast service.  And the map at the left proves it.

The revised map shows three zones for the Sea of Cortez – a result I believe of feedback from cruisers to the original proposed zones which had the Sea broken into two zones.

As one cruiser put it (and I am paraphrasing), “The flaw in existing forecasts which have a “Northern Sea” above 27 degrees North latitude and another “Southern Sea” below 27 is that cruisers experience a very different reality,” he said.

Many cruisers suggested that three zones would be more useful and NOAA responded.

Now the Sea is divided into three sections – the Northern Gulf of California, Central, and Southern. As well, all the zones have had a “WFO” identifier associated with each zone which will make it easier for Saildocs to begin to distribute the forecasts.


Have a look at the zones and let me know what you think.

Also fyi –  here is what the zones look like on the  Atlantic coast in tropical waters. You’ll appreciate how extensive they are.

Atlantic tropical zones

Click to enlarge


Raising the courtesy flag at sunset

Raising the courtesy flag at sunset

The Southbound Evening Net  is a nightly amateur radio network that takes place every evening  at precisely the same time.  Southbound is a volunteer operation dedicated to improving the safety of mariners especially those traveling south of San Diego, CA and north of Panama.

Every night we take “check-ins”  from cruisers, help them connect with one another and  provide them with relevant information.

Like other marine radio “nets”,   Southbound strives to be reliable.  Our extremely loose organization promises to have a volunteer on the air at precisely the same time every night. In return, the even-looser community of cruisers provides a steady supply of volunteers.  It all works out.

Mostly our work is fairly routine. Boats call in and tell us what’s happening aboard, or en route.  It all gets written down, especially when they report their exact location and destination.  Sometimes they want to connect with their friends in other anchorages.

And some nights, hardly anybody calls. But we’re still there, listening.

And then there are the rarest of rare occasions, when someone calls in with an urgent appeal for help.  And we’re there for that, too.

Since the Southbound Net  is an evening net,  anyone checking in while underway is traveling at night, which changes things a bit. Night crossings, as every sailor knows, have a special dark tenor, and hearing the sound of familiar voices tends to lighten things up a bit.

Many –   sailors and landlubbers alike –  have a rough idea about  ham radio. You need a license to operate one. You need to learn a lot of  old stuff.  But sometimes in big emergencies –  when the cell phone networks die and telephone lines are down –  ham operators somehow get thru. But you have to have a license.

Southbound is a Single Side Band network,  so you can be a complete idiot (like us) and transmit to your heart’s content. If you have a high frequency marine radio, you can use it. (We do ask for your “ship station license”, usually available from your home national government).

You will require a high frequency marine or ham radio that is capable of tuning into 6.516 mHz, Upper Side Band USB).

You will be asked to behave yourselves while on-air, although we do ask nicely.

The conversation is “controlled” in that all communications go through the volunteer who is operating the net. There is a clear format and a few rules that make sure that vessels that are “checking in” (reporting their whereabouts and circumstances) get a chance to do so in an orderly way.

The Specifics

Start Time:   0100 Zulu

Primary Frequencies: 6.516 mHz USB) and 4.149 mHz  (4B)

Acting Net Manager:   Mark on SV Wendaway.  You can contact him by leaving filling out the form below.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please put that in the Comment box!  You’ll receive our monthly bulletin, and other cruisers will treat you with renewed respect and invite you to drink their almost- best tequila.

Even if that doesn’t pan out,  you will still be doing your fellow cruisers a good deed.