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HF radiotelephone monitoring in Australia

Friday 17 December 2021
From 1 January 2022, AMSA will provide 24-hour nationwide monitoring of high frequency (HF) radiotelephone distress, urgency and safety communications in Australia.
search and rescue

HF radiotelephone is a solution for a vessel outside VHF shore station range to send and receive distress and maritime safety information with other vessels and shore stations.

How this will it affect you

There should be minimal impact on mariners during the transition of responsibility for monitoring HF radiotelephone from the State and Northern Territory authorities to AMSA. 

It is important to stress that there will be no change to:

  • The Australian Bureau of Meteorology HF weather warnings and forecasts.
  • AMSA's HF digital selective calling (DSC) service (including navigational warnings).
  • Ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore or shore-to-ship for general or public communication (where available).

What services will AMSA provide?

There are three services that AMSA will support with its HF radiotelephone capability:

  1. 24-hour nationwide monitoring of HF radiotelephone distress, urgency and safety communications on 4 125, 6 215, 8 291, 12 290 and 16 420 kHz. Further detail on this service is available here: https://www.amsa.gov.au/safety-navigation/search-and-rescue/responding-search-and-rescue.
  2. Promulgation of maritime safety information (MSI) in the form of AUSCOAST and NAVAREA X navigational warnings. Further detail on this service, including timings and frequencies, is available here: https://www.amsa.gov.au/safety-navigation/navigation-systems/maritime-safety-information.
  3. 24-hour nationwide HF radiotelephone test call service on 4 125, 6 215, 8 291, 12 290 and 16 420 kHz. Further detail on this service are available here.

Why this is changing

Since 2002, the States and Northern Territory (jurisdictions) have been responsible for providing 24-hour nationwide monitoring of HF radiotelephone distress, safety and urgency communication by shore stations in Australia. 

Over the years, the use of HF radiotelephone as the first and only means of emergency calling has been in steady decline. This prompted the jurisdictions and AMSA to review the ongoing requirement for shore station monitoring of HF radiotelephone in Australia.

From 1 October 2019 until 29 November 2019, the jurisdictions and AMSA undertook consultation with customers and stakeholders. Based on feedback received, and AMSA consideration of the implications on its regulated community, particularly vessels that fall under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012, a 24-hour HF radiotelephone monitoring service must continue to be provided in Australia.

Read more about the consultation here.

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