Thursday, January 24, 2019

Will they ever fix Kodiak FAX?

For several weeks now, all NOJ radiofax transmissions from USCG in Kodiak, AK have been off-frequency and severely distorted. It's possible to get something resembling a chart by tuning to wherever the white frequency is at the moment, but even then it's fuzzy at best. 

Signal strength is not the problem, because the distortion happens on all frequencies and time slots, regardless of the reception quality. On a waterfall, the spectrum resembles several smeary tones and various distortion products. The charts coming from NOAA are not the problem either, since they look fine on the web site.

Nominal frequencies (center/USB dial in kHz) should be 2054.0/2052.1, 4298.0/4296.1, 8459/8457.1, and 12412.5/12410.6 kHz. 12412.5 is on right now, though that frequency won't give even bad copy.  Tuning around gets it.  Try putting the white tone on the strongest smeary mess, and see what happens.

Several listeners have sent e-mail to the address shown on NOJ's materials, and gotten no response. As with a lot of U.S. government functions right now, it's obviously on auto. Even when the whole Coast Guard isn't working for free, the reply that I've gotten most of the time when inquiring about the NOAA radiofax product is, "We don't do that any more." 

Given the dangerous weather in the area of responsibility this time of year, one must hope that the problem is fixed sooner rather than later.