Remote Bases and Repeaters – what’s the difference?
A remote base usually has a number of channels installed that can be selected by a base operator. Channels will always include CH16, the distress and calling channel, and a number of working channels including CH6 the search and rescue channel.
As part of an international trend to monitor CH16, a number of organisations in Tasmania use remote bases including Tas Maritime Radio (TMR) which has a total of ten strategically located remote bases around Tasmania. This ensures overlapping coverage and penetration into as much of the coastline as possible. (See map below). In their default state, all the remote bases are switched to CH16 ensuring the highest possible likelihood of picking up a distress call or a vessel wanting to make routine contact. In the interests of safety visiting vessels (and mariners generally) are discouraged against calling or monitoring on any other channel while in Tasmanian waters. (Repeaters are not monitored 24/7 and often have less range). All TMR bases are monitored 24/7. When you call TMR, other than in an emergency, they will request you to move to a working channel, usually CH78 or 73 where messages can be exchanged.
Repeaters are effectively a receiver and transmitter back to back. When the receiver picks up a signal the transmitter simultaneously re-broadcasts that signal on the ‘same channel’ but on a different frequency. Because repeaters are normally located on hilltops they will effectively increase the range of vessels and local bases. However technology has now enabled remote bases, monitored 24/7, to be established (also on hill or mountain tops) at relatively little cost and repeaters are generally only used for vessel to vessel communications in Tasmanian waters due to the superb coverage of remote bases on CH16.