Get it here! Reliable Communications at Sea.

Harold E Holt Communications Station
Harold E Holt Communications Station

From the helicopter window today, our communications engineer will see the Southern Hemisphere’s most powerful radio transmitter, on his flight offshore, supporting the oilfields off North West Cape.

The Harold E Holt station operates in the Very Low Frequency (VLF) band, bouncing its signals between ocean and ionosphere to reach vessels 10,000 Km or more away. VLF ship antennas can be a simple piece of wire, and the service is super-reliable. So what’s the catch?

Well your transmitter has to be big. Very big. And powerful like Harold E Holt. So this makes it a receive-only, one-sided conversation for a ship with limited space and power. And because the frequency is “very low”, you can only receive a few characters per second. Reliable yes, but not much use for accessing the corporate intranet or searching for an engine part on Google.
If you have to send short launch codes to your fleet of nuclear submarines however, then VLF is perfect. It even penetrates underwater so the subs can stay safely submerged while they unleash hell. Which is why Harold E Holt was known as U.S. Naval Communication Station North West Cape when it was built in 1967.
This is interesting stuff for our guy as he looks out across the beautiful Western Australian landscape and ponders the impressive scale of the Harold E Holt antenna farm and the sparkling Indian Ocean beyond. But he knows that nowadays, there are far more practical and cost-effective solutions for broadband communications at sea that don’t sacrifice reliability. Please message us if you would like to explore the options for your vessel or fleet.

About the author

Jonathan is a professional engineer with a background in maritime communications and electronics. He founded Acutec Systems in 2004 and is managing director of the company.

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