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If you need to receive marine weather information but are outside of internet coverage, many weather agencies world-wide provide weather charts by way of HF Radio. This service, variously called "weatherfax" or "HF radiofax", transmits daily marine weather summaries and forecasts, including satellite cloud cover images, wave heights, wind velocities and much more.


(from The earliest broadcasts of weather maps via radiofacsimile appear to have been made in 1926 by American inventor Charles Francis Jenkins in a demonstration to the NAVY. Jenkins is often credited with the invention of the motion picture and later established the first U.S. TV station, W3XK in Wash D.C. and later, Wheaton, MD. RCA and the U.S. Weather Bureau conducted further tests and began cooperative efforts in 1930. While radiofacsimile has been used for everything from transmitting newspapers to wanted posters in the past, the broadcasting of marine weather charts is today the primary application.

Equipment Required

Alternatively, dedicated radiofax hardware can also be used to receive weatherfax.

Setup and Installation

Although the setup will vary depending on what type of computer and HF Radio you have, generally speaking it is quite simple:

  • Connect an audio cable (mono will do) between the speaker output of your HF Radio and the mic input of your PC.
  • Tune the HF Radio to an appropriate frequency
  • Start the software on your computer, and wait.

Apart from that all you will need is a list of weatherfax stations and their operating frequencies, as well as the times at which they transmit. Generally speaking, the software will not tune the radio for you, the radio will need to be tuned manually (although some Pactor modems have the capability to automatically tune the radio to receive weatherfax data).

Each different piece of weatherfax software will come with a different set of instructions, but they are all quite similar, as per the instructions on the JWX page:

  • Use an audio patch cord to connect your shortwave receiver's output to your computer's line-input or microphone-input jack.
  • Adjust the shortwave receiver's volume control for normal output levels (the nature of the signal is not important at this stage).
  • Use your computer's audio controls to produce a normal audio level as shown on the JWX audio level indicator.
  • If you encounter difficulties acquiring adequate sound levels, try selecting a different sound source — use the audio source selector to the left of the "Monitor" checkbox:
    • Click "Standby".
    • Use the source selector to choose a different source — most operating systems have two sources.
    • Click "Receive."
    • Note the sound level on the "Audio" indicator.

If you're using the HF Weather Fax application for Android / iPhone / iPad then you don't even need a patch cable -- just place the device running the HF Weather Fax software near the speaker of your HF Radio and it will do the rest.


Publications, manuals, etc.

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service (NWS), Worldwide Marine Radiofacsimile Broadcast Schedules


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


Weatherfax Software

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