Communication on a remote island is very important - not only for us but for the many boats travelling in the area. A repeater was placed on South Hummock several years ago as it is the highest point in the area - 237 m. You are able to speak directly to the Coast Guard (Mary Kay) in Smithton 24 hours a day using a VHF radio on channel 21. The Coast Guard also does regular skeds - 6am, 8am and 5pm everyday (including Christmas day!) with a thorough weather report. Boats are also able to call in and report their location and that they are all OK. A great service for the area - and Mary is voluntary!
The new aerial goes on
Three weeks ago there was no signal on the VHF radio and on investigation there was no longer an aerial on the tower! It had completely disappeared. It is thought that maybe it had a lightning strike?? Oh well - now to organise a replacement. MAST - Marine and Safety Tasmania are the owners of the tower and arranged a Technician to fly over with Seair from Wynyard to replace the aerial and give it a check over.
So back on air again now!! Apart from having a radio phone, (which works like a normal landline phone) Telstra Next G mobile phones also work here - we also have wireless access to the internet. So we feel very comfortable having various forms of communication. It is so different from the "olden" days when they had absolutely no communication except for lighting 3 signal fires to attract local fishermen!! Scary!!!
Thank goodness communication has improved over the years!