Signal down for Coast Guard VHF stations in Southeast Alaska

A Coast Guard service member holds an emergency position-indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB,

A Coast Guard service member holds an emergency position-indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB, that had been activated near Oahu on May 31, 2019.  The Coast Guard advises mariners in Southeast Alaska use EPIRBs or satellite phones if they’re in distress while their VHF communications are disrupted. (Photo by Petty Officer Second Class Mario Villani/U.S. Coast Guard)

The Coast Guard is reporting widespread disruption of its VHF radio communications across Southeast Alaska.

It warns that VHF Channel 16, which is monitored by the Coast Guard for distress calls and other emergencies, is not considered reliable until further notice.

Chief Petty Officer Mike Haselden said Tuesday that technicians are trying to pinpoint the issue. He said the stormy weather could have caused the outages.

The first outage was reported Oct. 11 and has since affected areas including the Gulf of Alaska south of Yakutat, Hoonah Sound, Cross Sound and the west side of Prince of Wales Island.

In the meantime, the Coast Guard is advising mariners to use other communications when available. That includes satellite phones or an emergency position-indicating radio beacon if in distress.

The Coast Guard said high frequency radio communications are unaffected.

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