Coast Guard says area-wide VHF outages mostly resolved

A map showing VHF signal coverage areas in Southeast Alaska.
A map showing VHF signal coverage areas in Southeast Alaska. (Graphic courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)

A technical breakdown causing recent outages to the Coast Guard’s emergency VHF radio towers across Southeast Alaska has been fixed, reports Coast Guard Commander Lyle Kessler.

“The network issue that was causing intermittent communications issues throughout the entire area was resolved,” Kessler said Friday. “But there are still all the ongoing issues that we’ve had with a couple of sites.”

The Coast Guard’s network of VHF towers allow its search and rescue command center to hear distress calls over Channel 16. But breakdowns in the relays can prevent mayday calls from being received.

Kessler said Friday there are still problems with four towers across Southeast: Mt. McArthur, Deception Hills, Sukkwan Island, and Althorp Peak. There are also problems with two repeaters near Kodiak Island on Cape Gull and Raspberry Island.

Mariners are always encouraged to carry a secondary form of communication like an Emergency Position Radio Indicating Beacon (EPIRB), satellite phone or cell phone.

The Coast Guard Sector Juneau can be reached at 907-463-2980.

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