Current/Past NAT HF Frequencies

The current (2016) North Atlantic (MWARA - Major World Air Route Area) HF frequency structure is as follows:-




Family
2/3 kHz
4/6 kHz
8 kHz
11/13 kHz
18 kHz
A
3016/QA
5598/TA
8906/VA
13306/YA/YC
17946
B 2899/QB 5616/TB 8864/VB 13291/YA/YC 17946
C 2872/QC 5649/TC 8879/VC 11336
13306/YC
17946
D 2971/QD 4675/TD 8891/VD 11279/XD
13291/YA/YC
17946
E 2962/QE 6628/TE 8826/VE 13354 17946
F 3476/QF 6622/TF 8831/VF 13291/YA/YC 17946
H 3491/QH 6667/TH
SAR 2182/3023 5680
VOLMET 3413 5505 8957 13264

This structure covers the following agencies:-

Shanwick, Iceland, Bodo, Gander, New York and Santa Maria.

(Note: The two letter alpha designators, (e.g. 'QA' for 3016) are codes assigned by Shannon Aeradio that appear in internal printouts, etc., rather than displaying the actual frequencies.)

 As and from the 22nd April 2013, the following additional Regional and Domestic Air Route Area (RDARA) HF frequencies will be used on a tactical basis by Shanwick Radio. These frequencies are used individually or by common network agreement between the NAT aeronautical stations:-

Family
2/3 kHz
4/6 kHz
8 kHz
11/13 kHz
H
2965            3491 5583  6556  6667 10021/XH 10036 11363
I
2860/QL 2881 2890/QI 3458 3473 3488 5484 5568 6550 6595/TI 10066
J
2869 2944 2992 3446/QJ 3473 4651/TK 4666 4684 5460 5481 5559 5577 6547/TJ 8843 8954 11276

During January 2014 those RDARA frequencies underlined above, are regularly used in preference to the others listed. Also, the following frequencies are infrequently used by Shanwick:-
2944, 4651, 5583, 13291 & 13306

Since the 22nd April 2013, is that the historical practice of assigning aircraft registered west of 30° west HF Family 'B' frequencies and east of 30° west HF Family 'C' frequencies, will no longer apply.
NAT HF Family 'B' and 'C' frequencies shall be assigned to aircraft flying routes with reporting co-ordinates between 47° North and 64° North.

During the 1960's the frequency assignment was slightly different, e.g. 5649 was 5638 and 8906 was 8947, etc. In addition extra stations were operating on the 'net' (not Internet!), i.e. Goose Bay, Frobisher, Lisbon, London (Birdlip), Paris, Madrid, Copenhagen, Prince Christian, Sondrestrom, Stavanger and of course Shannon (Ballygirreen) and Prestwick were separate stations.
Generally the American registered flights routinely worked Shannon and the European registered flights worked Prestwick. The radio station of Birdlip was established at Birdlip (receiver site) and Winstone (transmitter site), in the Cotswolds, UK during the Second World War and later used for air traffic communications. In January 1966 Ballygirreen took over the communications role from Birdlip and although much of the site was demolished by 1970, some of the site still remains to-day (see current image of Winstone below)

Also on HF were the various Ocean Station weather ships, A/B/C/D/E/I/J/J/K/M, or example OS'J' operated on 2868, 3023.5, 3095, 5626.5, 8913.5 and 13324.5

Indeed during 1980 the following stations were still working the Atlantic with HF coverage, as per the frequencies listed (click on this image to enlarge):-

These earlier reports were all copied on my first valve driven, non-digital, Philips domestic SW receiver, image below:-

Compare this to my current equipment (image below). The Eddystone 680X (bottom set on the LHS) although a vintage machine, was only acquired in 2012. The majority of my monitoring these days is done on the digital Lowe HF-225, simply due to the ease of the digital frequency display, coupled with the fact that I can punch in the frequencies directly from a remote keypad. The screen on the RHS is used to display VHF/HF ACARS traffic and the centre monitor for military/civil UK tracking.


I have just completed writing the history the old U.K. based Birdlip station (see comments above) and this 329 page b&w illustrated softback book (copy of cover below) is available from me for Euro 15.00 (plus p&p). Payment via PayPal at my e-mail address downrange@eircom.net