What is Penta Comstat VZX?
Penta Marine Radio Communications is a unique privately operated radio station providing a general communications and safety service with special service facilities for Members.
Penta Comstat VZX is the station identification and callsign.
Located on the NSW mid north coast away from the noise of the city, Penta Comstat is ideally placed for excellent radio communications extending from the immediately adjacent waterways to around Australia and the Pacific.
The station commenced operation on 27 MHz frequencies as Penta Base in 1976. In September 1977 the radio facilities were increased to include VHF and HF to improve the safety services available and Penta Base became the first non-government station in NSW operating 7 days a week on all small craft frequencies.
The station name was changed to Penta Comstat in 1984 to improve call recognition and better reflect the national and international operation. The international coast station callsign VZX was allocated in 1992. Penta Comstat has been listed as a coast station in the Admiralty List of Radio Signals since 1990. The station is recognised by the authorities as providing a safety service for non-solas vessels in eastern Australian waters, and by the international yachting fraternity as providing a unique service around Australia and the Pacific Ocean.
Penta Comstat is not a volunteer organisation and is not supported by Government funding. The safety communications provided by Penta Comstat must be made available to all mariners at no charge. The cost of providing the service is covered by membership fees.
What Penta Comstat does
Penta Comstat has continued to expand in accordance with the requirements of the boating public. The station operates from 0700 – 2000 hours NSW local time with broadcasts of maritime weather, Maritime Safety Information (MSI) daily covering the east Australian coastal waters and high seas waters from Equator to 50S and from 142E to 170E.
The general area of coverage is the eastern half of Australia and the Pacific Ocean.
Position reporting skeds are at regular scheduled times daily. The coastal and long range reporting skeds are provided on a range of HF frequencies from 4 – 22 MHz thus ensuring reliable communications over very long distances.
All broadcasts are on multiple frequencies, with the facility to transmit on several frequencies from 2 – 22 MHz simultaneously.
Penta Comstat provides all the recommended facilities for safety reporting and the local, coastal and long range services have been used as the guidelines for small craft safety communications.
Since 1979, Penta Comstat has gained both national and international recognition for their radio communications provided for ocean yacht races, for yachts returning to home ports from races and for vessels cruising independently of organised events.
The station maintains a listening watch on all the maritime HF distress and safety frequencies and Penta Comstat’s main working channels. Selcall is also available on all their HF working channels and a Digital Selective Calling (DSC) service is provided on a range of non-GMDSS channels from 4 – 22 MHz for general calling.
A radiotelephone interconnect enables vessels on any frequency to communicate directly with either medical or search and rescue authorities for the efficient handling of emergencies.
Full details of the services provided are covered in the Communications Schedule .
Why Penta Comstat is unique
Penta Comstat has been largely responsible for many of the improvements in small craft marine radio communications in Australia. And from the days of being restricted to the limited range of 2 MHz, with occasional approval to use higher frequencies for organised events, small craft now enjoy a much improved service on a wide range of frequencies.
With an average of more than one thousand vessel reports logged every month, Penta Comstat has been able to confirm to family and friends the safety and well-being of many hundreds of vessels. This has been responsible for a significant decrease in the enquiries to search and rescue authorities from concerned relatives and friends.
No other organisation provides the range of marine radio communications services and this is recognised by the authorities in the information supplied.
- Coastal and high seas weather forecasts and warnings are provided direct to Penta Comstat by the Bureau of Meteorology.
- Coastal and long range navigational warnings are provided by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Canberra, through the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Australia.
MRCC also supplies information to Penta Comstat on all search and rescue situations for eastern Australia. Emergency medical advice is provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS).
The uniqueness of the Penta Comstat service has been underlined by the many awards the station has received for its contribution to safety at sea. The station has also received many independent testimonials, such as those of Kay Cottee, the first woman to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation of the world, and solo yachtsman Jon Sanders, both of whom had a close relationship with the station during their epic voyages.
Penta Comstat provides a number of special personal services that are available only to Individual Members.
Fundamental to Penta Comstat’s operation is the principle of Members logging on, maintaining radio contact and reporting their safe return or arrival at a destination. Appropriate follow-up action is taken if a Member fails to make reports as arranged.
After hours service
A Selcall and Digital Selective Calling (DSC) watch is maintained 24 hours for emergency communications outside normal operator hours of service.
Comprehensive membership records are maintained and this information is made available to search and rescue authorities if required.
All position reports are logged and radio reports from vessels that have lodged a Long Range Sailing Plan are entered in the computer database permitting prompt retrieval of the information.
Penta Comstat provides a central contact point with those at home and information about the safety and location of Members is available to family or friends that enquire.
HF radiophone calls are provided at very moderate cost. Members are able to make or receive telephone calls to or from any telephone subscriber in Australia or overseas with charges based on the actual cost of providing the service. There are no additional registration fees for this service.
Full details of the telephone service are covered in the brochure HF Radiophone Service.
Penta Comstat Members have, over many years, been responsible for the development of a maritime radio service that has gained national and international respect.
While the safety service is available to all the boating public, the specialised and personal services are only available to Members.
This personal and individual service has also encouraged a ‘family’ relationship between Penta Comstat and its Members, and amongst Members themselves.
The intermediary for family at home to confirm that Members are in contact and that everything is OK often saves a lot of unnecessary worry.
This service also relieves Members of the need to maintain regular direct contact with those at home, with the knowledge that they will be advised if they need to make contact .
If you would like to be a part of, and support this independent communication service by becoming a Penta Comstat Member, or if you have any queries on membership or your communication requirements, please do not hesitate to contact.
The joining fee is $150.00
The annual membership subscription is $120.00 to 30 September.
(applications dated from 1 January $90.00, from 1 April $60.00 or from 1 July $30.00)
All prices are in AUS$ and are plus 10% GST (except non-Australian residents)