New Zealand’s maritime radio network includes both VHF and HF frequencies, covering New Zealand's coastal waters and the South Pacific.
The Maritime New Zealand VHF radio network consists of 28 coastal stations covering New Zealand coastal waters and two stations on the Chatham Islands covering their coastal waters.
VHF radio distress calls are transmitted on VHF channel 16. This channel is monitored 24-hours per day and dedicated to distress, safety and calling. All VHF stations provide a separate working channel for other communications.
Coverage is not guaranteed in the entire VHF coverage area at all times due to terrain shadows and system maintenance. Terrain shadows occur close to the shore under some cliffs or in bays and fiords.
Map of VHF coverage and working channels for New Zealand [PDF: 279Kb, 1 page]
The coverage shown in the map above is for vessels with a fully functioning 25W radio using a correctly installed antenna, mounted 4 m or more above the waterline.
VHF is used to describe frequencies or channels in the range 30 – 300 MHz.
The MF/HF (medium and high frequency) Maritime Radio Service is provided by TAUPO Maritime Radio, from a site in the middle of the North Island.
MF/HF is used to describe frequencies or channels in the range 300 kHz – 30 MHz. SSB (single side band) radios are used for communication in the MF/HF bands.
The HF coverage area is essentially NAVAREA XIV, but coverage outside this area is usually possible as well. NAVAREA XIV is the area bounded by the co-ordinates:
The INMARSAT satellite system has coverage of all the earth's surface between 70°N and 70°S. Distress alerts can be picked up from anywhere within the coverage area. The Maritime Safety Information broadcasts are however only sent to the South Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea areas.