Weather FAX

Radiofax, also known as weatherfax is a device used receiver gathers and generates crucial information under all weather conditions at sea. It is relies on facsimile technology where printed information is scanned line by line and encoded into an electrical signal which can then be transmitted via physical line or radio waves to remote locations. Since the amount of information transmitted per unit time is directly proportional to the bandwidth available, then the speed at which a weather chart can be transmitted will vary depending on the quality of the media used for transmission.

Today radiofax data is available via FTP downloads from sites in the Internet such as the ones hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Radiofax transmissions are also broadcast by NOAA from multiple sites in the country at regular daily schedules. Radio weatherfax transmissions are particularly useful to shipping, where there are limited facilities for accessing the Internet.

The term weatherfax was coined after the technology that allows the transmission and reception of weather charts (surface analysis, forecasts, and others) from a transmission site (usually the meteorological office) to a remote site (where the actual users are).