News of communications developments on Tristan, including the installation of new equipment.
Head of Communications Department Andy Repetto
can be reached by email at
by phone on +44 (0) 20 3014 2034
and via Tristan Radio on
VHF Channel 14, 16, 78 and 80. HFSSB 4000 / 4149 / 6230 / 8294mhz
See also details for visiting ships / yachts on Ship Visits Page
Agulhas Helicopter ferries Communications Team to service Burntwood Repeater Station
Report and Photos from Andy Repetto

Views of 'Starlite' amongst the Burntwood Fern Bush with the snow-covered and misty Peak behind.

On Thursday 3rd October 2013 the helicopter crew of the Agulhas helicopter 'Starlite' flew a team of five up on to The Base above Burntwood to install a new 50w repeater, and extend the existing antenna from 6 to 9 metres. The Team of Simon Glass, Leon Glass, Adrian Swain, Nicky Swain and Andy were accompanied by new Administrator Alex Mitham and Emma Swain, for whom this was a birthday present and surprise. The helicopter continued to Seal Bay where work was also carried out on the radio there. Many thanks to the Helicopter crew and Adrian Dreyer for sorting things out and making it possible.

The communications team working at the Burntwood Repeater Station
The network of VHF Repeater Stations has enhanced radio communication around Tristan, Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands.

Agulhas Helicopter Crew make Ponds Repeater Station repair possible

Spare equipment to repair the Ponds Repeater Station arrived aboard MV Baltic Trader on 30th September 2012.

On 4th October the SA Agulhas II arrived back from Gough Island and its helicopter team Starlite Aviation was kind enough to fly Simon Glass and Andy Repetto to carry out some repair work on the repeater which is now back up and working.

Andy thanks Quintin Frost of Starlite Aviation, Pilot Dudley Foote and Crew member Timothy Lombard for making this possible.

Photo left from Ben Van der Walt shows left to right:

Andy Repetto, Simon Glass, Timothy Lombard, and Dudley Foote
in front of the Repeater Station at The Ponds

- see also story below of the August installation.
HMS Dauntless helps install Repeater Station at The Ponds - working on VHF Ch 80 (international)
Report and Photos from Andy Repetto

Photos show HMS Dauntless' helicopter taking off from American Fence (top left);
Hovering over The Base near the Ponds (Top right) and parked here (Above)

Left and Right: Tristan Islanders by the completed station which will provide new VHF radio cover in the north-east sector of Tristan and surrounding seas.

On 3rd August 2012 the Captain of HMS Dauntless and helicopter crew, were kind enough to fly the third repeater station up The Ponds, and a team of three Islanders : Adrian, Nicky and Aron Swain. The field team who helped with the repeater included Matthew Green, Leon Glass, helicopter ground crew from HMS Dauntless and Andy Repetto. I would like to send a big thank you to the Captain, helicopter crew and ground crew of HMS Dauntless, without their help this important project would have not been possible. Once again thank you Dauntless.
See also Shipping News and Hospital News for other aspects of HMS Dauntless' August 2012 visit.

British Yacht Spraydust Rescue Operation
On Thursday 24th February 2012 at 08.30 Tristan Radio received a radio call from Tom Morgan on Spraydust indicating that the British yacht was in distress and need help. It had a broken forestay, could only sail down wind and might lose his mast. At that time Spraydust was about 800 miles WNW of Tristan. E-mails were sent to MRCC Cape Town, Cape Town Radio, MRCC Argentina, MRCC Uruguay, MRCC Brazil and the Brazilian Navy. The three crew of Spraydust were rescued the following day, are are reported now safe onboard the MV Jag Lagshita heading to West Africa.

Report from Andy Repetto on his crucial part in providing a communications base in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.

VHF radios ready for installation

VHF radios for Stonybeach and Seal Bay are shown left, with Simon Glass on the left and Adrian Swain on the right, The equipment is a VHF Icom 304 marine radio battery with solar panels and the antenna will be 10 metres high.

Image from Head of Communications Department Andy Repetto who hopes to send news and images when the radios are working.

This is the latest phase in improving communications between the Tristan settlement and outlying parts of the main and outer islands.
New VHF Repeater Station installed at Burntwood
to provide enhanced radio contact with Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands

Second Repeater Station Installed

Nightingale Repeater VHF Ch79 ~  Tristan Repeater VHF Ch 78

Andy Repetto reports that a team went to Nightingale Island on 30th January 2009 aboard MV Edinburgh to install a second VHF Repeater Station. They had it up and running on 1st February and we publish here photos. of the installation.

The team was : Leader Gerry Repetto, Martin Green, John Lavarello, Barry Swain, Adrian Swain, Cameron Repetto and Dave Glass

Andrea wants to thank Gerry and his team for a job well done. Communications can now be made with vessels in Try Pot Bay, Cave Point, Stony Beach and Sandy Point.

Left : Rigging the solar panel frame ~ left to right Barry, John, Martin, Adrian, Dave and Cameron





Left :
Antennae being put up
by Barry and John

Right :
Solar panels being installed by
Adrian Swain

Barry, Martin, John, behind
and Gerry in front
of the completed
Repeater Station

The completed station
amongst the
Nightingale tussock grass

On Tuesday 21st October 2008 a team led by Head of Communications Andy Repetto travelled up to Burntwood to get the new repeater (transported by SA Agulhas helicopter on 5th October - see below) working.
The team of Ivan Green, Patrick Green, Aron Swain, Andy Repetto and Mark Swain by the installed repeater - Inaccessible Island can be seen in the background.
Nicky and Patrick working on
the installation.

Above : A view looking from the Burntwood repeater site across the gently sloping Base, towards the upper cinder slopes and the cloud-clad Peak.

Left : Constructing the frame for the solar panels.

Andy Repetto reports that the repeater is up, working, and tested with the Police RIB, MV Kelso and the Darwin Team on Nightingale. Andy wants to thank Ken Rhodes and his team at Racom in Cape Town, who supplied the equipment, and the crew of SA Agulhas who arranged the transport.

Effective VHF radio contact can now be maintained with ships, inshore vessels and the outlying islands of Nightingale and Inaccessible.

Photos from Andy Repetto
taken on
Sunday 5th October 2008
showing SA Agulhas at anchor and the repeater apparatus
alongside the helicopter
on the American Fence field.

On Sunday 5th October 2008 Captain Dick Hilland of Titan Aviation, was kind enough to fly a VHF Radio Repeater Station on to the base at Burntwood. This project was another benefit of the 2008 SA Agulhas visit.
The crew of the Kamov KA-32A Helicopter was, Captain V.R.(Dick) Hilland, Captain Anton Hart, Crewman Anthony Hoareau and Flight Engineer Hennie Steyn, accompanied by Martin Green, John Lavarello and Simon Glass. The field team who helped with the repeater, included Gerry Repetto, Robin Repetto, Dave Glass, Leon Glass and Andy Repetto.
Once the repeater is up and working it should cover Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands, and hopefully the area between Cave's Gulch and First Lagoon Gulch.
Head of Telecommunications and port Control Andy Repetto sends his warm thanks to the Titan Aviation Helicopter Crew, without whom this important project would have not been possible.

Atlantic FM Launched

Atlantic FM returned to the local airwaves on Sunday 13 January with a 2-hour news and music bulletin.  Laurian Rogers resumed her duties behind the microphone and treated the community to some old musical favourites from the 70s

Administrator David Morley's First Local Radio Bulletin

used the opportunity of Atlantic FM's opening to announce the good news of
imminent work to repair Calshot Harbour,
reported in full on our Harbour News Page

David followed this excellent news by playing
"Rule Britannia" in honour of the impending visit! 

Photos left and above from David Morley


Tristan Local Radio Station re-opens as Atlantic FM

Tristan da Cunha's local radio station has been re-branded as Atlantic FM to avoid being confused with Tristan Radio operated by the Head of Communications Department Andrea Repetto.
Atlantic FM is operated by Laurian Rogers, pictured left with new equipment presented by Dental Technician Bob Carse in 2005.
New Head of Communications Department Andy Repetto has overseen the re-launch.
BFBS Radio 1 is also available 24/7 across the Settlement and the Patches, and Saint FM will soon join it as Tristan has agreed a new inter-island partnership.

2007 - New Head of Communications Department Appointed
Andrea (Andy) Repetto has been appointed as the new Head of Tristan da Cunha's Communications Department. Andy is a familiar voice to many yachts and ships approaching Tristan da Cunha over many years, often seeking urgent assistance as he worked as the island's Communications Officer. His crucial service operates under the name Tristan Radio ZOE and has been the lifeline to many as he has guided them to the Tristan anchorage and summoned help from the island's search and rescue vessels.

Andy started his career in Tristan's post & Communications Department where he worked from 1976-1993, attending a course in St. Helena with Cable & Wireless in 1980. He switched to working for the Tristan PWD between 1993-2003, where he was employed in a variety of roles including Auto Electric Engineer/Welder/Crane Driver & Communications/Navigation Officer for fisheries patrol boat.
He attended the Southampton City College & Southern Sailing School, Hampshire UK in 2002 and joined the re-organised Telecommunications Department in 2003. He was appointed Head of Telecommunications in October 2007 and installed the first amateur radio station on the island.

Andy is the son of Lindsay and Margaret Repetto and is married to Lorraine (nee Glass) who has sent the two photographs of Andy in the Tristan Radio Station.

All Tristan da Cunha Homes fitted with telephones
Gerry Repetto, Head of Foreign Office Telecommunications Network on Tristan da Cunha has confirmed that all island homes are now fitted with working telephones.
The community is delighted with their new home 'phones, especially as the project was completed in only six months despite a delay whilst waiting for materials to be shipped in. Inhabitants of the world's most isolated community can all now telephone friends and family across the world from the comfort of their own homes at rates identical to homes in London.
Internet access has also been extended to accommodate lap top users who have access after working hours.
There are 4 normal PCs and provisions for 7 laptops in the internet cafe. Normal hours of opening are 07:30 to 15:30 normal hours for the 4 PCs and now also opening until 18:00 for laptop users. The internet cafe is also open at weekends from 08:00 - 18:00 for laptop users only.
Internet access will be extended to homes when resources are available, probably using existing 'phone lines.
Report from Gerry Repetto on 17th and 24th September 2007

Cheaper Phone Calls Confirmed
Chief Islander Anne Green reports that following work carried on by a technician on the June 2006 Edinburgh trip the new satellite 'phone system is working and that Islanders now pay :
2p a minute for calls to the UK based on London rates(16p a minute to mobiles)
4p a minute to the USA; 5p a minute to France and Germany
Calls to South Africa at 27p a minute are more expensive as they are first directed through London!

nevertheless, while you can't please all the people all of the time, Tristan da Cunha, still the world's most remote community geographically, now has first class telecommunications which include free emails and phone calls to families in the UK at a fractioned of previous prices.

New Satellite Internet System slashes Tristan da Cunha communication prices
A new service installed by Global Crossing replaces expensive high-frequency links with Cape Town Radio, with phone calls at £1.83 a minute and emails costing £6.50 each! Now emails will be free to Islanders and phone calls will be charged at the same rates as if calling from London . So locals can afford to keep in touch with their overseas friends and relatives by phone or email for the first time, and use the internet more easily. The link will also mean a higher capacity of 12 lines running at 256Kbit/s, compared with the islands current satphone links of 64Kbit/s.

Administrator Mike Hentley summed up the benefits:
‘Having permanent Internet connections means the 30 pupils of St Marys School now have the choice to use distance learning to complete their secondary schooling on the island before heading overseas to further their education. It also means our doctor will be able to confer online with consultants around the world. We also plan to establish an internet café that will allow people to email in privacy and at much cheaper rates. The island’s economy will also receive a boost as the post office and craft shop will be able to sell stamps and souvenirs on the island website,'

New Internet Access
Satellite Dish Installation 2006

Left - Administrator Mike Hentley
observes the excavation for the base on 9th April

Right - Concrete base drying out on 15th April

2nd May : Final Preparations

Left : Dish supports being erected by South African contract engineers: Geoff Daniell & Cornelius Hendrik de Wit.

Right : The Satellite Dish receiving a very close inspection from Geoff : Beam me up Scottie!

3rd May : We have lift off

Left : The dish is raised into position observed by Tristan Project Manager Gerry Repetto and colleague Leon Glass and the team from Global Crossing.

Right : Tristan now has a 21st Century internet satellite link.