Radiofax

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This article is about the image transmission mode. For the radio station, see Radiofax .


Radiofax, also known as weatherfax (portmanteau word from the words "weather facsimile") and HF fax (due to its common use in the short waves), is an analogue mode for transmitting monochrome images. It was the predecessor to slow-scan television (SSTV). Prior to the advent of the commercial telephone line "fax" machine, it was known, more traditionally, by the term "radiofacsimile". The cover of the regular NOAA publication on frequencies and schedules states "Worldwide Marine Radiofacsimile Broadcast Schedules".

Facsmile machines were used in the 1950s to transmit weather charts across the United States via land-lines first and then internationally via HF radio. Radio transmission of weather charts provides an enormous amount of flexibility to marine and aviation users for they now have the latest weather information and forecasts at their fingertips to use in the planning of voyages.

Radiofax 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.

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