The Chilean Navy

I spent about a month in Chile from mid-February until mid-March, 2019 as part of my five-month trip through southern South America. Chile has one of the longest coastlines in the world, so obviously the Chilean Navy is very important to its national defense. During my travels I saw eight different navy posts and stations, ranging from the main port at Valparaiso to several small outposts. Here are photos of those posts and the vessels that I spotted.

I was able to identify all but a few smaller ships using this list on Wikipedia. A few of the newer, smaller, vessels were only found on this Wikiwand listing.

One thing I found of interest to utility DXers is this PDF file about Chilean marine broadcasts. It's ten years old but I believe is mostly accurate. One thing, however, that it does not mention is the broadcasts by Puerto Montt Radio (see below).


Valparaiso is the headquarters of the Chilean Navy. We had an AirBnb on the east side of the harbour, so I was able to watch the ships come and go. There is always at least one vessel on patrol just outside the harbour ready to intercept anything that would attempt to leave without authorization. While I had some good views from the hillside, the best was when we took a harbour cruise that went by the vessels all lined up by the pier. Many of the vessels here are named after Chilean Naval heroes of the War of the Pacific, which was fought between Chile and Peru in 1878-1883. That war is one of the topics covered in my book.

Headquarters Building of the Chilean Navy

The core of the Chilean Navy

The Almirante Williams is the flagship of the Chilean Navy

The Capitan Prat and Almirante Latorre are air defense frigates

The Almirante Lynch, Almirante Condell, and Almirante Blanco Encalada were all built in the Netherlands

The troopship Chacobuco and the visiting French frigate Prairial

The Comandante Toro on patrol at the harbour entrance.

Heros of the war with Peru (1878-1883)


The next coastal city I visited was Valdivia, about 475 miles/750 kilometers south of Valparaiso. The city is located along a wide river about eight miles/twelve kilometers from the Pacific. The city was totally destroyed by the 1960 earthquake, which was the most powerful ever recorded. The navy complex here includes a large building with some HF antennas on the top. The only vessel in dock was the 1610, the Corral, a Protector class patrol boat built in Chile.

Regional Headquarters in Valdivia

The HF antenna system.

The Corral is stationed at Valdivia


Corral is a small town located near the Pacific at the mouth of the river that leds to Valdivia. It has a small navy post. Small posts like this appear to fill the same role that the Coast Guard does in the USA and Canada. One small vessel, the LSR-4424 was tied up at the dock. This one isn't listed on the Wikipedia page, but according to Wikiwand is one of twenty-six patrol boats built in the USA. No names are given.

Puerto Montt

Going south, Puerto Montt is the next main port in Chile. It's about 115 miles/185 kilometers from Valdivia. This base is found along the shore just east of the fishing docks at Angelmo. They have quite a large area and several buildings, all fenced off, behind the main building. The only vessels here were the LSR-1706, the Queitao is a coastal patrol boat build in the United States. The LPM-4402 belongs to the same group of unnamed patrol boats as the LSR-4424 in Corral. The main shipping port for Puerto Montt is located about 1.5 miles/2 kilometers further west and I suspect that any larger navy vessels are docked there. In fact, we took a short cruise on the inlet and I spotted what appeared to be two navy vessels off in the distance (final photo).

The naval base might be the location of coastal station Puerto Montt Radio. This station uses 4146 kHz and has a scheduled broadcast at 0800 and 2000 hours local time, which translates to 1000 and 0000 UTC when Chile is on standard time and an hour later when Chile is on daylight time (generally from the first Sunday in September until the first Sunday in April). Here is a video recording made by DXer Antonio Paredes in Mar del Plata, Argentina. I logged the station at a DXpedition in Michigan, USA in April, 2017. The station is so far south that it is usually in daylight during the North American DX season. However, if you carefully check sunrise maps for both Puerto Montt and your location you may find a period around the equinox when it will make it to your location, especially in early April after Chile returns to standard time. (That's when I heard them in Michigan.)

The Chiloe Archipelago

The Chiloe Archipelago consists of one large island (la Isla Grande de Chiloe) and about two dozen smaller islands and is located just south of Puerto Montt. The side that faces the Pacific is mostly rugged unpopulated coast, but the east side is a maze of small islands and islet and little passages. The region is rich in fish and shellfish, so fishing is one of the major occupations here. Unsurprisingly, the Chilean Navy has numerous posts here. I came across four and I know that there are at least three more (Ancud, Quemchi, and Quellon). As with the post at Corral, I believe these all act more like Coast Guard stations than navy bases.


Home to over 40,000 people, Castro is the largest town in Chiloe and has the main navy station in the archipelago. Four navy vessels were docked at the base. The largest is 1622, the Chiloe. Like the Corral in Valdivia, this is a Protector class patrol boat built in Chile. Also pictured is the LSR-1707, Guaiteca, a coastal patrol boat built in the United States. Further back are the LPM-4413 and LSR-4426. Like the LSR-4424 in Corral, these aren't in Wikipedia but the numbers indicate they belong to the same group. In the foreground there is a vessel belonging to the Carabineros, Chile's national police force.


Dalcahue is located on the main island about ten miles/fifteen kilometers northeast of Castro. However, a large peninsula juts down between the two towns so that nautically they are much futher apart. That probably explains why Dalcahue has its own little base. From the sign, I see that it is an Alcadia, which I believe is a smaller level of station. There weren't any navy vessles in sight, but the harbour here had more fishing vessles than anyplace I visited in Chiloe.


From Dalcahue, a small ferry runs across the channel to Quinchao Island. From where the ferry lands, a road runs twelve miles/twenty kilometers to Achao, the largest town on the island. Achao is the largest town in this area of the archipelago. It has a small navy station at the capitania level, but there weren't any navy vessels in the harbour.


Chonchi is a pretty seaside town located ten miles/sixteen kilometers south of Castro. It has a naval station at the capitania level and one vessel, the PM-2700 was in the harbour. According to Wikiwand, Chile recently acquired several PM class patrol launches from the United States.


This is not a town that I visited, but I found the Chilean Navy Post at Quemchi on Google Street View.

Copyright 2019 Don Moore