Back in the days of letters and stamps, a port visit for a Navy ship meant one thing above all others for the crew: mail from home.

These days, port visits provide personnel an opportunity to get a phone signal and to check in with loved ones.

However, at sea, crew members have to request a radio or telephone message through the ship’s communications centre in order to make a phone call.

But Quality of Life, or the Cobra Satellite Communications system, has changed that, with an improved Wi-Fi system for the crew of HMAS Ballarat that makes it easier to stay connected to home while at sea.

It’s a system that allows each crew member to access Wi-Fi from various parts of the ship and was fitted to Ballarat earlier this year.

HMAS Ballarat's deputy weapons electrical engineer officer Lieutenant Korey Rouse said the Quality of Life system was making a big difference to the ship’s company.

 “It brings everyone on board closer to their families at home and really improves morale,” Lieutenant Rouse said.

“Having Quality of Life means you usually have 24/7 access to reliable communications and are not just limited to the occasional email to get an update from the news at home.”

Lieutenant Rouse said Quality of Life was a lot like Wi-Fi at home.

“We have a standing connection with a civilian satellite network that we track as we travel to various parts of the world,” he said.

“From the satellite, the signal comes into the ship via an antenna which is then distributed to wireless access points throughout the messes and accommodation areas where the ship’s company can connect with their personal devices.”

Ballarat is currently undertaking a regional presence deployment in South-East and north-east Asia.