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Old 21-11-2013, 21:50   #1
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Question Seeking Free Weather Feed (for S.E Asia)

I would like to receive weather forecasts when out of radio range. I can use a cheap satellite modem, but am concerned about airtime costs.

I am a programmer, so can just downloaded some form of compressed data and uncompress it upon receipt.

Ideally, I would like to find a free feed in machine readable form (RSS, Atom, XML, etc, even JSON) with at least wave, wind, isobars.

I could poll that every few hours. I could also have an onshore program, at my home PC, poll more frequently and push me storm warnings, etc.

Does anyone know of any good free sources?
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Old 22-11-2013, 17:45   #2
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Re: Seeking free weather feed (for S.E Asia)

Troll?

GRIB files?

Check out saildocs, etc.. no need to reinvent the wheel.
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Old 22-11-2013, 21:17   #3
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Re: Seeking free weather feed (for S.E Asia)

No troll, honestly. I am just a dumb land-lubbing programmer, trying to help out a totally-techless yachty friend. The blind leading the blind.

Aha! A simple google for "free GRIB files" (which I would obviously have done, hand I know of their existence), leads me to many solutions and gratitude towards your good self.

Thanks a 1,000,000
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Old 23-11-2013, 03:08   #4
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You need to evaluate sat modems first. They are not really " always on" types. The sat short message service is more like SMS and for a data connection you establish a connection which I beleive actually needs a full sat phone.

The short message service on say iridium is not suitable in the way you think

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Old 23-11-2013, 06:28   #5
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Re: Seeking Free Weather Feed (for S.E Asia)

Actually, I am thinking of a service which I already know. Rather than full blown sat-modems which cost $1k+, I am thinking of a "low data rate" modem IsatData Pro Series | SkyWave IDP 690

Unlike full blown, dollar a minute, modems, this is designed for machine-to-machine. While it cannot support voice or video, it should a good poor man's alternative, at least as far as sending and receiving data goes.

The modem is just a pipe; I am wondering what I can push through it to benefit my friend (and, maybe, you). At the modem (boat) end, it's just data; at the land-bound end I can convert to/from SMS/FAX/email.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.
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Old 23-11-2013, 18:09   #6
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Re: Seeking Free Weather Feed (for S.E Asia)

Looks interesting. I notice that it is message based and certainly for my purposes, ocean navigation, the message sizes are too small for most GRIB files that I use so they would have to be split and that would have to be automated.

Same for emails, mostly the message size would be big enough I think, but occasionally when you have a bunch of mails that would be too small.

Serial interface would have to be converted to USB; doable.

Service provider with links to suitable services, reliability of service provider, and services, etc.. lots to consider.

Are you thinking of hosting this yourself? how would it be funded? By the end user?

Seems like you'd have to come up with something pretty special to beat the services that are already out there.
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Old 25-11-2013, 20:14   #7
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Re: Seeking Free Weather Feed (for S.E Asia)

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Originally Posted by Littlechay View Post
Looks interesting. I notice that it is message based and certainly for my purposes, ocean navigation, the message sizes are too small for most GRIB files that I use so they would have to be split and that would have to be automated.

Same for emails, mostly the message size would be big enough I think, but occasionally when you have a bunch of mails that would be too small.
I would be coding an application to run on the PC on board the boat and another at a server on the landbound side. The data would just be sent as a bitstream, if necessary, split over several messages.


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Serial interface would have to be converted to USB; doable.
Agreed; just a cheap dongle.

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Originally Posted by Littlechay View Post
Service provider with links to suitable services, reliability of service provider, and services, etc.. lots to consider.
That's where it gets a little complicated. Email is no problem. For SMS, I need to pay for an SMS Gateway, which most teclos offer. That will cost a few cents for each SMS, as it generally does when using a' phone.

For fax, I can use the Windows Telephony API. Again, costs would be incurred when sending a fax.

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Are you thinking of hosting this yourself? how would it be funded? By the end user?
Yes, I can host it, since I am just thinking of doing it for my friend. He foots the 'phone bills. of course and buys a satellite modem and airtime.


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Seems like you'd have to come up with something pretty special to beat the services that are already out there.
Well, I wasn't thinking of a commercial solution, but let's just compare, shall we?

HF radio - if that can send and receive world wide, I can't undercut it on airtem costs ;-) I don't know about equipment costs.

"Full-blown" satellite modem. Costs about $1.5k to $5k, airtime costs about $0.78/minute.

Using a Low Data Rate sat modem, it might take minute of so for some transmissions, but the sat modem costs under $600 and airtime might run $25 a month or so.

What do you think?
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Old 26-11-2013, 05:06   #8
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Re: Seeking Free Weather Feed (for S.E Asia)

I personally like the idea. I like the idea of continuous data stream.Would this be using the ORCOMM satellites?
We get used to live wx data streams on land and it is hard to be without them at sea especially when you need it most.
I would imagine the wx data would be somewhat localized via lat/lon request sentences.
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Old 26-11-2013, 05:14   #9
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Re: Seeking Free Weather Feed (for S.E Asia)

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HF radio - if that can send and receive world wide, I can't undercut it on airtem costs ;-) I don't know about equipment costs.

"Full-blown" satellite modem. Costs about $1.5k to $5k, airtime costs about $0.78/minute.

Using a Low Data Rate sat modem, it might take minute of so for some transmissions, but the sat modem costs under $600 and airtime might run $25 a month or so.

What do you think?
HF Radio, and antenna tuner - 1600 USD... Ham gear opened up for marine bands not commercial maritime stuff.

HF Modem, 1200 USD

Winlink account, free (but no commercial traffic) Sailmail, Mailasail or other commercial provider all come in at about 250USD a year.

HF is more than just for data though of course and possibly your friend has the radio anyway.

Look here for a comparison with Iridium costs.

Check the internet for all the various other, satellite, messaging based services.

I think you would have your work cut out to beat the services already out there, not because I don't think they cant be improved but because your a one man band doing it for a mate.

In SE Asia why not just use and iSatphone? if HF is not an option.

Good comparison of services here
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Old 26-11-2013, 08:33   #10
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Re: Seeking Free Weather Feed (for S.E Asia)

NOAA broadcasts GRIBs over SSB HF on a regular basis and they can be received on a low cost receive only radio and loaded to a laptop with an audio patch cord.

Atlantic Ocean Radiofacsimile Schedule
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Old 26-11-2013, 15:12   #11
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Re: Seeking Free Weather Feed (for S.E Asia)

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NOAA broadcasts GRIBs over SSB HF on a regular basis and they can be received on a low cost receive only radio and loaded to a laptop with an audio patch cord.

Atlantic Ocean Radiofacsimile Schedule
Errrr thems not GRIB's

But you are right NOAA does broadcast synoptic charts and other weather data as do many other entities; but it depends on propagation and your location on the planet as to whether they are useful or not.
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