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Old 04-05-2014, 23:54   #166
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

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Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
Is it me or has this thread been taken over by several Leo Tolstoy wannabees?
Apologies to JazzyO and Pelagic if my posts are long-winded. Another contributor suggested people do look at these posts to help decide what they should do. Therefore - from the perspective of someone who sees a lot of the problems created for yachties and others by inadequate comms equipment - my purpose is to inform and educate. Apart from researching incidents etc on this side of the world that point to the importance of a DSC capable HF/SSB radio, I have also:

1. Seen the problems created - for themselves, other cruisers, event organisers, shore stations etc - when people do not have a proper marine HF/SSB radio with DSC.

2. Learnt that cruisers are generally resourceful people with a significant depth of knowledge about all manner of equipment, procedures, problems etc that can occur. They can be a very valuable resource for each other. They can provide prompt and appropriate advice about a wide range of minor or major problems that can arise. By communicating together, sharing knowledge and experience, they can save each other a lot of money, distress and inconvenience.

3. Seen how the modern marine HF/SSB radio with DSC can very easily and conveniently link cruisers together to create a mutual self-support network, available 24/7.

4. Seen how the same radio can facilitate a prompt response in an emergency situation, from other nearby yachts or commercial vessels. Or a nearby or distant MRCC.

It just seems silly if people cannot get this information and my hope is that by giving detailed examples etc, this forum can assist them.

But I'll try to be brief!


Allan
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Old 05-05-2014, 00:13   #167
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

No apology necessary - I just found it funny that every has so much to say about the subject. Please let me stand quietly on the sideline - floor is all yours.


Onno
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:01   #168
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

We're in the process of outfitting our boat for an RTW and we've pondered the SSB/satphone choice. WE decided on the SSB for several reasons:

1- Ability to get as many weather reports as we like w/o cost. We expect to get weather data twice per day (morning and evening) unless something seems to be stirring, and we'll rachet up according to the severity. Using a satphone would generate very high cahrges.

2- Safety - if the sh*t really hits the fan, push the DSC button. Someone will hear you (with a satphone, you have to call someone, say the rescue services in your country)

3- Cruisers nets - lots of good info to be gotten from other cruisers via the SSB.


And to some who think that in Europe we don't need SSB - remember - along the portuguese coastline, it is as A3 area

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Old 05-05-2014, 04:54   #169
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanR View Post
Apologies to JazzyO and Pelagic if my posts are long-winded. .......
It just seems silly if people cannot get this information and my hope is that by giving detailed examples etc, this forum can assist them.

But I'll try to be brief!
Allan
No problems from my end Allan.... I think your posts were excellent.

Despite still carrying the emotional scars from working in the day job with DSC from 1992 until I retired in 2006 ( is the system still plagued with all those false 'mayday relays' which would normally manifest themselves just as I was swinging the ship off the berth?) I would have DSC on any new radio installation.
However I wont be refitting the present yacht just yet ( currently both marine (710) and ham (706mk2G) onboard with pactor etc).

Back to the OP I wouldn't ever think of 'HF or Satphone' so much as 'Satphone in addition to HF'.

HF is just too useful on an ongoing daily basis especially down here in Chile.
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:59   #170
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
No apology necessary - I just found it funny that every has so much to say about the subject. Please let me stand quietly on the sideline - floor is all yours.


Onno
Hi JazzyO,

Hopefully I have been able to explain enough.

If anyone has specific questions about comms - or cruising this amazing region of contrasts and beauty where we are fortunate to live - I'm happy to try to help.

Best wishes to all.

Allan
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Old 05-05-2014, 05:29   #171
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Interesting thread. We bought this 28 year old boat and it came with an Icom 701 SSB with a backstay antenna and an antenna tuner. There is a new Pac modem thing still in the wrapping, never connected by previous owner. I tried for a few mornings to get something useful from the SSB on our trip down from Jacksonville to Providenciales Nada. I tried tuning to Chris Parker every morning for about a week. Neve heard an intellible word. Disheartening. The manual from Icom is just about worthless for an unexperienced operator. Then we got hit by lightning and the scratchy sounds from the SSB no longer worked, so it's been disconnected. Now I'm faced with what to do about it. Try to eventually find someone somewhere who can fix it and train me how to use it?

Or junk it and get a sat phone. My own thought on it are that I am definitely NOT interested in another social media, this one made up of cruisers on their SSBs. I don't care what the US government says about it, they don't own the ocean. IT wouldn't really do me any good to be able to talk to some SSB operator in Brunei or Australia...and nobody near enough to do me any good in an emergency will be listening to a SSB radio around the clock.

If I have a phone, I can ALWAYS call someone specific of my choosing, have a private conversation, and have them contact whomever I tell them to contact. It sure sounds a lot easier to me to get help that way rather than just broadcasting in the blind hoping some stranger just happens to be standing next to his radio, speaks English, feels like getting involved, and is close enough to do any good. My hearing is shot, and the comparison of clarity of comms between SSB and satphone is in itself a game changer.

I'd really love to be convinced that this SSB installation is worth keeping, as I do NOT really enjoy throwing out expensive equipment if it can be salvaged, but for coastal cruisers in the Caribbean who are not interested in another radio Facebook social group, I'm just not seeing it.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:47   #172
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

The IC-701 is a beautiful little rig, but it was plagued with issues. I would NOT try to repair it. Nor would I trust the tuner, without checkout by a qualified technician.

If you do want to install a marine SSB, I'd suggest either a new Icom M-802 (if you want DSC capability) or a good used solid radio like the M-710, M700Pro, Kenwood TKM-707, etc.

However, given what you wrote, I doubt that you'd really get the most out of these, so a good satphone installation with external antenna would seem to be the way to go.

BTW, we talk to boats in the area you mentioned (Florida to the T&C) every single morning on the Waterway Net (7268 kHz LSB beginning at 0745 Eastern Time). Your problem was likely a result of a (known) flaky radio, old installation, and your unfamiliarity with either the radio or its operation.

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Old 05-05-2014, 07:48   #173
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
.....
However, given what you wrote, I doubt that you'd really get the most out of these, so a good satphone installation with external antenna would seem to be the way to go.
.......
Bill
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Yep, and buy a little radio with SSB for Wefax etc.... Tecsun 660/880, Sony 7600, Sangean 909X or similar.
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:09   #174
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
No problems from my end Allan.... I think your posts were excellent.

Despite still carrying the emotional scars from working in the day job with DSC from 1992 until I retired in 2006 ( is the system still plagued with all those false 'mayday relays' which would normally manifest themselves just as I was swinging the ship off the berth?) I would have DSC on any new radio installation.
However I wont be refitting the present yacht just yet ( currently both marine (710) and ham (706mk2G) onboard with pactor etc).

Back to the OP I wouldn't ever think of 'HF or Satphone' so much as 'Satphone in addition to HF'.

HF is just too useful on an ongoing daily basis especially down here in Chile.

Hi El Pinguino,

My understanding is that the early days of DSC for commercial vessels was problematic. And certainly I was very unhappy about the impact for non-SOLAS vessels - no more free-to-air weather broadcasts, phone interconnect services or position reporting via the coast stations - which had been financially supported by the HF/SSB to phone interconnect services for big ships that financed these stations.

But communicating with people like Glenn Dunstan I have learned the issues have been largely sorted by a combination of revised technology and operator training/experience. Yacht owners can now buy into a functional system, without going through the development phase which commercial vessels suffered.

Chile eh. That must be challenging sailing! The SailMail station in Chile has been recording a lot of traffic lately, so there must be quite a few cruisers around the area.

Best wishes

Allan
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:42   #175
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Interesting thread. We bought this 28 year old boat and it came with an Icom 701 SSB with a backstay antenna and an antenna tuner. There is a new Pac modem thing still in the wrapping, never connected by previous owner. I tried for a few mornings to get something useful from the SSB on our trip down from Jacksonville to Providenciales Nada. I tried tuning to Chris Parker every morning for about a week. Neve heard an intellible word. Disheartening. The manual from Icom is just about worthless for an unexperienced operator. Then we got hit by lightning and the scratchy sounds from the SSB no longer worked, so it's been disconnected. Now I'm faced with what to do about it. Try to eventually find someone somewhere who can fix it and train me how to use it?

Or junk it and get a sat phone. My own thought on it are that I am definitely NOT interested in another social media, this one made up of cruisers on their SSBs. I don't care what the US government says about it, they don't own the ocean. IT wouldn't really do me any good to be able to talk to some SSB operator in Brunei or Australia...and nobody near enough to do me any good in an emergency will be listening to a SSB radio around the clock.

If I have a phone, I can ALWAYS call someone specific of my choosing, have a private conversation, and have them contact whomever I tell them to contact. It sure sounds a lot easier to me to get help that way rather than just broadcasting in the blind hoping some stranger just happens to be standing next to his radio, speaks English, feels like getting involved, and is close enough to do any good. My hearing is shot, and the comparison of clarity of comms between SSB and satphone is in itself a game changer.

I'd really love to be convinced that this SSB installation is worth keeping, as I do NOT really enjoy throwing out expensive equipment if it can be salvaged, but for coastal cruisers in the Caribbean who are not interested in another radio Facebook social group, I'm just not seeing it.
Hi Canibul,

Sounds like the 701 is ready for retirement. And perhaps it was not working for a long time with the previous owner; since the Pactor controller was still in the box.

A lot has been learnt about simple and effective HF/SSB radio installations since your 701 was fitted. If you do decide to get another HF/SSB, doing a course and/or buying a good book eg: Terry Sparks' (Made Simple For Cruising) book - ICOM M802 from Scratch - is a smart way to begin demystifying the entire process. Getting the modern marine HF/SSB to work well for you is like baking a cake; the right ingredients put together correctly. Doing it yourself means you feel far less helpless if a problem is encountered, you lose the mast etc.

The satphone certainly seems to be the easy fix but as per my previous posts, there is just too much evidence that - once beyond the protective umbrella of great MRCC and S&R services - it is not the likely answer for prompt assistance. MRCC Australia, Yachting Australia and RHKYC says that too.

And although I do not have time for a Facebook page and encourage people to say their bit and get off the radio - so others can have a chance - l have learnt things from listening to morning radio skeds when other people ask for advice about all manner of boat related topics. The radio helps link us together - even though we may be separated by the distance that gives us our private space and anchorage - and maintaining a (silent) 24/7 standby watch using a modern DSC capable radio gives us the ability to respond to others' urgent needs, and get support when we also have an urgent need.

Nevertheless, if operating in coastal areas of the US, this link to information about a VHF (with DSC) coastal network might provide all you need. See more details at: GMDSS AREAS AND SEARCH AND RESCUE AREAS and click on the Rescue 21 Distress System Coverage link. Supplement that with the satphone if beyond VHF (with DSC) service range but still within range of the excellent Coast Guard S&R services.

And enjoy sailing.

Allan
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Old 05-05-2014, 16:17   #176
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

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Originally Posted by AllanR View Post
Hi JazzyO,

Hopefully I have been able to explain enough.

If anyone has specific questions about comms - or cruising this amazing region of contrasts and beauty where we are fortunate to live - I'm happy to try to help.

Best wishes to all.

Allan
Good on ya mate!


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Old 05-05-2014, 16:22   #177
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

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Its an illusion that sat comms are more reliable than HF. If they were then SOLAS would mandate sat comms and abandon HF. HF radio is also important for militaries and civil defence to provide comms where no other broadcast comms are available.

While HF is affected by weather and atmospheric effects it is the skill of the radio operator that makes HF our more trusted option. We also use it daily.

Like anything skill based it typically takes 10,000 hours to achieve competence. HF radio is not plug and play which is what makes many people discount its utility.

A good risk based approach is to have both, HF and sat comms, and keep your skills current.

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gmdss allows sat comms as a way of meeting carraige requirements

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Old 05-05-2014, 16:26   #178
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

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And to some who think that in Europe we don't need SSB - remember - along the portuguese coastline, it is as A3 area

carsten
only in a small part , most is a2

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Old 05-05-2014, 16:29   #179
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

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The satphone certainly seems to be the easy fix but as per my previous posts, there is just too much evidence that - once beyond the protective umbrella of great MRCC and S&R services - it is not the likely answer for prompt assistance. MRCC Australia, Yachting Australia and RHKYC says that too.
this comment doesnt quite stand up to inspection. there are equally many many instances of sat phone originated rescues, in deepest atlantic ocean, evidence from the arc rallies will demonstrate that , as will the percentage sat phones v ssb in that rally also.

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Old 05-05-2014, 20:15   #180
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

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this comment doesnt quite stand up to inspection. there are equally many many instances of sat phone originated rescues, in deepest atlantic ocean, evidence from the arc rallies will demonstrate that , as will the percentage sat phones v ssb in that rally also.

dave
Hi Dave,

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. My comment is based on just recent evidence I know of, such as:

1. Sail-World.com : World ARC Rally - Crew of yacht Ciao safely evacuated AND

2. The yacht sinking in the last RHKYC race to Vietnam race, when nearby race participants came to the aid of the yacht in distress and pickup up all the crew before they needed to depoy a liferaft. Before the official S&R response arrived. AND

3. This incident - where an amazing satphone call initiated official S&R response but it did not function: Sail-World.com : Sabbath laws and 'who will pay' hampers search for missing sailors

I've quite certain that satphones have brought a successful conclusion when S&R resources were nearby, and time was available. But the satphone is an - expensive, can be cut off in an emergency because of no money, and not very effective (does not broadcast & does not communicate with all approaching vessels) - second best option to a DSC capable HF/SSB radio (or VHF radio with DSC in inshore waters).

I'm sure there must be multiple other incidents related to small commercial vessels - fishing trawlers etc - which also contribute to the following clear statements from MRCCs in this area:

MRCC Australia advises that the combination of available resources and size of the S&R area means “in the event of an emergency, communication should first be attempted with others close by using radios, phones and other signalling devices.” And, “the more remote the location of the distress incident, the longer the response time. In all instances, be prepared to survive." And, "Dedicated SAR facilities are limited in Australia. When necessary, other facilities are diverted from their primary function by arrangement or request."

MRCC Hong Kong advises "For help in the distant parts of our Search and Rescue Region where Government resources cannot reach, the Hong Kong MRCC must rely upon the assistance of merchants ships and fishing vessel in the vicinity of the distress."

These people - who can be held accountable in a court - are being honest and frank about their capabilities and therefore the importance of finding a prompt response from nearby vessels. The satphone can't readily do that. The DSC capable HF/SSB marine radio is specifically designed for that purpose.

I think it's important for cruisers heading off around the world to be aware that MRCCs are not the same world-wide, either in the operating routines (eg: may not be 24/7), the experience, training or qualifications of the staff, knowledge of their responsibility area, understanding of the local conditions etc. Even well developed and professional MRCCs can differ enormously in their access to trained, equipped and capable S&R resources to deploy promptly to quickly assist a crew in distress. It is rare to find S&R resources similar to those available in Europe/UK or North America.

People who's sailing experience is principally in areas with high standard MRCCs backed by quick response, professisonal S&R resources need to be aware that the same capabilities do not exist elsewhere in the world.

I routinely conduct a survey of MRCC communication services and contact methods for SE Asia, the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The response times, services, communication equipment and ease of communications can vary significantly. Results of these surveys can be seen at Brunei Bay Radio - Emergency contacts - Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centres . This information is a good starting point for cruisers planning trips in these regions. It pays to make personal contact with an MRCC beforehand to check latest information. Phone numbers, radio services etc can change.

Apart from what is possible, over this side it is equally important to understand what is not possible. Working with competent people who are willing to admit what they can't do is a very big step towards determining the best course of action. Whether you need an engine repaired, a broken leg fixed or a rescue, it's important to know if a different doctor will produce a limp-less repair, a different mechanic has access to the right parts, or the limited but immediately available help from a nearby fishing boat will be more effective than the promise of a distant rescue helicopter in a day or two. An MRCC's willingness to honestly state actual capabilities is a very big step to assist small-craft operators to correctly prepare with the appropriate resources to address an emergency.

MRCC Australia and MRCC Hong Kong both acknowledge their limitations. This makes it far easier for cruisers to develop appropriate strategies. It also helps other organisations – like Yachting Australia and RHKYC – establish communication and equipment specifications to significantly increase the probability of yacht crews successfully addressing problems that could occur. Their requirements are consistent with the recommendations/requirements of authorities/organisations which are willing to acknowledge their limitations:

1. HF/SSB radio with DSC as the primary communication device for operations beyond VHF with DSC services in their responsibility areas with limited S&R capabilities. (It's also great for general communication needs and will save money.)

2. Satphone as a backup - but it is NOT an acceptable replacement for the HF/SSB radio with DSC. (It's also great for occasional calls to family or business contacts or to chase up a replacement equipment supplier; but it will cost.)

Happy sailing.

Allan
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