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Old 06-07-2011, 23:52   #91
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

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Originally Posted by toby24b View Post
Hi Bill

"BTW, an historical note: Smokey and the Bandit was CB radio...had nothing to do with ham radio or marine radio."

Thanks, you make my point nicely that SSB not for me as I don't know (or care) about the difference! The benefit of having a communal net for anchorages, local weather & regs, gossip., etc., is clear but budget dictates it's an 'either/or' thing for us and thus it's going to be 'or', in this case.

Satphones not 'killing' the nets; it's just that if the majority find what they see as more useful technology, then the old one gets used less. It's not SSB that's valuable in this case, it's the nets. They are so obviously valuable though that I guess they'll soon find a way of having a satphone platform for contacting those in your vicinity on a virtual local net....?
Umm, I think the exclamation point instead of a smiley face after your sentence about not caring about the difference between CB and amateur/marine HF may be taken poorly by ham radio folks. When I saw that I pretty much instantly judged you as a total tool, which may or may not be fair. Perhaps you didn't realize, but that comparison is "fightin' words" in a fair chunk of the amateur radio community.

I also had to laugh out loud at the idea that soon someone will find a way of having a satphone platform for contacting those in your vicinity. I think Al Gore may have already invented one, and you're using it right now .

Just to cement *my* status as a tool, I'll toss in that from the cheap seats, it seems that a sat phone isn't a more useful system, just easier and requiring much less learning. A sat phone allows you to trade merely dollars for what you want. The others require an investment in much more valuable currency: your time. I prefer not to equate the sheeple's constant quest for "easier" with "better." The majority find delight in reality television, and are thus not to be trusted in evaluation of technical matters .

JRM

-- I've been a ham since I was 15, so I may be somewhat biased. I've been dressing myself since I turned 30, so I am certainly full of crap. And yes, this post is intended for entertainment purposes only. Any intersection of this post and actual facts is purely coincidental.
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Old 07-07-2011, 00:06   #92
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

I read this and found it interesting in a time of disaster it can be the only useful way to communicate Ham radio far from over or out
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:02   #93
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

"Umm, I think the exclamation point instead of a smiley face after your sentence about not caring about the difference between CB and amateur/marine HF may be taken poorly by ham radio folks. When I saw that I pretty much instantly judged you as a total tool"

That's me told JRM! When I went to school, smiley faces hadn't been invented yet, but we learnt that the exclamation mark did much the same job. Sorry if you misunderstood the exclamation mark meaning it was a jokey comment indicating I neither know nor care about the difference between ham and CB. Don't call me a tool, even in jest. It's not funny, it's offensive. I follow cricket closely. Do you know anything about cricket? No? Should I call you a tool, then? Of course not.

You call yourself a tool, fine, I'm not in a position to comment even if I wanted to, but don't think calling yourself a tool gives you a license to mock others.

I must admit to a bias here. I have an uncle who back in the 80's spent most of his spare time sat in his garden shed talking on a radio to people in the ether. Even as a 10 year old I thought it sad that he left his young family in the house to go sit in his shed.
My aunt left him. He uses Facebook these days.


"I also had to laugh out loud at the idea that soon someone will find a way of having a satphone platform for contacting those in your vicinity. I think Al Gore may have already invented one, and you're using it right now ."

I'm British so don't get the reference to Al Gore, who we only remember as being a failed candidate and latterly a good, loud, if rather hypocritical environmental campaigner, neither of which has any relevance here.

Anyway, this is at least on thread again. What do you find funny here? No-one leaves their satellite broadband connection permanently open - it's too expensive - so live messaging isn't an option. You can text people in your vicinity, but it's still private, you still have to know their numbers. I'm just wondering out loud how or whether the satphone technology could be used to make some kind of open net. Maybe some kind of region-based network of open forums? So on cruisersforum.com you had an area where there were forums based on geographical regions, and you could log on every few hours as you cruised and glance at gossip about local info and weather? Would that work? If not, why not? If so, is it already being done somewhere?
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Old 08-07-2011, 18:40   #94
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

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Originally Posted by toby24b View Post
"Umm, I think the exclamation point instead of a smiley face after your sentence about not caring about the difference between CB and amateur/marine HF may be taken poorly by ham radio folks. When I saw that I pretty much instantly judged you as a total tool"

That's me told JRM! When I went to school, smiley faces hadn't been invented yet, but we learnt that the exclamation mark did much the same job. Sorry if you misunderstood the exclamation mark meaning it was a jokey comment indicating I neither know nor care about the difference between ham and CB. Don't call me a tool, even in jest. It's not funny, it's offensive. I follow cricket closely. Do you know anything about cricket? No? Should I call you a tool, then? Of course not.
I'm certainly not the grammer police, but it's called an "exclamation point" for a reason, and it's for emphasis or command (according to my wife the teacher, who are the grammer police).

I do enjoy cricket, although the finer points are lost on me. My wife, the aforementioned grammer police, brought me home a nice India jersey from when she was there during this last World Cup.

There's nothing inherently offensive about me not knowing something about cricket. But that's not what you said. If I said something like, "cricket is as asinine as beerpong, and I care not" that would be similar to your comparison. That would be offensive. I didn't make my snap judgement based on your ignorance, I made it based on your rather insulting comment about a hobby I happen to enjoy greatly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toby24b View Post
You call yourself a tool, fine, I'm not in a position to comment even if I wanted to, but don't think calling yourself a tool gives you a license to mock others.
I'm not mocking you... yet. I merely pointed out that as a ham radio operator I thought your comments were ill advised, and that perhaps people in similar vein might also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toby24b View Post
I must admit to a bias here. I have an uncle who back in the 80's spent most of his spare time sat in his garden shed talking on a radio to people in the ether. Even as a 10 year old I thought it sad that he left his young family in the house to go sit in his shed.
My aunt left him. He uses Facebook these days.
[REDACTED]

Quote:
Originally Posted by toby24b View Post
I'm British so don't get the reference to Al Gore, who we only remember as being a failed candidate and latterly a good, loud, if rather hypocritical environmental campaigner, neither of which has any relevance here.

Anyway, this is at least on thread again. What do you find funny here? No-one leaves their satellite broadband connection permanently open - it's too expensive - so live messaging isn't an option. You can text people in your vicinity, but it's still private, you still have to know their numbers. I'm just wondering out loud how or whether the satphone technology could be used to make some kind of open net. Maybe some kind of region-based network of open forums? So on cruisersforum.com you had an area where there were forums based on geographical regions, and you could log on every few hours as you cruised and glance at gossip about local info and weather? Would that work? If not, why not? If so, is it already being done somewhere?
You opined that someday someone would figure out a way to use sat phones similar to nets. The reference to Al Gore was that he famously misstated that he invented the Internet.

You said that sat phones were more valuable technology, but that someone needs to invent a way to mimic HF nets. They already have, it's called the Internet. Now you say that no-one does that because it's too expensive. It's only too expensive for you. There are plenty of people who scoff at the per KB charges, just like you scoff at the per minute charges to make calls. I can't afford the per minute charges (more accurately I choose not to sacrifice something else to pay for them, opportunity cost and all) so I use ham radio. Or, since there's really nothing I have that can't wait till I get back (short duration trips) I wait and use the phone. The ham radio is for fun, and for preparation for longer trips.

My point was, is, and shall be that sat phones are easier than ham radio or Marine SSB, but that you pay for that ease. It's easier to dial a number than to learn propegation, tuning, different modes, and take the tests (for ham license). That much is true. But given that the initial costs are similar (arguable), you are going to either pay in time or pay in dollars. If you are willing, then it is a good solution. If not, there are alternatives.

It's all frame of reference. Just like with boats. One is more valuable to you because you are willing to pay the costs. Those of us unwilling or unable accord less value. I'm not going to claim I'm poor, because I've been there, and currently I'm anything but poor. But I am not to the point where I am willing to say that for me a sat phone is better because at this point in the dollars and cents game I can't afford to use it like I would HF.

The question was whether to pick SSB or Sat-Phone. You put forth in favor of the phone. I put forth in favor of the HF solution. I have laid out the reasons why. I would love to have both, but the OP's parameters for discussion was to pick one.

JRM

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Old 08-07-2011, 18:56   #95
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

Yikes. Tomayto-tomahto. Get both and be done with it. I have both but prefer the SSB for many reasons; mainly it works everywhere unlike the phone.
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Old 08-07-2011, 19:00   #96
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

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Originally Posted by toby24b View Post
Reading this great thread as a relative novice, it has answered my question about what type of communications I should have on my boat.
I will be getting the inmarsat kit. I want something where I don't have to learn protocol, so at a moment of high stress, I don't blank and forget howto use it. I'll just make a satphone call, thanks, and so will my wife and/or kids if I get whacked on the head and can't talk.

As an aside, it sounds to me as if the whole pro-SSB/Ham thing is being written by a bunch of US citizens harking back to the days of Smokey and the Bandit...it never caught on on our side of the Atlantic anyway....
you seem to know more about our AMERICAN movies than I and maybe most of us know about your British movies... wonder why?what the heck is crichet any way??is it like baseball?im sure you know what baseball is..and I wonder why you know what baseball is...DVC
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:49   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRM

My point was, is, and shall be that sat phones are easier than ham radio or Marine SSB, but that you pay for that ease. It's easier to dial a number than to learn propegation, tuning, different modes, and take the tests (for ham license). That much is true. But given that the initial costs are similar (arguable), you are going to either pay in time or pay in dollars. If you are willing, then it is a good solution. If not, there are alternatives.

It's all frame of reference. Just like with boats. One is more valuable to you because you are willing to pay the costs. Those of us unwilling or unable accord less value. I'm not going to claim I'm poor, because I've been there, and currently I'm anything but poor. But I am not to the point where I am willing to say that for me a sat phone is better because at this point in the dollars and cents game I can't afford to use it like I would HF.

The question was whether to pick SSB or Sat-Phone. You put forth in favor of the phone. I put forth in favor of the HF solution. I have laid out the reasons why. I would love to have both, but the OP's parameters for discussion was to pick one.

As a ham operator. I would not agree. Amateur radio is a hobby. If you are interested in radio communications in itself then by all means adopt it.

But for simple effective trans planet communications a satphone can't be beat. If all you want to do is make a call and your hobby is sailing the boat, them AR is not for you. Price wise a good ham setup is way more then a satphone and the installation is more complex. Also you then still need an effective duplicate Marine SSB to complete the setup.

In the medium to long run sat comms has and will continue to completely replace SSB/HF as a communications method. AR will remain a hobby.

Issues like open or closed comms are a red herring. Modern GMDSS rescue protocols put the emphasis on reaching a single point shore station, not potential surrounding ships. Satphones do this admirably.

BTW Inmarsat M, A and C a have group call faculties if you want to pay big $$$

Dave
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Old 12-07-2011, 13:10   #98
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

I based my choice of Ham or Sat Phone on cost. My Ham rig was up and running for less than a $1,000. Went with a used ICOM 718, AH4 Tuner, Norseman insulators for the back stay and copper strapping for the ground plane. The Pactor modem, added later, was a big hit but still barely brought the cost above what a Sat Phone setup would have been. By the time I bought the minutes for Sat Phone connection, Ham radio was an easy choice. I've made additonal changes and additions but the initial installation was/is functional and worked fine.

Installation of the ham radio wasn't a big deal but it's definitely more involved than a SatPhone. A day or two running wires and copper strapping, mounting the radio and tuner, and installing the insulators and it was done.

As far as time commitment, took me a day of study on one of the Ham test tutoring sights to pass the Technician and General License test and some additional reading for my own edification about radio propagation. I'm an idiot when it comes to electronics, don't really like talking on radios, but find the Ham nets very useful along with all the other benefits like weather, etc. You don't have to be a dedicated Hobbyist Geek to get the value.

The real benefit of the HF radio for cruising is the nets. They are an invaluable real time source of information. Unlike this and other internet sites, you are talking to someone who IS there and DOING it, not some land bound guy like me sitting at my computer pontificating. Yes, checking in on a regular schedule can be a pain but you don't have to. And if you are bored on a long passage, you can always talk to some guy in Ohio. Might as well, it's all free after the initial cost.

It's hard to beat the dial and connect simplicity and speed of a Sat Phone but that's not what I want for communication. If I need instant connection in an emergency, I've got the Epirb. Nothing quicker and more reliable. For almost anything else, the Ham radio is more than adequate and it's 'party line' environment is the real advantage.
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Old 13-07-2011, 16:55   #99
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

I like ham radio..always have since I was a kid ..always wanted to learn code but like so many other things in life never got around to it ..now that Im on the water it might be the next thing on the list but I'll wait on the code part.This has awaken a long held desire...listen for me in the future ok thanks DVC
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Old 14-07-2011, 02:36   #100
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

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I like ham radio..always have since I was a kid ..always wanted to learn code but like so many other things in life never got around to it ..now that Im on the water it might be the next thing on the list but I'll wait on the code part.This has awaken a long held desire...listen for me in the future ok thanks DVC
You do know that Morse Code is no longer required for a U.S. ham license (any class), right? There are still tests covering rules and technology, but code is not needed.

It isn't clear from your post if you knew this.
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Old 14-07-2011, 08:52   #101
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Yea I knew it was obsolite just always wanted to learn..my friend that introduced hr to me still uses it to talk(communacate) to some other old timers...have you seen the key that the military uses,it straps to your leg and you would send from there..Ive got the key and have been practising with it and I also have a Morse light on my boat..does it run thru the mast light or where..I cant get it to work THANKS DVC PS.anyone have a radio outfit for sale that would fit nicly on a 32 ft. cca type boat?
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Old 14-07-2011, 10:06   #102
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
As a ham operator. I would not agree. Amateur radio is a hobby. If you are interested in radio communications in itself then by all means adopt it.

But for simple effective trans planet communications a satphone can't be beat. If all you want to do is make a call and your hobby is sailing the boat, them AR is not for you. Price wise a good ham setup is way more then a satphone and the installation is more complex. Also you then still need an effective duplicate Marine SSB to complete the setup.

In the medium to long run sat comms has and will continue to completely replace SSB/HF as a communications method. AR will remain a hobby.

Issues like open or closed comms are a red herring. Modern GMDSS rescue protocols put the emphasis on reaching a single point shore station, not potential surrounding ships. Satphones do this admirably.

BTW Inmarsat M, A and C a have group call faculties if you want to pay big $$$

Dave
Well said! In the last three months of cruising Scotland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark we have not turned on our SSB. Our main line of communication is WIFI via our 15 dB antenna on top of the bullet. When we can't find unprotected WIFI or a WIFI signal for GRIBs and Skype we use the Iridium sat phone to download GRIBS and touch base with relatives.

The sat phone lets me be on my schedule and not someone else's.
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Old 24-09-2011, 15:41   #103
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Please, could anyone help on this one, re info from the previous owner.

"The inmarsat-c has a problem with its internal gps. I could not decide whether to replace it or send it off for repair".
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Old 05-01-2012, 17:30   #104
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

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I'd (and the USCG) (http://www.uscg.mil/d1/sectSENE/docs...%20%283%29.pdf) have to disagree with that statement as the DSC channels are monitored world-wide and here in the US (http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/resc...nationwide.jpg) and sat-phones are not (and sat-phones in large are not submersible). It's like cell phone, the USCG constantly advertises, NOT to communicate by phone, because DSC is faster. When you hit the Big Red button on the 801, somebody's going to call back almost immediately. Unlike standard VHF-DSC, the 801 has a "test" transmission setting; try it and see how fast you get a response. I've tried ours with a response from over 1000KNM.

However I do agree with swagman on the EBIRP and the PBIRB idea; although I don't usually put this in the communication category, but the emergency one, along with the life raft, jack-lines and such.
Seahunter: Is DSC monitored outside the US say Baja California and Mexico? The map in the link you provided shows no coverage for Baja.
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Old 17-04-2014, 03:43   #105
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

I live on the other side of the world, in SE Asia. I operate Brunei Bay Radio (Brunei Bay Radio - HF/SSB radio email for isolated locations in SE Asia, the North West Pacific and Indian Oceans. The low-cost and reliable alternative to satellite email for isloated or remote locations, islands, communities, tourism, conservation,) which provides the SailMail service for this region. My background includes cruising and racing on the east coast of Australia and around SE Asia, and a 14 day passage in the Indian Ocean. And as a Yachtmaster Instructor with a commercial Master ticket, racing and cruising skipper and crew, and Churchill Fellow studying the operations and safety at adventure training organisations - on land and water - in the UK, Europe and North America.

My conclusion - at least for operating on this side of the world where professional, immediate response rescue services are few and far between - follows the the same principles as Yachting Australia's Special Regulations for Category 2 and Category 1 racing/cruising and also what Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club uses for their RORC offshore events:

1. A modern, marine HF/SSB radio with DSC as the primary communication service. Because it has the unique features of broadcasting the conversation so all can hear it simultaneously. Therefore many minds, experience and people with varied resources can consider how they can contribute to a solution. And because talking does not cost money, so communication to solve a problem, get advice or rescue someone cannot be cut off because of credit requirements.

2. A satphone as a (limited) backup for the HF/SSB radio, and to take into a liferaft; where certainly it is more portable than the HF/SSB, but probably less useful than the waterproof marine VHF handheld radio (with DSC) that should also go into the liferaft.

3. The satphone is NOT listed by Yachting Australia or RHKYC as a legitimate substitute for a HF/SSB radio. Having a satellite comms system in the yacht is not considered - by people with lots of experience dealing with these topics and who might be asked to explain their decisions in a court - as a reasonable substitute for the marine HF/SSB radio with DSC.

The Yachting Australia Special Regulations for yacht racing (and recommended for cruising) are based upon years of hard experience - including numerous incidents and deaths - and take into account the reality of yachting operations and search and rescue capabilities once you get beyond the excellent services that exist around North America and Europe/UK.

These Special Regulations can be seen at http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/Doc...0Keelboats.pdf

My experience is that if you live and sail where there are ample, quick response, professional S&R facilities, then the combination of a VHF and satphone of some type will be sufficient. But once you sail beyond the range of professional, quick response S&R services which can solve all problems, the M802 with DSC will be the best option to alert other yachts, commercial vessels, fishing trawlers etc in your vicinity (without knowing they are there, and without knowing their satphone number) to get advice, a tow, some waypoints, spare part, or rescue.

The evidence we see over here is that a lot of cruisers from Europe/UK and North America simply do not realise how lucky they are with all the great RNLI lifeboats and Coast Guard cutters to solve their problems. Many get quite a surprise once they are beyond these facilities and learn that a quick mobile or satphone call can no longer provide a prompt response solution.

The DSC capability of ICOM's M802 or M801 radio is designed to address these differences, by quickly and simultaneously alerting all other vessels in the vicinity which are maintaining a DSC watch on their similar radio.

By way of comparison:

1. MRCC UK does not have a HF/SSB radio, so they can only suggest people use a satphone to contact them when beyond the range of their great VHF networks.

2. MRCC USA - the Coast Guard - has an effective HF/SSB marine system (with an increased focus on DSC calling), because, like Australia, the USA does not have an official (GMDSS) continuous coastal VHF network with DSC, like what exists in the UK and Europe.

Terry Sparks ( http://www.made-simplefor-cruisers.c...20for%20us.pdf ) clarifies the Coast Guard's DSC capability and also the preference for using a DSC capable HF/SSB radio before switching on an EPIRB.

3. MRCC Australia has a very effective marine HF/SSB with DSC system and they state the situation, limitations and answers very clearly for cruising beyond the range of Coast Guard helicopters, RNLI Lifeboats etc. This means for 90% of the world's oceans and coasts, and especially in the underpopulated, pristine, low-cost and attractive island destinations many people choose to cruise because of the dual attraction of minimising costs and enjoying the beautiful environment. Some quotes from MRCC Australia's website:

"The arrangements for search and rescue (SAR) in Australia have been influenced by the physical size of the island continent, the large size of the search and rescue region, Australia's relatively small population and the nature of governmental processes. Dedicated SAR facilities are limited in Australia. When necessary, other facilities are diverted from their primary function by arrangement or request."

"Distress beacons should only be used when there is a threat of grave and imminent danger. In the event of an emergency, communication should first be attempted with others close by using radios, phones and other signalling devices. Mobile phones can be used but should not be relied upon as they can be out of range, have low batteries or become water-damaged."

"Even once a position is obtained (from a distress beacon), response times then depend on the time for a search and rescue (SAR) unit, such as a helicopter, aircraft or ground party to be readied and transit to the search area. The more remote the location of the distress incident, the longer the response time. In all instances, be prepared to survive."

The key phrases are "communications should first be attempted with others close by using radio" because if you depend on the official S&R response in places beyond the great support services available around the USA coastline and in Europe/UK, it could be a long time coming and you will need to "be prepared to survive."

A recent solo sailor in the Pacific with a problem was lucky, the ship which MRCC New Zeraland sent to him was only 200nm away. A French solo sailor in the southern ocean in 2012 had to wait 3 days -for the only ship in the region which MRCC Australia could find - to reach him.

If this is what it is like in NZ and Australian S&R territory, you can imagine what it must be like elsewhere, were resources, money and trained staff are more limited. Here is an example. An amazing satphone call to someone thousands of Kms away raised the alarm, which was subsequently passed to an MRCC, and from them to the local S&R authority. But official resources were not successful, see these articles for an insight into some of the limitations:

http://www.sail-world.com/Cruising/i...-sailors/98741

http://www.sail-world.com/Cruising/i...-sailors/98618

A DSC distress call via HF/SSB radio to alert nearby yachts or commercial vessels (maintaining a 24/7 - silent - DSC watch for distress, group or individual MMSI calls) might have been more successful in alerting nearby resources and generating prompt response from like-minded mariners; as recommended by MRCC Australia.

A DSC capable HF/SSB radio has the ability to simultaneously send an alarm to all vessels in the vicinity, either anchored on the other side of an island or along the coast or at sea fishing or on passage nearby.

The more yachts that have a similar marine, DSC capable, HF/SSB radio, and maintain a (silent) 24/7 DSC watch - like nearby commercial vessels do - the better the chance that cruisers with a question or problem will have to gain access to the extensive knowledge, experience and wisdom of other cruisers. Like-minded cruisers will be more likely to respond appropriately and effectively to an urgent call for assistance, some advice about fuel blockages, a spare part or tow, or some waypoints into the sheltered anchorage; so a problem for a fellow cruiser does not become an incident that requires an S&R response.

Most people with a HF/SSB radio - without DSC - will be very reluctant to keep their radio on standby 24/7, with the speaker blaring, so they can listen for Distress or General calls from other yachts. The modern DSC capable HF/SSB radio addresses this problem; it is noiseless. It can scan for Distress or General calls 24/7 without disturbing the crew, the peaceful anchorage or the spectacular sunset. It only makes a noise when a DSC alert is received.

Once installed, this same radio can be the foundation for low-cost HF/SSB radio email via a subscription to the not-for-profit SailMail Association (see SailMail). SailMail is a convenient and low-cost service developed specifically for yacht owners by other yacht owners. Taking advantage of SailMail's services is possible simply by adding a Pactor controller to the existing modern, marine, DSC capable HF/SSB radio.

Apart from emails with family, work etc SailMail provides access to valuable weather information so prudent sailors can have fun, plan passages to maximise the benefits of the the wind, organise a marina berth or spare part delivery on arrival, choose the optimum beautiful anchorages based on the expected wind, and send position reports to be displayed on the web. All free with a SailMail Association membership.

And when cruisers are involved in a rally or race over here, the organisers will appreciate the fact they can be conveniently contacted - by voice or email - via the marine HF/SSB radio; so everyone gets the same identical information, reliably, for free, without needing to charge all participants extra money for participation fees to pay for expensive individual calls to those participants only equipped with satphones.

I hope this information is useful.

Allan
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