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Old 18-04-2014, 00:41   #121
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Not sure if there is a need to log into the WOA site or not....so here is what effectively was Mike's radio log.
'As we were smack bang in the middle of the South Atlantic we did not expect any help or rescue but we did want to at least let our predicament be known (so family would know where we went down) and so with a feeling of embarrasment, sadness and emptiness in our stomachs we activated the Electronic Positioning Radio Beacon.
We also tried to call on all the distress frequencies using hf radio but had no luck with any contact. Fortunately I had an email facility (SAILMAIL) using hf radio, digital transmissions tend to be far stronger than voice transmission so I looked up the email address of Falmouth Coastguard and sent a mayday by email. The only problem with this type of communication is it generally takes about 1.5 hrs to receive a reply, I have to send the email to a shore station which then sends it on to the receiving station who then replies to the shore station who then sends it back to the ship.
The mayday was sent at 1146z
MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY
SAILING YACHT BRILLIANCE
CALL SIGN MEVV5
POSITION 42 26S 022 14W SOUTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
2 POB
39FT WHITE HULL
AT PRESENT STILL WITH BOAT WE WERE HEADING FOR SOUTH AFRICA SO IN A NE DIRECTION, BUT ARE NOW USING A JORDAN SERIES DROGUE AND SO ARE BEING TRACKED SUBJECT TO WIND AND WAVES WHICH FORTUNATELY AT PRESENT IS STILL NE
EPIRB ACTIVATED
MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY
MAY SOON LOSE MAST AND SO WILL ALSO LOSE ABILITY TO COMUNICATE.

Reply received 1405z

MAYDAY -Yacht BRILLIANCE - M E V V 5
THIS IS FALMOUTH COASTGUARD
We have received your distress message & an EPIRB activation alert.
All details have been passed to Argentina in whose rescue area your position is.
We are speaking to UK authorities in the Falklands to see if there are any assets that can assist.
We will continue to speak to all authorities in an effort to assist you.
What comms do you have on board, including satphone details ?
What lifesaving apparatus do you have on board ?
What are your intentions?
What are your weather conditions?
Falmouth Coastguard
+ 44 1326 317575

Sent 1506z

ssb radio but not for long as mast about to collapse i have jury rigged as best i can and am continually assessing anything else i can do to save it but it is gonna come down sooner or later
vhf radio plus handset
liferaft, flares.
intend to stay on boat as long as possible the only problem is when the mast goes it may put a hole through her grp, ive tried to get things ready to cut away but its not an exact science.
this email connection is very poor as i have to rely on propogation and nobody else being on the freq. please contact sailmail and tell them the situation or they may cut me off anytime as i will be using to much of their airtime.
i lose this facility also when the mast falls down.
do you have a ssb voice frequency i can use?
the emails generally take about 1.5 hrs to go back and forth as it is sent via hf radio.
wx sw4/5 mod sea


ps. we have the castle beach cafe just below falmouth cg so bacon butties all round if we get out of this one and are open for the summer.



Received 1722z

Mayday Yacht BRILLIANCE M E V V 5.
This is Falmouth Coastguard.
We are receiving updates on your position from the EPIRB.
The Tanker WAFRAH C6VX6 is proceeding to your assistance eta 24-28 Hours.
The Tanker will use VHF radio CH 16 - to call when close to your position, ensure you keep your handheld radio with you if it is necessary to abandon
but stay with your vessel for as long as is possible.
Meanwhile to use SSB radio call;
TAUPO Radio ( New Zealand) callsign Z L M on frequencies 8291 mHz, 12290 mhz, 16420 mHz.
or Cape Town Radio who are listening on frequency 4125 kHz & respond on 4417Khz or listen 8255kHz & respond on 8779Khz.
They also maintain a distress watch on 12290 Khz
Either will relay any information to us at Falmouth. This can be used for routine calling to establish contact or if the situation deteriorates.
Could we also have the details of your liferaft - colour, size, canopy ? ballast pockets?

MRCC Falmouth


Sent 1821z

many thanks for the info.

i had already been trying those frequencies all to no avail but i am very grateful that your email confirms that at least i had the correct frequencies set.
the liferaft is a zodiac, black hull with orange canopy, 6 man, water ballast pockets, though we will try to load it with as much weight as possible to stabilize it as there are only 2 of us.
i am not sure how long the battery will last on the epirb, its a tron 40s, should i turn it off and then turn it on every hour for 5 minutes or so, maybe that would save the battery? we should maintain our present drift as the wx is predicted to remain same for a day or 2.
if all else fails thanks for trying
mike and iris

sy brilliance


From Argentine Coast Guard received 2025z

----- Original Message -----
From: AGENCIA SAR
To: mevv5@sailmail.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 4:39 PM
Subject: SAR ARGENTINE
FORD YOUR INFORMATION YOU ARE ARGENTINE SEARCH AND RESCUE RESPONSABILITY WE PROCEED IN YOUR HELP. IN RED SAME INFORMATIED ABOUT GPS POSITION AND REQUEST WEATHER CONDITION IN ZONE. TANK VESSEL IS GOING IN YOUR HELP.

Falmouth CG received 2029z

MAYDAY Yacht BRILLIANCE
This is Falmouth Coastguard.
Leave the EPIRB activating as it provides an accurate updated position. The battery should last for a minimum 72 hours.
The Captain of the WAFRAH is updated on the situation, he is preparing the crew & equipment for recovery.
The Captain is British so comms, when he passes instructions to recover you, will be no problems.
The ETA of the WAFRAH at your position is 1800UTC on 14 Feb.
Have passports and documents ready to go with you. Next port is Longbeach California.
Stay positive, assistance is on its way.
Regards
Duty officer MRCC Falmouth

Sent 2038z

many thanks again for the info.
thanks to you we have hope.
mike n iris

sy brilliance

Sent 2051z

i have received this email from the argentine sar but i do not understand what they want from me, please advise, though i do not think i will be able to receive email much longer.
<----- Original Message -----
From: AGENCIA SAR
To: mevv5@sailmail.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 4:39 PM
Subject: SAR ARGENTINE
FORD YOUR INFORMATION YOU ARE ARGENTINE SEARCH AND RESCUE RESPONSABILITY WE PROCEED IN YOUR HELP. IN RED SAME INFORMATIED ABOUT GPS POSITION AND REQUEST WEATHER CONDITION IN ZONE. TANK VESSEL IS GOING IN YOUR HELP.


Received 2302z

Received your last email.
MRCC Argentina now have co-ordination of this MAYDAY. They request the present weather conditions.
MT WAFRAH is proceeding to you, ETA 141900UTC.
Leave your EPIRB ON - it will help to locate your vessel.
If you need to abandon to your liferaft, take the EPIRB with you and a portable radio. Also try to send a final message via email.
Good luck
Duty Officer
MRCC Falmouth


Thursday 14th February 2008
0840z 42 10S 21 54W W3-4 1027mb
1110z 42 08S 21 49W W3-4 1027mb

Received 1136z 14th Feb

Good morning,
1. MT WAFRAH is still proceeding to your position at 17kts. Request an update on your situation including your latest position and weather conditions. I am able to confirm that your EPIRB is working well.
Best regards
MRCC Falmouth

Sent 1221z

14th feb 1148z
good morning,
hf reception very poor this morning.
pos: 42 07s 021 48w
wx: 1027mb, sw 3/4, mod sea.
amazingly still have mast, fortunate because of relativey calm wx,
basically shaken but not yet stirred
all well aboard
mike n iris

1330z 42 04S 021 45W W3-4 1027mb

1330z The next communication we heard was over the vhf radio, it was the tanker WAFRAH and they were calling another ship whos name we couldn’t make out, it was surprising we heard them at all as they were still 60nm away and our vhf aeriel had been blown away.
1620z spoke to WAFRAH who advised us that another ship PAN VOYAGER was also on its way
1720z 42 00S 021 45W W3-4 1026mb
1749z vhf contact made with Pan Voyager, ETA 1hr.
1811z PAN VOYAGER in sight, 8nm west.
The sight of PAN VOYAGER brought a mixture of emotions, we were relieved that help was at hand but deeply saddened that we would be leaving BRILLIANCE, to all appearances there was nothing wrong with her, but a cursory inspection of the rigging showed that the starboard lower shroud was hanging on by a thread, spider webs were appearing around all the deck plates and every now and then a sharp, heart stopping, cracking sound could be heard. It was amazing that the mast had stayed up for so long, we had been very very fortunate with the weather/wind for the past 35 hours, whilst there was still a 4-5 meter swell the confused seas had died down the rolling motion had eased considerably and the decks were no longer awash though the mast was still lifting from the deck every now and then.
1930z PAN VOYAGER hove to and BRILLIANCE motored up to a ladder that had been thrown over the side, we had prepared a couple of grab bags with basics in case we had to take to the liferaft and these were hoisted up by the crew above us, then Iris had to make a leap for the ladder only to find that during the time from when she left BRILLIANCE the swell had dropped about 14 feet and she was hanging on for dear life, within the next 10 seconds BRILLIANCE was coming back up towards her like a
ballistic missile, the entire crew above had covered their eyes and my heart stopped as Iris deftly stepped back aboard BRILLIANCE like someone stepping off a high speed train without a care in the world. Another 2 heart stopping attempts were made before she finally made it and clambered up to the deck above.
Then came the real heartbreak, I went below switched off the EPIRB, cut open all the sea water pipe inlets and opened the seacocks, with seawater gushing in I took a last look around at my dear ship and wondered if I had really done all I could to save her. The answer is yes, the mast could not of stood up to any more violent rolling and another storm was on its way, if I didn’t leave the ship now then it wouldn’t be long before I didn’t have a choice, we were slap bang in the middle of the South Atlantic ocean and a lot of people had gone to a lot of trouble to come and get us. There was nowhere for me to tie any ropes to to keep the mast up and obvious signs of wear and tear were becoming more apparent every minute. I closed up the hatches stood once more at the wheel to steer her into the PAN VOYAGER then made a mad dash out of the cockpit and leapt over the guardrail as the swell took her up to what I hoped was the highest point on the ladder, it seemed to work as I soon found myself being hauled up on deck by many helping hands.'

Pic is Brilliance (MEVV5) and WS (MEPP5) in Canal Beagle Dec 2005
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Old 18-04-2014, 01:39   #122
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Frank, thanks for posting that. Heart warming and rending at the same time.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 18-04-2014, 02:02   #123
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Yes thanks, very tense few days with a good result.
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Old 18-04-2014, 02:11   #124
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

SSB .... If your yacht's broken, who's to say the aerial's still there? Power's not out?

Sat Phone.... You pick it up and it's ready to go, not reliant on any other external or boat systems.

I'll have both thanks
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Old 18-04-2014, 02:39   #125
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

It does raise a few issues, if you are relying on HF or VHF in an emergency have an HF whip and a way of using your VHF sans mast ( been there done both when my mast fell off 20 years ago).

Also if you are in the southern hemisphere the odds are ... far offshore ... you will be relying on a merchant ship to pick you up.

DSC you are looking at working SA, NZ or Aus. Good luck. Mike would most probably have been working through the Chilean Sailmail station.
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Old 19-04-2014, 20:16   #126
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Allan

Number 2 above is a strong statement and needs some explaining as it defies common sense, a sat phone is less useful that a handheld VHF radio? I guess it assumes that before you end up in the life raft you have already communicated your position to neighboring ships.

However, as I see it a sat phone would do double duty. One could make first contact with authorities from the life raft in a case of rapid egress from the yacht. One could vector nearby aid via a relay from an on shore coordinating facility using the sat phone replacing the role of the VHF in the life raft?

Please inform the lessons from the people with lots of experience dealing with these topics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Allan

Number 2 above is a strong statement and needs some explaining as it defies common sense, a sat phone is less useful that a handheld VHF radio? I guess it assumes that before you end up in the life raft you have already communicated your position to neighboring ships.

However, as I see it a sat phone would do double duty. One could make first contact with authorities from the life raft in a case of rapid egress from the yacht. One could vector nearby aid via a relay from an on shore coordinating facility using the sat phone replacing the role of the VHF in the life raft?

Please inform the lessons from the people with lots of experience dealing with these topics.
Lake Superior,

I realised I did not really respond to your question about the liferaft and VHF. Here are my comments:

Like the HF/SSB radio with DSC, the VHF radio (with DSC), also links people into the existing, established, well supported, maritime safety communication network. Once in the liferaft, they will also be able to talk to maritime search aircraft, ships, fishing trawlers, yachts or any other nearby vessel. The range to the mast-top antenna of a yacht or ship will be something like 10 to 20nm. The range to a search aircraft should be 50 to 100nm, depending on their altitude.

MRCCs and yachting organisations which advise the VHF radio is more important that the satphone are making this statement based on the assumption that when people get into a liferaft they have an EPIRB, or two. Perhaps one EPIRB is mounted in the yacht (for deployment if the yacht is disabled, has no mast or antennas, or battery power, but not sinking) and another in the liferaft pack or grab-bag with the waterproof VHF radio (and spare batteries). The EPIRB will give MRCCs the position, the yacht's identification, ownership and shore contact person listed in the EPIRB registration, and will regularly report the position of the drifting liferaft (or yacht – if the crew have not yet stepped up into the liferaft) position. This will allow the MRCC to accurately direct aircraft and vessels to the location.

Some advantages of the EPIRB over the satphone are that it is designed to keep working despite being wet and submerged, it has a large battery that will keep pushing out a signal for some days, and it will not run out of satphone credit.

When aircraft or vessels approach, the waterproof VHF marine radio (with DSC) can be used to talk with them. Not all yachts, fishing trawlers and search aircraft have satphones. They have maritime communication service radios instead; because that is what the big ships are required to carry. By using the same equipment in yachts – and liferafts – crews immediately tap into that established, reliable and well developed system.

There is no doubt the satphone is far more practical than the HF/SSB radio to take into the liferaft. But the point to point communications isolates crews from the experience and intelligence of the people on nearby vessels that come to assist. If more than one vessel arrives, the broadcast feature of the waterproof VHF marine radio will allow them all to hear the plan, and offer advice or alternatives based on their skills and available capabilities. Radio communicates all this simultaneously, to everyone, so they all get the identical message. To achieve this – assuming they all had a satphone and you know their numbers – would take a lot of time and satphone battery power and satphone credit.

Local area knowledge and assessment is very important in these circumstances. Which is again where the broadcast and simultaneous update of all involved, via the established maritime radio services, is important. The point to point satphone comms works if you accept the assumption the person or people you are communicating with has/have a monopoly on absolute wisdom. For example, some years ago the skipper of a J35 was washed overboard at night, in rough seas and strong winds in Bass Strait during the Sydney to Hobart race (his harness tether line broke when a big wave washed into the cockpit). The crew used their HF/SSB radio to alert the MRCC, which immediately called for nearby yachts – and other vessels – to begin searching, based on the wind, wave and current information available to them. The captain of an oil tanker listened to all this and, based on his years in the area and his assessment of actual conditions, moved his tanker to a different location, switched off the main engine – so his crew in lookout positions could hear someone calling from the water – and turned on all the deck lights. The yacht skipper, who had been in the water five hours, came over the top of a wave, saw the ship, drifted down the side, called out and was pulled from the water.

These days that yacht skipper should have a personal PLB locator on his combined inflatable life
jacket/harness. This PLB will give the MRCC his exact location so they can direct vessels to him. They can simultaneously communicate with all the searching vessels via VHF radio (if nearby) or HF/SSB radio (if distant). They will initially alert all those vessels to the situation by sending one DSC Distress alarm, which will wake up all the (muted speaker) DSC radios and trigger their very noisy alarm. Because the MRCC will not know the location of all the vessels which at that time are in the right location to help, and because they will not know all their satphone numbers either. They will voice broadcast the details so all vessels can assess their proximity and capabilities for the task. When vessels respond to the MRCC via radio, all the other vessels will also hear it so they can also assess their involvement.

I think it's worth remembering that people recommending systems might have different motivations. The MRCC and Yachting Association people who recommend the EPIRB, HF/SSB (with DSC) and VHF (with DSC) radios for the operating and S&R realities beyond the professional, 24/7 quick response S&R services do not make money from the sale of the equipment. The satphone agent makes a commission and/or salary on the sale of the unit, and very possibly on the ongoing service recharges/monthly payments. The MRCC and Yachting Association people know they may need to justify their recommendations to families, inquiries, courts and the media. The satphone sales rep knows he/she will not.

This financial difference is apparent in the number of satphone adds displayed on the pages of this forum. Big money to be made with satphone sales and ongoing connection time. In contrast, I have not noticed any marine radio adds.
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Old 19-04-2014, 20:28   #127
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

I hope that nobody has suggested that you not have a handheld VHF and PLB/EPIRB on board, or not carry these into the liferaft. Satphones, EPIRBs and VHF are not mutually exclusive.

Satphones have proven their worth, as have the other beacon / communications devices.
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Old 19-04-2014, 21:00   #128
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

If I was equipping a vessel for offshore communication today, purchasing a Delorme Inreach would be a higher priority than a Satphone, SSB, or Ham radio (I currently have all three).

It offers reliable global (Iridium satellites) two-way 160 character text messages to any cell phone or email address. Has a 24 hour emergency monitoring service. It confirms a transmission sent. GPS coordinates are included in each text message. GPS location is also automatically transmitted every 10 minutes. It's "Always On" to receive messages and makes a noise when a new message arrives. Has a four day battery. Is waterproof. Requires no external antenna. Can be attached to a lifevest. And costs $300. Service is as little as $15/month and can be turned on only for voyages.

It's the biggest step forward for offshore safety since the EPIRB. Maybe bigger.

InReach
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Old 19-04-2014, 21:04   #129
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Loss of the mast or battery power and the SSB is useless.Although I have an SSB,next time it would be Iridium.
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Old 19-04-2014, 21:15   #130
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by highseas View Post
Loss of the mast or battery power and the SSB is useless.Although I have an SSB,next time it would be Iridium.
Well, when we were dismasted in 1996 I had no difficulty in rigging an emergency antenna. Used a random length of insulated wire, hooked the end to the output of my manual tuner, draped the wire over the wreckage of our dodger and bow pulpit, and had no difficulty in contacting folks on the 40 metre ham band.

We didn't require rescuing or aid, but were glad to be able to let folks know what had happened. The hard thing was keeping well meaning friends from forcing a "rescue" that we didn't need or want.

So, I can't agree that in the case of dismasting that a SSB or ham HF rig is "useless".

Cheers,

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Old 19-04-2014, 22:46   #131
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Well, when we were dismasted in 1996 I had no difficulty in rigging an emergency antenna. Used a random length of insulated wire, hooked the end to the output of my manual tuner, draped the wire over the wreckage of our dodger and bow pulpit, and had no difficulty in contacting folks on the 40 metre ham band.

We didn't require rescuing or aid, but were glad to be able to let folks know what had happened. The hard thing was keeping well meaning friends from forcing a "rescue" that we didn't need or want.

So, I can't agree that in the case of dismasting that a SSB or ham HF rig is "useless".

Cheers,

Jim
Ditto when I lost mine in 1994.... ran a wire from aft over an A-frame made from the two spinnaker poles and secured it to the pulpit, then let people know via Thai and Australian hams and NVIS( we were 700 miles west of North West Cape) what was going on.

The next day hailed a passing (hull down) tanker on an emergency VHF ant and arranged to get 300 litres of diesel from her which gave us enough extra to motor for 7 days to Carnarvon..... across sea and swell....

Without that we were going to run out of dieso with 2 days to go....

Now have ssb/ham on both backstay and a whip and an AIS ant on the taffrail.

Re batteries... when I lose batteries the water is already over my knees in the cabin.....

Not radio related but worth noting here... always carry plenty of lube oil......
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Old 20-04-2014, 15:04   #132
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

I think people might be misinformed as regards HF and DSC and rescue systems.

Under GMDSS. The purpose of carrying the appropriate communications equipment is that (a) your distress alerts reaches a shore station not nearby ships. And (b) you have two independent means to reach that shore station. Distress altering to nearby ships is primarily the function of the MRCC not the distressed vessel.

Under GMDSS sat systems are fully acceptable as a replacement for HF in sea areas A2+ , hence many ships now use Inmarsat B/M/C instead of any HF capacity. Inmarsat has a group call facility. But primarily its politics that's keeps systems like iridium out of GMDSS.

Hence simply having a satphone with MRCC number programmed into it ( Falmouth MRCC is a good one ) is a fine alternative to HF. The MRCC will alert ships in the area either via group call on Inmarsat or HF as required.

You should always have a handheld VHF anyway.

I'm my opinion if you purely want voice comms and a easy to use system its hard to beat sat phones. HF is all very well , buts its expensive , requires knowledge to use and doesn't always work. Less less ships are listening to it, a satphone is capable of both ordinary comms and useful in a distress.

I'm not running down HF. But the fact is that a sat phone is simpler to use and provides sufficient safety comms if necessary,

Note a poster mentioned plbs on a lifejacket. In my view these are a body retrieval system in anything other then tropical waters. The time to alert, ie delays built into epirb alerting means in temperate to cold waters you will have expired from hypothermia before any rescue. They are a very false sense of security.

Dave
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Old 20-04-2014, 15:41   #133
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis.G View Post
We currently have SSB on board, and consider it adequate for our cruising in Mexico. That said, if we do the puddle jump (sail to South Pacific - maybe 30 day crossing) we will have a satphone on board. Might rent it just for the trip, but would not do it without - not that expensive and much more sure to talk to the right people should things go wrong.

Some of this is due to my wife and Rebel Heart experience. She looks at the SSB and wonders how the hell she would get help if I became incapacitated. Have to agree - a satphone would be very valuable in such emergencies.

A few years ago my opinion was not the same, but technology has improved and costs are more reasonable now.
Hi Dennis G,

Familiarity overcomes most hesitation about technology. The other night we called for our 8 year old to show us how to operate the CD player; he uses it all the time. And I recall a comment on the SailMail site about installing the software; if you have questions, ask a teenager.

My experience around here - SE Asia - is that with a lot of two person, male/female crewed international cruising yachts, it is the female partner of the team who runs the day to day communications. She contacts - by (no-cost) HF/SSB voice or (low-cost) HF/SSB email - other yachts to get information, ask the silly questions (which us males would be too embarassed to do), maintain contact with family and friends ashore, and download the GRIB charts and METAREA forecasts (free with SailMail or WinLink) to help guide the "captain's" decision making.

Many countries have a vessel radio license course to be taken and passed before a license to install a marine HF/SSB radio will be issued and the callsign assigned. Like starting sailing by taking a course is smart, so taking a radio training course is also smart; for both people in a 2 person crew.

In the UK, I am aware that the RYA has courses. Bob Smith from Yachtcom is a yacht owner who uses HF/SSB in his activities and who runs popular RYA training courses. He also sells and installs HF/SSB radios.

In the USA, I am not aware of courses, but I am aware of Commander (US Navy Ret) Terry Sparks who writes books about cruising, leads cruises and helps people with their radio installations. He also writes excellent books on starting cruising and on HF/SSB radio (with DSC) installation and operation. Made simple for Cruising is the name of his website.

Radio operation can seem mysterious and perhaps daunting, but it opens up all manner of cost saving, convenience and safety related opportunities for yacht owners. VHF with DSC for small boats (power or sail) and coastal cruising, and HF/SSB for larger boats (power or sail) with offhsore and international cruising aspirations.

Learning effective radio communication skills is as important as knowing how to change change fuel filters, water pump impellers or fuses.

The modern marine VHF or HF/SSB radio (both with DSC) has been designed to make use as straightforward and practical - in a bouncing boat - as possible. Go for big display screens - to see without reading glasses - and big dials, and minimal adjustments, buttons etc; so there is less to get wrong. The modern ICOM VHF and HF/SSB radios (both with DSC) have good solutions.

They are more expensive to buy than a satphone, but in the log-run, will save a lot of money. My conversations with Bob Smith and also with people from SailMail reveal a similar comment. People do not realise just how expensive operating the satphone becomes, until they start getting the bills, every month.

In contrast, all the VHF or HF/SSB voice conversations with other cruising and boating friends - for advice, to plan the route, get waypoints into an anchorage, compare marina prices, organise dinner ashore, ask for a spare water desalinator filter, or organise a tow, are totally free. And email via the not-for-profit network of over 20 linked SailMail stations around the world, is still less than US$1 per day.

Like mobile phone prices, the satphone businesses know that by getting that device into your hands, cheaply, they will win handsomely in the long-run. As an emergency communications backup and for occasional business and family calls, it's probably a smart investment. But for all the regular day to day operations, save your cruising budget for a rewarding meal ashore at the end of a passage.
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Old 20-04-2014, 18:12   #134
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

AllenR - since you 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,) and provide SailMail service for this region you have a dog in the hunt.

You are earning money in the HF/SSB game. Consequently, your comments shade the facts with all due respect and do not reflect my personal experience cruising for two years with a new ICOM and a new Iridium. I have passed on these experiences in this and other CF threads.

For example, as I am sure you pretend not to be aware, that with the purchase a phone card there are no monthly charges for the Sat Phone. One simple pays for minutes used.

If one chooses and it is not required the XGATE service monthly charge is equivalent to what you mentioned for the Sail Mail service.

The complexity of installing and use of an SSB is evidenced by the numerous threads in CF concerning these problems.

HF/SSB communication complexities and nuances should not be underestimated. IMHO it is a technology whose time has passed.
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Old 21-04-2014, 14:34   #135
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Re: SSB or SatPhone ?

Rob,
While the facts are that you don't actually "need" any long range comms (HF-DSC, HF-SSB, Satphone, etc.)....but should you choose to equip your boat with some (as I and most others do), the facts are also that the Furuno FS-1503 is NOT a MF/HF-DSC radio and hence cannot provide you with this functionality...
Quote:
Originally Posted by leightonyachts View Post
I will be sailing to SE Asia (Philippines) next year. So far I have a Furuno FS1503 SSB and 2 VHF radios onboard. I was thinking of getting a Sat phone but after reading your post I am not sure if I would need one. Is my Furuno adequate for communication?
You may find it useful on some HF "Cruiser's Nets" (on SSB Voice), but it is NOT capable of sending out a GMDSS DSC distress message....
Nor would you be able to call/signal other vessels beyond VHF range, as there are no vessels monitoring the MF/HF voice frequencies anymore (and there hasn't been any required to do so, since Jan 1999, and for years before that most only monitored for a two-tone alarm generator on 2182khz using a dedicated "2182 watch receiver"....)


Please read over these pages....and have a look at a couple videos (which should explain things pretty well...)
Icom M-802 DSC-Distress Signaling, what really happens!

Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

HF Radio Freqs, summertime Atlantic crossing, offshore Net..

Tips for using an HF-SSB Radio (mostly for newcomers)











Rob, also please make sure that both of your VHF radios are Class D VHF-DSC radios and that you have a valid FCC-issued MMSI number programmed into them....



And, that you have updated your EPIRB registration.....

EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds




I hope this helps...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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