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Old 30-11-2015, 09:33   #46
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

I can get the tuner within a few ft of the actual antenna by placing it inside of the Lazarette, if placed there it's withing a foot or so of being able to be tied into the rub rail.
I want to leave the backstays alone for now and go the alternate route, an IP has twin backstays that are completely separate and of course connect at the mast head.
If all goes well, next year she is getting her chainplates replaced and I feel sure I can make sure they get a mounting stud attached for connecting an RF lead to.
Silly question, what connects the tuner to the transmitter? I assume co-ax and some kind of signal wire? It's about 25 ft from where the transmitter will be to where the tuner ought to be.
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Old 30-11-2015, 09:38   #47
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

John is absolutely right about user proficiency in using SSB. This is really crucial, and many of us "techies" tend to focus too much on the technical side of things.

Example to illustrate:

Take two radio setups: one excellent in every way and one deficient in several ways.

An inexperienced user can fail to make reliable contacts EVEN on the perfect SSB setup. And he or she may well come away with the belief that SSB is an unreliable mode. I've seen incredible statements by such users, like "we were unable to make a single SSB contact all the way across the ocean". That, friends, is an inexperienced user and no fault of SSB.An experienced user, of course, will make contacts easily.

An experienced user will most likely make good solid contacts, fast, even on a less-than-optimal SSB setup. An inexperienced user may well have great difficulty making contacts.

Folks, there's a learning curve and you MUST climb it in order to be a happy SSB user. Mastering the curve involves four things:

1. your own willingness to devote the necessary time to acquire radio skills;

2. a modicum of technical and operational learning which you can obtain from books, online reading, and videos (like John's excellent video series on operating the Icom M-802);

3. a LOT of listening to the various ham and maritime Nets to become familiar with times and frequencies and propagation vagaries and Net procedures; and

4. regular check-ins to the various nets. Every day you can. You need to get familiar with pressing that mic button, and you need to learn that TIMING is critical in two-way radio communications.

Bill
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Old 30-11-2015, 09:43   #48
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I can get the tuner within a few ft of the actual antenna by placing it inside of the Lazarette, if placed there it's withing a foot or so of being able to be tied into the rub rail.
I want to leave the backstays alone for now and go the alternate route, an IP has twin backstays that are completely separate and of course connect at the mast head.
If all goes well, next year she is getting her chainplates replaced and I feel sure I can make sure they get a mounting stud attached for connecting an RF lead to.
Silly question, what connects the tuner to the transmitter? I assume co-ax and some kind of signal wire? It's about 25 ft from where the transmitter will be to where the tuner ought to be.
Yes. Coax, either RG-8X or if you can run the thicker stuff RG-213 or RG-214. Any length. Be very careful how the PL-259 connectors are put onto the coax.

The signal wire goes between the radio and the tuner. The Icom cable for the M-802/AT140 comes with small molex connectors on each end. You do NOT want to remove these unless absolutely necessary.

No need for any special connection to the new chainplate. Just make sure one of the mounting bolts is long enough to fit an extra nut. Attach the GTO-15, terminated with a ring terminal, to that bolt using the extra nut.

Bill
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Old 30-11-2015, 09:49   #49
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

A64,
Just for clarification, the "actual antenna" starts at the tuner!
The stud at the top of the tuner is where the antenna starts at....not the wire or stay outside....
SO...
So, getting the tuner near the deck, etc. means that most of your antenna is out in the clear....and this is a good thing!!!


As for how it all goes together....it all pretty plug 'n play....and you can find the manuals on-line, directly from Icom..
M802 Downloads - Icom America

You have coax and the tuner control cable...that connect the two..
Also, note that you can place the transceiver (Main Unit) out of the way, nearer to the main battery bank, etc., or where it is accessible and has ventilation, but doesn't need to be right in front of you the whole time, like the control head is....(although, remember that if you do wish to add a PACTOR modem at some point, having the Main Unit nearer to your operating position / Nav Station is important, so think through your install before you commit to it...)


Hope this helps...


Fair winds..

John
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Old 30-11-2015, 10:11   #50
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post

{BTW, Bill, just curious why the recommend of GTO-15 for the rub rails?
I'd usually just recommend any insulated marine grade / tinned copper wire (12ga or so)....I know there can be some high RF voltages on the ground, but never thought they'd be high enough to require GTO-15?}

Fair winds..

John
Hi, John...

You probably missed the "new chainplate" remark by a64pilot. That is the connection point for the backstay antenna, not the rub-rail counterpoise.

After the refit, though :-)

Bill
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Old 30-11-2015, 10:14   #51
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

Bill,
Oppss, I did miss that!
(that's what I get for multi-tasking!
Thanks for pointing it out!!
John
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Old 30-11-2015, 11:31   #52
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

Chainplates are glassed in and pretty much inaccessible I believe, which would mean making contact outside of the plate, maybe something similar to a ground wire clamp on the stay itself, that is why I'm thinking add a dedicated stud for connecting when they are replaced, but until then due to work involved in cutting the backstay etc on one that is soon to be replaced, I believe I will go the dedicated antenna route.
I understand everything after the tuner is antenna, the RF cable is not shielded.
I will eventually want a Pactor modem, I thought long and somewhat hard about a Sat phone, and may get one, but figure for day to day comms, HF would be better as it's money up front, but not a per min charge like a Sat phone, and I want Wx and gribs if I can get them, voice comms would be nice too.
Back years ago you could contact the "Marine operator" on HF and have them patch you into a land line for telephone calls, is that still done? I want to think maybe it was simplex, not duplex so you had to say over, but I'm remembering way back so I may be completely wrong.
I have never been Ham licensed, but played with people who were's equipment under their supervision and of course military radio and pilot experience, and I was one of those people that got heavily into CB's back in the 70's, so I'm past the mike button being the push to stupid button, I'm not one that keys the mike and starts saying, Uh, uh, uh.
Radio arrives today, is in fact "out for delivery" so I'll see what's in the box tonight, and then it will make more sense I believe.

I appreciate the assistance, and hope there may be others reading and learning along with me.
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Old 30-11-2015, 12:03   #53
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
zboss,
With all the talk here about antennas, grounds, etc...most of which is "much to do about nothing much"
We shouldn't forget that after the antenna, the single most important part of the system for effective HF Voice radio operation...and that is the operator!!!
And, this means operator education should be as important as anything else written here!!
(sorry, if this hasn't been the focus of much discussion...but, I do hope to help you out here...)

I will attempt to give you a brief overview here, and direct you to some helpful info and particularly to some videos that should be of great help....(but, in order to be specific I do need to know some specifics from you, as well..)
This is good....and depending on what you mean by "static" and "static/interference", you may not have any interference at all (if this is natural noise / atmospheric noise), or you may have some obscure on-board noise (I've seen digital clocks / timers, panel meters, digital thermometers/weather stations, smart-phone hotspots, and other independent battery-powered devices, etc. cause significant interference....in addition to the plethora of other systems on-board that you seem to have already eliminated, but remember that some of these can still be "on", even if turned "off", but still is power supplied to them!!!)

So, if you could describe what this "static" is, and how many segments of your M-802's S-meter are illuminated on various frequencies / channels???

--- Typically, with no other signals/stations on the air and without any RFI (Radio Frequency Interference), on frequencies of 12mhz, 14mhz, 16mhz (and above), you should have NO segments illuminated or one segment sporadically illuminated, as the natural atmospheric noise is pretty low on these higher frequencies....and man-made noise that radiates long distances is rare...

--- On the lower frequencies, below 10mhz...and especially the lower freqs when close (within 1/2 miles) to shore...during the daytime, you will typically find a combination of natural atmospheric noise and man-made noise to show a constant one, or two, segments of the M-802's S-meter illuminated....the lower the frequency, typically the more segments will be illuminated...

At night, natural atmospheric noise predominates and it can get quite loud!!! Summertime in Florida (you're in St. Augustine, yes???) is one of the worst places for atmospheric noise on the low bands!!! If you are within a few hundred miles of thunder storms (or even a few thousand miles from lots of T-storms), the "static" crashes can make casual operating a real pain...
{But, understanding how to properly use the radio, makes a world of difference here....just turning down the RF Gain and using headphones can allow arm-chair, casual operating for hours, rather than not making any contacts at all...}


--- The fact is that many sailors that are new to HF communications ("SSB") choose the wrong frequency / channel for the time-of-day and distance to communicate....
(something I highlight in one of the videos....along with a layperson explanation showing you how-to do it correctly...see below)
--- A second part of this is the fact that many fail to take advantage of the large powerful shore stations (1000 watts to 5000 watts, and large directional antennas), but rather try to initially use their radios to communicate with other low-powered boats (100-150 watts, with compromised antennas), before they fully understand BOTH radiowave propagation AND noise/static/interference!!

{FYI, I have mentioned in the past and think I should do it again here, that from the dock here in S. Florida (even with all of the noises from shore-side sources) I regularly receive Australian maritime weather from Charleville (VMC) and Wiluna (VMW), which are approx. 9000 miles and 10,800 miles from me here in S. Florida....on 12.365mhz and 12.362mhz, daytimes...almost 365 days/year....during spring/early summer and Oct/Nov, I was on-the-air daily, and never missed a day receiving these broadcasts....(and almost as regularly receive them at night on 8.176mhz!!!)
While these transmitters are 1000 watts....they are quite easily copy-able with no effort, no headphones, etc....
The reason I mention this is....because if you choose the proper channel/frequency (use the highest freq possible for that time-of-day and distance), install the radio correctly, and adjust the radio correctly, HF comms is an extremely reliable and easy-to-use system of communications!!!}


Please watch the couple videos I'll attach here / below!!!
And, please tell us what type of "static" you have, and how many segments of the M-802's S-meter are illuminated on the various channels/freqs???


And, please have a look at these videos, for just about all you'd need to know about:

Maritime HF Communications ("SSB")
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y


HF-DSC Communications
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX


Specific Instructions for operating the M-802
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr



And, some videos about Offshore Weather dissemination
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY






And, here is a "sticky" with LOTS of links, with almost every reference you could ever need...including a LOT of info on RFI / Noise / Static...
Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)




Here's some other discussions that should be helpful...
HF Radio Freqs, summertime Atlantic crossing, offshore Net..


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


Testing a SSB/Ham radio - poor reception


ICOM 706 MK2 G optimization.


How to reduce RFI from an Airmar depth sounder?


Icom M802 in fresh water





Zboss, I'm seriously sorry you gave up using it!!!
But, if you don't mind a somewhat tongue-in-cheek response??
Good thing you didn't give up sailing 'cause the wind wasn't blowing the direction you wanted it...
What I mean here is that if there is an issue (static or otherwise) this can be solved or overcome....but, you need the information/education to do so...just like you do in order to sail a boat, as well as navigating, docking, anchoring, other maintenance, etc....as far as I know, nobody is born with knowledge of any of these...
PLEASE don't take offense, I'm just using a bit of sarcasm to make the point that we tech-savvy sailors (myself included) have failed to emphasize the basic radio education of our fellow sailors....and instead get involved in the minutia of things which, as I wrote above, is mostly "much to do about nothing much"!!



I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John


Please watch these videos first...





Good to know. Great post.

I have an Icom 710 SSB and a kenwood ham radio on our Liberty 458. The installs were done by the previous owner and done well. Full copper tape ground, dynaplate and AT140 tuners.

The backstay for the ham was replaced so no isolators. The SSB antenna is fully functioning. We're in San Francisco so I'll listen out for the Aussie broadcasts. Dad is a HF operator in Oz so hopefully will have time to dive deep into our radios soon.

I have my ham technician licence and Aussie marine radio operators licence. Will upgrade my ham licence in Q1 2016.

Sent from my SM-N900T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 30-11-2015, 12:35   #54
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

A64,
1) As for the "Marine Operator", weather info sources, and everything else, etc....all of the links to that info are in the "sticky" at the top of the Marine Electronics page...
Have a look see...
Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)



2) Specifically regarding the "Marine Operator", if you are sailing within the range of Shipcom's stations (typically the entire N. Atl., Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Eastern and Tropical Pac...as well as the Med, some S. Atl. and S. Pac), you have easy/simple access to stations WLO and KLB...
24/7/365 on multiple channels...$0.99/minute for telephone calls...
ShipCom LLC :: Marine HF Radiotelephone and HF Single SideBand Email

HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

(while the do have "worldwide coverage", it's rare for vessels more than 5000 - 6000 miles away from using their services/stations....I have from the Med, N. Atl, Caribbean...but I haven't sailed the Pac)


And, if you are in the S. Pac., as well as New Zealand and Aus waters, and even Indian Ocean....you have Brunei Bay Radio, Taupo Radio, and the Aus HF networks....
As well as some other stations covering the Med, and other areas...(see details in the sticky)



3) And, there's plenty of links in that sticky for weather info as well...
Here's some helpful ones....
Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

National Weather Service Marine Forecasts

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY



4) As for PACTOR modem, be sure to look at the weather info links above and in the "sticky"....AND understand that the need for e-mail connectivity (what you get with a PACTOR modem) when offshore for a few days / weeks, and in far remote locales away from cellular and Wi-Fi, is overstated by many....you might be surprised with the lopsided cost vs. benefit of a PACTOR modem...



5) Joining the ARRL and buying a couple books, is a great way to start getting into ham radio...
www.arrl.org



Hope this helps..

John
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Old 30-11-2015, 12:56   #55
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
A64,
4) As for PACTOR modem, be sure to look at the weather info links above and in the "sticky"....AND understand that the need for e-mail connectivity (what you get with a PACTOR modem) when offshore for a few days / weeks, and in far remote locales away from cellular and Wi-Fi, is overstated by many....you might be surprised with the lopsided cost vs. benefit of a PACTOR modem...

Hope this helps..

John
I'll chew through the stickies, just give me a little time, I'm one that it helps if I have at least seen the equipment first, otherwise not much makes sense to me, but give me just a little knowledge, and I can then expand on it.
I've never even seen an 802 yet

Above quote confuses me, I read it as saying the Pactor modem is over rated, you can get what you need from voice?

SoPac is my goal. I am not so arrogant as to state that is what I will do yet, I need lots more experience before I can make that statement, my longest passage so far is from Panama City to Key West, but it is my goal anyway.
Gotta have a dream, right
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Old 30-11-2015, 13:40   #56
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
....
4) As for PACTOR modem, be sure to look at the weather info links above and in the "sticky"....AND understand that the need for e-mail connectivity (what you get with a PACTOR modem) when offshore for a few days / weeks, and in far remote locales away from cellular and Wi-Fi, is overstated by many....you might be surprised with the lopsided cost vs. benefit of a PACTOR modem...
John,
To make sure I understand your point "...you might be surprised with the lopsided cost vs. benefit of a PACTOR modem...." - I hope you mean that the initial cost for a PACTOR modem is quickly recovered by having free email without the per minute costs with an Iridium satphone (~ $1 to $2 / minute) or the monthly cost (e.g., $125) for the Iridium Go!.

I've recently decided that the PACTOR modem is the best way for our offshore communications. The cost of the modem is less than the cost of either a satphone or Iridium Go!. Using Winlink 2000 (HAM bands) and Airmail or RMS Express, I've been able to easily send/receive emails while offshore. It is nice to not have to worry about the costs. Email becomes the universal format for keeping in touch with friends, family, downloading weather information (GRIBS, weatherfaxes, buoy reports....). The PACTOR modem has opened an entire new way to communicate.

Yes, a PACTOR modem can cost more than $500, but this is recovered in the first 3 or 4 months of use when compared to the alternatives.

Also, leads to the benefit of having your General Class license to utilize the HAM bands and WL2K.

Don
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Old 30-11-2015, 14:00   #57
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

A64,
Again, all of this is explained in the sticky links, the links I sent earlier today, AND in the videos...


1) First off, I need to confess to being a radio nut...Duh!
So, I do tend to turn to the radio first...but, hopefully don't discriminate against other means of comms!
Some will desire sat comm for communications, but forget that "radio" is broadcast (goes to everyone at once), where "sat comm" is point-to-point...


Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Above quote confuses me, I read it as saying the Pactor modem is over rated, you can get what you need from voice?
2) Secondly, while I'm a capitalist and think everyone deserves to make a profit from their hard work and intellectual property, I'm also a bit miffed that SCS (the company that designed the proprietary PACTOR II, PACTOR III, and PACTOR IV protocols, and makes the only PACTOR II, III, or IV modems) haven't licensed their proprietary protocols, etc. to others, and allow for some competition....



And, yes, the e-mail system that you have access to (Sailmail, WINLINK, Shipcom, etc.) is cheap (or free for WINLINK on the ham radio bands with NO commercial activity allowed...but with the sporadic and intermittent issues with some ham stations...so you do get what you pay for!), many sailors find they actually have no need for e-mail when at sea / on-passage (I'm one of them!), and some like me actually enjoy not having e-mail when out offshore / away from civilization!!




3) Third, there are other means of communications and information dissemination, when on-board, that do not involve the use of a PACTOR modem....

In addition to Voice comms, there are WeFax broadcasts worldwide that provide the "gold standard" of offshore / hi-seas weather info/forecasts...

There are also other "text"/"teletype" modes other than PACTOR II/II/IV, that work well but are slower (SITOR/PACTOR-I/FSK has been around longer than I've been alive!) as well as the "non-pactor" WINMOR (used only on the ham radio bands, and is almost as fast as PACTOR-II, but some report less reliability)


4) Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, "GRIB's" are the raw computer model data, that has never seen a human....and it is up to YOU the user to know enough meteorology to derive a forecast and interpret them...
Unlike actual weather charts (usually disseminated via WeFax broadcasts), there are no meteorologists involved in the drawing of a GRIB weather chart, these are just the raw computer model data...
And, unfortunately most that have them sent via e-mail exasperate this inadequacy by only requesting/seeing/using ONE model's run....thereby placing the sailor/amateur meteorologist at a significant disadvantage....

WeFax Charts (Weather Charts sent via HF-Facsimile), are
sent out (broadcast) for FREE worldwide, by powerful transmitters (1000 watts to 10,000 watts...most using 4000 - 5000 watts), with excellent antennas pointing out to sea, etc....compared to 100 - 150 watts of most Sailmail / Winlink stations (although the PACTOR protocols do allow for significant S/N advantage, it doesn't quite make up this difference)
These WeFax Charts are drawn my humans....and not just anyone, but actual experienced maritime meteorologists....and the US NWS/NOAA charts / forecasts are signed by the exact meteorologist that prepared them just an hour or so ago!!! (they put their name and reputation on the line multiple times each day!)

So, is it any wonder why the US, UK, German, Aus, NZ, S. Afr, etc. WeFax charts are the "gold standard" of offshore / hi-seas weather???

Watch these videos / Play this Youtube Playlist....
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY







5) For most sailors, the cost vs. benefit comes down to highly favoring the "broadcast" of weather info / forecasts (WeFax, SITOR, Voice, etc.) versus the direct e-mail of weather info (using a PACTOR modem), and VERY HIGHLY favors the "broadcast" of weather info/forecasts versus using sat comm....
That doesn't mean that anyone that needs e-mail connectivity when on passage is wasting their money....no....no, it just means that those who do not need/desire this e-mail connectivity when offshore, can save a LOT of $$$$ that can be put to better use on-board, etc....hence the reason I mention the cost vs. benefit, if you receive little or no benefit then any cost makes the equation lopsided.....if you receive lots of benefit (i.e. you need e-mail connectivity when on passage), then the equation gets more balanced!!





Have a look at what is available, what you get, how much the equipment costs, the services charge, etc. etc...
And, you'll find that the choices really are NOT about "where to get weather" (as many magazine articles suggest!), but rather:
a) Do you need e-mail access when offshore / on-passage and/or in far remote locales away from cellular/3G/4G/LTE service and Wi-Fi???
b) Do you desire a PACTOR modem or a sat comm system for that e-mail access...\








The list goes on....but, as I wrote earlier and above, all of this is in the sticky and in the videos...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 30-11-2015, 14:22   #58
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

Don,
I'm not panning any particular product or system....just pointing out the capabilities versus the costs...

Those that wish to have e-mail access when away form cellular/3G/4G/LTE and Wi-Fi systems, using WINMOR on the ham bands is good....but most will find a PACTOR modem and Sailmail to be much better (especially those with a PACTOR IV modem!)


But, I assume you made a minor typo here....
As the communications system you've chosen is HF radio....
It is a PACTOR modem that you have chosen for e-mail access when away from cellular/3G/4G/LTE and Wi-Fi???
(Good choice, BTW!! )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Don View Post
I've recently decided that the PACTOR modem is the best way for our offshore communications. The cost of the modem is less than the cost of either a satphone or Iridium Go!. Using Winlink 2000 (HAM bands) and Airmail or RMS Express, I've been able to easily send/receive emails while offshore. It is nice to not have to worry about the costs. Email becomes the universal format for keeping in touch with friends, family, downloading weather information (GRIBS, weatherfaxes, buoy reports....). The PACTOR modem has opened an entire new way to communicate.
And, BTW, if you found a PACTOR modem for anywhere near $500, you got a GREAT DEAL!!!
FYI, a PACTOR III modem sells new for about $1300 and a PACTOR IV modem is $1950!!!!

(see why I wrote the cost vs. benefit might surprise some....if you don't need to e-mail friends/family/business when on passage, there is nothing else the modem gives you that you cannot get just as well or better elsewhere...)



Fair winds..

John
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Old 30-11-2015, 14:45   #59
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

John,

We are in complete agreement! Yes, I recently upgraded my Pactor II to Pactor III (license + chip) and have validated its use and value while underway. I'm happy with the upgrade and having email and data onboard.

Don
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:16   #60
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Re: Active Capt / Defender SSB special

I went around back where we toss out the "obsolete" stuff, and yes I might have a few feet of RG214
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