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Old 15-02-2011, 07:17   #46
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Old 16-02-2011, 20:05   #47
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This quote is from a USCG web page on Offshore Search and Rescue posted in 2007: "INMARSAT and IRIDIUM are satellite communications networks. Thanks to ever newer technology, these satellite telephone systems that 10 years ago were enjoyed only by the military vessels and billion dollar shipping lines are now within the reach of many boaters. ... These systems represent the leading edge of communications and should be considered by anyone planning a transoceanic voyage or who intends to operate routinely in the open ocean."

We have now reached the point where these systems are less expensive than SSB technology. Can we really continue to represent to new offshore boaters that SSB should be their primary means of communication? HF radio is a fun hobby. But in promoting the hobby, we shouldn't cloud the issue of safety, IMHO.
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Old 16-02-2011, 20:29   #48
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They're only less expensive if you rent them and only make a single crossing. It's the total cost of ownership, so you need to consider the subscription, which never ends. I pay more for my blackberry and internet service per year than I did for my SSB.
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Old 16-02-2011, 23:44   #49
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Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
This quote is from a USCG web page on Offshore Search and Rescue posted in 2007: "INMARSAT and IRIDIUM are satellite communications networks. Thanks to ever newer technology, these satellite telephone systems that 10 years ago were enjoyed only by the military vessels and billion dollar shipping lines are now within the reach of many boaters. ... These systems represent the leading edge of communications and should be considered by anyone planning a transoceanic voyage or who intends to operate routinely in the open ocean."

We have now reached the point where these systems are less expensive than SSB technology. Can we really continue to represent to new offshore boaters that SSB should be their primary means of communication? HF radio is a fun hobby. But in promoting the hobby, we shouldn't cloud the issue of safety, IMHO.
As the statement says, "SHOULD BE CONSIDERED", which to me says the USCG is acknowledging that satphone is one option among 4 or more, including SSB, SPOT and foregoing long distance communication altogether. You will notice they specifically do not recommend satphone over other options. Also, it is to the USCG’s benefit if nobody goes offshore without as many communications systems as possible which makes their job easier. If doing so subtly scaring people out of offshore trips for lack of ability to pay for all the goodies that is neither here nor there to them, their goal is safety at any cost.

It also says "the leading edge of technology", read the pointy end of development where the bugs are still being worked out daily. OK that's overstating the issue, but satphones are still not what you would call a completely mature technology.

As one of the previous posters indicated the upfront costs may currently be slightly less than SSB or Ham once you have all the necessary peripherals but the running costs are vastly higher. If the on-going costs are such that other safety issues such as maintenance suffer for it making a distress situation more likely, then I’d say the satphone itself is indirectly a safety problem.

Labeling HF as a hobby seems to me to be an attempt to disparage it in preference to satphone. Just because people are into it and enjoy it out proportion to its rational utility doesn’t mean it’s not a serious means of communication when need be. Consider the view of the FCC following Hurricane Katrina. The FCC had been planning to reassign some of the Ham bandwidth for other much more lucrative uses. Given the vast utility of Ham that was provided in the hurricane’s aftermath, those plans were shelved. That ‘hobby’ was given preference over a potentially large amount of money from the auctioning the bandwidth, I'd say they see HF as a very serious use. That situation with Ham is not exactly the same as for use during an offshore distress scenario, but a reasonable conclusion can be drawn that HF is a serious means of communication not just a plaything with minimal utility as you imply.

So, yes, I think we can represent to new offshore boaters that SSB could be their primary means of long distance communication.

However there are tradeoffs that need to be considered to make an intelligent decision.

Satphones are a turnkey item, turn them on and the work or they don’t, there is nothing you can do in the field to appreciably improve reception and there is no significant training involved beyond knowing how to retrieve the saved phone numbers for rescue services.
HF requires a bit of practice to get 75% results and a fair bit more to get to 95%.

HF is reception is dependent on time of day, weather and solar conditions. On the other hand, 1 really big solar event and the whole iridium system could be down for a couple of years until new satellites are launched. By the way the next solar maximum should be during 2014.

Satphones can be carried into a liferaft. Of course so can an EPIRB.
If your distress does not lead to loss of the mother vessel an HF radio can contact any listening vessel in the area, large ship or cruiser. A satphone initiated response will involve the rescue services calling in the large vessels they normally deal with and stay in communication with, be they 100 or 1000 miles distant, even though there might be some cruisers 50 or 80mi away, just out of your VHF range.

There are plenty of other tradeoffs that can be discussed, but I’ll stop here.

If you wanted to talk about the tradeoffs between HF and satphone and come down on the side of satphones I could accept and respect that. When my wife and I set off on the cruise to New Zealand we are planning, we will probably take a satphone. But to trot out and misrepresent the statements of a safety authority, soft pedal costs, disparage the chief alternative and conclude satphones are the only option that should be considered, I’d say THAT is clouding the safety issue.
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Old 16-02-2011, 23:48   #50
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Very entertaining, gentleman.

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I don't see how this relates to SSB vs Satphone. It seems more in line with The Joke Thread . It was vaguely entertaining, despite being an ad.
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Old 17-02-2011, 12:30   #51
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As the statement says, "SHOULD BE CONSIDERED", which to me says the USCG is acknowledging that satphone is one option among 4 or more, including SSB, SPOT and foregoing long distance communication altogether. You will notice they specifically do not recommend satphone over other options. Also, it is to the USCG’s benefit if nobody goes offshore without as many communications systems as possible which makes their job easier. If doing so subtly scaring people out of offshore trips for lack of ability to pay for all the goodies that is neither here nor there to them, their goal is safety at any cost.

It also says "the leading edge of technology", read the pointy end of development where the bugs are still being worked out daily. OK that's overstating the issue, but satphones are still not what you would call a completely mature technology.

As one of the previous posters indicated the upfront costs may currently be slightly less than SSB or Ham once you have all the necessary peripherals but the running costs are vastly higher. If the on-going costs are such that other safety issues such as maintenance suffer for it making a distress situation more likely, then I’d say the satphone itself is indirectly a safety problem.

Labeling HF as a hobby seems to me to be an attempt to disparage it in preference to satphone. Just because people are into it and enjoy it out proportion to its rational utility doesn’t mean it’s not a serious means of communication when need be. Consider the view of the FCC following Hurricane Katrina. The FCC had been planning to reassign some of the Ham bandwidth for other much more lucrative uses. Given the vast utility of Ham that was provided in the hurricane’s aftermath, those plans were shelved. That ‘hobby’ was given preference over a potentially large amount of money from the auctioning the bandwidth, I'd say they see HF as a very serious use. That situation with Ham is not exactly the same as for use during an offshore distress scenario, but a reasonable conclusion can be drawn that HF is a serious means of communication not just a plaything with minimal utility as you imply.

So, yes, I think we can represent to new offshore boaters that SSB could be their primary means of long distance communication.

However there are tradeoffs that need to be considered to make an intelligent decision.

Satphones are a turnkey item, turn them on and the work or they don’t, there is nothing you can do in the field to appreciably improve reception and there is no significant training involved beyond knowing how to retrieve the saved phone numbers for rescue services.
HF requires a bit of practice to get 75% results and a fair bit more to get to 95%.

HF is reception is dependent on time of day, weather and solar conditions. On the other hand, 1 really big solar event and the whole iridium system could be down for a couple of years until new satellites are launched. By the way the next solar maximum should be during 2014.

Satphones can be carried into a liferaft. Of course so can an EPIRB.
If your distress does not lead to loss of the mother vessel an HF radio can contact any listening vessel in the area, large ship or cruiser. A satphone initiated response will involve the rescue services calling in the large vessels they normally deal with and stay in communication with, be they 100 or 1000 miles distant, even though there might be some cruisers 50 or 80mi away, just out of your VHF range.

There are plenty of other tradeoffs that can be discussed, but I’ll stop here.

If you wanted to talk about the tradeoffs between HF and satphone and come down on the side of satphones I could accept and respect that. When my wife and I set off on the cruise to New Zealand we are planning, we will probably take a satphone. But to trot out and misrepresent the statements of a safety authority, soft pedal costs, disparage the chief alternative and conclude satphones are the only option that should be considered, I’d say THAT is clouding the safety issue.
very well put my friend! and now where this recent solar flare could knock out sat comms + nav satellites wont you guys be happy that you did not toss your ssb?
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Old 17-02-2011, 12:33   #52
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Solar flares, according to my propagation gadgets, seem to nuke some frequencies and make others work much better. Ah, ionosphere...is there anything you can't do?
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Old 17-02-2011, 12:39   #53
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yes it does that exactly! so when a sat frequency is nuked you have to wait unlike ssb where you change frequency!
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Old 18-02-2011, 07:02   #54
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yes it does that exactly! so when a sat frequency is nuked you have to wait unlike ssb where you change frequency!

LOL

You're really relying on thin threads to hold this old argument together.
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Old 18-02-2011, 07:45   #55
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The following is opinion.

[opinion]

I find it interesting that cruising sailors will take classes in diesel maintenance, spend hours learning sail trim, keep meticulous records on fuel and propane consumption, and learn the ins and outs of battery chemistry but can't be bothered to understand HF propagation and radio operation.

I guess the attraction of technological hardware that you can pick up and dial just like a cell phone overwhelms the greater benefits of a well-designed and installed HF/SSB radio system.

[/opinion]

Observational fact in delivery after delivery with side-by-side satellite phones and SSB radios, including all the vageries of installations over which I had no control, have made it clear to me that HF/SSB radios consistently outperform satellite phones at lower life-cycle cost.

Back to opinion

[opinion]

Satellite phones have their place. If you have elderly parents or such at home that require direct dial capability sat phones are the best answer. While ShipCom (taking over from AT&T High Seas) offers ship-to-shore phone calls for less than the cost of a sat phone call, the shore-to-ship system could easily be confusing to landbound friends and family.

For anything else, SSB outperforms.

[/opinion]
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Old 18-02-2011, 09:05   #56
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LOL

You're really relying on thin threads to hold this old argument together.
nope sorry not relying my friend just facts.it happened years ago now will be worst!
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Old 18-02-2011, 09:08   #57
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The following is opinion.

[opinion]
At least someone here isn't shooting the breeze with bulldust. And I thank you for your opinions.

The fool 'facts' spouted by others of falling spacecraft, and evil CIA conspiracy et al do a disservice to peoples good or well fouunded opinions.

If your opinion of the people you install HF and Sat phone in YOUR AREA using HF more than Sat phone thats a good opinion!

It just gets annoying to me when people think the rest of the world has the same HF coverage as the few hundred miles off the United States coast.

Cruisers cruise! The ones I meet go many thousands of miles into many and all the different oceans of the world. They may be US citizens, but as soon as they are out of those waters they are world citizens like everyone else out at sea.

Also an opinion to be noted is those fitting out their boat for a 10 year cruise ought think of the technology thats going to be best use to them in 2 or more years time when they finally get into the Western pacific, Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean, Southern Atlantic, Mediterranean etc.

Its not good going into the electronic shop in Tonga and saying you're out of effective HF coverage and now need a satelite phone. The guy will look at you with a blank face and ask if you need a new black and white TV!


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Old 18-02-2011, 09:31   #58
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If your opinion of the people you install HF and Sat phone in YOUR AREA using HF more than Sat phone thats a good opinion!


I certainly haven't been everywhere in the world. Over the last 20 years with time in the North Atlantic, North Sea, Barents, Skagerak, Med, Hawaii my experience with HF radio is better than with consumer grade sat phones. Our backup on USG programs with really nice high-bandwidth satellite connections (that are quite good but not price-sensitive) was HF radio, not Iridium.

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Its not good going into the electronic shop in Tonga and saying you're out of effective HF coverage and now need a satelite phone.


Doesn't the reverse hold true as well? If someone crosses the Pacific and is ready to throw their phone over the side won't getting a decent radio be equally hard? If it isn't perhaps that is an indication that HF radio is more reliable ... okay that was poking. *grin*

Depending on one's cruising plans it does make sense to really pay attention to what has a demonstrated track record. My side-by-side experience with sat phones and HF/SSB is clear. Apparently yours is different -- you do have side-by-side experience, yes?
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Old 18-02-2011, 09:35   #59
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Observational fact in delivery after delivery with side-by-side satellite phones and SSB radios, including all the vageries of installations over which I had no control, have made it clear to me that HF/SSB radios consistently outperform satellite phones at lower life-cycle cost.
Here's my observational fact on my boat (on which I have full control of the installation): For the purpose of the daily download of approximately 100Kbytes of weather data and other email, Iridium satphone consistently outperforms SSB Sailmail or Winlink. For talking with my wife back at home, satphone works best. For the purpose of running the Pacific Cup morning and afternoon nets, SSB is great and satphone is useless.

I think it depends on what you want to do, and what you are willing to spend.
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Old 18-02-2011, 10:51   #60
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For the purpose of the daily download of approximately 100Kbytes of weather data and other email, Iridium satphone consistently outperforms SSB Sailmail or Winlink. For talking with my wife back at home, satphone works best. For the purpose of running the Pacific Cup morning and afternoon nets, SSB is great and satphone is useless.
Interesting. I don't understand why you have better luck with sat phones than SSB. What weather products do you use? What is your SSB installation like? Where are you? If you're on my side of the country we can pick a time and place to meet and do some more side-by-side comparisons.
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