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Old 27-10-2015, 10:27   #16
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

barnakiel,
I really don't want to confuse Robert with too much extraneous stuff...but thought you may not be aware of something here??
You're referring to an AIS receiver-only, equipped VHF radio, such as the Icom M-506, or SH 2150 / 2200....
Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Yes. I agree if I were to buy a transceiver a Vesper blue box is one potential - also because of its waterproofing standards.

But I would lose the dsc to ais capability unless I keep both units.

b.
But, you would NOT lose the ability to automatically/directly call a vessel via DSC with one-touch of a button, assuming you did have a Vesper transponder and an Icom VHF....as the Vesper AIS transponders are actually compatible with the newer Icom VHF radios, and you CAN send a DSC call to the highlighted vessel, with one or two pushes of a button....you do not need to have an AIS receiver built-into the VHF radio to do this...

And, of course, you can manually enter the MMSI# of any vessel into your DSC radio and call them in normal way, at any time....



Again, didn't want to drift this thread around, just wanted to clarify...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 27-10-2015, 11:09   #17
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
barnakiel,
I really don't want to confuse Robert with too much extraneous stuff...but thought you may not be aware of something here??
You're referring to an AIS receiver-only, equipped VHF radio, such as the Icom M-506, or SH 2150 / 2200....
But, you would NOT lose the ability to automatically/directly call a vessel via DSC with one-touch of a button, assuming you did have a Vesper transponder and an Icom VHF....as the Vesper AIS transponders are actually compatible with the newer Icom VHF radios, and you CAN send a DSC call to the highlighted vessel, with one or two pushes of a button....you do not need to have an AIS receiver built-into the VHF radio to do this...

And, of course, you can manually enter the MMSI# of any vessel into your DSC radio and call them in normal way, at any time....



Again, didn't want to drift this thread around, just wanted to clarify...

Fair winds..

John
Yes. But what is fine for me will not be fine for the OP perhaps. Because of what I already have here, in my case this would be the blue box Vesper (Tx/Rx, wifi, IPX, no screen).

I am not sure if the blue box Vesper can pick up a dsc call command from the wifi link (the call would be initiated by Vesper App) and then forward it to an attached DSC VHF radio. (Possibly, on paper, (?) BUT given my experience interfacing things, not all promises made on paper are easy to deploy in onboard implementations.)

This is exactly why I suggested staying within one manufacturer (likely Ray, if the plotter in place is a Ray). Get the parts, get the dealer / technicians fit them. Make sure the functions you desire work as you desire, then pay the bill. In most cases, interfacing things is NOT what an average owner should/can do.

In any case, I love the AIS to DSC function and I used it quite a lot on our last outing. No more typing in those long mmsi numbers, just highlight the desired boat and push the button and voila the call goes out and we can talk.

b.
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Old 27-10-2015, 12:25   #18
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

B,
Again, I don't want to drift this around...
So, back on point...
I misunderstood what you wrote...I thought you were referring to the OP's situation, not yours...


Robert, the OP, wrote that he had a RayNav300 "GPS Plotter", which will not display AIS targets/info...

So, if he wishes to have AIS targets/info on anything other than his computer/tablet, then he will need a display of some type...


Fair winds..

John
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Old 27-10-2015, 14:43   #19
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

My mistake. The RayNav 300 is a GPS at the nav table. At the helm is mounted a plotter Raymarine 530C and a Navman tracker 5100/5100i/5500/5500i (either one, same manual). All connected via SeaTalk. Seller states one can connect a radar directly to the 530C, perhaps more is possible.

Thanks

Robert
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Old 27-10-2015, 15:00   #20
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

Btw, anybody knows what happened to this idea.
Container at Sea Hazard Detection System – Chris Übelacker

I am inclined to only get AIS receiver (as ARC requirement) and maybe a radar instead. If lucky I will detect a container on the radar if it's calm. With AIS? Well, the don't transmit so...
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Old 27-10-2015, 15:14   #21
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

Robert,
For your information, neither the Raymarine 530C, nor the Navman 5100/5500, will display AIS targets/info....they are not designed to do so / were designed before the AIS system was fully implemented!
So, even if you wanted to go with an AIS system (either transponder or receiver-only), you will need some form of display for the AIS targets/info! (such as the Vesper WatchMate, or the Icom M-506, etc...just be assured that the Vesper WatchMates are by far the best AIS displays / systems out there!!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob666 View Post
My mistake. The RayNav 300 is a GPS at the nav table. At the helm is mounted a plotter Raymarine 530C and a Navman tracker 5100/5100i/5500/5500i (either one, same manual). All connected via SeaTalk. Seller states one can connect a radar directly to the 530C, perhaps more is possible.
Also, while the "R" in the RC530 stands for Radar, it's been more than a decade since I've seen one, and then it was a repeater for an RL80RC radar...so not sure if you could connect a Raymarine radar scanner directly to it or not...
BUT...
But, even more importantly is that if you can, you would only be able to connect/use the old "Pathfinder" analog radar scanners which haven't been manufactured in years, so you'd need to buy used (and understand that old magnetrons can be problematic...)




Robert, bottom line is that you have a rather eclectic / odd mix of electronics on-board....and if it works, that's great!!
Use them and be happy!!!
But, if some, or most of it, is not functioning properly, sourcing parts and/or finding service for them will be difficult... And, adding functions to these older units is unfortunately all but impossible...so, "upgrading" is usually a rather expensive undertaking!



I hope this helps..

Fair winds..

John
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Old 28-10-2015, 16:37   #22
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post

4) As for a Weather info and NOT needing a PACTOR modem....
The best maritime weather info/forecasts available, considered the "Gold Standard" by most offshore mariners worldwide, are provided by the US NWS/NOAA, the UK Met Office, French Met Office, Aus and NZ Met Offices, etc. (Further info/forecasts from Germany, Russia, Japan, China, Korea, S. Africa, Chile, etc. etc..)
These are real human-derived, maritime forecasts / weather charts, not just raw computer-model data...
And, these are all transmitted over HF Radio, for FREE, worldwide, 365 days a year, by very powerful transmitters...
They can be easily received by any Marine "SSB" radio, and shown on your laptop/computer or even iPad, etc. for FREE....

5) AIS transponder (sending your position out to others), is like 95% of marine electronics....whether it is a "need" or a "want", is dependent on two things:
--- Where and How, are you sailing/cruising??
--- What is your budget, and will the AIS transponder (at about $600 - $900) fit in your budget??
Watched your videos John, e.g.:
https://youtu.be/Pr7Lsprp8Mo

Interesting.

We are going to sail from Sweden to Las Palmas and from there to the Caribbean. And then back to Sweden. Sailing in the Baltic Sea we listen to VHF weather which is free and gives a detailed prognosis for today and max two days ahead for a rather narrow area.

Not sure what to go for regarding weather info. Neither one of us are meteorologists. Not sure if one must gain such high knowledge, but we appreciate we need to learn lots though.

ARC states they will email weather info. Will they email lots of kilobytes or just short text messages? Will check with them.

I am rather inclined towards going for some kind of satellite solution, rather than having to buy, mount and learn about SSB.

Again, ARC require AIS receiver so the VHF you recommend will probably be good.

Inclined to skip radar, AIS transponder and forward looking sonar.

I read a bit about Spot. Hard to Google, didn't find Spot go. On their homepage very little is being mentioned about getting weather? Same goes for Delorme.

Regards,

Robert
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Old 29-10-2015, 10:55   #23
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

Robert,
I'm off to a lunch meeting, so need to be brief!

I think you are mixing up some systems and their actual capabilities....as well as placing too much faith in both the ARC being able to get you excellent weather info/forecasts, and in some of the technology used...
(understand that I LOVE sat comm! I've made an excellent living in the sat comm industry for > 30 years now....but, there are many limitations, yes, most can be overcome with $$$$$, but most of us don't have unlimited $$$$$!!!)


I will give you some details later....but, for now understand that the "Spot" is NOT going to give you anything useful....and NO weather!
(the Iridium GO, is a nice piece of kit...for what it is and does....more of a "data only / sat-phone device"....but, it also has many limitations!)


Good news is that what weather you're now getting via VHF, is typical of what you'd get with NAVTEX, only in "text" rather than voice...


Again, more later!

Fair winds...

John
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Old 30-10-2015, 09:48   #24
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

Robert,
I got busy and never got back to you yesterday...sorry about that!

1) When you started this thread it was to inquire about the radios, etc. available / necessary....but, we've expanded a bit to cover not just the radios/systems, but also what they're used for...as well as how to obtain weather info/forecasts...

And, in that vein, please understand that while learning about and understanding weather and weather forecasts is important, there is no need for you to become meteorologists in order to safely and happily understand your weather and sail offshore!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob666 View Post
Not sure what to go for regarding weather info. Neither one of us are meteorologists. Not sure if one must gain such high knowledge, but we appreciate we need to learn lots though.
And, this very fact that most sailors/cruisers are not weather experts, reinforces the recommendation to use weather info/forecasts actually prepared by experienced maritime meteorologists!! (real professional humans, that have been doing this for years/decades!....and the US NWS/NOAA folks actually sign their name to each forecast, so each and every day their personal reputation, as well as that of the NWS, is on the line for the public to see/judge!)

The charts that are drawn and forecast prepared by these folks, as well as those of the UK Met office, etc., are available to you for FREE, 365 days a year, worldwide....whether offshore or in a harbor....transmitted by powerful transmitters...
And, this contrasts to the "GRIB files", which are the raw computer model data/charts (with no human connection at all), which you need an expensive modem, or expensive sat comm gear, and a paid subscription, to access/download...

The reason I made the "Offshore Weather" videos was that few were actually reading the details of postings....
But, it is all explained here...please have a look:
Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts






2) Now, as for the procedures/equipment, etc....
Here is a very brief overview:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
..if you want a VERY brief outline, here it is...
{please note that while many do not consider a good on-board Wi-Fi or 3G/4G/Cellular data, system to be part of their "electronic safety and communications gear", it CAN be....and I'm making the assumption that this gear is already a part of their gear on-board...allowing them easy access to weather info/data when in port, at anchor, or along populated near-shore/coastal areas....but just not designated as "safety" or "comms" gear...}
Quote:
Originally Posted by msponer
I would love to have a conversation with you guys about what you feel 'the best' set of electronic safety and communication gear is for various budgets. Say for a $10k, $5k, and $1k budget, assuming only a VHF radio is already on the boat.
"Only a VHF radio" will not do anymore....
It needs to be a DSC-VHF Radio, preferably a new Class D VHF-DSC Radio...

A) You start with the $1k budget...(in order of importance)
--- 406mhz EPIRB ($400 - $450)
--- DSC-VHF radio ($200 - $500),
--- GPS ($20 - $100),
--- portable SW receiver (w/ BFO for SSB and WeFax reception) ($50 - $120),
--- handheld DSC-VHF radio ($200-$250)
The above is about $900 - $1100, depending on brand/model, and what you already have on-board...


B) In addition to the above, for the $5000 budget, in order of importance...(you can add as much as $4000 worth of communications / electronic safety gear, to the above list)
--- MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephone, i.e. "Marine SSB" ($2500 - $3000, including antennas and ground system)
--- Class B AIS Transponder (Vesper Watchmate 850, at $800 - $900)

--- depending on WHERE you are cruising/sailing, to round out your comms gear / electronics safety gear under your budget, you have a few choices....(in order of my recommendation/preference)
Pick on, two or all three depending on price and how they fit into your budget:
- a second 406mhz EPIRB, or,
- a second DSC-VHF radio, or,
- a used Iridium handheld sat phone....(and you'll need an ext. antenna for it as well, and depending on the exact price of the sat phone, this might push you beyond your budget)



C) For those with BIG $10k budgets, in addition to all the above...there are two "paths" now....one is "safety" and one is "communications", as now their functionality diverges a bit...you pick one "path" and can spend the additional $5k...

Under the "safety" path:
--- INMARSAT C (about $3000-$3500)
--- either a second 406mhz EPIRB or a second DSC-VHF radio (if you did NOT choose them in the above "$5k budget")
--- handheld Iridium sat phone, w/ ext. antenna (if you did NOT choose them in the above "$5k budget")
--- electronic / active radar reflector (aka Radar Target Enhancer)....(about $900 - $1000)

Under the "communications" path:
--- INMARSAT FB150, or Iridium Pilot (~ $4500 - $5000)
--- a used handheld Iridium sat phone (if you didn't add it in either of the earlier "budgets")


All of the above assumes that the vessel is already equipped with all of the "required" nav lights, horn, signaling devices, flares, etc....and that the owner/sailor/crew know at least the basics of how all of the above works (which ANY layperson can learn for FREE in just a couple hours!!!)
And, to be perfectly clear, there would be variations to these recommendations, based on WHERE someone was sailing/cruising, and for HOW LONG they'd be there, and WHAT TIME OF YEAR, etc...
As, systems like NAVTEX is GREAT in the Med, and some other locales, but of little use across oceans, etc...
As well, as variations due to other "communications needs", such as whether the needed business communications, etc..


And remember, while many do not consider a good on-board Wi-Fi or 3G/4G/Cellular data, system to be part of their "electronic safety and communications gear", it CAN be....and I'm making the assumption that this gear is already a part of their gear on-board...allowing them easy access to weather info/data when in port, at anchor, or along populated near-shore/coastal areas....
And, here are some recent discussions, where communications, and weather forecast, procedures / equipment are laid out in detail and priorities are explained...as well as various budgets...
(understand that each of these links is a different post, with different info, even if they show up here with the same subject titles..)
The Perfect Setup

Cruising Comms Set Up!

Communications equipment

Communications equipment

Communications equipment


Have to haves and wants

Guide to Marine Electronics

The Perfect Setup

AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn




3) Regarding sat comm gear and "SSB"....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob666 View Post
I am rather inclined towards going for some kind of satellite solution, rather than having to buy, mount and learn about SSB.
Please understand that they do two completely different things....they are compatible with each other, and are not comparable...

I know that for newcomers, when speaking specifically about "weather" info/forecasts, the actual means of obtaining these forecasts seems to show a choice of "SSB" or "Sat Com", but in reality you will already have the SSB on-board (for a host of other reasons, not the least of which is safety/distress comms, and communications with other boats), so the "choice" is really:
a) WeFax charts vs. GRIBS...
b) Sat Comm gear vs. PACTOR modem...

Most will choose WeFax charts (as they're the "gold standard")....but then the choice is, do you want to spend the $$$$ on sat comm gear or PACTOR modem to download WeFax charts that are already available over-the-air for free??? (once this is explained, most say no...)

Or do you also desire to send/receive e-mail while offshore, on passage???
And here is where "personal preference" / "lifestyle choices" begin to take precedence over "what works"....because you've already taken care of the safety/distress stuff with EPIRB and SSB, and have already gotten the obtaining of reliable weather info/forecasts solved...and now it's about "do we want to be bothered with e-mail while we are offshore on passage??" (and this is a question you must answer for yourselves....and remember that the costs of this can be only a few hundred dollars for an Iridium GO, InReach, etc. which allow just SMS and short e-mails with no attachments....or as much as $1500-$2000 for a full-featured Iridium sat phone/data kit/ext. ant, or a PACTOR modem....so be sure to make your choice based on what your lifestyle choice is AND on your own budget!!)



{BTW, notice I mention SSB, DSC, EPIRB, WeFax, Iridium, "sat comm", etc. (all of which work well!)....but no mention of "SPOT"...
And that's because "SPOT" will do nothing substantial for you, except allow you to send out a "we're okay" message, but this tends to worry people on shore (when you don't send one out on schedule) and becomes a rather intrusive thing to do (always letting everyone know where you at / what you are doing...) }


I do hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 30-10-2015, 13:47   #25
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

I think every sailor (just as much as any other outdoor sportsperson) will benefit from understanding basic meteorology. Such basic understanding may come as a natural process (something acquired more than learned) to anyone into outdoors. It will not come this way to anyone working seven eleven at a desk.

The more involved the sport (racing, offshore, etc.) the higher the importance of understanding and knowing as much about this factor as possible. Less involved styles of sailing (inshore, cruising) still benefit sure but a sharp eye on wx reports and forecasts as available thru main distribution channels (windguru etc.) is probably all it takes.

I know at times we are tempted to believe we can learn anything but frankly I hardly ever find this is the case. From time to time I teach a meteo class to sailing people and I find only very few people are able to get the message. This is due to our lack of understanding of basic physics, geography, etc. without which one cannot understand what and how happens with the wx. This is also a fault of many educational systems, where stress is placed on remembering rather than on understanding. But you cannot remember tomorrow's weather.

So this is my mini wx side track away from VHF VSR SSB and TNT.

Big sunny hug to all those in sun driven boats.

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Old 30-10-2015, 15:38   #26
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

Lot's of good advice here. It seems most people over-invest in electronics they use sparingly later. My suggestion is to go with a minimal set:

1. VHF with DSC, two radio's, one in the cabin, one portable. You will use these most of the time. AIS is optional. If you are close to shore, you can get an app on the phone that gives you excellent info, provided you have cell coverage. Offshore, it is not that useful. If you do get AIS, make sure it has a display (for low power monitoring and alarms) and you can plot the output on a chart plotter or tablet. Used hourly.

2. Satellite phone, for example Iridum Go. You can get weather, GRIBs, routing info, keep in touch with friends and family, you can have a friend (or a service) to do the weather routing for you, you can keep up with the news. Used daily.

3. High gain antenna/access point ($150) to connect to open Wifi in marina's you visit. Sometimes you can make connections from a mile away. Used non-stop when close to shore.

Everything below is heavily optional or at least, it would be sparingly used.

4. SSB receive ($100) fed to your laptop for weather. It will not always work, one more device to charge, etc. but it is free. I would not bother unless you are really bored. I have used mine once or twice successfully.

4. SSB transceiver ($4,000 installed)... you must really like to pass time talking to fellow sailors or do extended cruising. Don't have one. In my experience, it is easier to call/text them on Iridium. At $1 per minute / $0.10 per text it is not that expensive.

5. Radar... useful in some areas. Overall a good device to have but not essential.
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Old 31-10-2015, 11:54   #27
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

Firstly, the categorisation of things done by John and others above is excellent. Clarifies the subject a lot!

My below remarks are perhaps a bit premature, but it's an interesting subject so couldn't resist posting now already

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
Lot's of good advice here. It seems most people over-invest in electronics they use sparingly later. My suggestion is to go with a minimal set:

1. VHF with DSC, two radio's, one in the cabin, one portable. You will use these most of the time. AIS is optional. If you are close to shore, you can get an app on the phone that gives you excellent info, provided you have cell coverage. Offshore, it is not that useful. If you do get AIS, make sure it has a display (for low power monitoring and alarms) and you can plot the output on a chart plotter or tablet. Used hourly.
Will get VHF with DSC for sure (had it in previous boat). Got a handheld and a spare iCom without DSC that I will stowe away.

If VHF with integrated AIS, not sure, will decide later. ARC requires AIS reciever, and they recommend transponder.

Tough one. Again, I don't need to decide here and now.

Quote:
2. Satellite phone, for example Iridum Go. You can get weather, GRIBs, routing info, keep in touch with friends and family, you can have a friend (or a service) to do the weather routing for you, you can keep up with the news. Used daily.
Delorme inReach Explorer seems to be a good choice, please? We can be in touch and it's not prohibitely expensive for us. Can we make a phone call with it (emailed them, no answer yet)? Would want that option as our folks are getting pretty old.

I don't understand how you get the weather faxes with it, is it paired via bluetooth to an iPad or computer or how is it being done? The GPS functionality. I've had issue with iPhone apps not showing the same metrics as they do on the Swedish charts so you have to take that into account. Should be the marine way of showing coordinates.

They state you can get NOAA weather fax so ought to be possible somehow. If I get a SSB receiver (please see below) - I would like both options (Delorme + SSB receiver) to print on a weatherfax unit (like John's movie), preferrably integrated with Navtex as well. (I hope I am being realistic here!)
¨
For Mayday, the Delorme inReach is using the GEOS network. Don't recall if that's as good as anything else, from the SSB course, I know we discussed it and briefly touched the subject of satellites.

We will adhere to ARC regulations and carry EPIRB as well, possible PLBs even.

Quote:
3. High gain antenna/access point ($150) to connect to open Wifi in marina's you visit. Sometimes you can make connections from a mile away. Used non-stop when close to shore.
I wouldn't have though so, thanks for that. In the archipelago here in the Baltic Sea, when we get a bit far out, the 3G reception gets pretty bad so I've used a lanyard to raise the iPhone to the mast top+turn on internet sharing, not while sailing of course, but when at anchor.

Something more stable needed, like you suggest + if I can get the 3G reception at the mast top as well (without having to get the iPhone up there!), I know of dongles that do this but when I have to put a double SIM card at the mast top. Perfectly ok in Swedish waters, but if I purchase a cheap cash SIM card in say Bahamas, I would have to get up to the mast top every time we change country there.

Quote:
4. SSB receive ($100) fed to your laptop for weather. It will not always work, one more device to charge, etc. but it is free. I would not bother unless you are really bored. I have used mine once or twice successfully.
I was not even thinking about this option when posting this thread. Then I recalled being 10 years old and playing with a world band receiver. Sometimes you got these weather faxes and morse transmissions in your ear, sounded terrible.

I though this was more or less mandatory equipment (If you opt-out from SSB)? I think Navtex at least will be useful in European waters, so I googled and saw you can buy a combined navtex/weatherfax(HF) receiver.

John's advice in a youtube movie makes sense - in high seas I wouldn't want to do too much laptop work at the nav station, easier to get a strip of paper to bring to the cockpit for comparing with charts, discussing with the crew etc.

This is a jungle, there are many units to choose from. I will go for a high quality unit if I decide to take this path. Is it good to have all functions in one device (=SSB receive + printer)? What about antenna? If it requires ATU I might as well buy a SSB radio (I have the license, but a while ago, so need to refresh my knowledge).

Can you just jack up the antenna on the running backstay without ATU and get good-enough signal for the weatherfax? Separate antenna, don't know, any good? We just have an aft pulpit but we'll fit a "targabåge" (Swedish) = "a specific type of railing mounted on open boats":
Untitled Page.

I might survive with the satellite unit only, but I would iike rendundancy as well. And this is not super-expensive, could buy a used unit on eBay maybe.

Quote:
4. SSB transceiver ($4,000 installed)... you must really like to pass time talking to fellow sailors or do extended cruising. Don't have one. In my experience, it is easier to call/text them on Iridium. At $1 per minute / $0.10 per text it is not that expensive.
So I wasn't too far off thinking about not mounting one.
I'd rather try to catch a tuna...

Quote:
5. Radar... useful in some areas. Overall a good device to have but not essential.
Would it be different for me, sailing from Sweden, via the English Channel, to Las Palmas and then over the Atlantic, than for an average American guy?

The English Channel is quite heavily trafficed and there is often fog. But perhaps similar with the American waters. No idea.

I am checking this out at an early stage, we will probably make the most investments in additional/replacement comm and nav equipment in 2017.

Regards,

Robert
Sweden
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Old 15-12-2015, 16:11   #28
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

Robert,
Well, I'm not sure why I didn't see your latest response until
last night....but, sorry about that!!!

So, you're quite welcome!!!

And, while this thread was originally about AIS, we've all moved quite well into discussing all things communications and weather related...so...
So, I'd like to direct you back to my post #24 above, and to all the links in it....read those over and you'll have just about all the info you'll need....but, of course please come back here and ask any more questions and for any clarifications...
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/ais-with-vhf-ssb-155170-2.html#post1949807



In any case, I'd like to ad some additional comment / advice for you...(I realize that you are a year or so, away from sailing across the Atlantic and beyond....but, thought on those long cold nights up there, you could use something fun to read!)


So, here goes....

1) Please look into the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), and their SSCA Discussion Boards, as well as Cruiser's Forum....
You will have access to many 1000's of active, real-world cruisers and ocean voyagers, and you will learn a great deal!!
https://www.ssca.org/#/home/

https://www.ssca.org/forum/index.php




2) Please do not place so much emphasis in what "the ARC" says, does, or requires....while Jimmy Cornell has dome some wonderful things (world cruising routes, guides, noonsite, pilot charts, etc.), the "ARC" and its parent organization (world cruising) is NOT the end-all / be-all of offshore sailing / cruising!!

What I read in your words, seems to suggest that most of your exposure to these subjects is thru their lenses, and I wish you to understand that not only are there many, many more sources of information / advice / recommendation / etc. out here, BUT....
But, that there are actually much better sources!!

This is not to say that you shouldn't consider sailing in the ARC, should you desire the "social aspect" and/or the "cocktail party atmosphere", etc....but, that you should not think of the ARC and their organization as some sort of authority on offshore sailing and ocean voyaging!!!
(nor should you ever consider that sailing in a group such as that, provides any more safety, security, information or advice than sailing alone....as no matter how many boats leave port at the same time, once you are out-of-sight of land, you are on your own!!)




3) Some specifics, in red....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob666 View Post
Will get VHF with DSC for sure (had it in previous boat). Got a handheld and a spare iCom without DSC that I will stowe away.
This is good!



If VHF with integrated AIS, not sure, will decide later.
After sailing for many years (6+ years) with an AIS receiver, including a few Atlantic crossings, I installed an AIS Transponder a few years ago, and I am VERY happy....only regret is that I should have done it sooner!!!

Whether you decide on a VHF-DSC-FM Radiotelephone with an AIS receiver built-in, or not....an AIS transponder is becoming rather ubiquitous...


ARC requires AIS reciever, and they recommend transponder.
As much as I recommend a transponder....please place less emphasis in what the "ARC recommends" / "ARC requires"....
Look at what those out cruising for years have, what they use, what they recommend, etc...as well as those making non-trade-wind ocean crossings (as you will be doing, after heading west-bound across the Atlantic, whether you sail with the ARC or not!)



Satellite phone, for example Iridum Go. You can get weather, GRIBs, routing info, keep in touch with friends and family, you can have a friend (or a service) to do the weather routing for you, you can keep up with the news. Used daily.
Tough one. Again, I don't need to decide here and now.
This is a bit inaccurate....Iridium GO is NOT a phone, but requires you to have a smart phone in order to make voice calls thru it....and then it is expensive and typically less reliable than an Iridium sat phone....

Also, note that once you become fully aware of the capabilities and limitations of these various systems, such as Iridium sat phone, GO, SSB, PACTOR, etc. (please read the links in my earlier posts), most find the choice to be:
Sat phone vs. PACTOR....for their data communications needs, IF they require e-mail connectivity, when beyond the cellular and Wi-Fi coverage!!......as they've already decided on an SSB for other reasons (the best weather info/forecasts, quick/easy two-comms with RCC's/shore stations for both safety/distress as well as fro routine comms, easy 'n cheap voice telephone calls to/from ship-to-shore, etc. etc.)



Delorme inReach Explorer seems to be a good choice, please? We can be in touch and it's not prohibitely expensive for us.
The InReach is a good unit....works well....but understand that it allows only SMS / text messaging...

Can we make a phone call with it (emailed them, no answer yet)? Would want that option as our folks are getting pretty old.
I don't understand how you get the weather faxes with it, is it paired via bluetooth to an iPad or computer or how is it being done? The GPS functionality. I've had issue with iPhone apps not showing the same metrics as they do on the Swedish charts so you have to take that into account.
No...and no...
No, telephone connectivity at all....and no weatherfaxes....

If you desire (or require) two-way, voice, telephone connectivity, when offshore at sea (away from the cellular networks), then your choices are:
a) SSB Radiotelephone (ship-to-shore calls, at $0.99/min, no contract, no minimums, no fees)
b) handheld sat phone...
c) ham radio "phone patches"...(getting pretty rare these days....and limited in what countries you can all on phone)
d) larger sat comm terminals....the ones with the big domes! (think $$$$$)

Waether faxes (WeFax) are transmitted worldwide for FREE....
Use any SSB radio (or even a small SSB receiver) and some free software, and your tablet or laptop, and you've got Wefax's worldwide!!! For FREE!!!
(most mariners consider the wefax's from the US NWS/NOAA to be the "gold standard" of maritime weather info/forecasts!!! With those from the UK, Aus, NZ and German Met Offices to be close to or equal....and those from Japan, Chile, Korea, China, Russia, S. Africa, etc. etc. etc. to be darn good!!! (all infinitely superior to GRIB's!!)

{understand that WeFax charts are drawn by experienced maritime meteorologists....GRIB charts are just the raw computer model data, and worse is that mny who use GRIB's only see charts from one model!!}




If I get a SSB receiver (please see below) - I would like both options (Delorme + SSB receiver) to print on a weatherfax unit (like John's movie), preferrably integrated with Navtex as well. (I hope I am being realistic here!)
Well, unfortunately the InReach will not get you any WeFax's....and while an SSB Receiver and a laptop / tablet will do well for you, receiving/decoding WeFax's, most find using a weather chart on the computer screen to work for them....although some do print them out on paper...

It is only those amateur meteorologists and radio nuts like me (and also professional mariners), who are willing to spend the $$$$ to have a dedicated WeFax unit, which receives and prints out weather charts (and can be programmed to turn on, switch to a specific channel, and print out only the charts that you want....all autonomously)....
My Furuno FAX-408, costs about $2200 USD.....and it works GREAT....but, isn't cost effective for most!



¨
For Mayday, the Delorme inReach is using the GEOS network. Don't recall if that's as good as anything else, from the SSB course, I know we discussed it and briefly touched the subject of satellites.
For distress / mayday....you should learn about the GMDSS!!! (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System)
Which (for distress signaling and safety communications) includes:
406mhz EPIRB
INMARSAT-C
MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephone
VHF-DSC-FM Radiotelephone

(As well as X-band Radar SARSAT, and NAVTEX weather...)


InReach, Iridium sat phones, GO, SPOT, etc. etc. are NOT Distress signaling devices and are NOT reliable to use as such....



We will adhere to ARC regulations and carry EPIRB as well, possible PLBs even.
This is good....but please read this info!
EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

(and here again, please remember that there is more than "the ARC" to advise you!!)




High gain antenna/access point ($150) to connect to open Wifi in marina's you visit. Sometimes you can make connections from a mile away. Used non-stop when close to shore.
I wouldn't have though so, thanks for that. In the archipelago here in the Baltic Sea, when we get a bit far out, the 3G reception gets pretty bad so I've used a lanyard to raise the iPhone to the mast top+turn on internet sharing, not while sailing of course, but when at anchor.

Something more stable needed, like you suggest + if I can get the 3G reception at the mast top as well (without having to get the iPhone up there!), I know of dongles that do this but when I have to put a double SIM card at the mast top. Perfectly ok in Swedish waters, but if I purchase a cheap cash SIM card in say Bahamas, I would have to get up to the mast top every time we change country there.

Try Wilson Electronics for a "cellular booster"....this places a cellular antenna at the masthead or spreader, and an interior antenna in the cabin or even in the bilge (directly below the external antenna), with a two-way amplifier/booster connecting the two antennas....
Wilson Electronics & weBoost Cell Phone Signal Boosters, Repeaters & Antennas
https://www.wilsonamplifiers.com/ag-soho-marine-kit-for-boats-60db-3g-wireless-841246/

This is THE solution for long-range cellular/3G/4G/LTE connections....(but, getting the antennas separated / isolated is the key to making it work optimally!!)


As for Wi-Fi, try IslandtimePC....
http://islandtimepc.com/marine_wifi.html




SSB receive ($100) fed to your laptop for weather. It will not always work, one more device to charge, etc. but it is free. I would not bother unless you are really bored. I have used mine once or twice successfully.

I was not even thinking about this option when posting this thread. Then I recalled being 10 years old and playing with a world band receiver. Sometimes you got these weather faxes and morse transmissions in your ear, sounded terrible.

I though this was more or less mandatory equipment (If you opt-out from SSB)? I think Navtex at least will be useful in European waters, so I googled and saw you can buy a combined navtex/weatherfax(HF) receiver.
There are many threads here about SSB Receivers....below are just two from this week....

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/looking-for-help-with-ssb-receiver-only-157462.html#post1983476

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/ssb-reciever-157628.html



NAVTEX, is great for the Med and EU/UK....but will not work, nor provide weather info when further offshore, or crossing oceans....
NAVTEX is a good idea....


And, there is a LOT of info about SSB, etc., here...
Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)





John's advice in a youtube movie makes sense - in high seas I wouldn't want to do too much laptop work at the nav station, easier to get a strip of paper to bring to the cockpit for comparing with charts, discussing with the crew etc.
It is only those amateur meteorologists and radio nuts like me (and also professional mariners), who are willing to spend the $$$$ to have a dedicated WeFax unit, which receives and prints out weather charts (and can be programmed to turn on, switch to a specific channel, and print out only the charts that you want....all autonomously)....
My Furuno FAX-408, costs about $2200 USD.....and it works GREAT....but, isn't cost effective for most!

Most find using a weather chart on the computer screen to work for them....although some do print them out on paper...so, using a tablet or laptop connected to your Icom M-802 (or SSB Receiver) will work well for you, without spending too much money!!!
This is a jungle, there are many units to choose from. I will go for a high quality unit if I decide to take this path. Is it good to have all functions in one device (=SSB receive + printer)? What about antenna? If it requires ATU I might as well buy a SSB radio (I have the license, but a while ago, so need to refresh my knowledge).
No tuner/ATU needed for an SSB Receiver....
For details, please read the thread referenced above, and follow the links there....

Can you just jack up the antenna on the running backstay without ATU and get good-enough signal for the weatherfax?
Usually, yes...

Separate antenna, don't know, any good? We just have an aft pulpit but we'll fit a "targabåge" (Swedish) = "a specific type of railing mounted on open boats":
Untitled Page.




SSB transceiver ($4,000 installed)... you must really like to pass time talking to fellow sailors or do extended cruising. Don't have one. In my experience, it is easier to call/text them on Iridium. At $1 per minute / $0.10 per text it is not that expensive
Actually, here in US the prices are MUCH lower!!
Approx. $2650 USD all-in, installed!!

M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Specifications - Icom America

http://www.docksideradio.com/Icom%20SSB%20Radios.htm



So I wasn't too far off thinking about not mounting one.
I'd rather try to catch a tuna...



Radar... useful in some areas. Overall a good device to have but not essential.
Would it be different for me, sailing from Sweden, via the English Channel, to Las Palmas and then over the Atlantic, than for an average American guy?

The English Channel is quite heavily trafficed and there is often fog. But perhaps similar with the American waters. No idea.
Radar, yes....



I am checking this out at an early stage, we will probably make the most investments in additional/replacement comm and nav equipment in 2017.

Regards,

Robert
Sweden



I hope this helps.....more later...and as needed...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 15-12-2015, 17:22   #29
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Re: AIS with VHF/SSB

--- handheld Iridium sat phone, w/ ext. antenna

Why would a person want need the ext. antenna???
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