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Old 18-05-2015, 20:24   #16
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

You do not need a transceiver for radiofax.

A transceiver is more for voice communication ship to ship and ship to shore (maybe also ship to air?).

Fantastic tool for those with deep batteries, great grounds and the space to fit the batteries, the grounds, the antenna tuner, the antenna ... ah, yes, let's not forget the radio itself.

If you have one, keep it and use it. If you do not ... look at the alternatives, then jump, or not.

b.
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Old 19-05-2015, 11:37   #17
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

HF radios, both Marine SSB and Ham don't take up much space. The radio transciever and tuner are the big bulky items. The radio can easily be fitted with a mounting bracket almost anywhere on the boat the same as a VHF radio. Most people put them in their Navigation area but can go anywhere they are comfortable to use. The tuner is a water resistant box that can be mounted anywhere near the antenna, the nearer the better to the antenna. Mine is tucked up under the lazarette and takes up space that is essentially a void that nothing else fits into. Essentially, they don't crowd out anything and would work just fine on an 18' boat as a 70'. HF radios do use pretty high amounts of electrons when transmitting. The reality is you don't spend long hours transmitting even using a Pactor modem's digital transmissions. Unless you have a big mouth and have to dominate every conversation with long pontifications, even long radio contacts don't eat up much juice. Yes you will need a battery but current drain is minuscule compared to energy hogs like refrigeration or water-makers. Even a small solar array should more than cover your energy needs.

There is a learning curve to effectively using an HF radio. It's mostly not about actually using the radio but figuring out which frequencies work the best at what times you want to transmit and how far away you want to talk. 20 meters/14mhz is a pretty much universal frequency band for long distance daylight transmission with relatively clear signals. Higher frequencies give much less static and background noise but have had very limited usage because of the suns activity or lack there of. Lower frequencies work fine at shorter ranges in the daytime and longer ranges at night. It all has to do with different propagation effects of the upper atmosphere that change day to night. It's covered in ham licensing exam and will give you a rudimentary ability to work with your radio. The more you play with the radio, the more familiar you will become with which frequencies work best when.

Don't fear the exam for getting a Ham General or Extra license. The online test guides will get you qualified with out spending a lot of time doing it. For me, it was one solid day to get the General. I already had the Technician ticket. I am no electronic genius, btw. When it comes to electricity, still have difficulty figuring out the difference between parallel and series circuits.
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Old 19-05-2015, 11:46   #18
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

Hello, get an MFJ-9420X to get 14300, the marine nets. It's only. $260 brand new and works really well..

Gil


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Old 19-05-2015, 12:13   #19
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

[QUOTE=ozdigennaro;1827986....
Marine VHF is a selection of two meter frequencies, which are commonly used by hams for local communication. Just turn on the radio, choose a channel and talk.

HF is another matter. I think the best way to learn is to take the "Technician" ham license course. You'll get lots of training for a very low cost. Club radios are often available for free. (Join the club!) You'll also get as much personal help as you can handle. Ask for an "Elmer"!......

Oz[/QUOTE]

I think you meant "Ham VHF" not "Marine VHF". Either way, the statement is misleading.

Ham VHF utilizes the 144-148mHz amateur radio band, commonly called, "the two-meter band" and the 219-225mHz band, commonly called the 70cm or 1.25-meter band. These bands allow for voice communication and digital modes as well.

Marine VHF utilizes a portion of the spectrum above the two-meter band, roughly from 156-162 mHz. Voice communication is FM only. Digital modes are also used in this band, namely AIS and DSC.

Here's a chart showing the frequency and mode allocations for amateur radio:

Bill
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Attached Files
File Type: pdf Hambands_color.pdf (346.2 KB, 25 views)
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Old 20-05-2015, 04:06   #20
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
HF radios, both Marine SSB and Ham don't take up much space. The radio transciever and tuner are the big bulky items. The radio can easily be fitted with a mounting bracket almost anywhere on the boat the same as a VHF radio. Most people put them in their Navigation area but can go anywhere they are comfortable to use. The tuner is a water resistant box that can be mounted anywhere near the antenna, the nearer the better to the antenna. Mine is tucked up under the lazarette and takes up space that is essentially a void that nothing else fits into. Essentially, they don't crowd out anything and would work just fine on an 18' boat as a 70'. HF radios do use pretty high amounts of electrons when transmitting. The reality is you don't spend long hours transmitting even using a Pactor modem's digital transmissions. Unless you have a big mouth and have to dominate every conversation with long pontifications, even long radio contacts don't eat up much juice. Yes you will need a battery but current drain is minuscule compared to energy hogs like refrigeration or water-makers. Even a small solar array should more than cover your energy needs.

There is a learning curve to effectively using an HF radio. It's mostly not about actually using the radio but figuring out which frequencies work the best at what times you want to transmit and how far away you want to talk. 20 meters/14mhz is a pretty much universal frequency band for long distance daylight transmission with relatively clear signals. Higher frequencies give much less static and background noise but have had very limited usage because of the suns activity or lack there of. Lower frequencies work fine at shorter ranges in the daytime and longer ranges at night. It all has to do with different propagation effects of the upper atmosphere that change day to night. It's covered in ham licensing exam and will give you a rudimentary ability to work with your radio. The more you play with the radio, the more familiar you will become with which frequencies work best when.

Don't fear the exam for getting a Ham General or Extra license. The online test guides will get you qualified with out spending a lot of time doing it. For me, it was one solid day to get the General. I already had the Technician ticket. I am no electronic genius, btw. When it comes to electricity, still have difficulty figuring out the difference between parallel and series circuits.
Thanks for that. Sounds to me that HF could be fun and useful. I don't see any need for one where I am, just yet, which is basically just coastal cruising. But when I retire in ten years plus a little, I want my boat ready to go. Where exactly, I'm not yet sure. But I'd love to visit Hawaii. So I think by then I'd want to invest in a set.
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Old 21-05-2015, 14:52   #21
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

A lot of good info, nice post!!
I downloaded couple of ham manuals on my kindle and started reading....
Thank you!


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Old 27-05-2015, 11:17   #22
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

Hi Gang,

I'm a new sailor just starting out on my sea bound journey. I studied some Morse Code and started down the route of getting my Ham Radio licence wayyyyyy back in high school a long time ago, and I'm wondering how useful this will be for me today.

I'm reading a book now about a guy who solo-sailed around the world, and it sounds like his Ham radio was a life-line for him. But that was 15 years ago.

So, 2 questions really.
Are Ham Radios still used a lot by cruisers?
Is it also worth learning Morse Code? (If I remember correctly, there was a time when knowing morse to 5 words a minute was mandatory, but I seem to recall they changed that rule, which I think is a shame.)

MG
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Old 27-05-2015, 11:28   #23
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

Morse code is not required now for any ham license. None of the ham marine nets that I am aware of use morse -- it's all SSB. Morse is fun, but just not used for regular marine ham activities. You could certainly work random morse contacts from your boat.

HAM SSB is used by quite a few cruisers. Look at the Pacific Maritime Net and other similar ones, usually on 14.300 MHz. Here's a link: 14300.net
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Old 27-05-2015, 14:02   #24
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

I agree: you do not need to know morse code ("CW").
And if your license has expired, you would need to take the exams over again.

I found it rather straightforward to learn the material. I used
The Fastest Way To Become A Ham - Free Amateur Radio Practice Tests - HamTesting.com
and when I went to take the test, I knew I would pass, because I had already passed five times in practice. I even knew which questions to skip, because I never wanted to memorize what class license was required for which frequencies on each band.

(I agree with the correction to my earlier post about VHF and the two categories of frequencies.)
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Old 27-05-2015, 15:28   #25
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

You would struggle to get anyone on the other end that would understand morse code. So it's pointless learning it. Not sure why you think it's a shame when it's so obsolete?
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Old 27-05-2015, 16:05   #26
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
You would struggle to get anyone on the other end that would understand morse code. So it's pointless learning it. Not sure why you think it's a shame when it's so obsolete?
Listen to the CW (morse code) portions of the ham bands. There's plenty of activity there. People all over the world use it because they enjoy it -- that's all, and that's good enough.

Kind of like a sailboat, right?
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Old 27-05-2015, 16:36   #27
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

CW is alive and well. In fact, interest seems to have grown somewhat after it was no longer mandatory. It is far from obsolete. Just listen to any of the CW portions of the ham bands, the CW contests, and several CW nets.

The CW segment of the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club net ("the Waterway Net") meets daily on 7047 kHz at 0700 Eastern time. All are welcome.

Here are six of the CW enthusiasts at a recent WRCC picnic in Melbourne FL.

Click image for larger version

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By the way, CW is a very efficient mode of operation. It can cut thru QRM (interference) and QRN (static, noise) extremely well, permitting solid communications even in conditions where SSB communication would be spotty.

Just sayin....

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Old 27-05-2015, 16:47   #28
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

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CW is alive and well. In fact, interest seems to have grown somewhat after it was no longer mandatory. It is far from obsolete. Just listen to any of the CW portions of the ham bands, the CW contests, and several CW nets.

The CW portion of the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club net ("the Waterway Net") meets daily on 7047 kHz at 0700 Eastern time. All are welcome.

By the way, CW is a very efficient mode of operation. It can cut thru QRM (interference) and QRN (static, noise) extremely well, permitting solid communications even in conditions where SSB communication would be spotty.

Just sayin....

Bill
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There are enthusiasts clubs for just about every obsolete item you can think off, that doesnt mean it's 'not obsolete'. That just means there are enthusiasts out there. If the op that asked this question is keen on learning Morse to chat with other enthusiasts, then go for it. Absolutely, go and enjoy yourself.

But if the question was about what is useful on a cruising boat, which is what the thread was about, then NO. It's obsolete technology in which if you did spend all the time getting proficient in its use, you would struggle to receive a reply with.
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Old 27-05-2015, 17:03   #29
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
There are enthusiasts clubs for just about every obsolete item you can think off, that doesnt mean it's 'not obsolete'. That just means there are enthusiasts out there. If the op that asked this question is keen on learning Morse to chat with other enthusiasts, then go for it. Absolutely, go and enjoy yourself.

But if the question was about what is useful on a cruising boat, which is what the thread was about, then NO. It's obsolete technology in which if you did spend all the time getting proficient in its use, you would struggle to receive a reply with.
Absolute bunk! I suppose now you're gonna tell me the compass is obsolete because we have GPS, or radar is obsolete because we have AIS.
Nonsense.

Yes, CW is for hobbyists or affectionados. However, just by chance a lot of those ARE ON BOATS. And, if they choose to use CW as their occasional mode of communication, good on 'em.

This is no reason to discourage someone who wants to learn CW, nor is it right to say that CW isn't useful on a boat, or that sextants are obsolete and no longer useful on a boat.

Bill
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Old 27-05-2015, 17:14   #30
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Re: An HF transreceiver on board...

Grouchy grouchy.

We can say that CW is specialized, limited in scope, old school -- but "obsolete" ? No.

It has the advantage of getting a message through with a lower signal-to-noise ratio. Could that be of use on a sailboat? Yes. But rarely.

Learn and use code for fun, for challenge, for bragging rights!

(I got my ham license two months AFTER the code requirement was lifted.)

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