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Old 17-10-2012, 05:41   #16
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

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Originally Posted by Ozbullwinkle View Post
I'm not trying to create thread drift but just throwing another option into the mix for your consideration.

Instead of buying a SSB receiver which will be useless to you in an emergency have you looked at the Iridium Extreme Satphone which not only gives you worldwide communication ability through the Iridium network but it also gives you the added very valuable feature of yacht tracking to enable those on shore like family and friends to keep track of your progress and current position. If you also add the Accesspoint accessory this will give you WiFi access to onboard equipment like laptops & iPads etc so that you will have full internet access for weather reports etc.

We have just purchased one of these satphones after looking at all of the options in the marketplace. If we had not also required long range communication functionality for a forthcoming Pacific crossing we would have gone for the Delorme inReach which is very impressive and cost effective but this only gives you yacht tracking with SMS ability and a SOS function.
Interesting Oz, what was the total cost on those two bits of hardware with the monthly plan?
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Old 17-10-2012, 05:44   #17
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Thank you Dan, that will be extremely helpful once I have all these pieces in place. So if different gov'ts issue these, who's do I look to say mid-Pacific/Atlantic/Indian Ocean or does each gov't tend to issue a world map of weather instead of just local?

Ds I'll take a look at both those options. Have plenty of room, but since now just the mentioning of "ham" has scared me off. Will have to do some research!
World schedule here--

www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf
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Old 17-10-2012, 06:00   #18
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

If you don't want to make your own cable, you can just buy one of these...
Amazon.com: Live Wire 3.5mm TRS Patch Cable Black 5 Feet: Electronics

Connect to the "out" jack on the radio, and to the "mic in" jack on your computer, tune the radio to the right frequency, fire up the software, and voila! You're in business.
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Old 17-10-2012, 06:27   #19
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

I have had good success with using my ipad and receiving noaa weather fax with the ipad app. I believe it was done by blackcat.

You do not even need a cable. Just put the microphone by the ipad ( I use an external speaker) and wait while the signal goes through. You can then save the image and review at your leisure.

The only issue that I have had is that the ssb is getting interference from my solar booster which I am trying to remedy.

Jeff
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Old 17-10-2012, 22:45   #20
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

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Interesting Oz, what was the total cost on those two bits of hardware with the monthly plan?
Picked up a new Iridium Extreme with 500 minutes of airtime for US$1,100. Have not bought the Accesspoint accessory yet but will do so.

Steve
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Old 17-10-2012, 23:45   #21
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

You can buy a Ham Radio like an ICOM 718 and get transmit as well as receive for $400. The radio receives fine if you run a wire up the backstay, maybe even if you hook it to the backstay without a tuner. When you get rich and maybe even famous you can add the stuff you'll need to transmit. To get on the air you'll need a tuner, insulated backstay or other antenna and a ground plane but the set up is way cheaper than a marine HF. Of course you need a Ham General License to talk but the tests aren't all that hard if you study with the online practice exams. The radio can be opened up to transmit on all HF freq's with a minor modification. Not legal to do so but can use in an emergency.
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Old 18-10-2012, 06:00   #22
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

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You can buy a Ham Radio like an ICOM 718 and get transmit as well as receive for $400. The radio receives fine if you run a wire up the backstay, maybe even if you hook it to the backstay without a tuner. When you get rich and maybe even famous you can add the stuff you'll need to transmit. To get on the air you'll need a tuner, insulated backstay or other antenna and a ground plane but the set up is way cheaper than a marine HF. Of course you need a Ham General License to talk but the tests aren't all that hard if you study with the online practice exams. The radio can be opened up to transmit on all HF freq's with a minor modification. Not legal to do so but can use in an emergency.

Are you telling me that with just the Icom radio and NO TUNER I can do recieve only SSB? I thought you needed the tuner for recieve as well as transmit?
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Old 18-10-2012, 06:24   #23
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

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Are you telling me that with just the Icom radio and NO TUNER I can do recieve only SSB? I thought you needed the tuner for recieve as well as transmit?
That's what he is telling you. You do not need a tuner for receive only.

You would no doubt get better reception with a tuner and/or a tuned length antenna. But for basic reception of weatherfax and listening in on the various nets, just a long piece of wire will be adequate.
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Old 18-10-2012, 06:45   #24
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

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That's what he is telling you. You do not need a tuner for receive only.

You would no doubt get better reception with a tuner and/or a tuned length antenna. But for basic reception of weatherfax and listening in on the various nets, just a long piece of wire will be adequate.

Im sitting at my nav table at the dock in Annapolis right now. I have a Kaito KA1103 reciever. I have a length of 12AWG wire with a 1/8" jack soldered to one end and the wire runs aft to the base of my mizzen maybe 15'. then up inside the mizzen 30' and out the top where a bare section of the wire is clamped to an insulated triatic stay. I can barely get time signal reception on 10,000Khz. Am waiting till 1430 UTC to try and get weather fax but reception has been a real challenge. Before I upgraded to Windows 7 I could not control volume for some reason. Now when using the headphone jack I can control volume but not with the line out.

At any rate we are less than 2 weeks from heading offshore to teh caribbean and so far have had little success with the SSB recieve/JV Comm method. I suspect my radio is the problem. I would consider installing a proper SSB radio if I could get away with spending just a few hundred on the radio itself and deal with tuned and other bits for transmitting later. I thought you needed the tuner? Would you suspect I would get better reception with an Icom SSB without the tuner than I will with my Kaito?
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Old 18-10-2012, 06:54   #25
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Sitting at the dock you probably have a great deal of electronics generated noise from other boats and perhaps your own. This can be the limiting factor to good reception and a better radio may not help - at the dock. When anchored out, you should get much better reception because of less interference. Your Kaito may do just fine there, a better radio might do a bit better.

You also need to choose your frequencies based on time of day. 10 mHz and above are generally best in daytime, below that better at night but there are varying degrees of overlap.

Chip
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Old 18-10-2012, 08:08   #26
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozbullwinkle View Post
I'm not trying to create thread drift but just throwing another option into the mix for your consideration.

Instead of buying a SSB receiver which will be useless to you in an emergency have you looked at the Iridium Extreme Satphone which not only gives you worldwide communication ability through the Iridium network but it also gives you the added very valuable feature of yacht tracking to enable those on shore like family and friends to keep track of your progress and current position. If you also add the Accesspoint accessory this will give you WiFi access to onboard equipment like laptops & iPads etc so that you will have full internet access for weather reports etc.

We have just purchased one of these satphones after looking at all of the options in the marketplace. If we had not also required long range communication functionality for a forthcoming Pacific crossing we would have gone for the Delorme inReach which is very impressive and cost effective but this only gives you yacht tracking with SMS ability and a SOS function.
What are the purchase costs, the monthly service costs and the airtime costs for this set up?
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Old 18-10-2012, 08:22   #27
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

Starting to get some fuzzy faxes. Can someone tell me what I should be trying to get the spectrum analyzer to look like? Maybe post a photo of what it should be looking like when tuned properly?
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Old 18-10-2012, 08:26   #28
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

One advice I would like to give is to NOT use just a simple "patch" cable to connect receievr's audio out to the computer soundcard's MIC in.

You can get nasty interference from a laptop into the receiver and mess up you weatherfax (or Navtex) signal.

It is better to galvanically decouple both by just insert a tiny 600 Ohm/600 Ohm transformer (a cheap source are the old telephone modem interface cards in older PC's - or radio Shack I guess).

Or buy a commercial interface cable like Buxcom but that is a bit of an overkill if you do not want to use it for TX/RX on digital modes.

Second advice: indeed get a good second hand compact HAM SSB transceiver like Icom 718, Yaesu FT897 or 857, Kenwood 480 or the likes. You will have a far better receiver, they usually work as a receiver with the Mic taken off, they will receive well on a wire antenna without a tuner, with simple wire dipole antennas could be used without a tuner in an emergency situation, and you could get motivated to h=get your HAM ticket...

Jan
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Old 18-10-2012, 10:09   #29
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Re: Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax

I have successfully received WFAX signals with the Kaito KA1103 and JVcomm running on a laptop with Win7. The issues I had to deal with were:

* Audio interface: The Kaito has headphone and line outputs, and the line levels were generally too strong for the computer audio input jack. I ended up making an audio attenuator (with resistors). It is possible to use the headphone output (turning the volume way down), but then I couldn't listen to the radio's speaker. The computer was running off the internal battery, and if I plugged in the charger the audio noise got much worse. A transformer-coupled input might help.

* Fine-tuning the receiver with the little thumbwheel tuner was touchy. Get someone to show you what the JVcomm spectrum analyzer display looks like. You may be able to find some properly-tuned WFAX audio files on-line that you can feed into JCcomm for testing.

* Signal strength and noise levels: You need a good signal, and low noise levels. There's nothing wrong with the Kaito receiver, it will be almost as good as a true communications receiver. You do need to eliminate all local interference (on and off your boat). Listen to all the available WFAX frequencies, propagation varies strongly with the time of day.
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Old 18-10-2012, 11:00   #30
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Starting to get some fuzzy faxes. Can someone tell me what I should be trying to get the spectrum analyzer to look like? Maybe post a photo of what it should be looking like when tuned properly?



I use a ICOM 7000 ham rig but don't get great reception in a marina, varies quite a lot, try early evening
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