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Old 30-12-2012, 15:54   #61
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Pictures are worth 1000 words. Can you find the TRS?? Which weather would you prefer? Note that the GFS model in the grib file underpredicts the max winds around the cyclone by 30k, but who really cares? These were all downloaded for free through Airmail/Winlink.
G'day Don,
I am looking for hf gear & modem for the info you gleaned above for south pacific area. I'm on a budget so just a basic system would be the ticket.
Any suggestions having been there? Cheers & HNY!
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Old 30-12-2012, 16:24   #62
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

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On a forced choice between and weatherfax, I will go with weatherfax which has sea states.
I too prefer the sea state presentation (maybe just habit) of WXFAX, but just FYI, you can get sea state from the GFS and NOGAPS models as part of GRIB data request. With some caveats....

As tends to be the case with their higher speed wind estimates also they both (GFS & NOGAPS) appear to tend to forecast lower than realistic sea states as the seas get bigger, but their general areas for sea state differences are similar to NOAA Forecast products. Thus you can get a nice graphic image of the areas where sea states will likely be bigger but the actual heights are underestimated. For exmaple, if you pull the current 24hour forecast from GFS GRIB and a NOAA WXFAX Wind/Wave chart for the mid-atlantic right now they roughly agree on where the bigger seas will be, but the forecast sea states themselves are dramatically different....like 6ft (GFS) versus 21ft (NOAA WXFAX) !!!! Looking at the winds in those areas now, I would put my money on NOAA's 21ft estimate.

This makes a strong case for not being solely dependent upon GRIB data -- especially when wind and sea states are high.
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Old 30-12-2012, 18:53   #63
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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Pictures are worth 1000 words. Can you find the TRS?? Which weather would you prefer? Note that the GFS model in the grib file underpredicts the max winds around the cyclone by 30k, but who really cares? These were all downloaded for free through Airmail/Winlink.
Yes they do show developed cyclones. I meant TRSs in general. The one that might ruin your day in the near future. I noticed that in Palau, where there are many young TRS events that often develop into killers, that the GRIB images failed to give warning where the text and charts did.
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Old 31-12-2012, 11:44   #64
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

I wrote an article for Bluewater sailing on the subject, I think you can get back issues.
It takes some experience to get good at getting the data you need. I might be able to help you with what works on different budgets. I plan to be in Mexico soon also.
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Detailed How-To By Ed Witts
The best entry into weather forecasting technology. You don′t have to be at sea to get familiar with Navtex forecasts, live weather buoy information, weatherfax, satellite photos, and GRIB files. Lots of examples and pointers. 3 pages.
[Blue Water Sailing, January 2005]
- Order the back issue
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Old 31-12-2012, 12:30   #65
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

ewitts

I forgot about Navtex. Duh. Environment Canada does post them on their website.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:32   #66
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

Another weatherfax option: ssb receiver, patch cord and HF WeatherFax on your ipad or iphone.

Works like a charm.
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Old 06-01-2013, 17:44   #67
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

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I have read all the posts in this thread which is of interest to me as I am preparing for a Pacific crossing from St Martin to Vanuatu in March 2013. I have a new Iridium Satphone with the Accesspoint module which makes the phone a wireless hotspot to enable web access through an onboard laptop.

So, to summarize this is what it appears that I need to do:-

1. Join Sailmail which is $250 per year which will give me a compressed email account which is much more effective in terms of bandwith usage through the Satphone than say a Hotmail email account.

2. Request GRIB files and Weather files through Saildocs which are free of charge. (I assume that these weather files would be synoptic charts - Correct?)

3. Install the Viewfax application on the laptop to view these files which will be transmitted by Saildocs to the Sailmail email account.

4. Once setup I would of course test this setup to become familiar with it prior to setting off on the passage.

Have I got everything covered?

Any other suggestions?

Thanks
Hi guys,

Thanks for the replies so far but I want to clarify further.

Firstly the boat is not equipped with HF radio just the Satphone with Accesspoint to give it wireless hotspot connectivity to the onboard laptop.

1. Sailmail subscription. Am I wrong in my understanding in that I thought that you needed to subscribe to Sailmail to get the compressed email account to keep bandwith down which is the email account that the requested Saildocs files that will be sent to? As I mentioned this would be far better than say using a Hotmail account. Correct?

2. You can download GRIB & Synoptic weather charts through Saildocs? Correct? Any others that are suggested?

Thanks for the tip as well about making sure that Accesspoint dissconnects. Will keep this in mind.
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Old 06-01-2013, 20:17   #68
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I don't have a $250 subscription to sailmail and I get my weather files grib and otherwise just fine from viewfax. The files are sent directly to viewfax they are not emails. If you want to get email while offshore the you should pay the $250. I didn't see the benefit myself as I can live without email just fine on passage. We use the sat phone for txt or voice if we really want to talk to someone when on passage. Can't help with the whole access point questions. I just use a simple 9555 iridium phone with an external antenna. Can't afford the airtime to make my boat a hotspot offshore. We cue up the files we want in viewfax then get a connection on the sat phone then download our files and terminate the connection as soon as possible.
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Old 06-01-2013, 20:25   #69
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

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I don't have a $250 subscription to sailmail and I get my weather files grib and otherwise just fine from viewfax. The files are sent directly to viewfax they are not emails. If you want to get email while offshore the you should pay the $250. I didn't see the benefit myself as I can live without email just fine on passage. We use the sat phone for txt or voice if we really want to talk to someone when on passage. Can't help with the whole access point questions. I just use a simple 9555 iridium phone with an external antenna. Can't afford the airtime to make my boat a hotspot offshore. We cue up the files we want in viewfax then get a connection on the sat phone then download our files and terminate the connection as soon as possible.

Thanks that clears it up. I assumed that the Saildocs came through as an attachment on an email. We will not need email either during the passage and can do any emails when we make landfall during the passage.

Looks like the next stage is to install ViewFax on my laptop then make some Saildoc requests and do some testing with the Satphone to get familiar with the process.
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:44   #70
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

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Thanks that clears it up. I assumed that the Saildocs came through as an attachment on an email. We will not need email either during the passage and can do any emails when we make landfall during the passage.

Looks like the next stage is to install ViewFax on my laptop then make some Saildoc requests and do some testing with the Satphone to get familiar with the process.
What I do is open viewfax hit file, get data, grib files. Choose the sector for the grib. When you choose the area for the grib you will see a file size estimate. If connecting with the sat phone I try to keep that file size under 15kb. This gives me enough data and keeps the sat phone airtime down. If im on wifi I select a much bigger area. I use a small SSB reciever and JVCOMM32 for the weather faxes as getting them through the sat phone takes a lot of data for some reason. There is a ton of files to choose from in the get data tab. Look under the Images section for the NOAA faxes.

I am a huge fan of viewfax and use it nearly every day as long as we have WIFI. Its free and there is a ton of data you can get. There are several grib models to choose from but I primarily use GFS.

Best bet for getting comfortable using viewfax is to install it and use it on you computer with an internet connection. Then once you get the hang of it set up the file you want, connect via sat phone and submit request. Just dont forget to disconnect asap once the file is downloaded.

We have not used it with the sat phone since the passage to the BVI as there is WIFI everywhere in the eastern caribbean. Were in St. Kitts this morning.
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:00   #71
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

Thanks for the info Ted,

Ah St Kitts, really nice island , I was there in November.

I will take your advice and download Viewfax and have a practice run on the net.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 26-01-2013, 04:51   #72
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

H guys, hoping someone can throw some light on this. I have emailed ViewFax support several days ago but have not received a reply.

I have installed Viewfax 5.0.56 & can open Grib files requested by email via Saildocs but when I try File / Get Data in ViewFax itself then I get the following error message no matter what I request.

Exception testing connection. Socket Error # 10013
Access denied
Aborting fetch.

I have a working WiFi connection on my Laptop which is running Win XP as I am trying this from my home.
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Old 26-01-2013, 04:59   #73
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Funny the only time I ever got that error was when I didn't have a good Internet connection. Sometimes I get it if I'm on a weak wifi signal. What files are you trying to get? Have you tried getting others? The NOAA faxes take more bandwidth than the gribs.
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Old 26-01-2013, 05:29   #74
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

For what it's worth, I believe that "ViewFax Support" is just one person; Jim Corenman. He's the guy that wrote it. I assume that he sometimes has other things to do, so support may take a while.

Connection to Saildocs via WiFi is going to be different than connecting through satphone. Make sure you've got the satphone part figured out before you cast off!
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Old 26-01-2013, 05:58   #75
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Re: Best Way For Weather Reports

Hi Ted, I get this error message no matter what file I try with attempts made over several different days - ie I have not received any files at all directly through Get Data in ViewFax. Maybe I should try reinstalling it.

Two I have tried just now - High Seas, Pacific, South Pacific N of 25S

Carribbean, Coastal amz700 Synopsis for Peurto Rico & US Virgin Islands Coastal Waters.

Both of these requests produced this same error.

Paul - thanks for your comments. I will definitely try them through the satphone but I want to get them by WiFi first so that I can determine the ones that I will need for my forthcoming passage.
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