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Old 30-08-2015, 11:54   #16
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

Nice to hear from another happy Navtex user. Most American sailors I talk to have never heard of it, although European sailors seem more knowledgeable.

I learned of it from cruising friends who spent six years in the Med. Said the English language broadcasts were their principal source of weather info.
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Old 30-08-2015, 20:21   #17
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

Best and or cheapest weather information depends on where you cruise. Close to the US you can pick up weather reports 24/7 on your VHF.
If you are in range of wifi, you can get loads of weather info on your computer or phone.
As far away as the Bahamas you can get weather on your chartplotter with Sirius weather service, and it is really nice. You need to buy the hardware, and pay a monthly subscription.
If you travel farther away then you want to buy a satphone and/or a SSB radio so you can download weather fax and GRIB files and listen to Chris Parker. Subscribers can get custom forecasts from Chris before each passage. Each incremental improvement comes with a cost, of course.
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Old 30-08-2015, 21:44   #18
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

he asked for a cheap way (~$60) to get weather and everyones answer is a $3000 SSB radio and $thousands more for a proper install with antenna and grounding plate... and a computer. not quite what he was asking for..
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Old 30-08-2015, 22:43   #19
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

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he asked for a cheap way (~$60) to get weather and everyones answer is a $3000 SSB radio and $thousands more for a proper install with antenna and grounding plate... and a computer. not quite what he was asking for..
I don't think 'everyone' did say that.....

However $60 won't delivery the goods.... sub $200 maybe ....

Take your pic of the SSB capable radios in this list..

Shortwave Portable Radio Receivers

There are about 6 to choose from... the 660 is listed at $110

One assumes the OP has a computer.... wefax software can be had for free...
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Old 31-08-2015, 03:12   #20
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

I have a computer. Mac if it matters.
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Old 31-08-2015, 06:24   #21
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

A Mac makes it harder to find weather fax software but it does exist. Search for weather fax (or facsimile) software and you will find some. I think it is a bit more fiddly on a Mac but I don't have direct experience. You don't need a $3,000 radio. But neither can you get good results with $25 radios. Expect to pay between $150-$300 for a good quality shortwave single sideband radio. With that and an external antenna you can listen to voice weather broadcasts and get weather maps all over the world. There is no monthly charge for these services.

Some cruisers pay a weather "expert" to tell them what weather to expect and what route to take for best use of that weather. These reports are handed out daily during cruising season over shortwave radio. There is no charge for you to listen in on these daily updates. However, the reports may be for areas where you are not. Still you can learn from these daily broadcasts. Additionally, there are daily "nets" in many areas on both VHF and shortwave. On these cruisers pass to one another weather reports and discuss plans. Again, there is no charge to listen to these nets.

Also, you can get free pilot charts for the world's oceans that give the most likely weather patterns for each month of the year. These are published by NOAA in the US. While not a guarantee of any particular weather they do give a good idea of what to expect.
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Old 31-08-2015, 12:59   #22
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

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A Mac makes it harder to find weather fax software but it does exist. Search for weather fax (or facsimile) software and you will find some. I think it is a bit more fiddly on a Mac but I don't have direct experience. You don't need a $3,000 radio. But neither can you get good results with $25 radios. Expect to pay between $150-$300 for a good quality shortwave single sideband radio. With that and an external antenna you can listen to voice weather broadcasts and get weather maps all over the world. There is no monthly charge for these services.

Some cruisers pay a weather "expert" to tell them what weather to expect and what route to take for best use of that weather. These reports are handed out daily during cruising season over shortwave radio. There is no charge for you to listen in on these daily updates. However, the reports may be for areas where you are not. Still you can learn from these daily broadcasts. Additionally, there are daily "nets" in many areas on both VHF and shortwave. On these cruisers pass to one another weather reports and discuss plans. Again, there is no charge to listen to these nets.

Also, you can get free pilot charts for the world's oceans that give the most likely weather patterns for each month of the year. These are published by NOAA in the US. While not a guarantee of any particular weather they do give a good idea of what to expect.
Along with others above, a very helpful post. Thank you.
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:40   #23
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

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A Mac makes it harder to find weather fax software but it does exist. Search for weather fax (or facsimile) software and you will find some. I think it is a bit more fiddly on a Mac but I don't have direct experience.
I don't mean to be rude, but when you don't know something you probably shouldn't make negative assumptions (us Mac owners are a bit sensitive to PCers assuming superiority, and don't get me started on the penguins! ). One of the best ever weather fax (and navtex, RTTY, and a lot more) programs is available on the Mac - I used it for years. It is called MultiMode (MultiMode - CW RTTY SSTV FAX MORSE PSK31 ACARS SITOR AMTOR ALE DTMF FFT ASCII Decoding Software for the Macintosh). It connects using the audio I/O of the radio and Mac, and uses the Mac's DSC capabilities to decode. Before I had Navtex I used it to receive RTTY weather forecasts (in Europe) as well as weatherfax. I also used it for Navtex, but while it receives well it doesn't (or at least didn't) have support for selectively storing messages.

Greg
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:53   #24
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

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Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
I don't mean to be rude, but when you don't know something you probably shouldn't make negative assumptions (us Mac owners are a bit sensitive to PCers assuming superiority, and don't get me started on the penguins! ). One of the best ever weather fax (and navtex, RTTY, and a lot more) programs is available on the Mac - I used it for years. It is called MultiMode (MultiMode - CW RTTY SSTV FAX MORSE PSK31 ACARS SITOR AMTOR ALE DTMF FFT ASCII Decoding Software for the Macintosh). It connects using the audio I/O of the radio and Mac, and uses the Mac's DSC capabilities to decode. Before I had Navtex I used it to receive RTTY weather forecasts (in Europe) as well as weatherfax. I also used it for Navtex, but while it receives well it doesn't (or at least didn't) have support for selectively storing messages.

Greg
I tried this software on my MacBook Pro several years ago and actually found it rather fiddly. Probably more to do with my incompetence tuning my SSB than the software itself. I have Windows XP accessible on my Mac via VMWare so the Mac vs. PC thing doesn't matter much to me, although things generally work better on the Mac side. It would make sense to me, however, that there would be more options available on PC's just because of the number of users vs. Mac's.

Btw, am I correct in assuming that the various options being discussed for voice weather & weatherfax on this thread do not require a Pactor modem?
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Old 31-08-2015, 18:48   #25
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

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I have a computer. Mac if it matters.
Some of the sweetest radio software out there was written for the Mac ... cocoaModem

Free too......

Pic shows JV-Comm (left...under VM Fusion) and CocoaModem( right) running at the same time on a Mac.... while I talk to my sister on Skype....
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Old 31-08-2015, 20:16   #26
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

I bought a Grundig g4000a today. What can I do with it?
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Old 31-08-2015, 21:14   #27
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

Did you get the manual with it? ETON G4000A USER MANUAL Pdf Download.

Pretty extensive instructions there on using the ssb part of the works... but muck around with the am side to get used to it.

Hook up an external antenna, download the NOAA weatherfax PDF... http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf you should be able to get Pt Reyes and H'lulu where you are... find a broadcast... sit it next to your mac... fire up cocoa modem and away you go....

Only down side with that radio I can see is no line out so if connecting to computer you have to live with the fact that when you use the headphone socket on the Grundig you will mute the speaker , no biggy.

Other small point... my previous mac had both a sound in and a sound out plughole... my present one... about 4 yo .. has only one plughole that can be used as either sound in or sound out while I believe the newer ones only have sound out... not sure how that needs to be dealt with...
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Old 31-08-2015, 21:17   #28
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

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.....

Btw, am I correct in assuming that the various options being discussed for voice weather & weatherfax on this thread do not require a Pactor modem?
Your assumption is correct...

Ping
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Old 31-08-2015, 21:35   #29
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

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Your assumption is correct...

Ping
Thanks Ping. Been reluctant to plunk down the boat buck for the Pactor thus far. Fwiw, there's also an app which can be used on an iPad (or other tablets probably) which is reputed to perform similarly, namely with a cord from the SSB to the sound port on the tablet. Looking forward to trying it the next time I'm on my boat.

As for the single sound port, ditto on my Mac. You deal with it by choosing sound in or out in "Settings."
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Old 31-08-2015, 21:44   #30
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Re: Cheapest weather information for out of vhf range?

With any of the audio-in-to-the-computer solutions you might benefit by using an external audio USB adapter, so as to avoid the electrical noise inside the case. It might also prove easier than trying to use the combined headphone/microphone socket in Macs. Maybe $10-$20 dollars. Cheap.

Also, buy a cigarette lighter 12VDC to 9VDC adapter so you can listen to the radio using the boat's battery. Also consider buying AA Eneloop rechargeable batteries - don't just throw away primary batteries.

Greg
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