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Old 21-04-2015, 17:05   #46
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Re: Communications equipment

Another stupid question, if I may Why is there no such thing as a software-defined PACTOR modem?
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Old 21-04-2015, 17:06   #47
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Re: Communications equipment

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Many discussions of this. Everyone's experience mirrors yours. Marina WiFi is almost universally carp and nearly unusable. Waste of time and money even in civilization. Mobile phone data is an almost perfect solution these days. We now have an LTE router and see data speeds similar to what we have at home.
Which LTE router do you have? Do you use a fancy antenna or is a stock setup fine? I think we want one -- to share a single local SIM card and data plan between all of our devices.
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Old 21-04-2015, 17:09   #48
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Re: Communications equipment

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in the limited time before the boat sinks
Not every emergency means abandoning ship in a hurry. In fact, when I worked for a shipping company, we had several emergencies per year, and none of them meant that.
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Old 21-04-2015, 17:12   #49
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Re: Communications equipment

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Which LTE router do you have? Do you use a fancy antenna or is a stock setup fine? I think we want one -- to share a single local SIM card and data plan between all of our devices.
A Huawei, which replaced a Globesurfer used for many years.

I bought the expensive external antenna (from Poynting), but it does not seem to be significantly better than the built-in ones. LTE requires cross-polarized dual antennas -- N.B.
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Old 21-04-2015, 17:27   #50
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Re: Communications equipment

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I think the Ham or SSB is great tool... especially for weather and nets etc. However, I'm not sure I'm a big believer that it's a great safety tool for rescue. Based on doing transmissions myself in a calm anchorage, time of day and solar flare noise.... my guess is the odds of successfully using the SSB for rescue etc in the limited time before the boat sinks is... well... bad odds.
Not sure I would even try, just turn on the Epirb.
Totally agree. It is super fun to keep in touch with friends through HF radio, especially on long passages. And I really like talking to local weather experts, like Perri Perri Radio as we rounded South Africa. They can read a whole lot more into a GRIB file than I can, and I like hearing live weather reports from other boats in the area.

I once used an HF radio for medical advice. It worked but was more awkward than a satellite phone call, which would now be my first choice for that situation. I feel the HF radio is useful safety equipment, but third or fourth in line from other means. But of course everyone has their own imagination for what can go wrong and what they would do.
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Old 21-04-2015, 19:53   #51
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Re: Communications equipment

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I'd also suggest the GPS be integrated in the VHF/DSC radio.
That was mentioned in the original list.

Looking at that list again, I would be tempted to add a low power ais receiver, a cheap nasa draws next to nothing and works down to below 12v with a loud alarm. I have a sh 2150 which pulls too much power to rely on it 24/7 for ais on long ocean passages.
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Old 21-04-2015, 19:56   #52
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Re: Communications equipment

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Originally Posted by msponer View Post
Which LTE router do you have? Do you use a fancy antenna or is a stock setup fine? I think we want one -- to share a single local SIM card and data plan between all of our devices.
Cheap smartphone works well for that, set to portable wifi spot.
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Old 22-04-2015, 00:19   #53
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Re: Communications equipment

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Another stupid question, if I may Why is there no such thing as a software-defined PACTOR modem?
But there is! It's called Winmor.
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Old 22-04-2015, 00:42   #54
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Re: Communications equipment

"Why is there no such thing as a software-defined PACTOR modem?"
Because the patent holders prefer to make a living from their patent rights.

Winmor is a labor of love, the result of literally years of the author's efforts to develop a good alternative implemented in software. Of course, you still need to reach stations that can receive and process Winmor transmissions and I've no idea how successful the author has been with getting that deployed.
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Old 22-04-2015, 00:45   #55
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Re: Communications equipment

And WINMOR, as great as it is, is quite slow when compared to Pactor-3. I think it's closer to Pactor-2 speed. It's useful to be sure, but hardly the same thing.
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Old 22-04-2015, 00:49   #56
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Re: Communications equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I think the Ham or SSB is great tool... especially for weather and nets etc. However, I'm not sure I'm a big believer that it's a great safety tool for rescue. Based on doing transmissions myself in a calm anchorage, time of day and solar flare noise.... my guess is the odds of successfully using the SSB for rescue etc in the limited time before the boat sinks is... well... bad odds.
Not sure I would even try, just turn on the Epirb.
I am afraid I cannot agree with this and wholly agree with the two other posters that there is a large and crucial difference between HAM and Marine MF/HF DSC SSB. The latter, when correctly connected to GPS and registered with ship's MMSI is a superb distress signalling tool. All that is required is to send a DSC Distress message either by specific selection of nature of emergency (so, Fire, Flood/Holing, Pirate Attack etc.), which takes around 20 seconds for an experienced practitioner, or (not recommended but quicker) simply an undesignated distress by a 5 second push on the DSC distress button. These options will send a DSC alert on all SIX MF to HF frequencies (2187.5, 4207.5, 6312.0, 8414.5, 12577.0, 16804.5 kHz) which will light up the loud audible alarm and DSC distress message system of every shore station and SOLAS compliant vessel for at least 5000 miles. Most importantly, due to the ground wave in the lower frequencies it will be received by any vessel with its SSB on (so all SOLAS vessels by law) within the nearest 500 miles or so, which obviously means those vessels MOST LIKELY TO BE ABLE TO HELP YOU. I frequently recieve distresses from 2 to 5 thousand miles away. When in the Norwegian Sea or off the North Atlantic coasts of Europe these most often come from waters off Nigeria and the Bight of Benin, and they are usuall designated "pirate attack". In Asia the more common event is an "all ships" alert, usually by the Chinese, with some of the fastest speakers you will ever hear giving some warning or other about exclusion zones. Every time a set sounds on a boat (an unforgettable sound) I am commanding I follow procedure as radio officer, and note all details, determining whether I may be of assistance or whether a distress relay may be necessary. EPIRBS are superbly useful tool, but will in no way alert nearby vessels directly of your distress. It is only if the relevant MRCC station receives the message, AND decides it is a true distress worth acting on (far from certain) AND has data for nearby vessels (often not the case in very remote waters) that you will have much hope of having vessels respond to rescue. DSC equipped Marine SSB is an integral part of the GMDSS system and absolutely does not rely upon voice communications for distress calling. To think it does is to miss its MOST important emergency feature.
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Old 22-04-2015, 00:50   #57
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Re: Communications equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"Why is there no such thing as a software-defined PACTOR modem?"
Because the patent holders prefer to make a living from their patent rights.

Winmor is a labor of love, the result of literally years of the author's efforts to develop a good alternative implemented in software. Of course, you still need to reach stations that can receive and process Winmor transmissions and I've no idea how successful the author has been with getting that deployed.
It's worth saying that Pactor is patented, and Winmor is not actually a software-defined Pactor modem. It's a software-defined radio modem which is an alternative to pactor. It's implemented for Winlink, but not, AFAIK, for Sailmail.

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Old 22-04-2015, 03:16   #58
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Re: Communications equipment

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Many discussions of this. Everyone's experience mirrors yours. Marina WiFi is almost universally carp and nearly unusable. Waste of time and money even in civilization. Mobile phone data is an almost perfect solution these days. We now have an LTE router and see data speeds similar to what we have at home.
I have a mifi and a prepaid sim for Greece. I always kill my data allowance too quickly so offloading usage to a hotspot is better when possible.

Last time I was at the marina I found a paid hotspot that cost me half the price as my prepaid 3G for the week. If I had used my 3G I would have killed the data allowance in the first couple of days as I needed to download updates to my RM MFD and navionics mapping.

Admittedly, my marina is in a small bay, surrounded by tourist hotels and stuff, so my paid hotspot company gave me half a dozen hotspots to choose from and ass it was winter, I had it to myself
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Old 22-04-2015, 03:39   #59
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Re: Communications equipment

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
It's worth saying that Pactor is patented, and Winmor is not actually a software-defined Pactor modem. It's a software-defined radio modem which is an alternative to pactor. It's implemented for Winlink, but not, AFAIK, for Sailmail.
Furthermore, the phrase "software defined" begs the question of what serves as hardware. The answer to that is your computer, together with its sound card.
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Old 22-04-2015, 03:43   #60
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Re: Communications equipment

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Originally Posted by hoppy View Post
I have a mifi and a prepaid sim for Greece. I always kill my data allowance too quickly so offloading usage to a hotspot is better when possible.

Last time I was at the marina I found a paid hotspot that cost me half the price as my prepaid 3G for the week. If I had used my 3G I would have killed the data allowance in the first couple of days as I needed to download updates to my RM MFD and navionics mapping.

Admittedly, my marina is in a small bay, surrounded by tourist hotels and stuff, so my paid hotspot company gave me half a dozen hotspots to choose from and ass it was winter, I had it to myself
I have the same problem. I don't know why , but a gigabyte is just not what it used to be. I remember when my whole office with a few dozen people could run on two gigabytes of data allowance a month. Now, even never watching videos and avoiding other obviously data-intensive things, I use, by myself on my boat, over 10 gigabytes a month. Where does it all go?

Fortunately, most providers up here will sell you 10 gigabytes of traffic for a reasonable price -- 30 pounds (about $50) here in the UK from EE.
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