Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-05-2016, 12:58   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Dartmouth and Bristol, England
Boat: Northwind 50 - 50ft - Camille
Posts: 18
Furuno Weatherfax Problem

i have a Furuno Fax 30 Weatherfax with Navtex Unit feeding into my Blackbox Plotter.

The Weatherfax has never worked well with fuzzy pictures, often unreadable. the Navtex sometimes works.

I have tested the unit in a number of locations in NE America and in NW Europe with little variation in picture quality frequently unreadable.

The unit has been returned to Furuno who say it is in good working order. i have replaced the Fax 5 Antenna preamplifier and I have turned off all other electrical equipment to eliminate any possibility of interference. The Fax 30 is earthed to a ground plate. The location of the antenna is on a steel post at the pushpit; I have tried it elsewhere to no avail.

Can anyone help please?
__________________

__________________
Camille1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2016, 17:40   #2
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 17,314
Re: Furuno Weatherfax Problem

I think you seem to be trying to test it (in harbour?) this is a NO NO NO in wefax reception, you will see clear(-er) images offshore (at times) but hardly ever inshore.

If you can override the frequency, use the one with the strongest signal - this varies with how far off you are and what time of the day it is. It helps to try and receive all repetitive charts you want (they can be delivered each 8 hours or at whatever schedule the station works) then pick up the one that looks clearest and cancel the rest of the schedule.

I often receive clear faxes past sunset and at night, hardly ever by day.

You may use a plain small tuner to tune by the ear and see which signal is best (your SSB radio will do this too). It sounds just as if someone tried to send you a fax to your phone (if you happen to be old enough to remember phones and faxes, etc.). Plenty of noise equals muddy image.

b.
__________________

__________________
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2016, 10:33   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Dartmouth and Bristol, England
Boat: Northwind 50 - 50ft - Camille
Posts: 18
Re: Furuno Weatherfax Problem

Thanks, Barnakiel. i'll do as you say. perhaps I was expecting too much in daytime. Camille
__________________
Camille1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2016, 20:38   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 201
Images: 1
Re: Furuno Weatherfax Problem

The advice you have gotten already about nighttime is a good place to start. The difference in reception is like, well, night and day. That's normal for HF. Be sure to consider the time of day not just of you/your boat but also of the transmitting station, and the atmosphere in between.
__________________
Lantau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-05-2016, 16:27   #5
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Furuno Weatherfax Problem

Camille,
Not sure if you and boat are in England or not....nor what means you have undertaken to reduce / eliminate your on-board RFI....nor what stations / frequencies / times-of-day you have tried, nor if you have a good understanding of HF radio communications....nor what shore-side RFI your reception is suffering, etc. etc. etc...

So, as you can see all I can offer is general advice....but, the good news is that I've got 45 years worth of HF communications experience, including HF WeFax reception experience (starting back in the mid-1970's, with US Navy WeFax from Norfolk, VA USA; Rota, Spain; and others as well, and continuing on to this past month, using NMG, New Orleans and NMF, Boston...without any issue...DAY and NIGHT!)


1) The first thing I want to assure you of is that it SHOULD BE WORKING!
You SHOULD BE getting excellent WeFax images!!
HF WeFax works, works well, and is used still today by a majority of ocean mariners, daily, worldwide!! (according to a 2012 survey by the IMO/WMO)

And, there is NO need to only try it at night....or only when at sea, away from shore...
Yes, there are frequencies that work better at night....and many times your noise level when in port will make reception more difficult....but, it is still VERY do-able (I do it all the time!)
And, if you look at this series of videos, you will see LIVE, real-world reception of HF WeFax (using my Furuno FAX-408), while tied to the dock, right near shore / with other boats and houses nearby!

Offshore Weather (including HF WeFax)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY


http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/radiofax.wav




2) Next, before you go any further, I need to mention this caveat:
Not being able to "hear" the stations tones and "hear" the noise that is also present on-the-air (whether man-made RFI or natural atmospheric noise), is a hindrance to laypersons actually understanding how the HF system, and WeFax reception in particular, works!!!

{I'm not sure if your blackbox plotter allows you to hear the audio tones (warble / scrape / screech) of the WeFax signals or not....but ALL standalone WeFax machines and most (all?) PC-based WeFax software allow this, and being able to "hear" these tones is going to go a long way into you, a layperson, being able to easily learn how to use WeFax effectively!}


3) Next, understand that usually the higher frequencies are used during the daytime and the lower frequencies at night....but, also use the higher frequencies for the longer distances (1000 miles or more) and the lower frequencies for shorter ranges (500 miles or less, day or night)...

If you wish to see some LIVE, real-world examples of how different frequencies propagate over different distances and at some different times-of-day, please look at this video....




4) After learning what frequency to use, based on the approx. distance you are from the station (200 - 300 miles, versus 2000 - 3000 miles, or more), and on the time-of-day....the next most important step is determining whether you have extraneous radio noise, called "Radio Frequency Interference" (or RFI) on-board or close-by....
Understand that sources of RFI are ALL around us these days, with modern toys/conveniences of our daily lives contributing to the RFI problem....
Just some of the most notorious RFI producers are:
Dan Foss refrigeration units, ANY/ALL battery chargers and inverters, computer power supplies, cell phone chargers, Wi-Fi routers, "wall wart" power supplies, fans, air cond units, digital clocks, digital panel meters, electronic automatic bilge pump sensors, plasma screen TV's, many LCD TV's, computers themselves, some chartplotters, some depthsounders / sonar units, wind instruments, any/all electric motors, any/all electronic devices (whether battery powered or 12vdc powered, or AC Mains powered), LED lights (actually the voltage regulators in the lights), radar units, microwave ovens, etc. etc. etc. etc...
The list goes on and on!!
Please note that NOT all of this stuff causes problems for everyone (Thank God!), but just that they CAN and DO cause problems for some sailors!!

Further, not know what the natural atmospheric noise sounds like, versus what RFI sounds like, can be a problem for many new to the world of HF radio / HF WeFax...
And, while I didn't have a lot of examples to show, I do have some on these videos....
Please have a look...
Natural Atmospheric Noise



Man-Made Noise / RFI





5) NAVTEX....
NAVTEX is very reliable and will work well as long as you are within 200 miles (or so) of a NAVTEX station....day or night, rain or shine...
So, if your NAVTEX only occasionally works, this is a sign of some serious on-board RFI issues!
{And a clear indication of what I've been saying for decades...just because someone gets paid to sell/install electronics, doesn't mean they know what they are doing!!!
I've been doing this (not marine electronics) professionally for > 30 years....and the number of complete idiots that make an excellent living in this industry is staggering!!!
You should have NEVER even been asked to pay your final bill until every part of every system was demonstrated to you and you were clearly instructed in how-to use every feature!
And, since you wrote "The Weatherfax has never worked well with fuzzy pictures, often unreadable. the Navtex sometimes works.", it's clear that nobody ever showed you how all of this works!!
Absolutely criminal! }



Camille, please see my specific answers / comments here in red...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camille1 View Post
i have a Furuno Fax 30 Weatherfax with Navtex Unit feeding into my Blackbox Plotter.

The Weatherfax has never worked well with fuzzy pictures, often unreadable. the Navtex sometimes works.
It should be working good....see above for details...

I have tested the unit in a number of locations in NE America and in NW Europe with little variation in picture quality frequently unreadable.
It should be working good....see above for details...


The unit has been returned to Furuno who say it is in good working order. i have replaced the Fax 5 Antenna preamplifier
You do NOT need the FAX 5 antenna, nor pre-amp, to do any testing....just a length of copper wire, about 15' - 35' long, plugged into the FAX-30's antenna jack, and strung up temporarily with a flag halyard, etc...
(note that my WeFax receive antenna is an insulated aft lower shroud, about 22' long....shared as my HF-DSC receive antenna....and has worked well for > 12 years on my current boat!!)

But, since you mention the FAX-5 antenna....WHERE it is placed/installed, and WHAT is close-by this antenna, can be a VERY IMPORTANT issue / cause serious reception problems!!!


and I have turned off all other electrical equipment to eliminate any possibility of interference.
Understand that "turning off" other equipment usually doesn't eliminate the RFI from them, you must remove the power from them entirely in order to test this!


The Fax 30 is earthed to a ground plate. The location of the antenna is on a steel post at the pushpit; I have tried it elsewhere to no avail.
Sounds like three very common problems:
a) RFI
b) Wrong station / wrong frequency for your distance and time-of-day
c) Lack of user education on how it works

PLEASE do NOT take offense....you are not supposed to know all of this stuff....the guy selling/installing it MUST know it, and they are supposed to TEACH this to you!!
So, no worries here!

Can anyone help please?


I do hope the above helps...

But, please WATCH the videos and listen to the WeFax tones.....
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY


http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/radiofax.wav


And, then tell me:
a) WHERE you and boat are at...
b) Whether you can "hear" the HF WeFax audio tones (warble / scrape / screech)
c) What RFI tests you may have already done, etc.


Also, be sure to watch these videos, for even more Marine HF communications info / demonstrations...

Marine HF Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y

HF-DSC Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX

Icom M-802 Videos
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr


Fair winds..

John
__________________
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
furuno, weather

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Furuno Weatherfax Obsolete? Kenomac Marine Electronics 30 01-06-2015 12:43
[SOLD] Furuno Fax30 Navnet Weatherfax Navtex Receiver $750 deepthought Classifieds Archive 3 12-07-2014 22:55
Furuno / Max Sea & Weatherfax Sabbatical II Marine Electronics 0 27-10-2011 12:00
Weatherfax Problem no_bad_days Marine Electronics 16 25-08-2011 09:21
Weatherfax Recommendations Please Salacia Marine Electronics 3 03-07-2005 14:28



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:52.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.