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Old 28-11-2016, 18:41   #1
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Getting started with an SSB radio.

I just picked up a used Icom M710 transceiver and AT-130 antenna tuner, got a really good deal. I'm planning to install it on my Morgan 462 eventually, but was thinking of setting it up at home first to get to know how it works, hook up my laptop to exchange email, etc. assuming I first get my ham technicians license, is there any reason I should not do this? Also, any recommendations on setting up the gear would be appreciated.

Thanks,
David
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Old 28-11-2016, 18:51   #2
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

Technician license is pretty limited on HF. You'll need a General or better for most of the Ham bands.

Amateur radio band plan US should give you an idea of where you can go with what level license.

As for RX, no license needed. No TX on land on marine bands without a special use license (that info can be found with a quick search on the FCC.gov site.)

You can still enjoy listening and practicing getting weather or hearing the nets without a license. If you're thinking about getting one, check out ARRL.org or W5YI. They both have pretty good resources. It's rewarding if you enjoy radio. There are also many other sites with additional information with a quick google search. Just make sure you're looking at the most current question pools.

Don't forget that you will need a station license and at least a RR license for your vessel once you decide to move there with it for use on marine bands.

Good luck. There's also a wealth of info here on CF if you do a search. If my kid could do it at 10, I'm sure that most people can too.
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Old 28-11-2016, 18:56   #3
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

Thanks! I already have a station license for the boat, and in the process of getting an RR license. Do I still need the RR license if I get the appropriate ham license?
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Old 28-11-2016, 19:23   #4
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

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Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
Thanks! I already have a station license for the boat, and in the process of getting an RR license. Do I still need the RR license if I get the appropriate ham license?

Yes, you do for marine radio. Ham and Marine are two different services and although the better radios can do both, are licensed differently. The RR is good for life I believe (you'll want to verify that). You have to periodically renew the ships station license. Ham radio licenses are renewed every 10 years in the US currently.

The rules and uses are very different. Marine is mostly all business. Ham radio is more of a recreational use. Remember you can't transmit marine radio from land, except under special circumstances. (You will want to read the rules for yourself. If you find something that seems ambiguous don't be afraid to call the appropriate authority and ask for answers). You'll enjoy having both and can be great entertainment, sources for news and weather, and very useful in an emergency.

Also, look up Maritime Mobile operation and nets. There's a lot of info out there. Don't just take anyone's word for fact. Do you're own homework as it will serve you very well over the years to come.
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Old 29-11-2016, 06:00   #5
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

Get your general it is not that hard to get once the morse thing went away -

Get it installed and start playing and looking on line for marine nets and listen - see if you can find Chris Parker and listen to his weather - in Ft Lauderdale find the time of the cruisheimers net and listen and begin to participate - down load the girbs - if you get your general set up winlink and send short msg to yourself but understand it's limitations
there are a lot of nets out there so see what you can find but most of all practice and learn and write down the stations and times
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Old 29-11-2016, 07:30   #6
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

chuckr nailed it. Get that radio all working at home and tune in Chris Parker and the nets. Tune in WLO and listen to their broadcasts.

HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

I'm biased as a ham operator...but YES go get your ham license if you have time. You'll learn a little more about theory and propagation that may benefit you some day. Have fun!
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Old 29-11-2016, 10:28   #7
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

What is the collective opinion, in this age of communication is SSB necessary? I have heard that the expense is not worth it. Just considering buying SSB myself.
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Old 29-11-2016, 10:45   #8
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

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What is the collective opinion, in this age of communication is SSB necessary? I have heard that the expense is not worth it. Just considering buying SSB myself.
Sunseeker,

You're going to find a very split camp on CF about what's necessary and what isn't. It's really a personal decision all the way around.

I'll put it this way. There are benefits to any upgrade you do and having SSB is one that has not been fully replaced if you're a world cruiser. The uses are far too many to list, but a short search of the forums will yield a great amount of information that can help you make your decision.

You could ask the same question about a GPS, chartplotter, or any other piece of great not 100% required by law in your area. They all make it easier to make educated decisions about your situation in real time. The SSB is right along those lines. Some will argue that if you've got a cell phone you're golden. Other's will insist you have a specific list of equipment.

It is my opinion that if you're out of VHF or cell service, or really out of sight of land it's a good investment and a worthwhile upgrade for any serious cruiser. Even if it sits unused for years the one time you use it in an emergency it's paid for itself and then some. Nobody complains about having that PFD onboard when they're watching their vessel sink below the swell.

I'm a radio guy. I've spent countless hours using it for my enjoyment and it's paid for itself in an emergency more than once. I'm also a licensed ham radio operator and so I already had an interest in it. I'd say that alone is enough to sway my opinion. I'm sure others will chime in with theirs.

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Old 29-11-2016, 11:01   #9
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

If you make an phone call one person may answer
(Sat phone). If you make a call on a SSB radio the potential
Is that many are listening. All are willing to help you.
In a serious emergency you may transmit on any band or frequency.
Plus you can get help or advice on anything from
Mechanical issues to medical. It's well worth the effort for the returns.
Plus free email and Wx from anywhere, anytime.
As a pro mariner I've seen this first hand. Sat phones and GPS
Can go down. Radios do not. That's why they are used by
Emergency responders worldwide. And can't be hacked.
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Old 29-11-2016, 11:19   #10
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

Having recently got my own marine SSB + a ham license, it's also really fun.
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Old 29-11-2016, 12:09   #11
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
I just picked up a used Icom M710 transceiver and AT-130 antenna tuner, got a really good deal. I'm planning to install it on my Morgan 462 eventually, but was thinking of setting it up at home first to get to know how it works, hook up my laptop to exchange email, etc. assuming I first get my ham technicians license, is there any reason I should not do this? Also, any recommendations on setting up the gear would be appreciated.

Thanks,
David
Yes, fire it up at home, it's a lot of fun. No license needed to start listening. I bought a used & abused M700 on ebay for less than $200. You don't even need the antenna tuner if you're not transmitting: I strung a 30 foot, 14 gauge wire out my bedroom window to an apple tree, and I can listen to boats in the Caribbean checking in with Chris Parker - and I'm in the US northeast near the Quebec border!
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Old 29-11-2016, 12:46   #12
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

This has probably been asked and answered before, but can my old SSB out of my truck be modified or a frequency modifier be used for marine frequencies? Thanks
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Old 29-11-2016, 12:59   #13
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

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This has probably been asked and answered before, but can my old SSB out of my truck be modified or a frequency modifier be used for marine frequencies? Thanks
If you're talking about a CB (citizens band) 27MHz transceiver then no. If you're talking about an HF ham radio, then probably yes but like any other out-of-band mod it won't be type certified for those bands. It isn't legal to use unless an emergency.
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Old 29-11-2016, 13:01   #14
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

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This has probably been asked and answered before, but can my old SSB out of my truck be modified or a frequency modifier be used for marine frequencies? Thanks
https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...367397cb7f28H0
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Old 29-11-2016, 13:05   #15
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Re: Getting started with an SSB radio.

Yup, it's an old Cobra CB. I'll start looking for a marine SSB. Thanks
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