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View Poll Results: HAM, Marine SSB, Other?
HAM only 21 10.66%
Marine SSB only 57 28.93%
Both 88 44.67%
Other (sat phone, etc. please specify) 33 16.75%
No long range communication device 25 12.69%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 197. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-02-2007, 06:33   #1
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HAM, Marine SSB, Other?

When cruising do you have and/or use Ham, Marine SSB, or other long range communication ability?

1. HAM only
2. Marine Single Side Band only
3. Both
4. Other (sat phone etc. please speicfy )
5. No long range communcation

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Old 11-02-2007, 11:37   #2
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I didn't vote, since I don't have a boat yet and can't tell you what I might have on it(other than basic vhf) when I do get it, but I just got my ham technician license, and passed the exam portion of the general license. It really wasn't THAT hard.

The technician took me about 10 practice test run throughs online before I was prepared. I had run through the general a couple of times, and when I got there I went ahead and took it just for kicks, and because it didn't cost any extra, and I managed to pass it, through a bit of thinking, and a small amount of good luck.

I will go back after the morse code requirements are officially removed on the 23rd of this month, and use the credit to get my general license.

I expect I will have a ham radio on there come the time I get a boat, I might get a marine SSB, if the price is right. My point is that ham really isn't that hard to get into, especially with the morse code requirements removed later this month.
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Old 11-02-2007, 13:43   #3
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After spending time cruising and using the Marine SSb and listening to HAM for weather and friends I realized that HAM would be useful. Many times some of cruising friends could be heard on the HAM bands, but we were unable to talk with them as we weren't lecensed, though the marine HF we have on board is capable.

So yesterday I passed my Tech with 100% and missed 3 on the gGneral. Took a flier at the extra and missed. But that was expected as I didn't study for it.

Having multiple ways to communicate for fun, general safety, and increase opportunities to connect with others will be a great advantage.
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Old 11-02-2007, 14:00   #4
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In practice

Niki and I are enroute with a delivery of a William Garden ketch. We picked up the boat in Z-town, Mexico and used the SSB for net check-ins and weather updates from a router( don on Summer Passage). Currently we are sitting in Puesta del sol, Nicaragua and still check-in with the net for this far South. For all of the cruising boats out and about there is one key peice of equipment and that is the SSB. With the exception of Ham I suppose it is the cheapest and dare I say most reliable for long distance communication including email.
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Old 11-02-2007, 14:07   #5
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I see I'm the only one who wouldn't take anything, I find the whole radio thing a nuisance and it interferes with my enjoyment of the whole experience.
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Old 11-02-2007, 15:34   #6
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We started without

We actually left the US without a Marine HF or HAM two way. We carried the VHF and a yachtboy reciever to get the weather while we travelled. We thought that long distance two communication was worth the bother.

We learned from several direct personal experinces about having a means of long distance communication.

The first was while traveling from island to Island starting in Bonaire and working our way though the Venezulian outislands. Wind Borne III was traveling with us but because we are a fast cat and the were a fairly slow mono we aranged to meet a various anchorages as we wotked our way to PLC, Ven.

Well they had major fuel problems (we were heading east and bucking the winds) that cuased the motor to stop and after replacing a second fule filter stopp with in minutes. They figured it would be easier to head back downwind to Bonaire and deal with the problems. They were out of VHF range and another boat on the eadge passed us a message that they were having problems and were turning back, but to tune into 8.104 that even for an update. The VHF contact was weak and were weren't really sure of their condition other then they were not in danger.

They called that night and because we only had a reciver we were not able to respond directly. It took a few days and the help of another cruiser Panda who was anchored nected us in Los Aves before we found out the extent of their problems. We ended up waiting for 10 days to get the full story. Direct comm would have helped us and them.

At this point we installed an old icom 700 we got for 200 USD.

The second time was scarrier for our friends sailing from Los Testigo to St Martin. Their rudder failed 3 days out in rough weather. To far from shore for the VHF but Wombat of Syndey and ourselves were able to converse with them and provide links for help in St Kitts (thier CG doesn't normally have the radio on) and to check on them. After a rough bit they managed to drift close enough to St Kitts for direct VHF. The CG told them they would have to abandon thier boat as they couldn't tow. We stayed with them on periodic checks to make sure no other life threatening failures occurred and to keep spirits up. We were over 700 Miles away.

Eventually a fiashing boat crusing by towed them into shore where they got repaired.

I don't believe you need a radio just to chat but the life it may help may be yours or one of your friends.

I have tons of these personal stories from running parts to the islands to just passing messages of well being to concerned ones at home. I would recommend thinking about adding something. It may be the community or yourself you help. ANd besides once you develop crusing freindships it can be a real lift of the spirts or the highlight of a day to chat with someone you know but haven't seen in ages.
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Old 11-02-2007, 15:40   #7
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Actually I have done lots of miles with SSB and lots of miles without, I simply choose without.
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Old 11-02-2007, 15:51   #8
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That is the best thing about cruising. Is all of the choice and possibilties!!
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Old 11-02-2007, 18:46   #9
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Aloha,
At this time I have no long range communication system. I might when I start cruising again but have never used it before and got along without for many years.
If any I will use HAM. I'll be getting my General license before June and will be looking for cheap good used equipment after that.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:15   #10
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I have no long distance communication equipment at this time, but we plan to stay near the coast for while. When we do take off I would like to have both HAM and marine SSB. I already have a Technician's plus license and am planning to take the General exam some soon.

What's the cost of a rig that will handle both compared to marine SSB only?

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Old 12-02-2007, 07:51   #11
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Good top quality stuff:
Icom 706 is fully functional ham and everything but is not "type approved" for marine SSB. It will do it just fine.

Icom M802 is a marine SSB that is ham capable but requires unlocking the software. Icom has a tech bulletin on how to do this. Some of the older model Icom marine units could be “unlocked” by clipping the lead on a diode. You would need a better radio tech than me to know which one.

There is other good stuff out there.

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Old 12-02-2007, 11:41   #12
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Thanks Sunspot.
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Old 12-02-2007, 15:36   #13
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ICOMs

After my 25 year old 200 USD Icom 700 failed (diode clipped) I replaced it with a 802. It came ham band ready and there was nothing to be done to open it up. My understanding is that they are being delivered this way as several friends recived theirs in similar fashion.

Though I replaced the my radio just a few years ago I am looking to add the new ICOM 7000 Ham radio. It is an all band radio and will also act as a redundent VHF. Though not marine certified it will be a great addition and I just recently saw a new one on sale at HRO for 1200 USD. All of the reviews and people that I have talked with on this unit have been very satisfied with it overall performance. It also draws less on recieve than the 802. Amp is an Amp.
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Old 12-02-2007, 16:36   #14
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To "unlock" the ICOM M802 you need to press and hold the [2] [MODE] [TX] button while turning the [POWER] on. I believe the units that are now being shipped may already be opened. There is a bulletin on how to program frequencies.

The earlier M700PRO and M710 and M710RT REQUIRE dealer only computer software and cloning cable to open up the radios to HAM freqs. There is no clipping of diodes for these radios.
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Old 13-02-2007, 05:40   #15
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Time for stupid question:

What is the difference between SSB and HAM?

Is it just differnt frequencys?
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