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Old 28-08-2010, 13:36   #31
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SoonerSailor - thanks this looks like fun!!
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Old 29-08-2010, 16:02   #32
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I have been reading this thread with alot of interest but not alot of understanding. I'd appreciate some basic communications information. Thanks much in advance for explaining. On passages such as from Mexico to the South Pacific: is ham radio the only way to communicate with people on land? Is ham radio the only way to communicate with other cruisers that are also ham radio operators? Is SSB part of ham radio? If it is not a part of ham radio is SSB a more common way for cruisers to communicate while out there? If Ham and SSB are two different pieces of equipment does ham have more capabilities? Is a ham radio the only way to use sailmail? Is ham the preferred way to get weather info while on a passage? If yes does ham receive weather faxes or is weather received another way?
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Old 29-08-2010, 16:40   #33
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I started to answer each question, but its easier to give you just a general statement:

SSB is a subset of frequencies and a protocol for voice communication which can be used for transmitting and receiving voice over distances. VHF radios that are on boats are line of sight only. Long distance cruisers use SSB primarily to talk to each other, but it is not a required piece of equipment and not everyone has this aboard. You can use SSB to send and receive email through paid services such as sailmail, as well as ship to shore phone services. You don not need to pass a test to perform SSB communication but you do need to pay for a license.

HAM radio allows you to take advantage of other frequencies and protocols beyond just SSB designated frequencies. However, you need a pass a test to get a license. Since HAM is an amateur designation, you also cannot perform "business" on HAM designated bands. Like SSB you can also use it to access email, ship to shore and the like, but you can also connect to users worldwide on other frequencies. There are also a number of other protocols and communication standards that you can utilize; and you can link into a number of HAM nets throughout the world to communicate to multiple users - sort of like conference calls.

Most modern SSB radios are equipped to take advantage of the additional HAM frequencies, but you do need a HAM license to transmit.

Weather fax is not a two way transmission, and you can actually download images with any cheap all band radio receiver, appropriate software, and a laptop. You don't need SSB or HAM to do so.

I'd like this thread not to drift into other subjects. The objective in my starting this thread was to get an idea of what mode of operation, protocols (primarily data), bands etc within amateur radio are useful for sailing. For example, the directional needs of leveraging satellite may not be conductive to using satellite ham radio on a boat - as fore-mentioned above.

For another read on communication options, and probably a more appropriate place to expand questions like this - please read this thread

Ham, $$B, Iridium ?
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Old 29-08-2010, 16:51   #34
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And to confuse and/or clarify, weatherfax charts can also be obtained via email. The files are too large for some SSB email systems (Sailmail), but the ham radio email system (Winlink) will accommodate them.

But, you can also get WFAX charts the old fashioned way, by using a WFAX receiver, or a general-purpose receiver and a WFAX modem (hardware or software).
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Old 17-09-2010, 20:29   #35
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Yippie - passed my tech and general licenses tonight.
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Old 17-09-2010, 21:31   #36
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Kudos - its a good feeling!
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Old 19-11-2010, 21:03   #37
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Yippie! I just ACED my "extra" class license exam - the phd of geek!!!
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Old 20-11-2010, 06:59   #38
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Good job! I don't know if you will be cruising much in European waters, but if you do much ham stuff, having the Extra license will be helpful. Some European countries don't give the General class ticket much shrift when it comes to granting reciprocal privileges.
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Old 20-11-2010, 12:47   #39
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I'm primarily CW and SSB although I did do time with RTTY in the old days. I've got PACTOR and will be getting a new digital interface for mail.
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Old 20-11-2010, 12:48   #40
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I'm primarily CW and SSB although I did do time with RTTY in the old days. I've got PACTOR and will be getting a new digital interface for mail.

de NS1A
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Old 20-11-2010, 12:55   #41
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Cappy D: have you tried the WINMOR soft modem?

http://www.winlink.org/WINMOR

I'm holding out on a rig. May end up getting a portable All HF Yaesu with an outbacker antenna:

Ham Radio Outlet | YAESU FT-897D | FT897 HF/6/2/440 W/TCXO

or

Ham Radio Outlet | YAESU FT-857D | FT857 W 60M + DSP2 BUILT-IN / FREE YSK-857

or

Ham Radio Outlet | YAESU FT-817ND | 5 Watt HF/6/2/440 QRP Multi mode w Battery and charger
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Old 20-11-2010, 14:52   #42
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You might look at the ICOM IC-7200 too. It is designed for field use, with a water resistant front panel. It also has built in radio/computer and computer/audio interfaces via a USB connector, which should make Winmor easy to implement.
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Old 20-11-2010, 15:10   #43
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ICOM IC-7000
Ham Radio Outlet | ICOM IC-7000 | HF/VHF/UHF w/ INCLUDED RMK-7000

ICOM IC-7200
Ham Radio Outlet | ICOM IC-7200 | HF/6m Ruggidized 100 watt

Both are more expensive. Not sure their comparative portability or features, but I'll add them to my list.

Ideally, looking for something I could take off the boat in places and carry around with me or put in a car.

thanks!
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Old 20-11-2010, 15:49   #44
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I use an IC-7000, which I carry between the boat and home. The IC-7000 is a bit more portable, and has more whistles and bells for the Ham. It is also easy to open up for all band use, and could even in an emergency substitute for a marine VHF. It is also quite a bit more expensive than the 7200, and perhaps not as field rugged.

The IC-7000 does not like to operate at full power with less than 13 volts or so coming into it, so I use The New N8XJK Boost Regulator to make up for any voltage drop from the battery, or low battery voltage. The Icom M802 in the boat doesn't seem to be so finicky. I don't know how the IC-7200 or FT-897 would tolerate lower voltages.

Chip
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Old 20-11-2010, 16:21   #45
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Icom has discontinued the 706MIIG series, but it is a great little radio, easy to "open up" even for marine VHF. Available on Ebay for what looks to be about $650...
I have one, several people I know have them on boats and/or cars, they can easily be rigged for Pactor email use.

Michael
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