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Old 06-03-2014, 09:26   #1
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Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

I purchased a boat that supposedly came with a marine SSB radio. I obtained all the necessary licenses for that. Once I got into it, I learned that I had a Kenwood TS-480 SAT. This is actually a very good ham radio. I don't know if this radio has been clipped (or whatever the term is) to access the marine bands. I doesn't really matter since I would not use the radio in that manner due to legal issues. I feel that I will eventually need to get a true marine SSB.

My question is this. In the long run, is it worth it, from a cruising perspective, to go to the effort of getting a ham license or should I just try to sell my current radio and apply the proceeds to a new marine SSB?
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:07   #2
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

I'm an ameteur extra.

The only reason I have a license for a boat is for contacting other HAMs (hobby) and WinLink - for free email and GRIBS (via Saildocs). How reliable WinLink is on long term cruising is a question. I've read its not very reliable to depend on it and I have no experience here.

Using SSB for email will cost $$$ via service. For contacting other cruisers, its probably a better option since most are not HAMs. Some HAM channels can be opened on SSB but not the ones you need for email access. You can use these with a general HAM level. You still need an SSB license and ships license.

Cannot tell you what to do here. Your choice. Either way, to setup these systems will cost $$$ for extra hw.

Personally, if I had a blank slate:
- SAT phone connected to computer for email
- SSB w/ modem for email (just more reliable)
- backpack HAM radio w/ portable antenna for fun!

If I could take only one it would be the SAT phone for GRIBS and email. Easier to get up and running and contacting other cruisers.

Example: http://web.globalmarinenet.com/blog/...is-Really-Free
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:17   #3
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

Thanks for the input. One advantage to the ham setup was the free email (I do have a Pactor ll modem as well). From your comments, it doesn't 't sound like winmail is very reliable. Round one goes to marine SSB, even if Sailmail will cost $$$.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:26   #4
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

My advice would be to open the radio up so you can access the marine bands... you never know when they will come in handy. Its easy enough to check to see if it is already opened.
In the real day to day world the only use I have for my 'SSB' ( an Icom 710) is for Sailmail and a single cruising net. Its lotsa money to spend on an SSB if that's the only use you will have for it.
As the vast majority of cruising nets are on the Ham bands it would pay to get a ham licence if that is something that interests you.
Cheers,
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:28   #5
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

And also... Winlink afloat... I've never had any success with it where I hang out but N Pacific/N Atlantic may be quite a different matter... dunno
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:32   #6
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

I'm not opposed to getting a ham license. It will just take a little studying. If I keep my ham radio, I will still probably get a marine SSB one day. If I have both units, is there a way to set up a switch to go back and forth between the radios and use only one antenna and one antenna tuner?
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:02   #7
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

If you are "against" the idea of using the Ham frequencies without a ticket then the way forward is very very clear……simply don't use them.
Get your radio chipped for the Marine bands and use them is what I would recommend.

Yes there are switches if you want to have one.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:10   #8
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

Two radios into one tuner and one antenna is quite do-able but its not something I have ever felt the need to do. I'll leave that answer to someone who has done it as it is not without risk.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:16   #9
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coutret View Post
I'm not opposed to getting a ham license. It will just take a little studying. If I keep my ham radio, I will still probably get a marine SSB one day. If I have both units, is there a way to set up a switch to go back and forth between the radios and use only one antenna and one antenna tuner?
You really don't need that ham radio, just send it over to me.

Don
N1FVB
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:39   #10
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

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Originally Posted by Captain Ludd View Post
If you are "against" the idea of using the Ham frequencies without a ticket then the way forward is very very clear……simply don't use them.
Get your radio chipped for the Marine bands and use them is what I would recommend.
This is done commonly but depending on the radio may not be a good idea.

While ham and marine SSB channels are close to each other and cover the same general frequencies bands, the specifications for the marine SSB channels is much tighter than the specs for Ham bands. This is to allow more channels in the same bandwidth on the marine channels.

To meet that requirement marine SSB radios must meet a higher standard than ham radios. Some ham radios will be able to meet the marine specs but some won't and will cause interference on adjacent channels and make the user very unpopular with others on that band.

And it is "against the rules" although unless you cause a lot of trouble it's unlikely you would get in a lot of trouble over it.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:47   #11
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

Regarding the Kenwood. Not an expert on the different brands and models but know that Kenwood made some excellent radios. It would probably be a good way to get onto the cruising nets on the Ham bands and there are plenty.

If you decide not to use the Kendwood to transmit on the marine bands you can still use it as a receiver to listen in on marine band nets, marine high seas weather, download gribs, weather fax, etc.

If you decide to go for a marine rated SSB many of them are type accepted for use on Ham bands so if space is a premium you can legally use one of these for both.

If you really don't want the Kenwood and decide to send it to Don you can send me the Pactor modem. Just to be nice I'll even pay half the shipping cost.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coutret View Post
I purchased a boat that supposedly came with a marine SSB radio. I obtained all the necessary licenses for that. Once I got into it, I learned that I had a Kenwood TS-480 SAT. This is actually a very good ham radio. I don't know if this radio has been clipped (or whatever the term is) to access the marine bands. I doesn't really matter since I would not use the radio in that manner due to legal issues. I feel that I will eventually need to get a true marine SSB.

My question is this. In the long run, is it worth it, from a cruising perspective, to go to the effort of getting a ham license or should I just try to sell my current radio and apply the proceeds to a new marine SSB?
Why either or? Get a ham license, sell the ham radio, buy a marine ssb radio.

Don't use a ham radio for marine ssb! It's illegal and inconsiderate. A good marine ssb radio, on the other hand, like the Icom M802, is fine for both ham and marine ssb operation. That particular radio has the additional huge advantage of HF DSC.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:54   #13
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

We used Winlink on our Icom M802 all up and down the east coast, Canada and Usa. Also in Bermuda, Azores, Spain, France, UK, Ireland, Cape Verdes, and the windwards and leewards, in the Caribbean. We never had trouble getting e-mail. I have a hard time believing anyone with a proper setup would have problems in the North Atlantic (North of the equator). If you can reach a Sailmail station, you can reach a winlink station.

I don't know where ElPinguino cruises, but most of the cruising nets I've been on were on Marine Side band. Most cruisers, I've met, didn't have a ham license. The only ham stations I regularly talked to on Ham Freqs was the Maritime net on 14300. Other than that, Ham freqs were for e-mail, Marine SSB freqs were for Voice. Winlink has about 10 times more receiving stations than Sailmail, so I can't see how you'd be better with Sailmail.

Horses for courses, but I'd not rely on a sat phone to contact cruisers, who's got them? Some guys more wealthy than I; but few of the folks I know have sat phones.

If I were you, I'd sell what you have and get a true marine SSB. I favour the 802, but they're pricey. The M700, or 710 are better priced.

Cheers, and enjoy your new boat.
Paul.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:54   #14
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If you decide to go for a marine rated SSB many of them are type accepted for use on Ham bands so if space is a premium you can legally use one of these for both.l:
A small quibble - there's no "type acceptance" for ham radio equipment. You can use any old radio on the amateur bands, if you are a licensed amateur, even something you made yourself, which is kind of the point of ham radio.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:58   #15
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Re: Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

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Don't use a ham radio for marine ssb! It's ......inconsiderate.
Yep, it really pisses orf all those Chinee and Indon fishermen who use any channel they like to chatter endlessly...

Re the two radios/one antenna business ... plenty of info out there , such as this Hamation

Where do I cruise? Dja want a few more hints
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