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Old 21-06-2016, 19:38   #46
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Originally Posted by Symphony View Post
the OP needs to be certain of his desired usability. sounds like a Delorme InReach could satisfy needs... plus a HF receiver for fun and other news source.
Exactly the way I'm doing it. Plus AIS GPS and G3 radar. VHS for harbour communicating. What more does one need in electronics ?
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Old 21-06-2016, 19:55   #47
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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I'm afraid that I have not been forthcoming about my need for electronic communication. My vocation is that of a molecular immunologist and geneticist lately retired from the Duke University medical school.

My avocation is marine biology. I have worked in the past both at the Scripps Institute of oceanography and the Woods Hole Institute of oceanography. I am outfitting a 35 foot Pearson as a mini research vessel. Likewise I have spent 10 years in the Pacific where I ran a kind of eco-charter business where my clients did research diving.

One of the things that I hope to establish is connections with cruisers particularly in the central Pacific who can evaluate the health of the reef. Marine biologists are at the end of the food chain. They simply don't have the resources to observe the condition of the reef in far-flung places like the Tuamotos. But many cruisers are passing through those reefs and could evaluate the health of reef (especially the presence or absence of coral death: bleaching) in a way that would be useful to professional scientists. I also have some more exotic interests and it might be helpful to be able to communicate with colleagues on shore.

So far the most exciting suggestion is the Pactor Modem which apparently can be linked to either a ham SSB or a more sophisticated Marine SSB. The problem here is that what does the person that I'm communicating with need to have.

PHD, PhD
On my up and coming circumnavigation, I will be dedicating my spare time to the study of plastic and micro plastics , Radioactivity, Water temperatures, Coral reef conditions and anything else I find interesting.I carry an Inreach and Ham Radio for long distance Com. I would share my data. Putting to sea fall 2016 or spring 2017.
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Old 21-06-2016, 19:57   #48
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Originally Posted by pdenton View Post
So far the most exciting suggestion is the Pactor Modem which apparently can be linked to either a ham SSB or a more sophisticated Marine SSB. The problem here is that what does the person that I'm communicating with need to have.

PHD, PhD
To communicate directly you would use either ham or marine frequencies... most cruisers are set up for both and there are lots of cruising nets on either side of the fence... Comedy and Tony's Nets on Ham frequencies in the SW Pacific and Isabellas and the Patagonian Net on marine frequencies further east frinstance...

Pactor email could be either ham or marine but is via a shore station.. not direct. The senders would have their choice of kit.... that wouldn't affect you.

My choice in the South Pacific, however, for both you and them would be Sailmail on marine frequencies . Plenty shore stations... Australia, Chile, Panama, Nuie, one in French Polynesia, mean that you can always at some time during the day get through.

So... I would suggest for your purposes an IC-M710 with Pactor and Sailmail.

Ping aka CdS
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Old 21-06-2016, 21:05   #49
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Originally Posted by Rorzech View Post
On my up and coming circumnavigation, I will be dedicating my spare time to the study of plastic and micro plastics , Radioactivity, Water temperatures, Coral reef conditions and anything else I find interesting.I carry an Inreach and Ham Radio for long distance Com. I would share my data. Putting to sea fall 2016 or spring 2017.
I'm curious as to how you will be measuring radioactivity in the environment with on board equipment?

Jim
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Old 21-06-2016, 21:41   #50
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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All t hey need is an e-mail address. Both Winlink and Sailmail provide communication between you at sea and the internet. Winlink allows small attachments, Sailmail does not IIRC. Practically speaking, the attachment size limits on Winlink preclude images being sent, so no photos of coral, etc.
SailMail allows attachments the same as Winlink. We had gribs emailed to us from saildocs every 6 hours and pulled them down via sailmail. But yeah, neither service is one you'd want to use for images. The sailmail time limits would kick in anyway.
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Old 22-06-2016, 00:05   #51
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

Since I'm in the process of fitting out a boat with HF I got to pondering on the utility of email via HF and how it would add to the cost of my minimalist installation, unfortunately adding a Pactor modem would significantly impact upon the cost. I then got to wondering if a computer could do the job with suitable software and went looking on the net and found this:


https://www.tapr.org/pdf/DCC1997-AllsoftwareHFModem-N2MJI.pdf


Looks like it's possible and I wonder what sort of hardware would be required to implement it.
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Old 22-06-2016, 00:14   #52
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
Since I'm in the process of fitting out a boat with HF I got to pondering on the utility of email via HF and how it would add to the cost of my minimalist installation, unfortunately adding a Pactor modem would significantly impact upon the cost. I then got to wondering if a computer could do the job with suitable software and went looking on the net and found this:


https://www.tapr.org/pdf/DCC1997-AllsoftwareHFModem-N2MJI.pdf


Looks like it's possible and I wonder what sort of hardware would be required to implement it.
For a software modem, look into WINMOR, which is included in the "RMS Express" email package: (https://www.winlink.org/RMSExpress). It's all free. As far as I know, WINMOR is only being used in the amateur radio service. WINMOR is about as fast as PACTOR-2.
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Old 22-06-2016, 07:06   #53
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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For a software modem, look into WINMOR, which is included in the "RMS Express" email package: (https://www.winlink.org/RMSExpress). It's all free. As far as I know, WINMOR is only being used in the amateur radio service. WINMOR is about as fast as PACTOR-2.
+1
Rms express works of you have a ham license, in the UK you need the advanced license to allow a maritime mobile call sign.
After that a laptop sound card may well work OK, can't remember if I've tried it or not. What is well worth spending some money on if you intend to go the ham route is a signalink usb sound card. SignaLink USB Interface
Makes getting the alc levels correct on the radio while transmitting so much easier.
Then email works offshore, if a bit slow.
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Old 22-06-2016, 09:45   #54
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Originally Posted by Scorpius99eh View Post
Yes, but if you transmit on HAM for ANY purpose you better have the appropriate license - and they're a fair bit of hard work to get. It takes planning and perseverance.
-Bill (VE0MTA, ex AB6KL)
Most HAM Clubs give classes and testing the same day...

My wife and I received General Licenses without little study, before we started cruising... In other words licensing up to General is not that hard to obtain...

ARRL lists the classes available i your area:
Find an Amateur Radio License Class in Your Area
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Old 22-06-2016, 10:32   #55
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
+1
Rms express works of you have a ham license, in the UK you need the advanced license to allow a maritime mobile call sign.
After that a laptop sound card may well work OK, can't remember if I've tried it or not. What is well worth spending some money on if you intend to go the ham route is a signalink usb sound card. SignaLink USB Interface
Makes getting the alc levels correct on the radio while transmitting so much easier.
Then email works offshore, if a bit slow.
Many of the newer ham rigs have a USB port which includes a virtual sound card interface, as well as a virtual serial port for radio control. I've run RMS Express / WINMOR with my Icom 7200 ham transceiver, using nothing more than a USB cable between the computer and the transceiver.

However, if you're looking at low-cost used radios, a USB interface may be hard to find. I believe that WINMOR is fairly tolerant of less-than-perfect soundcards.

WINMOR is used with the ham radio Winlink service. Winlink also supports PACTOR -- different stations use different modems.

I've had better luck making good connections to the marine-band SailMail system though (not WINMOR, but PACTOR). This may be location-specific, as I've only made the comparison in the NE Pacific. Also, it's been a few years, and there are no doubt more WINMOR stations on the air now. I've been able to send small photos to my blog via both Sailmail and Winlink, but these are not much better than thumbnail size -- 10KBytes or less.

Finally, I actually use the Iridium satphone for most of my at-sea email. It's faster and for me, more reliable. I get roughly 100KBytes of weather data per day (GRIB and WFAX images) via satphone and XGate.
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Old 22-06-2016, 11:53   #56
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

Hi Jim.
From what you say the Pactor might not be of much use. Direct communication might be more effective. I do have a series of questions in mind and if this is the proper venue, I can send it to anyone who is interested.

From what you say a Pactor Modem would be overkill if people could not send pictures.

So the central question remains. Would I be able to communicate with people who are willing to participate in the project better with ham radio or Marine SSB. Or vice versa would people be able to contact me better if I had a ham or Marine SSB.

Since by chance my name is Peter Howard Denton, I have for years signed emails as PHD, PhD. But if that gives offense I certainly don't need to do it.

PHD
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Old 22-06-2016, 12:16   #57
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

Peter, I'll jump in again...

For boats at sea, the lingua franca for text and data communications is email. This can be via satphone, ham radio, or marine radio. Since this email is connected through the shoreside internet, it doesn't matter what the end parties use -- satphone email talks to ham email talks to marine-band email talks to land-based internet email. You will find very few (if any) boats that are able to conduct direct boat-to-boat digital communications.

The PACTOR modems used for radio email have a much slower data rate than any modern shoreside connection. The best is the new PACTOR-4 modem, which delivers at best 5500 bits per second. This is the uncompressed raw data rate, and since a jpeg image is already compressed, this is the best you can do. Under difficult conditions the speed can be much less. Most people still use PACTOR-3, which is about half that speed.

Since marine-band SailMail is a shared service, your daily connection time is limited. This effectively limits your data ability to fairly small files. Sailmail has an annual membership cost of $250. There is no airtime charge.

Ham-based Winlink has no time limit, but courtesy to other users and propagation effects also mean that you will not be sending or receiving huge quantities of data. Winlink is free to use. You need a ham license.

Satphone has no time limit, and the data rate for Iridium about 2400 bits/second (uncompressed). Connect time is about $1 per minute, depending on the plan. An email service such as XGate is about $250 a year.

There are other satellite data services, often costing much more, but with much greater data speeds.
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Old 22-06-2016, 12:21   #58
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Hi Jim.
From what you say the Pactor might not be of much use. Direct communication might be more effective. I do have a series of questions in mind and if this is the proper venue, I can send it to anyone who is interested.

From what you say a Pactor Modem would be overkill if people could not send pictures.

So the central question remains. Would I be able to communicate with people who are willing to participate in the project better with ham radio or Marine SSB. Or vice versa would people be able to contact me better if I had a ham or Marine SSB.

You have to have a special license to use marine HF radio from land, so if you plan to have direct links to people on land, you are better off with ham radio. It is possible to establish peer to peer data links, but this will be far more complicated and far less reliable than using Winlink, where you have large antenna installations in multiple locations to choose from depending on propagation. Note also that it is forbidden to use ham radio for anything professional or commercial. If this is your work or there is any kind of commerce involved even peripherally, you will need to use SailMail on marine HF. But as others have said, SailMail has a connect time limit and is not really useful for sending any significant volume of attachments.

I use an Icom M802 and Pactor modem for both Marine HF and ham radio, and I'm a fan -- I agree pretty much 100% with everything said on here by John (KA4WJA), who is a world-class expert on this stuff, and incredibly generous with this knowledge (our other great expert is Bill Trayfors, but there are a LOT of people on this board with serious knowledge of marine radio). I have a sat phone and am NOT a fan of this technology for my particular use. The M802 and Pactor modem is an efficient way to send text-only emails and a small number of small attachments, but would just never work for sending significant volumes of image files. There just isn't enough bandwidth in that technology -- which runs to just a few thousand baud.

So in your case, I think this is a classical application for satellite comms. If you want to do what you say you're going to do, with any efficiency, then you will need to bite the bullet, in my opinion, and invest in a decent satellite data system. There is no way to do it offshore with any efficiency, on the cheap. At least not until Google gets their world-wide low altitude satellite constellation up (NOT a joke).


As someone mentioned, you can also use a satellite message device (Yellow Brick or DeLorme) to send text emails. This is a TERRIFIC technology and there are affordable unlimited use plans. I hate to say it, but this does 80% of what SailMail does better and cheaper. The value of short text communications offshore is very great in my opinion, and although I'm not a satellite guy, I have to say -- this may be a breakthrough technology and maybe the most useful single offshore non-emergency comms device you could have.
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Old 22-06-2016, 14:43   #59
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Note also that it is forbidden to use ham radio for anything professional or commercial. If this is your work or there is any kind of commerce involved even peripherally, you will need to use SailMail on marine HF.
DH, as I have understood the law for years, the deciding factor is whether the ham has pecuniary interest or gain involved in the message. I can not see where a scientist could not send or receive data relative to his work, unless he was selling that data to someone. In the case of PHD here, it sounds like volunteer efforts anyhow, so no pecuniary attachment on either end.

These rules are interpreted differently in other countries, and by different hams. Over the years that I have been a ham, it seems that general practice in the USA has become more lenient. I do not know if there is case law to support the changes, or really if they exist outside of my imagination... but I think PHD will be OK with his proposed usage if he decides to go the ham route.

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Old 22-06-2016, 14:49   #60
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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DH, as I have understood the law for years, the deciding factor is whether the ham has pecuniary interest or gain involved in the message. I can not see where a scientist could not send or receive data relative to his work, unless he was selling that data to someone. In the case of PHD here, it sounds like volunteer efforts anyhow, so no pecuniary attachment on either end.

These rules are interpreted differently in other countries, and by different hams. Over the years that I have been a ham, it seems that general practice in the USA has become more lenient. I do not know if there is case law to support the changes, or really if they exist outside of my imagination... but I think PHD will be OK with his proposed usage if he decides to go the ham route.

Jim
I don't know. If he decides to try to go that way, he should check it out.

The fact that he's a scientist doesn't change anything -- if it's part of his work, and he a gets any kind of compensation for that work, then it's definitely verboten, even if he works for a non-profit. If it's purely unpaid volunteer work with zero compensation or penuniary interest of any kind then maybe. But one should be careful about this -- radio amateurs are quite zealous about this kind of thing and the penalties can be severe.

Another rule concerning amateur radio to keep in mind is that no kind of encryption may be used -- all communications, including data, has to be readable by everyone who might tune in.
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