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Old 22-06-2016, 15:03   #61
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

With either my old Atlas 215 and Dentron manual tuner or current ICOM 718 with SGC 230 tuner have had a problem with battery voltage. They have both worked fine with no reported signal issues with battery voltages as low as 12v. Maybe the output is degraded but it hasn't been enough for the receive station to tell me about or have problems getting through. Maybe my radios are magically superior to everyone else's ham radios but battery voltage hasn't been an issue for me.

People are being a little generous in their description of the quality of contacts using Winlink and a Pactor for email. Transmissions are slow and really not suitable for more than short messages and occasional GRIB downloads. Reminds me of the good old days of 300 baud phone modems.
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Old 22-06-2016, 15:53   #62
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

The ham universe is really much larger than the marine nets. Hams typically use three methods of communication, BPSK31 (equivalent to short messaging), Winmor (short emails) and SSTV (stands for slow scan TV, where you can send small pictures every 30 seconds or so. The BPSK31 channels are typically quite busy with around 10 simultaneous conversation into a single channel. The beauty of this mode is that you can exchange short messages at typing speed without using too much power (i.e. instead of powering the 3kHz channel, the radio is only transmitting in a narrow band of 200 Hz, drawing a couple of amps instead of 20 amps). Also, you can always find someone willing to talk to you which is good in an emergency. SSTV is good if you want to broadcast pictures of your sailing adventures to multiple followers in real time. Lastly, in addition to the typical Winlink/Sailmail store and forward email system, you can establish a peer-to-peer connection between two boats and exchange data this way (or ask the other boat to relay you messages). This is plenty of options for a cruiser.

That being said, there is no question that Pactor is a more robust method and faster email exchanges. Here is an often cited speed comparison to transfer a 4K email message in ideal conditions (Pactor does even better in poor conditions):

15 min Pactor I (500 Hz)
4 min Pactor II (500 Hz)
3 min Winmor (1600 Hz)
30 sec Pactor III (2200 Hz)
15 sec Pactor IV (2700 Hz)

I have included the bandwidth so that you can get an idea about the power usage. I would definitely insist on a ham radio first and if you could afford a marine/ham radio, that would be even better.
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Old 22-06-2016, 16:22   #63
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

Definitely no money involved one way or the other. It's my small contribution to help stop or reverse the worldwide destruction of the reefs.
Jim you said that you had participated in some surveys of birds and turtles. How did you get involved? How did you communicate with the people were running the survey. Except in places like Hawaii and Australia where the reef is easily accessible, there have been surprisingly few studies. For example Clipperton Island, which is untouched has only been the subject of one study and that was for a week or 2. Many atolls like the fabulous islands in the northern Cooks have never been even sampled.
To a first approximation the reef bleaching seems to because of global warming, but there are other factors which have not been properly explored. The Red Sea is boiling hot but sustains perhaps the richest collection of reefs in the world. For other reasons than isolation nobody is studying those reefs.
My present plan is to sail from the Keys (where many areas have been irreversibly destroyed particularly around Key Largo in the state park) to the Exuma's and from there to the outer areas like the Jumentos.
My dream is Clipperton, the Line islands, and the northern Cooks. My fantasy is return to the splendor of Melanesia where I sailed for 6 years.

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Old 22-06-2016, 16:26   #64
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
The ham universe is really much larger than the marine nets. Hams typically use three methods of communication, BPSK31 (equivalent to short messaging), Winmor (short emails) and SSTV (stands for slow scan TV, where you can send small pictures every 30 seconds or so. The BPSK31 channels are typically quite busy with around 10 simultaneous conversation into a single channel. The beauty of this mode is that you can exchange short messages at typing speed without using too much power (i.e. instead of powering the 3kHz channel, the radio is only transmitting in a narrow band of 200 Hz, drawing a couple of amps instead of 20 amps). Also, you can always find someone willing to talk to you which is good in an emergency. SSTV is good if you want to broadcast pictures of your sailing adventures to multiple followers in real time. Lastly, in addition to the typical Winlink/Sailmail store and forward email system, you can establish a peer-to-peer connection between two boats and exchange data this way (or ask the other boat to relay you messages). This is plenty of options for a cruiser.

That being said, there is no question that Pactor is a more robust method and faster email exchanges. Here is an often cited speed comparison to transfer a 4K email message in ideal conditions (Pactor does even better in poor conditions):

15 min Pactor I (500 Hz)
4 min Pactor II (500 Hz)
3 min Winmor (1600 Hz)
30 sec Pactor III (2200 Hz)
15 sec Pactor IV (2700 Hz)

I have included the bandwidth so that you can get an idea about the power usage. I would definitely insist on a ham radio first and if you could afford a marine/ham radio, that would be even better.
Note that based on this table, even Pactor IV needs over one hour (!) to transmit a one megabyte file in ideal conditions, and Pactor III (what I have) -- two hours. In real life it's hard to keep a link going for that period of time, and your radio is using a lot of power (data requires continuous transmit unlike voice). Pactor IV's theoretical maximum transmission rate is claimed to be 5500bps. That's right -- bps, not kbps, and not mbps.

The highest resolution SSTV mode is typically 256 x 256, which is -- 0.065 megapixels.

PSK31 is -- 31 baud. Not 31 kilobaud or 31 kbs much less 31bps but -- 31.

These are wonderful modes for very small bits of data, and fun to play with, but not much for dealing with any kind of images.
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Old 22-06-2016, 16:28   #65
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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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.
DH, can you point to a source that supports that definition of pecuniary interest? The interpretation I've heard is that the specific message must result in the production of income to be proscribed. Otherwise, for instance, a doctor could not talk to another doctor about medical issues, and I don't think this is the intent of the rule.

And as i said, these rules are interpreted differently in different countries, making international conversations more complicated yet. One common situation is yotties in Mexico ordering boat parts from Downwind Marine in San Diego. This has been going on for years via the various ham nets, and it has been accepted without penalty, and it is certainly known to all relevant authorities.

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Old 22-06-2016, 16:49   #66
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
DH, can you point to a source that supports that definition of pecuniary interest? The interpretation I've heard is that the specific message must result in the production of income to be proscribed. Otherwise, for instance, a doctor could not talk to another doctor about medical issues, and I don't think this is the intent of the rule.

And as i said, these rules are interpreted differently in different countries, making international conversations more complicated yet. One common situation is yotties in Mexico ordering boat parts from Downwind Marine in San Diego. This has been going on for years via the various ham nets, and it has been accepted without penalty, and it is certainly known to all relevant authorities.

Jim
A doctor definitely can't talk to another doctor, if it has anything to do with his work, even non-profit work. That would not apply in case he's helping say a cruiser, on a purely volunteer basis.

It Seems to Us: Pecuniary Interest

http://www.arrl.org/files/media/News...guidelines.pdf

http://www.arrl.org/files/media/News...guidelines.pdf


Even working for a non-profit company does not exempt the operator from the "no communications on behalf of an employer" rule.


But purely volunteer, amateur work, with no company involved and no money changing hands, like what it sounds like the OP will be doing, looks ok to me. But I am no expert, so he should get qualified and specific advice if he decides to go down this road.
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Old 23-06-2016, 16:28   #67
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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...The 802 with its necessary adjuncts cost about $3000...
Are you set on the 802?

We picked up a 700pro, with a 23' SSB antenna, AT-130 (or 140, I forget) and associated cable, grabbed a KISS-SSB ground ($150 off ebay, direct from them) and with about $20 of misc. parts we're good to go- all the same functions as far as I can see it, for about 1/4th the cost of your 802 setup ($770).

I forget what the 802 offers (AIS and DSC?) that the 700pro is missing (besides size- it's a bigger, heavier unit). If you needed the remote face plate I think that the 710RT has that?

I'm thinking, you can ALWAl tYS sel7he 00pro/701RT if you need the 802 -someone like us will buy it. Maybe that would be enough for your needs until you can answer if it isn't?
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Old 23-06-2016, 17:21   #68
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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...
Are you set on the 802?

...you can ALWAYS Sell the 700pro/701RT...
-that's what I meant to "type" -I'm all thumbs on these little "smart" phones. Argh!
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Old 23-06-2016, 17:47   #69
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

If you really get in to this, there is a web site called QTH.com Web Hosting and Ham Radio Services that has tons of used ham gear for sale.
Bill
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Old 23-06-2016, 19:44   #70
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I too am uncertain of the meaning of this unpunctuated stream! But the last phrase seems to indicate that ham radios will not survive on a cruising boat.

Nonsense!
You may well be right but . . . . .

I have an Icom IC718 with AT180 tuner that I installed brand new in 2007, it worked perfectly for a few trips and a few years of radio comms. Then I spent several years in and around my home waters, no use for an SSB so it never got used.

Then I prepped the boat for trip to the islands and had to have a working SSB to get a CAT 1 clearance and guess what? The radio was useless, nothing coming in or going out. Long story short, after lots of fruitless re-wiring, new ground planes, etc. the set was sent to Icom in Auckland and it apparently had an "internal frequency modulator" or some such thing gone dodgy. Cost NZ$360 to fix.

Maybe I'm a born sceptic but to me the only thing that could have caused such a failure despite non-use, is corrosion. Maybe the fact that the IC710 is not a "marine" radio has something to do with this? Don't know. But it does get me thinking.

Haven't got the radio back yet so I'm hoping to get some sort of a tech report on how/why. But I'm not holding my breath.
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Old 23-06-2016, 21:08   #71
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

Quote:
Jim you said that you had participated in some surveys of birds and turtles. How did you get involved? How did you communicate with the people were running the survey.
We (and a lot of other cruisers in the SW Pacific) were asked to make the observations by John Anderson on Lord Howe Island. He is a ham (VK9JA) and a professional naturalist/guide/etc. He is associated with larger groups, and collected and collated the reports from yotties and passed them onward. I'm not familiar with the later processes, only the collection.

We communicated by... would you believe... ham radio. John was quite active in those days, participating in several Maritime Mobile nets and we would give voice reports frequently, followed up by data summaries sent by Winlink e-mails. He would mail us literature with instructions for identifying the subject species and other details for those of us who were not skilled in such things. We enjoyed t he effort and learned about things of interest to us, things far from our professional lives.

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Old 24-06-2016, 18:58   #72
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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Hi John.
.... I believe that I could learn to operate a device as inherently simple as a radio properly and quickly
...we had what must've been an antique ham radio but were able to check into a net from Guam, get useful weather reports...
I'm following this thread because I'm in the same "boat" so to speak (I'm just getting into a SSB and learning all the same stuff) so all the above posts REALLY are helping me also! THANKS ALL above contributors!!!


What I'm getting from the OP is this:
(A) Cost is a factor =why spend more than for what you need?
(B) You want WEATHER first and foremost.


Now I'll post this like I'm "saying" it to you, but really this is like my OWN conversation TO MYSELF as I'm learning about the same stuff too- and everything those big posts above are right on the money about everything.

(A) WEATHER!
WHY NOT get a good Short Wave Receiver -something like a Yachtboy 400 or Sangeaon 909x (with the clearmod) then? You can use a backstay with some clips as an antenna and download those free charts direct onto a laptop, windows or Apple pad or even a rasberry Pi. That's $300 maybe $310 with some long leads to the "antenna" if you already have a laptop/modern cell phone device???

(B)GETTING HELP/INFO/ADVICE/SOS:
That doesn't get you calling OUT, but it will give you (99%?) all the same RECEPTION of all the best weather broadcasts AND you can do it running of the devices rechargeable batteries in the devices (so EVEN if you run out of "power" in your mains, you still have time to deal with it). You'll have the SAME STUFF on your screen and over the speaker as anyone with a $4k system would, right???

If you need some safety (like SOS calling out, etc.) get a satphone? -just make sure it's functional and you have like 60 minutes of airtime on a prepaid?


Talking to friends is where you'll fork out $3000, no matter which way you go. HAM vs. Marine HF SSB? Everything else besides a shortwave needs a license, (and HAM is more expensive by the way). You COULD buy a used rig and not call on it. But having it might mean you need your license on the bulkhead at some point.

... I suppose you could get a beater HAM rig, and just use if for the occasional calls to other HAMs? Dont' use it for anything else but HAM (and get your license).
AGAIN YOU WILL NEED A GREAT ANTENNA AND TUNER FOR IT -just like for a Marine SSB (or Marine SSB with HAM ability).
...So no cost saved there.

whatever you do THE ANTENNA is really the main issue for getting information (and then the tuner for it, be it an auto tuner for a SSB or your hand on the dial on the SW). It almost doesn't matter what RADIO you have, really to get WEATHER as long as it CAN get Weather Information where you are going (capable OF picking up the signals, which due to how strong they are broadcast out, almost everything can do, even often with a simple wire or clips to a stay). Again, you could get a good SW radio, and spent $20-$150 on a decent extension antenna -or a few- and try it out on the mast or various places as you go. The little table-top D-cell ones I've seen at garage sales can still pick up most stuff- and with a good antenna should do it in the middle of the pacific if you're listening at the
(a) right time and
(b) on the right channel.

...then DL the WeFax info to your phone/pad via the audio jack (might need a audio cable splitter if you're tuning by hand so you can tune just off frequency to the data signal to download it to your device).

Isn't that correct?

SO THAT TAKES CARE OF GOOD WEATHER REPORTS AND SCREENS.


- - - - - - -

The question then remains: to call or not to call out?

What kind of system do you want to have for trouble/help/advice?
(a) How important is that
(b) How much are you willing to spend
...to not only stay in touch, but get/give information outside of weather/navigation info???


There was an old skipper (older than me) I met in Europe when I was younger (it was a while ago, pre-computers and cell phones), who sailed all over in a tiny little sloop -he had an ancient battery operated SW radio clipped to his stays and listened to weather info and whatever else caught his fancy -that thing was on quietly all the time from what I recall.
He made intelligent choices about his safety and when/where he sailed or went offshore. He had no other electronics that I recall except a beat up old VHF and a wind generator (I think he got a solar panel at some point) and his charging system via his little tiny diesel engine. He used that VHF for calling to ports as he came and went. He ALWAYS knew the weather forecasts.
Last I heard he was still going strong.

You don't HAVE to have anything but a good SW and something as an antenna to listen to the same weather reports as anyone else. If you have an audio out on it, and audio in on some phone/iPad/tablet, and some software (most is free) you can DL the images and look them over too.

Get a sat phone for emergencies, a VHF for within 25-miles.
The rest is a different subject...?

Again, thanks to the above posters -helpful all of it.
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Old 24-06-2016, 19:49   #73
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Ooops. Missed a page and Info from Denton!

Oooopps!
I missed the page Denton where you were talking more about your intentions.

From what I've learned, you'll WANT a good, decent, not too complicated HAM setup for networking for your research. This is in ADDITION to a Marine SSB, if you DO decide to GET a Marine SSB for talking/help/info exchange, and not just use ham on HAM frequencies for your WORK

(I mean, really you could completely avoid marine channels except in dire SOS need)

HAM is HAM though- the HAM folks could just as easily help you with a good used HAM set that will work on a boat-(I'd ask here though) get your HAM license to get your call sign, like "Ka4wja" -that's his (and be legal, etc).

a Marine SSB, that has HAM function, would be fine for your work!
&
A MARINE SSB will be built to HIGHER SPECS than a normal HAM Radio


The question is what other functions do you want built in?

If you get a SG-230/238 auto-antenna tuner, you can keep flexibility with what RADIO YOU CAN USE in your set up while you learn about the rest of the system. I couldn't find a used one so I got a simple Icom, which are common.

I think you'll find that not a lot has changed regarding the system you experienced and what is available today- simply, radio waves are radio waves. We can add stuff, tuck signals in but they're still SLOW SLOW SLOW compared to anything else on land.

My understanding is you won't need a Pactor modem until you KNOW you need it from trying other things, even to do the networking over HAM.

(1) Antenna
(2) Tuner
(3) Grounding solution
(4) Cables and filters
(5) Marine SSB with HAM ability (or get a HAM & stay off MF (except SOS).
&
(6) Discrete HAM unit/base unit if the Marine SSB+HAM isn't good enough for esoteric HAM stuff.
then...
(7) Pactor-II (or better) if the laptop solution isn't enough for the data networking stuff back and forth. you might not even need it (unsure) if you get a radio that can audio out to your laptop and accept a signal back in-

I BELIEVE you can send and receive data now JUST using a laptop, with the right Marine SSB now.



Forgive my lengthy above post(s)!

Ka4wja (John) is a saint- actually reading his information on google helped me find these forums!
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Old 24-06-2016, 20:03   #74
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Re: Ham vs SSB for marine purposes

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You don't HAVE to have anything but a good SW and something as an antenna to listen to the same weather reports as anyone else.
While generally correct, there are a couple of other considerations. An SSB receiver is great to have as a backup option. One of the better ones these days, a Tecsun PL-660 is $119 on Amazon. It gives you great energy efficiency (200 mA vs. 2A for the main rig) but it is not as good a receiver as the marine or ham rigs. When the conditions are bad, your weather faxes become illegible while on the real transceiver they usually come crystal clear. This is important but it depends on the sunspot cycle which is expected to worsen over the next couple of years.

Next, the baseline low cost SSB rig these days should be an Icom-718 for $600, a tuner and the antenna system. You can put together the whole system under $1,000 if you make an effort. The next level up is the 802 and yes, that is significantly more expensive but for some people it is worth it.

Lastly, a ham license is $15 and you can pass all three exams in one day. These costs are not tremendous given how much boating systems cost. Talk to me about the cost of a watermaker .

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