Hello to all,
1) Before I contribute to thread drift, I'd like to let you all know that Herb is enjoying his retirement
very well, including lots of travel, etc.!!
(I try to keep in touch with him regularly....but I've missed a couple months due to my own family
2) Now onto some HF radio
---- As many of you know, I'm a "radio nut"...
---- And, I know that "Lake Superior" had a truly rough experience when trying to use Herb's Net a few years ago...which contrasts completely opposite of my experiences over the past 40 years of HF radio
We've discussed this many times, and there's no need to rehash things again, as we seem to have simply (and respectfully) agreed-to-disagree about the usefulness/viability of HF comms on-board....
----- I like XGate and love Iridium....and a fixed-mount Iridium system (w/ ext. antenna) is a fine set-up....
---- But, I also like HF comms.....and it does work....
3) But, what might actually be useful here is to compare/contrast what type of HF communications
system is more reliable, and/or at least to understand that there are various HF comm systems, and some work better than others....as well as understand the difference a well-designed "chart table installation with a external antenna for the Iridium",
versus the typically marketed "handheld sat phone"!!!
a) First off, understand that there is a VERY BIG difference in the communications
ability between Herb's 150 watt transmitter, with a 35' home-built antenna, located hundred's of miles inland near Toronto, CA....versus the USCG's 4000 watt transmitters, with VERY LARGE, high gain antennas, in various locations overlooking the oceans (Boston; Chesapeake, VA; New Orleans
; Pt. Reyes, CA; Honolulu; Guam
; Kodiak, AK...) as well as the HF voice, text and wefax transmitters of UK, Germany
, SA, Australia
, NZ, Japan
, S. Korea
, etc. etc.
b) Secondly, understand that if you design/install your communication system properly, you should have no issues/troubles "tuning" anything in at all....if one channel is noisy/unusable, it should just be one click or twist of a knob to get to a clear, strong signal on another channel....
This is just like equipping with a fixed-mount sat phone
and a external antenna, and having the connections and software
set-up and tested....
c) Understand that many times, stations can be "too close" for contact on a particular frequency, and you must adjust accordingly...
d) Understand that high-latitude HF comms is much more susceptible to deep fading and sometimes loss of signals from un-forecasted geomagnetic activity....and changing frequencies accordingly is needed more often when above 45* - 50* than when communicating at lower latitudes....(and the N. Atlantic is worse than the Pacific, due to the proximity of the magnetic North Pole....)
e) If deciding that voice comms is not to your liking, and/or that you desire reading "text" rather than listening, you're in luck...
, especially PACTOR-III and PACTOR-IV, provide excellent, 100% error free HF communications!!!
I could go on and on....but the gist is this:
IF you learn about this stuff before you shove off, and do not simply rely on the "guy that sold it to 'ya" to tell a few things, you'll find HF comms to actually be a worthwhile endeavor....
4) I don't think it prudent to drift Ludo's thread too much further....
And again, not wanting to get into a debate here...just wanted to share some of my experience and thoughts....(if needed, we can certainly agree-to-disagree)....
And, BTW, if you desire some more details on HF weather
sources, etc. please have a look here at these two recent threads....
Best Way to Receive Weatherfax?
Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea
s/v Annie Laurie