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Old 16-12-2011, 12:41   #16
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

For the St Maarein to Grenada run, all you need to "worry" about is the fairly remote possibility of a tropical storm in August. Other than that, it's simply a question of what's your tolerance for wind and waves in the inter-island channels. If you stick your nose out from behind the headland, and it's too rough, just turn around and sail back to where you came from and wait for a calmer day.

If you don't want to spend a hundred bucks or less on an SSB receiver to plug into your laptop to get WeFAX downloads and text forecasts, as well as voice broadcasts, just ask your fellow cruisers in the anchorage what the weather forecast is. Every single one of them will have some means of pulling down weather forecasts. If you're in an anchorage with a marina, you can dinghy in and look at the daily weather update that they all post in the main office.
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Old 16-12-2011, 12:48   #17
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

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Originally Posted by CharlesFCook View Post
Siruis weather worked fine for me through to Antigua and all the way down to Cristobal Panama - this was in May of 2011.
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Old 16-12-2011, 16:28   #18
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

You do not need a satphone for costal trips. Simply check the wx online at every stop and you are set. You can also get wx via the marine VHF, FM, etc..

For such a brief Caribbean trip, in the good season, I would not bother to get anything you do not have there already.

PS If there is anything like a Carib-wide mobile card, you can get wx via your smartphone or mobile modem too.

b.
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Old 16-12-2011, 16:59   #19
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

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Here is the list ofWorldwide Weather Fax Broadcast Schedules
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf You will be in the New Orleans Region.
Sorry, but you'll need a SSB or Ham radio with a modem to download to your computer at the scheduled times, but you can listen to scheduled voice (English) forecasts on an inexpensive shortwave (receive only) radio. Talk with a local Radio Tech to answer your questions in depth.
YOU DO NOT NEED A MODEM...

(sorry for the shouting.. but... it is CRITICAL to understand that a simple radio and a laptop with an audio input is all the is needed to get GRIB files.

check out the previous CF threads.
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Old 16-12-2011, 17:19   #20
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

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YOU DO NOT NEED A MODEM...

(sorry for the shouting.. but... it is CRITICAL to understand that a simple radio and a laptop with an audio input is all the is needed to get GRIB files.

check out the previous CF threads.
Sorry, maybe I'm wrong, I know weatherfaxs can be received simply with a radio and a sound card, but GRIBs arnt transmitted that way.

Dave
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Old 16-12-2011, 17:35   #21
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

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Sorry, maybe I'm wrong, I know weatherfaxs can be received simply with a radio and a sound card, but GRIBs arnt transmitted that way.

Dave
ARG... of course you are correct.. GRIB is in response to an email message... which requires transmit...

I meant weatherfax....

(Pardon my brain fart....)

Thanks.... (I shall not edit my original post, as it will make the whole thread odd.....)

Arg.. (foot in mouth disease.....)
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Old 16-12-2011, 19:46   #22
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

WWV has general weather broadcasts every hour that's more than adequate for avoiding hurricanes. You'll need an HF radio, not an SSB (Single Side Band HF) radio to recieve it. This type of recieve only radio cost from $50 on up. If you want to listen into SSB, radios like the Sony ICF 7600 at around $150.00 is the cheapest with single side band recieve only radio capability. I like the Sangean 909 but they are about $250.

You can get yourself up and running with an SSB Ham radio for about $1200, or even less, that will give you two way communication as well as a general coverage reciever. You'll need a general class license to talk but a days study on one of the online crib courses and you should be able to pass it easily. I did and I'm no electronic genius. If you want free internet, you'll need a Pactor modem with Pactor 3 software upgrade. New, they run a $1,000 to $1,400. Got my Pactor 2 used for $500 and paid to have it upgraded. A radio like the Icom 718 can be opened up to transmit on all HF frequencies. It is not legal to transmit outside the ham bands except in an emergency, however. Have never had a need to use other than the ham frequencies. Understand you can get by without the Pactor Modem for email with a soundcard in your computer. Have no idea how well it works or how to do it. Searching the archives here will turn a few threads on doing it.

I made the choice to go with a used ICOM 718 radio, AH4 antenna tuner and the backstay as an antenna because of cost. Buying a SatPhone and paying for the minutes was more expensive than the HF SSB radio and had very limited use.

My costs for the ham setup were:
ICOM 718 that had already been opened up, used $450
Icom AH4 auto tuner, new $295
Norseman backstay insulators (2) off Ebay for $150. You only absolutely need 1.
Copper 2" strips for the ground plane $150

Back in the dark ages, cruised for several years with no GPS, two way radio, or AIS. Only electronics were a knotmeter/log, depthsounder and an HF reciever. Strangely enough, we survived without a problem and had a great time. If I was trying to go cheap, now, would add a GPS and a GPS equipped Epirb to the hf recieve radio, knotmeter/log and depthsounder.
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Old 16-12-2011, 22:02   #23
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

i have both a satphone and an SSB with Pactor modem. i use the ssb/modem all the time at sea for email, gribs, weather forecasts, and herb. The satphone is a good backup, but not a necessity. also, if the budget wont allow an SSB, a satphone is not a bad alternative.

However, when we travelled from st. martin to grenada and back, i don't think i used my satphone once, and while i did download gribs from sailmail, you can just as easily get them on wifi before going sailing.

there are no long passages at play here, so if you're only concerned about that stretch of water, i probably wouldn't worry about either ssb or satphone.

cheers and have fun
Colin
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Old 16-12-2011, 22:07   #24
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

btw, a good wifi antenna - say a Bullet - can help you eliminate the need for using a satphone to get weather files.
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Old 16-12-2011, 22:43   #25
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
If you want to listen into SSB, radios like the Sony ICF 7600 at around $150.00 is the cheapest with single side band recieve only radio capability.
Nope. This one is a good radio.

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Old 20-12-2011, 08:53   #26
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

You can connect an SSB Receiver to your computer and download a program called JVCOMM, JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program and receive weatherfax and grib files. We did this for the first year we were out cruising until we installed our first SSB. JVCOMM can be downloaded free, but it has a nag in the center until you upgrade to the pay version. It still works fine. Chuck
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Old 20-12-2011, 18:28   #27
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Originally Posted by Waterwayguy
You can connect an SSB Receiver to your computer and download a program called JVCOMM, JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program and receive weatherfax and grib files. We did this for the first year we were out cruising until we installed our first SSB. JVCOMM can be downloaded free, but it has a nag in the center until you upgrade to the pay version. It still works fine. Chuck
Unless I've missed something jvcomm is designed for sdus comms and other rtty systems. I dont see how you can get grib files that way. I'm not aware anyone is broadcasting them.

Dave
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Old 20-12-2011, 19:01   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow

Unless I've missed something jvcomm is designed for sdus comms and other rtty systems. I dont see how you can get grib files that way. I'm not aware anyone is broadcasting them.

Dave
I'm also puzzled... did we miss something?

I also sense way too much believe in grib files here... Understand that these come from computer models that do not account for local features and are not interpreted by a weather forecaster like the are with weatherfax or voice forecasts.

I don't like receive-only HF at all and advice the OP to get hat satphone and listen to weather on the local VHF nets or during happy hours.

cheers,
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Old 21-12-2011, 07:41   #29
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

Yep, your right, grib files not available via JVCOMM, I am too used to my Winlink that will get me grib. The wind and wave charts can be downloaded and in my opinion are of more use than grib files. Chuck
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Old 21-12-2011, 09:18   #30
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Re: Is a Sat phone really necessary for weather?

To pull the weather fax images off wifi quickly, I am still giving my program (Windows) for that away totally free! See the link under the title banner on my blog: s/v Jedi

cheers,
Nick.
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