Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 26-03-2015, 09:17   #31
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 464
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post


P.S. One other communications solution you might consider -- is a text-only satellite device like the DeLorme or the Yellow Brick. This is much cheaper to acquire and use than a satphone, and may be effective of comms for your purposes. If you want to just receive weather, you don't have to have a whole SSB installation -- you can buy a cheap SSB receiver, connect it to your laptop's sound card, and you can get weather, navtex, and such things to your heart's content. So for minimal expense, with a Yellow Brick and an SSB receiver (pay attention to how you set up the antenna), you have pretty capabilities of getting weather, plus text comms with anyone in the world, with minimal operating expense, and no installation of anything. Probably a great solution for a lot of people.

I used a Delorme In Reach last summer from Copenhagen to Gibraltar
Worked great, friends and family knew where I was and we communicated via
Text messages daily. It can be linked to your smart phone for easier use
But also used stand alone (one less thing to keep charged). Also a major feature is that you can turn on and off airtime on a monthly basis. Right now the unit is safely in my sock draw awaiting to be activated for my next trip.
The unit also displays lat and long so is a back up GPS
The decision for me was easy, I primarily crew and cruise on other peoples boats
And wanted to have my own completely independent way of communicating.
At times I also bring along my own handheld VHF and Yachtboy radio.
Speaking of the Yachtboy, what would be a good replacement?
Starting to have issues with mine and would like to replace it.
__________________

__________________
Time2Go is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2015, 11:10   #32
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: In the U.S.
Boat: FP Tobago 35 [sold]
Posts: 402
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Why? Well, first off, what number are you going to call? 911? Oops! That is the emergency number in America, but lots of other countries use different numbers.
There are SAR numbers for organizations all over the world. They are normal telephone numbers you can call from anywhere, easily found with Google.

Being in French Polynesia, we have the SAR number for the USCG in Hawaii as well as the SAR number for French Polynesia programmed into the phone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Not to mention that calling 911 from a sat-phone doesn't work for reaching the Coast Guard the way it does for getting an ambulance to your home on land.
911 doesn't work at all from a Sat phone, won't get you anyone anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Then, too, the Coast Guard is set up to receive "mayday" calls by radio. They aren't standing by the phone expecting to receive emergency calls that way.
I think you are 100% incorrect on this one. In this day in age, with a cell phone in every pocket (for coastal sailors), I suspect they are OK receiving a distress call over the phone, or at least follow-up to the distress call, as would be the same with offshore after setting off the EPIRB vs calling Mayday on Ch 16.

No one is arguing Ch 16 in VHF range of help is #1. I assuming you are not in VHF range, otherwise you don't need an SSB or SatPhone for safety reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Also, if you call on the radio, on the emergency channels, there is a fair chance that a nearby boat will hear it and respond long before the Coast Guard ever could. Sat-phone calls obviously don't work that way.
I am making the assumption we are off-shore and that is what the OP was wanting to know about. Likely there are no boats nearby. No cruisers I know leave their SSB on at all times anyway (and certainly never monitoring the emergency channels), so calling out on an emergency SSB channel on SSB will not likely get you another boat, but a shore-side station (or maybe a SAR organization).

If there were boats nearby, I would call with my VHF, not a SSB or SatPhone.


Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Last, but not least, consider the case of Rebel Heart--when they went to make an emergency call on their sat-phone they found out that their service had been suspended.
True, but lot's of things can go wrong with a SSB set-up also.

When there is another incident like this I might put some weight into it, but as an isolated incident, I don't think there is a reason to be overly concerned with this (assuming you pay your bills).


Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
For myself, in a real emergency that required assistance far out at sea, it would be EPIRB first, SSB second, and then sat-phone--maybe, depending on what the results of the SSB call were.
Yes, an EPIRB would be first, no question. And not the topic here.

The next go-to device is obviously a matter of preference, and both will likely help in the situation, so pick whatever you want to deal with.

For us, a $3k+ install was not something I wanted to deal with.
__________________

__________________
Mark (It's Irie - Sailing Blog)
The Wirie AP+ and The Wirie pro - Long Range Marine WiFi and 2/3/4G Systems
kiltym is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2015, 12:34   #33
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Falmouth, UK
Posts: 169
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

The OP asked if SSB was worth it, yet this has turned into another SSB vs Satphone dibate. They're not the same thing, Just as radar and AIS are not the same thing (I mention this as that's another debate that's a bit pointless in my mind).

They serve many of the same purposes, but they each have advantages over the other, along with disadvantages. And I think many of each has been mentioned in this thread, so I'm not going to try and add any more.

I have SSB, and would not like to go over the horizon without it, but would I take a sat phone as well? Of course I would, silly not to! ;-)
__________________
wiekeith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2015, 13:54   #34
Registered User
 
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,950
Images: 6
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiltym View Post
There are SAR numbers for organizations all over the world. They are normal telephone numbers you can call from anywhere, easily found with Google.
True enough. So I guess that if you're going to rely on a sat-phone, then, before you head out to sea, you need to make a list of every possible SAR phone number you might need and keep it someplace handy. Then, if you do have an emergency, you need to get out the list and decide which number you should be dialing. And then, of course, finally dial it.

Personally, in the midst of an emergency, I suspect that punching the DSC button on my SSB will be easier and quicker.
__________________
denverd0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2015, 14:23   #35
sitting on the dock of the bay

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,513
Images: 6
Send a message via Yahoo to gonesail
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
I just got my ham license and I went with an ic-7200. Its got a USB connector so you can hook it up to your notebook directly no pactor required.
so this radio is a bit expensive but are you saying it is possible to use your notebook to send email via the ic-7200 USB connector? thanks.
__________________
sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most.
gonesail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2015, 21:08   #36
Registered User
 
Dulcesuenos's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Florida Keys, Bahamas Bound
Boat: 38' French Cat
Posts: 2,828
Images: 4
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
so this radio is a bit expensive but are you saying it is possible to use your notebook to send email via the ic-7200 USB connector? thanks.
I thought you needed a pactor to do sailmail/ email, and its $200 per year for the service.

Sent from my LG-LS980 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
__________________
Dulcesuenos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2015, 22:06   #37
Registered User
 
autumnbreeze27's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cruising Mexico
Boat: 50' Herreshoff Ketch
Posts: 967
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
so this radio is a bit expensive but are you saying it is possible to use your notebook to send email via the ic-7200 USB connector? thanks.
Yes, it's free if you are a licensed HAM. Technically it's $39 one time for the software.

http://www.winlink.org/RMSExpress

If you don't have a radio that has a USB port on it, you can get a SignaLink for about $100 that will do the same thing
__________________
autumnbreeze27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2015, 04:20   #38
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,743
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Time2Go View Post
I used a Delorme In Reach last summer from Copenhagen to Gibraltar
Worked great, friends and family knew where I was and we communicated via
Text messages daily. It can be linked to your smart phone for easier use
But also used stand alone (one less thing to keep charged). Also a major feature is that you can turn on and off airtime on a monthly basis. Right now the unit is safely in my sock draw awaiting to be activated for my next trip.
The unit also displays lat and long so is a back up GPS
The decision for me was easy, I primarily crew and cruise on other peoples boats
And wanted to have my own completely independent way of communicating.
At times I also bring along my own handheld VHF and Yachtboy radio.
Satellite text messaging seems to me to be an uniquely useful comms method. Much cheaper, clearer, and more reliable than voice, requiring a smaller simpler cheaper device. As we found out from text messaging on phones, there is actually relatively little that needs saying, that you can't say in a short text. This is perfect for distress signalling. Like: "AT ___N ____ W TAKING ON WATER AFTER COLLIS W CONTAINR, WX WORSENING, 4 ON BOARD, ONE V SICK, PLS NOTIFY SAR SVCS. NEED DEWAT PUMP AND MED EVAC." To a trusted person. Then you can receive an acknowledgement, and you can receive and answer follow up questions. In addition to a DSC, of course (satellite text is not part of GMDSS).

A device like that is definitely on my list.

This is great compliment to an EPIRB, it seems to me. The EPIRB is the killer app for distress signalling -- except that you can't talk to anyone. Getting the signal out in the first place should of course be the first priority, but in the majority of cases, I would think you would want to be able to have some kind of two-way comms. The EPIRB just screams "I'M AT XXX YYYY; COME AND GET ME PLEASE!"

SSB is great for this -- two-way comms with your rescuers and others -- and I think that DSC over HF is the best way to get out a distress message if you're too far from anyone to use VHF DSC. It's the first thing I would use far out at sea. But on the condition that you have power and are able to stay at your nav table, and a falling rig hasn't taken out your antenna! If, if, if! Delormes, and indeed most sat phones, have their own batteries, and you can take them into the raft with you.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2015, 04:34   #39
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,743
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
True enough. So I guess that if you're going to rely on a sat-phone, then, before you head out to sea, you need to make a list of every possible SAR phone number you might need and keep it someplace handy. Then, if you do have an emergency, you need to get out the list and decide which number you should be dialing. And then, of course, finally dial it.

Personally, in the midst of an emergency, I suspect that punching the DSC button on my SSB will be easier and quicker.
I don't think you need a long list of numbers. Falmouth might be the only one you really need, although it would be good to have a few backups.

Calling by INMARSAT is actually part of GMDSS -- to answer the question above about whether the rescue services answer the phone. Perfectly reasonable way to do it. Like Denverdon, I would start with SSB, but sat phone will also work.

With both, however, you have to be sure that they work and you are capable of using them. Rebel Heart is an extremely useful lesson.

He had redundant means -- sat phone and SSB. At that point he probably told himself "I have redundant means of emergency comms; I've got this question nailed, so on to the next one." The phrase in quote marks is a classic failure mode -- worth studying and learning from. His sat phone got switched off, and he couldn't make the SSB work for some reason, either technical or human, and so in the event the only redundancy he had was redundant failure.

If your radio is part of your distress comms system, which you plan to rely on, you need to use it regularly, be sure it's working, be sure you are capable of making contacts and getting messages through!

With a satphone, you need to be sure the gear works, that you are able to keep it charged, and that your subscription is in good standing! Maybe consider a provider which gives the ability to make emergency calls even with a 0 balance. How easy would it be to get into Rebel Heart's situation by other means? For example, you don't quite press the "END" key all the way after a call (probably easy to do while bouncing around in a seaway), and the line stays open until your balance is drained. Presto, no comms!
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-03-2015, 13:17   #40
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

gathem,
Well, as you can see from most of the responses here, that you haven't actually gotten an answer to your question, except for Dockhead's excellent postings....but hopefully I can help...

1) First off, the short answer is:
Yes, a "Marine SSB" set-up (i.e. a maritime HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephone system) is worth it for most cruisers, and certainly all cruisers heading offshore!
(as of latest data, this is bourn-out by both commercial maritime HF use statistics and pleasure boat / "cruising boat" statistics...)
BUT....
But, this does NOT include a PACTOR modem!!!

A PACTOR modem is only needed if you desire to have reliable e-mail connections when offshore / at sea, and/or in remote areas not served by cellular/3G/4G or Wi-Fi systems...
(this is many times misunderstood by many new cruisers, who are "sold" every device/gadget, etc. as a "necessity"!)




2) Secondly, the often misunderstood facts are that,
a) "SSB" isn't "dead"....it's used more now than it was 10 - 15 years ago...
b) "SSB" and "sat phones" do completely different things, and are NOT contradictory, but rather complimentary!




3) If you wish to see / understand the above in detail, as well as get the complete answer (i.e. the long answer), AND most importantly understand how you can save money, etc., please take the time to read further (especially the links I'm providing here), and ask for clarifications as needed....and you'll be cruising along just fine!

Have to haves and wants

Guide to Marine Electronics

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY


Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts


Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)


New HF-DSC Explanation and LIVE Demonstration Videos


Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call


There is a LOT more I could write, but I don't want to overwhelm you....
Read all of this over, watch the videos, and ask for clarifications if needed, and I'll respond with more!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gathem View Post
I have been looking around on ebay, and it seems a used setup of SSB + pactor = $1000-2000. That seems really expensive.
In actuality that's about right, for older/used SSB and PACTOR modem....depending on the model....
BUT...
But, remember that you do NOT need a PACTOR modem to have easy and FREE access to the "gold standard" of offshore / hi-seas maritime weather info and forecasts....so the only reason to consider spending money on a PACTOR modem is if you need e-mail connectivity (such as for business, etc.) when you are offshore and/or in far remote areas, away from cellular/3G/4G/Wi-Fi, etc!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY


With iridium launching "next" this year, I keep asking myself... Do we really need this to cruise?
You certainly do NOT need Iridium, not any "sat phone" or satcom data connection at all!
Nor do you need an "SSB"...
(if you look at the links above, you'll see what I'm talking about...)




We bought our boat, and have been putting money into it every paycheck getting everything on the "we cant leave without X" list.
Once you are "out there", you will get a fix on what works for you and what doesn't....but 'til then you're probably getting way too much advice already....so, I'm loath to give more...but...
But, bottom line is: many have sailed / cruised for years and years WITHOUT any electronics at all....and have survived just fine!!! So, take a deep breath and remember sailing/cruising is an inherently safe and easy thing..



I am wondering if an SSB/pactor is worth it.
SSB, yes!
PACTOR, usually no!


I can get internet via wifi extension near shore.
Yes, and also cellular/3G/4G...



Being able to do simply email/weather is neat but idunno if its worth the money.
The fact is that you CAN get easy / FREE access to all the weather info and forecasts you'll need without any PACTOR modem....
And, while many find a true, well-installed Marine SSB to be optimal, some find a simple ~$100 "SSB receiver" to be all they ever need...



I have ~$10k in gear needed between me and casting off. Does it need to be $11k?
Probably, yes!

Remember, there is a LOT more I could write, but I don't want to overwhelm you....
Read all of this over, watch the videos, and ask for clarifications if needed, and I'll respond with more!!



I hope this helps..

John
__________________
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-03-2015, 13:22   #41
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,037
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Something that should be said about Pactor, or Winmor, or any SSB-modem setup.


Spend some time with an old 1200bps modem plugged into your home computer, and see if that effective speed (1200bps, no "mega" or "kilo" anything involved) is going to keep you happy.


For some things, yes. For modern internet pages and HTML email nonsense...you may decide to wait until the next port of call.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-03-2015, 15:08   #42
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,003
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goosebumps View Post
We need to consider the high Amp use of any SSB radio, add the autotuner and you look at 15Amp 12V minimum. That is high for small cruisers with minimal power set up. The satphone is great as it can be recharged when engine runs or so,ar, wind generation optimal. Then there is the fact that pactor needs a laptop to be used while on pactor, again more power. I never use my i stalled SSB and autotuner because of thus. When coastal, even on East African coast where I criise G3. When offshore, passage making or in area eithout cell phone cocerage I use satphone. Satphobe only for emergencies. My email can wait until I got G3.
Think you are overstating the amperage drain of HF Radio with Pactor Modem. Sailed 15 days, mostly under heavy overcast, used the radio to download GRIBS every morning, send a few emails, and check in with the Maritime net in the evening. Also ran LED Nav and cabin lights at night, chart plotter, sailing instruments, and AIS 24/7. Have 260 watts of solar and 230 amps of battery storage. Did not run engine the whole trip. Because of the overcast, battery voltage did drag down to 12.2v after 10 days. Once the sun came out, batteries charged back up with the solar.

Sat phones have their place just not on my boat. Can't see paying the monthly fee as well as upfront cost of having one. Perhaps costs will come down but when I made the decision to go with HF radio and Pactor modem, radio was way cheaper. Have a HAM license so Pactor usage was no charge. If you go with commercial services, you'd have those charges.

Getting the HAM license was practically a no brainer using the online test prep. sites. They don't teach you much in the way of actual operation of the radio but do get you the license. Does take a bit of study to learn to operate the radio, understanding propagation, and doing the install if you do it yourself but those are all worthwhile things to know in any case.
__________________
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-03-2015, 15:35   #43
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Alaska/Portugal
Boat: Custom 55
Posts: 680
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Hi all,

I might be coming in a little late here, but I actually come in firmly on the side of the satphone, having used both quite a bit.

We purchased a Skipper 150 fleet broadband setup, and just love the thing. We also have SSB on board, but no Pactor- no need.

The cost of the system was only about $3500, so not far off what you'd pay for an SSB/modem setup.

There is no need to pay a monthly fee. We purchase pre-paid airtime, typically $80 at a time. This time expires in 3 months, and we typically have a balance left when it does expire. So, we figure we spend less than a dollar a day on communications.

Now, with using only prepaid, one does run the risk of running out of minutes and having the thing go dead, but we keep an eye on our use and re-up before we need to. We can check our balance with a quick call to the service provider.

There is also a distress number that can be called. I actually don't know if this will work if we run out of credit on the account.

We send all the text emails that we want, and typically retrieve GRIB files once a day when out cruising. No web browsing or pictures, but that's just fine. If we need to, we can of course go online to retrieve a phone number or whatever we need to do. The web accelerator does a good job of knocking down the data size on page loads. The Fleet Broadband is much faster for data than Iridium, as well. The Iridium Pilot is comparable on speed.

Power use is about 5 amps on the average, due to the gyro tracking, so we leave it switched off if we're not using it. Signal acquisition takes about 2-3 minutes.

Good luck, TJ
__________________
TJ D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 09:00   #44
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,932
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
...

With both, however, you have to be sure that they work and you are capable of using them. Rebel Heart is an extremely useful lesson.

He had redundant means -- sat phone and SSB. At that point he probably told himself "I have redundant means of emergency comms; I've got this question nailed, so on to the next one." The phrase in quote marks is a classic failure mode -- worth studying and learning from. His sat phone got switched off, and he couldn't make the SSB work for some reason, either technical or human, and so in the event the only redundancy he had was redundant failure.

...
And fortunately for them he also had a plan C...the EPIRB. Surprising how often plans A & B fail a aboard boats...best to think at least one more step beyond.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2015, 01:46   #45
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: May 2013
Location: East Africa
Boat: catalac 10m
Posts: 351
Re: Is an SSB/pactor modem worth it?

Passage making of more than three days might justify a satelite installation. SSB installation same. If you only do coastal and minor passages then neither needed, even here along East African coast G3 is very good most places. Always mind the electrical power use. Much more important to have EPRIB and good energy management. It is wise before you leave to run each electric, electronic item separate and note its peak energy use, at 12V and 220V, note those data to assist with balancing your energy use, with battery monitor. You would not be the first sailor with great satelite and SSB installations to find that no power to use them as your radar, chartplotter, autopilot ( very high user typical in heavy seas), depthsounder are consuming lots.
__________________

__________________
Goosebumps is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
modem, pactor, ssb

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale: Pactor II modem with Pactor III Upgrade Svbigfun Classifieds Archive 2 27-02-2014 14:57
For Sale: Pactor II modem with Pactor 3 firmware seamaster Classifieds Archive 10 30-11-2013 20:32
SSB Radio and Pactor Modem captden Marine Electronics 8 06-09-2010 19:39
For Sale: Australia: ICOM IC-M802 SSB + PTC-II USB Pactor Modem + AT140 Tuner TrevC Classifieds Archive 15 19-08-2010 22:56



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 22:11.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.