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Old 28-06-2016, 14:04   #46
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

While this sticky is primarily a reference for all things related to "long-range communications", many reading this are equipping for offshore cruising / voyaging, and since the use of HF radio (specifically MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephones, like the Icom M-802) is as big a part of the GMDSS as EPIRB's, I thought some reading this sticky might wish to be reminded of how EPIRB's work, how the COSPAS-SARSAT system works, how best to deploy/use an EPIRB, and how HF-DSC radio works along-side the 406mhz EPIRB's in the GMDSS...

Please have a look here...
EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds!!


Fair winds..

John
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Old 28-06-2016, 15:46   #47
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post

Further, after those became fairly untenable, the "two-tone-alarm" radio watch receivers became ubiquitous....and from the 1970's thru the 1990's, the long-range "radio watch" was done by these dedicated watch receivers....

John
I recall having to fit one of these on a vessel I was responsible for as it was a requirement. Is this part of the system still in force? I notice the HF radio I just bought still has the capability.
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Old 28-06-2016, 16:00   #48
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Raymond,
Two-tone alarms, and their corresponding "2-tone-alarm watch receivers", went by the wayside in the 1990's!!
The implementation of the GMDSS in 1992, was the start of the end of their use....and by Jan 1999, all SOLAS-grade vessels and all signatory nations were required to have MF/HF-DSC equipment, not "2182, two-tone alarms"...
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
I recall having to fit one of these on a vessel I was responsible for as it was a requirement. Is this part of the system still in force? I notice the HF radio I just bought still has the capability.
So, the answer to your question is: No...
And, in actuality this isn't part of the GMDSS at all, and hasn't been in more than 20 years now...

Although, many older (pre-GMDSS), non-DSC commercial maritime HF radios do have a two-tone alarm generator, as far as I know there haven't been any of these radios made in more than 10 years, certainly none sold in the US in that time...


Perhaps you may want to have a look at the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System)...
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=GMDSS

Or, at the least, please have a look here....
These Youtube videos will show you a LIVE, real-world demonstration of HF-DSC....and the "sticky" will give you some good info...
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX


New HF-DSC Explanation and LIVE Demonstration Videos




Raymond, being in Aus, you're aware of AMSA's radio watch-standing schedules.....but for those over here, they may want to look at the USCG Distress communications page...if they do not have a DSC radio...
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=cgcommsCall
FYI, USCG, AMSA, and NZMA, are the only ones who still have a Voice HF-SSB radio watch...

I hope this helps...

John
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Old 29-06-2016, 04:00   #49
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post

Raymond, being in Aus, you're aware of AMSA's radio watch-standing schedules.....but for those over here, they may want to look at the USCG Distress communications page...if they do not have a DSC radio...
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=cgcommsCall
FYI, USCG, AMSA, and NZMA, are the only ones who still have a Voice HF-SSB radio watch...

I hope this helps...

John
Thanks John,

On the south and east coasts we have a well developed Volunteer Marine Rescue service who primarily use VHF and for a volunteer service actually give good service. You can log on with boat and crew details and if you don't log off they will start calling you.

The AMSA site provides the following information re HF:

The maritime authorities in the States and Northern Territory provide safety communications services for small craft. A network of 9 HF voice Limited Coast Radio Stations have been established at: Darwin, Cairns, Gladstone, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth and Port Hedland. These stations keep a watch on 4125, 6215 and 8291 kHz.

I have a HF transceiver but since it is not licensed cannot legally do a radio check to see if they actually do the above. Since a lot of cruisers carry HF in order to listen to weather report they could allow us to carry out radio checks with unlicensed equipment on these frequencies however I don't think it will ever happen.

The problem with the ship station license is it attracts a fee and must be renewed every year. I think they could loosen up a bit on this requirement which also includes VHF. I monitor VHF ch16 and usually the local VMR working frequency whilst on passage and I very seldom hear anyone misusing the system.
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Old 29-06-2016, 09:02   #50
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Wow,

Excellent and lots of information. I'm hoping for some very basic information please.

I am unsure what is needed as far as equipment and subscriptions for some of the weather and email that has been listed in these posts.

I see lots of references to 'free' weather available. I understand just listening to the broadcasts, but not sure how I'd be able to download weather maps. Also see that new SSB radios are email capable. But again not sure how that would get to a laptop onboard.

I tried reading more on the links, but became confused on the pieces and parts. Saw where you use a weather fax machine. BUt I was hoping to be able to download the map to a laptop. Also with email.

Maybe need a Proctor modem...... But then don't understand how the new radio's are able to get email. Seems if you need a modem, then older or newer wouldn't seem critical. Also then saw talk of needing an email subscription.

I'm guessing that to get email I'd need:

1. ssb
2. modem
3. email account - subscription

For weather maps:

1. SSB
2. Modem

But am pretty clueless on it all.
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Old 29-06-2016, 11:46   #51
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Geek Guy,
I'm running out to an appointment, so much more later...

But, you do NOT need a modem to get weather charts!

Please have a look at these videos...

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


HF-DSC Communications
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX



And, for Maritime HF comms in general
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y

And, for Icom M-802 specific instructions
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr

And, some Atlantic crossing videos
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...KgTCj15iyl6qoY



More later!! (including all the details!)

John
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Old 29-06-2016, 19:37   #52
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Geek Guy,
Well, if you look back to post #28 (from this January), you'll see how difficult it is to answer these specific questions, without any specific info from the questioner....not even where they are at, what language they speak, where they're sailing, etc...
(please see the bottom of this post, where you'll see my words from that post #28...)

I have no idea where you are at, where you are sailing/cruising, what your sailing/cruising/voyaging plans are, what your tech knowledge is, what type/size boat you have, what your budget is, etc...nor what equipment you currently have, how capable you are to install things / troubleshoot any problems yourself, etc..
And, only a basic understanding of your application....
SO..
So, I will do the best I can (again) to give you some answers, but without any specific info from you, it's tough to give specific answers...

1) First, specific to your question(s) about weather info/forecasts....

Of course, if in port, with internet access....you'll find links to almost all the offshore maritime weather info/forecasts you could ever use from the US NWS/NOAA, Aus BOM, UK Met Office, etc...
Here's the main marine weather page from the US NWS/NOAA, where you'll find every link you'll ever need...
National Weather Service Marine Forecasts


Now, for times when you do not have internet access...and/or desire some easy-to-decipher info and forecasts....have a look here:
If you are seeking offshore and hi-seas weather info and forecasts, when you are: at sea / on passage / in remote areas / away from internet service / away from Wi-Fi and cellular, 3G, 4G...

a) You do NOT need any "special equipment", nor any "modem", nor any subscriptions, nor any paid services at all, to receive the Gold Standard of offshore/hi-seas maritime weather info/forecasts...whether Voice, WeFax weather charts, or written text...
And, all these details are clearly outlined in the links in the first post in this sticky that you have posted to....
Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)

And, for the direct link to LOTS of details....
Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

In addition to my recommendations here in this sticky, for some installation tips, the Sailmail Primer is also a good source...
https://sailmail.com/wp-content/uplo...2/smprimer.htm





b) All that is needed is an HF / shortwave receiver (capable of receiving an SSB signal), or even better a true HF maritime transceiver (i.e. Marine SSB radio), and just your ears...to listen to the HF Voice weather broadcasts (primarily from the US, covering N. Atl, Carib, Gulf of Mex, most of the Pacific....and from Aus, covering parts of the Pacific and Indian oceans)
But, understand that while the offshore weather forecasts (typically out to 250 miles, and for tropical Atlantic, Caribbean, etc.) are quite detailed and specific.....for Hi-Seas waters beyond 250 miles offshore and in the middle of the oceans, these HF Voice weather broadcasts are fairly general in nature...so most mariners look for more detail and specifics, and end up using WeFax charts for hi-seas and more long range weather...


c) Should you desire to get "weather charts" (WeFax charts), as most mariners desire....where you'll actually get that true Gold Standard of maritime weather, you can use the same HF radio as above in "b", connected to your laptop, tablet, or smartphone (you can use a simple audio cable, or some just use the built-in microphone in the computer/tablet), and some FREE software or App (JVComm, GetFax, etc.), to receive and decode WeFax charts broadcast from many powerful stations worldwide...
(note that these are not "downloaded", but rather simply decoded from live broadcasts....and these are very robust and reliable transmissions...)

If I knew where you were at, where you were sailing, etc...I could be a lot more specific....
But, all of these details / specifics are right in the links provided in the first post of this thread....
Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)

And, a direct link to lots of info on this....
Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

Now, understand that while I prefer hard-copy (paper) weather charts, and I choose the rather pricey dedicated WeFax machine, the fact is that all it is inside is:
--- an HF receiver...to receive the signals
--- a Wefax decoder...to decode the WeFax signals
--- paper printer...to display the weather charts

Most pleasure boat mariners / cruisers / sailors these days prefer to use their laptop or tablet to do the "decoding" and "displaying"....and connect their computer/tablet to an HF radio of some type....
They use FREE software or App, such as JVComm, GetFax, SEATTY, Weatherfax2000, etc. etc...
(I use JVComm32 as my back-up to my Furuno FAX-408)

Please take note that these forecasts (whether Voice, WeFax, or SITOR/text) are forecasts written/drawn by seasoned, experienced, professional marine meteorologists, using the latest in marine observations, historical examples, personal experiences, and multiple computer model runs...
These are HUMAN drawn and written forecasts....not raw computer model data that you get from GRIB weather charts...

Again, please understand that there is NO modem needed, NO downloading, NO e-mail connectivity needed, etc...
Oh, and yes....this is all FREE to everyone, worldwide...paid for by taxpayers of the US, UK, Aus, NZ, Germany, etc. etc...and by international agreement the text SafetyNet forecasts are required to be disseminated for free worldwide under the GMDSS....and most of these nations also provide free wefax weather charts broadcasts...



2) As for e-mail connectivity while at sea, and/or in very remote locales, away from Wi-Fi / cellular/3G/4G, etc....I assume you have some business need for basic (low-speed/low-bandwidth) e-mail connectivity???

So, if this is the case, you're limited to using either a PACTOR modem ($1500 to $2000) with your marine HF radio (Marine SSB), where you can get typically 4800 baud to 7200 baud data rates (yes, that's 4.8kb)...
And, in this case, a "subscription" to Sailmail at $250/yr is needed...

https://sailmail.com/



Or use a sat phone with external antenna and data kit ($1500 to $2000), where you can get 2400 baud (2.4kb) data rates...
If using a sat phone, typically figure on $1/minute to $1..50.min for airtime, plus a monthly subscription...

For lower-speed data (yes, there is LOWER speed!), and non-business/non-commercial use, e-mails with no attachments, you can use software programs use of the ham radio Winlink network, using WINMOR....which does not require an expensive PACTOR modem, but rather uses software and your computer soundcard to send/rec low-speed data over the radio and connect to e-mail servers on shore...
These data rates are about 600 to 1200 baud (0.6 to 1.2kb), and the system is not as reliable or robust as the PACTOR modem / Sailmail system...

Whether you use a PACTOR modem or software/soundcard, the "radio" itself doesn't have a great deal to do with this compatibility....yes, a better radio will work better, and a heavy-duty modern marine HF radio will work best...but whether the radio has an "e-mail" button or not, is almost irrelevant....(typically just gives you more user-selectable channels to sue for data comms)


Again, you've made no mention of what your e-mail application is, so I have no way of making any specific recommendations...but, the above should give you most of what you need to know...



3) Specific to your questions...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geek_Guy View Post
I'm guessing that to get email I'd need:
1. ssb
2. modem
3. email account - subscription
Yes....this is basically what you need...


For weather maps:
1. SSB
2. Modem
No modem needed at all!! (see above, and other links, for details)

But am pretty clueless on it all.
You seem to get the basics pretty well!!
I hope the above helps answer your questions...
But, if not....you're going to need to give me more info, etc...


And again, assuming you have internet service, please watch these videos....

Offshore Weather
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2mPZAx2vWzdjTJjHlChruyY


HF-DSC Communications
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2n3z5nlv-ga2zYuPozhUXZX



And, for Maritime HF comms in general
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2nPNdApNsZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y

And, for Icom M-802 specific instructions
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2npivDjoFrC-8QKVyMb4tVr

And, some Atlantic crossing videos
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2nbwAGh5DKgTCj15iyl6qoY


Fair winds...

John




P.S. Here is post #28...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Okay, I haven't added / updated this thread in a while...and I get a LOT of e-mails and PM's asking details on two big topics:
a) How-to properly install a Marine SSB?
b) How-to properly use a Marine SSB?

And, ironically these are the primary intention / focus of this thread, and the videos...but, somehow few seem to read this in detail, nor watch the video playlists (videos in order)....

So, I will endeavor to continue to refer people here, but thought I should add some more details about "how-to use / operate" the radios...
So, here goes...



I will simply paste in here some things I've sent to some that have e-mailed / PM'ed me....with some generic comments added...
Hope it helps you all out!

FYI, the two most frustrating things for me (and I suspect many here) are:
a) those that ask questions without providing any / much info....especially never saying where they are at / where they are planning on sailing/cruising....and not relating what their "tech" level is....
b) those that ask questions, get the answers, and never respond / show back up to update us if all worked out okay...

So, rule #1 here is to please give as much info / as many details as you can....
And, rule #2 is please come back and let us know how everything worked out...



Now, onto the nitty-gritty...
Here's a recent message I sent to someone asking how to use/operate his professionally-installed M-802 and PACTOR modem:::::

~~~~~~~

Quote:
I do NOT know where you are located, where your boat is located, where you are planning on sailing/cruising, etc....nor whether you have good internet access at your current location, nor at your vessel's location...


Nor do I know what experience / knowledge you have in any "tech"??
Nor, do I know how computer literate you are, nor whether you may be a total non-tech guy (like my late father) or a closet tech nerd (like one of my brothers), or anywhere in between...

What I'm getting at is:
In can only provide you with "general" info, as I don't know anything specific other than you have an M-802 and PACTOR modem...
So, with that in mind, here goes...



Right up front, you ask some loaded questions (which is GOOD!)....mainly because you write "professional installed" and then ask about learning how-to use the equipment...as well as asking about licensing...


Please do not take offense here, as I will be blunt and direct, 100%....and this tends to put people off....so fair warning!!



The "problem" is that a significant part (and VERY IMPORTANT PART) of a "professional installation" IS operator training / instruction, and a minor part (albeit an important one) is licensing of both the vessel and the operator / captain!!
Any "professional installation" that did not do either/both of these things is suspect, and most probably not done by a true professional, no matter how much you paid, nor who recommended them....


Before I offend you anymore, please note that it is possible that your "professional installer" did already apply for license for you (as this is the only legal way for him to have actually installed the radio for you, in the US, UK, EU, etc.).....and possibly he offered to provide instruction but was unable to do so because of logistics/geographical issues???
So, it is possible that your pro is a good guy, and your install is done correctly....but, using just what you provided me, I'm still very suspect...

Quote:

Quote:
Last fall we had an Icom 802M, AT140, pactor III modem professionally installed. Can you recommend a course or method of learning how to use this equipment? We will be back aboard our boat in a couple months. What licensing, if any, is required.

Many thnx


How about some good news??




1) If you are a US flagged pleasure boat, the licensing is easy, and cheap....(it will take you a few minutes on-line, filling out forms, and cost about $260, and about $215 renewal every 10 years...)


If you are a UK / EU flagged boat, the costs are higher, as you will need to take some classes/courses, etc...
(same for Australia, NZ, etc..)
Off the top of my head, I'm not sure about other countries..


Once you tell me what country the vessel is flagged under, and where the boat is, I can be more specific and point you to the specific web page...




2) As for "learning how-to use the stuff effectively"....some more good news!!


The most important things to learn are:
A) Radiowave Propagation (choosing the correct channel/frequency, for the time-of-day and distance to cover, etc.)
B) HF radio noises, what is natural/atmospheric and what is man-made (RFI)
C) How to talk on the radio...

Once you learn these 3 things, everything else is child's play!!!




Please have a look at the "sticky", right at the top of the Marine Electronics page here...
Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)


In addition to more references / links than you could ever imagine there....here are some Youtube videos that will explain everything in laypersons terms, and take you step-by-step thru the whole "learning process"....all for FREE!


Icom M-802 Instruction Videos
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr


HF-DSC Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX


Offshore Weather info/forecast sources
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY


Please watch the videos in the playlists, in order!
If you do this, you will learn everything in a logical way, and shouldn't be confused...




a) FIRST, you must learn how-to use the radio, as a radio....meaning learning both the buttons/knobs (what and how they do what they do), AND how-to use the radio as a VOICE radio (that means listening to others talking and talking to them)


You MUST learn this first, as this will allow you to understand how-to use / do all the other functions...


For the M-802 specifically, there are the videos above....
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr


The biggest mistake I see cruisers make is to think they can just plug-in their laptop to their PACTOR modem, and it will do everything they need!!
This stuff does NOT work this way, no matter what the guy selling it to you says....trust me, if you don't know how-to properly use the radio, you will be frustrated with they system overall!!


b) Secondly, is the use of DSC....this is easy-peasy....especially once you understand the Voice operations, this is as simple as pressing a couple buttons, and the radio does the rest, automatically!!



c) Third, is the e-mail connectivity via your PACTOR modem....
Follow the Sailmail procedures to the letter (including the installation and programming instructions, of both the radio/modem, and the Airmail software), and you will have success!


SailMail Primer



3) Finally, if you are somewhat "techy" or a social sort of guy, then learning about "ham radio" may also be of interest (and of help)....


Check out the American Radio Relay League www.arrl.org





There is a lot more to all of this, but until I know some specifics, that's about all the generalities I can give you off the top of my head!


I do hope this helps..


fair winds..


John




P.S. Some other videos that might be helpful / enjoyable:


Offshore Sailing
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...KgTCj15iyl6qoY


Maritime HF Comms, in general
(with many duplicate videos, from the above playlists....for those who do NOT have an M-802, nor any DSC radios...)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y
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I do hope this helps you all out..

Fair winds...

John
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Old 29-06-2016, 20:08   #53
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Has this been linked in the wiki?

It should.

b.
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Old 30-06-2016, 13:48   #54
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

barnakiel,
Until you mentioned this, I had never looked at cruiserswiki
Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Has this been linked in the wiki?

It should.

b.
And, wow....what out-dated information and misinformation they have there!
I would not desire to be associated with all of that....much prefer that people steer clear of anything wiki....


Just in the first couple minutes of reading there, I saw much old/out-of-date info, as well as quite a bit of confusing and misleading info...


It appears that this is about 15 years out-of-date!! Or more!!
(I haven't seen/used a crystal-controlled Marine HF radio in 30 years!!! And MF/HF-DSC was originally designed into the GMDSS in 1992....and became mandatory for all SOLAS vessels and all signatory nations in Jan 1999)
Quote:
"Older HF radios are often controlled by a single crystal to tune each channel and are thus limited to specific frequencies, and do not have DSC capability. This is the kind of radio one is most likely to find aboard a non-commercial vessel such as a cruising yacht."

And, this is probably 10+ years out-of-date!!
Quote:
As of 1999, WCC, WOM, and KMI are no longer in service, and WLO frequencies have not been updated since 2003. In the intervening time many of the stations have been moved, closed, or replaced.

And, this is at least 3 years (and probably closer to 10 years) out-of-date....
Quote:
"MF [2mhz] frequencies are especially important in the marine bands as they are the primary means of communicating with shore emergency services, such as the Coast Guard, when operating within 250 miles of the shore, in accordance with GMDSS."
While MF-DSC signaling, on 2187.5khz DSC is extremely important in raising other vessels or shore stations, within 100 - 200 miles from you....general use / generic operations on MF (2mhz) frequencies is rare...

But, more importantly, the USCG hasn't recommended use of the MF (2mhz) frequencies in a couple decades, and actively was encouraging use of the HF (4, 6, 8, 12, and 16mhz) frequencies along with discouraging the use of MF (2mhz) frequencies for over 20 years...
AND...
And, the USCG no longer monitors, nor maintains a watch on, nor has much operational capability on MF (2mhz) frequencies, and shut these down completely, 3 years ago!!!




Seriously, I strongly recommend staying away form anything wiki....


Fair winds...

John
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:29   #55
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

John,

Thanks so much for the info. Sorry for lack of details. But frankly I didn't/don't know enough to fill you in on much of that. I'm really just trying to budget items for the next couple years and coordinate learning as we get ready to go. Frankly we aren't sure ultimately what we will end up doing.

From your previous post: I have no idea where you are at, where you are sailing/cruising, what your sailing/cruising/voyaging plans are, what your tech knowledge is, what type/size boat you have, what your budget is, etc...nor what equipment you currently have, how capable you are to install things / troubleshoot any problems yourself, etc..
And, only a basic understanding of your application....

We are currently in North Florida. We will be doing a couple trips up and down the coast. Then likely down the keys. Then if we like it and want more will do the Bahamas. The hope is then to work down to Dominican Republic and through to the Windwards. But that's a large thought process away. I'm a full time System Administrator so have other technical abilities just not specific to this area. We have a 37 foot older Hunter. It had SSB or Ham in it with tuner. The radio was gone but the tuner is still there. I didn't think we needed any of this till reading and talking with some people. I'm now re-evaluating that thought. I only asked about email as I saw the 'feature' listed in the 802. We would not be using it for business, just to communicate with family. So the slower less reliable option without the modem would be fine.

As I decide for sure that we will get and use the HF, the other information you have provided will be excellent. So::

I don't need the modem to do email or weather charts. As long as I'm OK with slow email download speeds. You did mention Ham in regard to the charts. Is ham required or SSB. So entry would require a SSB receiver, or preferably transceiver(approx. $2,000). With that I can get/send basic emails and download weather charts. Plus the ability to communicate further than with my VHF. Is it likely that my old tuner is usable? I don't remember the model but can look. The antenna went up the backstay, but was cut at the deck when the mast was taken down. I assume that could be patched or replaced.

Thanks again for the help.

Dave
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Old 09-08-2016, 13:19   #56
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Dave,
You're very welcome!
No worries on lack of details....it sort of like the "unknown knowns"...you don't know what you don't know!
{remember, nobody was born with knowledge / experience in HF radio!}

BTW, I really want to keep this "sticky" a reference for all to refer to, to find links, to get to the info they need...and if you have further questions and/or desire more info (that's GREAT!), please just start a new thread!


And, don't get bogged-down in the "ham" or "SSB" questions...as they are usually moot...
If you decide (probably will decide, this "yes") that long-range comms are desired, then it is going to be via HF radio, and unless you have severe budgetary issues, it is going to be a marine HF radio (known, incorrectly, as "SSB Radio"), and that can also function as a "ham radio", too (assuming you learn about radio, radiowaves, antennas, rules/regs, etc. and obtain a ham radio license)...
But, vice versa (using a ham radio for marine HF comms), does not work....it's illegal, and cause interference, etc...not to mention MUCH more difficult for the user/sailor....and really doesn't save you much money!
M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components



But, now that I know more about you and your application, I can answer your questions in detail, and hopefully explain things easier...


1) First off, understand three important facts...no matter what the guys selling you stuff tell 'ya, no matter what your friends at the dock tell 'ya, please accept these as facts and you'll be not only better informed that 90% of the rest, but you'll be a lot happier too! (oh, and you'll save money too!)

a) Although most will have a modern Marine HF radio (such as an Icom M-802)...if new, figure $2600, all-in...
Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components

M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

You do not "need" an HF radio, sat phone, e-mail, etc. to survive and enjoy a life of cruising...whether it's US Coastal, Bahamas, DR, etc., or even Atlantic crossings, etc...
Yes, some of these things are nice to have, but not a necessity....(I cruised Florida, Bahamas, all thru the Caribbean, Windward and Leeward islands, as far south and east as Grenada and Trini, etc...from mid 1960's thru mid-1970's without HF radio....and remember this was before GPS, Sat phones, etc....it wasn't until getting ready to cross the Atlantic and few seasons in the Med, did we get HF radio, and WeFax....and during my more recent crossings, I still don't feel the need for sat phone, nor e-mail, you use e-mail/internet in port, and can make phone calls at sea via HF radio just fine...)



b) Along the US Coasts, Bahamas, and in almost all the populated areas you mentioned, there is decent cellular/3G/4G service and Wi-Fi service...
(except for some remote locales / out-island anchorages)...
So, most of your "data needs" (and telephone service) will be met that way...
Think Ubiquity Bullet or a Groove, for your Wi-Fi system on-board (~ $250, plus any minor subscription fees in some locales)....and either a Wilson or Digital for your cellular system on-board ($400 - $600, plus whatever your data plan costs)....


c) The "Gold Standard" of Marine weather info/forecasts are the US NWS/NOAA marine weather forecasts...

And, for your planned cruise along the US Coast, Keys, etc., the VHF NOAA Weather broadcasts are excellent, and will cover you out 50-60 miles offshore, as well....and along with weather charts from NOAA, on-line (using internet access when in range of cellular and/or Wi-Fi), will do everything you need...

Once you start thinking about heading to the Bahamas, and points farther south and east, this is when having an HF radio will be very nice (some will say invaluable)
Most will choose a modern, Marine HF radio, such as the Icom M-802...which will get you worldwide communications capability, and be very easy to use, reliable, etc...

But, understand that you can use just a simple, inexpensive (~ $100 - $125), HF receiver that is capable of receiving SSB signals....and you'll receive the "gold standard" of Offshore Waters forecasts multiple times each day....
You can just listen to the VOICE forecasts from the radio, or you can also use FREE software in your laptop (or smart phone apps) to demodulate WeFax signals. and actually see the weather charts appear right on your screen...all for FREE...
(have a look at the info in this "sticky", where you see reference to "SSB Receivers" and/or "SSB Receive Only")



2) I gave you some budget numbers above...
Hope it helps...


3) Not sure what "tuner" you have, and you're probably not sure either...
But, I would not count on using it...if the previous owner left it there, it probably is old, and at best unreliable....and might not be compatible with a modern radio.....and at worst, it doesn't work, at all...
So, for "budgetary" reasons, just assume it's not there....and if you choose to install an HF radio, figure the whole $2600, all-in (new)...
You can always look at the tuner before you buy a new radio, and test it....but, for now, just assume it's not going to work..


4) Your e-mail traffic will be thru cellular/3G/4G and Wi-Fi....
The only time you'll need an HF radio for this is when out-of-range of cellular/3G/4G and Wi-Fi....
And, then while the "slower, less reliable" e-mail option which require no modem (WINMOR) would probably work fine for you, please understand that it is ONLY being used by ham radio stations, and in addition to being les reliable than Sailmail (and the damn expensive PACTOR modem), WINMOR is not something that non-hams have access to....
BUT...

But, since in addition to being a top-of-the-line Marine MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephone, the Icom M-802 also works very well as a fine ham radio!
So, should you equip with one....your options are open...



5) Here is a video, showing LIVE, real-world reception of Offshore Weather VOICE broadcasts from various stations, on various freqs...



And, here is an entire YouTube playlist showing how-to access and use Offshore Weather broadcast (of weather charts, etc.) via HF radio...
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY


Please forgive the camera work....but these are done single-handed, on a real cruising boat, and edited by hand (analog)...but, they are accurate and free!!!


I know it's asking a lot for you to sit down and watch YouTube videos!
(Even if it was some flunky, fumbling thru an hour-long seminar, it is still free!)
But, please understand that what you're getting there for free, is 40 to 50 years of HF radio and offshore sailing expertise...
And, each one of these playlists would generally encompass and entire day, or two, of classroom instruction...and cost you at least $250 - $500 per person, per day....(and even that would be cheap!)
And, they are FREE, and nobody is trying to sell you anything!
And, you watch 'em at your leisure, naked if you want...
So, have a go!!



Here are more playlists...that you may find useful...

HF-DSC Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX
(I especially point you here, where you will learn a LOT!)



VHF-DSC
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...J6QugtO2epizxF


Icom M-802 instruction videos
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr



Maritime HF comms in general
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y


Offshore Sailing
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...KgTCj15iyl6qoY




6) Highlighting/commenting on some specifics, in red...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geek_Guy View Post
I don't need the modem to do email or weather charts.
Yep, no need for an expensive modem to "get weather"....see above for details!

As long as I'm OK with slow email download speeds.
And, almost all your e-mail comms are best handled via cellular/3G/4G and/or Wi-Fi...with excellent speeds while still in the US, and varying speeds elsewhere...
(you will most probably never need/desire e-mail via HF radio, but if you do, it will be VERY SLOW!!!! see details above...)





You did mention Ham in regard to the charts. Is ham required or SSB. So entry would require a SSB receiver, or preferably transceiver(approx. $2,000).
With that I can get/send basic emails and download weather charts.
Neither "SSB", nor "ham" is "required", nor a necessity (please see above, for details)

But, I prefer and recommend a full-featured marine SSB radio, which is a MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephone (like the M-802), and with its tuner and accessories, will set you back about $2600...(the radio itself is ~ $1800)
Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components
But, you can get by with a lot less!!


If you're on a tight budget, here's what I consider a list in order of priority...
1- Start with a new primary VHF-DSC Radio (I prefer Icom M-604 or M-506), and especially NEW coaxial cable and connectors and a new masthead VHF antenna!!
This is an absolute!!
Do NOT skimp here....this will be your primary means of communications, both on passage and when out "cruising"....and will be your primary source of weather info/forecasts when still in the US!!

2- Then add a small portable HF receiver, for a cost of about $100 (such as Sangean, Sony, etc.) and use your backstay, etc. as an external antenna...
Learn about radiowave propagation and RFI (radio frequency interference)...and learn to use this radio while still along the US coast / keys....
This will get you just about all the "weather" info/forecasts you'll need...

3- Install a Wilson cellular/3G/4G external antenna/booster/amplifier ($400 - $500)...and use Verison in the US....Batelco in Bahamas, etc...
Install a good external Wi-Fi system, such as a Ubiquity Bullet or Groove based system ($200 - $300, all-in)...
Use the NOAA offshore weather products on-line...
National Weather Service Marine Forecasts


4- Once you've mastered the three things above....then consider a good Marine HF Radio...
Whether you can afford an Icom M-802 ($1800), and its associated tuner and accessories, or not....if on a budget, there are ways to make this work...
(you can fit an older, non-DSC, Marine radio, such as an Icom M-700Pro, or M-710....and save $800 to $1200, compared to installing a new M-802....or find a used M-802, and save $500 to $800....)
But, the details of all of this is best left to another thread, as well as being a bit premature for you at this time...



Note that I make no mention of "e-mails" via HF radio here....as this is either expensive and slow (PACTOR Modem and Sailmail), or time consuming, unreliable, and VERY SLOW (WINMOR and ham radio)...
And, most find they survive the few days at sea each year, away from e-mails, just fine!
And, since there is no need for e-mail connectivity to get weather info/forecasts, e-mail at sea is a big luxury that most have no need for, and only a few have the budget for...



Plus the ability to communicate further than with my VHF.
With a well-installed marine HF radio, you can communicate worldwide...


Is it likely that my old tuner is usable? I don't remember the model but can look.
Possible, but not too likely....so budget accordingly...


The antenna went up the backstay, but was cut at the deck when the mast was taken down. I assume that could be patched or replaced.
Yes, this can be replaced....
But, best to discuss details of this in another thread...
I hope all the above helps....especially watch the videos!!

Fair winds...

John
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Old 11-08-2016, 13:30   #57
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Dave,
FYI, here are links to two recent discussions which are directly on-point...
Have a look...
Weather Forecast

Awfully Stupid Question re SSB Reciever/WeatherFax






And, FYI, Verizon has the best coverage along the US Coast, and Batelco in the Bahamas (get an unlocked phone for there)...and, be sure you have an unlocked 3/4-band GSM phone, if you venture further...





Fair winds...

John
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Old 07-09-2016, 14:40   #58
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

John-


Thanks for the great videos. Quick Question: What Model Daiwa SWR/ Power Meteer is installed on your panel? cant find a flush mount one. If not available, can you recommend a good alternative?


Regards,


John
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Old 23-10-2016, 06:05   #59
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Marine radios HAVE TO WORK at lower voltages....or they don't meet FCC "type certification". It's not a choice.

Many ham radios don't meet this specification. Some popular ones are terrible in this regard. The Icom 706 comes to mind: at voltages much lower than 12.4VDC it will not only FM but will cut out completely. This is one reason not to use ham radios in place of marine radios.

Most radios I've seen are spec'd at 13.8VDC or some at 13.6VDC. Many are + or - 10%; some are + or - 15%.

The Icom 802 is spec'd at: 13.6 V DC 15% (negative ground). This is a specified range of 11.56VDC to 15.64VDC.

The upper figure is particularly useful since charging voltages often reach 14.8-15.0VDC. The 802 easily handles this.

Bill
Bill, would a marine HF (Icom M800, specced as above, "13.6 V DC 15% (negative ground)" ) work perfectly at around 12.4V from a 450 Ah Trojan T105 house bank?
How about an Icom IC-718 specced "13.8 V DC 15% (negative ground)"?
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Old 23-10-2016, 06:36   #60
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Re: Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, e

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post
Bill, would a marine HF (Icom M800, specced as above, "13.6 V DC 15% (negative ground)" ) work perfectly at around 12.4V from a 450 Ah Trojan T105 house bank?
How about an Icom IC-718 specced "13.8 V DC 15% (negative ground)"?

Yep, they both should work well.

Bill
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