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Old 14-05-2013, 13:37   #16
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Evans,
Fair points....but the reason it isn't clear to you is, I'm afraid I wasn't very clear....
Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
It's not clear to me than an icom SSB + tuner + antenna + wefax printer (or pc) + potentially a pactor + sailmail is any cheaper than an iridium + netbook + xgate. It's also not clear to me that the first is any 'less complex" except perhaps for someone who is already a radio expert (but even then I am not sure).
What I was referring to as "cheaper" and/or "less complex"....
Informing some more budget-conscience cruisers that while an Iridium sat phone is a nice piece of kit (I love Iridium), it isn't necessary for all....(especially those cruising Bahamas, Caribbean, etc.), and that there are alternatives which are not only cheaper, but also less complex, such as:
1) A simple portable SW Rec (capable of tuning SSB), hopefully with a cheap external wire antenna / "clip-on-a-stay antenna" and using this for USCG HF Voice weather broadcasts in the Bahamas, Caribbean, etc. (where the NWS/NOAA Offshore weather forecasts serve well...
2) Connecting that receiver to a laptop and using some free software to receive wefax charts....
3) Using an existing (currently installed) marine SSB radio to do either or both of the above....

In my opinion, these 3 approaches are cheaper (assuming an already installed HF radio), and less complex (for those of us non-IT types)....
{But, as Evans subtlety points out, my opinion is biased, as I am a confirmed radio guy (not sure I feel comfortable using the word "expert" , but in any case I am a "radio nut" and have been one for darn near 40 years!!}

Further, in my opinion, those who understand that GRIB's are raw computer model data and have an understanding of how to use their sat comm equipment (and/or HF radio equipment), have good luck in using them, however every year I meet (and hear from others) many cruisers who are not informed/familiar with this, and have simply been "sold" a "package of stuff" at a boat show or by their local marine electronics guy....and while they spent 1000's of $$$$, they don't understand too much about it, other than how to use airmail /Sailmail....
This, in and of itself, doesn't make my approach better, however my approach does show them that there are "less complex" (and cheaper) ways to access offshore weather data/forecasts, without any reduction in accuracy / reliability, and probably an increase of both....



Fair winds...

John
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Old 14-05-2013, 13:38   #17
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I would add that a New full featured HF with Pactor is Way way more expensive then a new ISATPHone. ( like 4-5 times more) , so feedback the TCO against the operating costs of the sat phone, it will pay for a hell of a lot of minutes.

...

Get a furuno Wx receiver and a satphone- sorted!!!!
Thanks Dave, it's good advice. I should probably follow it ... and still may. For me, it really does come down to operating costs. I can afford things now, but once we leave shore our income will be very modest (to put it gently). I could set aside a communications fund, but that would require a level of organization and planning that is generally beyond me .
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Old 14-05-2013, 13:38   #18
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
can you phone your wife to assure you that despite being 5 days overdue, you're fine, with a HF radio ( no you can't)

Can you phone a expert on a problem with electronics , 500 miles offshore, with HF , no you cant

Phone a friend who looks up an internet forecast , with HF , no you cant

Keep in touch with the owners on deliveries, with HF , nope.

Ring marinas in advance, HF ( Nope)

I mean now that the listening watch on HF has ended, I cant even raise many ships on HF anymore , unless I have DSC and then I need their MMSI and hence they need to be within my VHF AIS range,

my phone was bought on ebay for $370 , crossing the atlantic on several occasions usage averaged out at about $400 per trip. once off the coast its all 3G ( however the sat phone is still sometime cheeper).

PS: All kit gives trouble, HF sat, etc. its doesnt invalidate the advantages.
Sorry, my friend, but this post is just plain WRONG!

Yes, you certainly can do most or all of the above with MF/HF SSB radio.

WLO operates several HF stations which serve as "the marine operator" and can connect you to any shore phone at a very reasonable price. They have powerful transmitters and very good directional antennas.

Ham radio operators also can "phone-patch" you into shore phones if needed.

The USCG, for example, comes up on the ham frequencies when there's a known emergency.

I agree with John....SSB is far from moribund, nor is it passe.

I rarely disagree with Evans and he certainly has a monumental amount of experience, but so do I in radio terms....as does John. SSB radio need not cost several thousand dollars. There are alternatives to the 802 which will work perfectly well for voice and data (though not DSC), and which can be had for well under $1,000 including tuner.

The ranks of ham radio (amateurs) are growing, not diminishing. There are now 700,000 licensed hams in the US and several million worldwide. It is almost impossible NOT to make a useful contact, unless you're one of those people who refuse to learn anything about HF radio and propagation, preferring just to push a few buttons on a sat phone.

I have several SSB radios aboard, and always have had. I also carry a satphone with data capability, mostly for calling home. I find the SSB to be WAY more useful for most purposes, including staying in touch with the cruising community in your area of interest.

BUT, you've got to learn something. You can't just walk up to a SSB radio knowing nothing and expect to have it perform as you'd like.

If you're not willing to invest a bit of time learning something, then by all means go for the satphone. And, good luck with it....even Iridium with its advertised "worldwide capability" is less than 100% reliable. And, its paltry 2400 baud data rate is good for emails and tiny files only, unless you're willing to hock all your jewelry to pay the monthly bill!

What's more useful for emergencies? Depends where you are, but in most places in the world I think you'll find that a well-installed SSB and a knowledgeable operator will beat a satphone....hands down.

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Old 14-05-2013, 13:54   #19
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post

I'm currently leaning to an SSB setup, but the main reason is due to the operating costs of satellite. Remove that impediment and I think I'd go sat.
Can't say much about ssb but after cruising with a sat phone I went the ham route and have no regrets. Primarily down to budget, email (small messages anyway) access worldwide is now completely free. A big annoyance with the sat phone was paying line rental for months on end without ever turning the thing on, though I think I saw somewhere you can turn the sim on and off which would help on that score. Getting another sim isn't much of an option when you're anchored up somewhere where an overnight delivery can take weeks and it's really not nice having to wander round the various offices where you think it might show up day after day.
Haven't used the ham setup in anger cross ocean yet but locally it's been really useful away from mobile phone access, send an email letting someone know you've found a nice anchorage and won't be around for a bitand get a grib while you're at it. All for free after the install costs, whichg are fairly hefty for a SSB rig, not so bad for ham. Over a few years sat time costs must add up, cross atlantic some days it would take a while to just get a small grib, all the time you're watching the minutes tick by. Fine if you have plenty cash but not so nice on a budget.
But your boat, your call I'm more than happy with the ham route, but as in so many aspects of boats and cruising there is no answer, each to their own.
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Old 14-05-2013, 14:28   #20
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Dave,
I just now saw all these other posts...
I, like Evans, appreciate the added input and experiences....
I really DO!!

And, yes NAVTEX is good, and as you wrote in Europe and the Med, it is great....


But, Dave, if I could go back and edit (proof) my old post, I would....(I was copying and pasting from an old thread, and didn't mean to include a reference to GMDSS.)
I did NOT intend this weather thread to get bogged-down on the minutia of GMDSS....
My apologies!!
(but, while I do understand the formal GMDSS procedures, when signaling a "distress", I for one would also desire to directly signal vessels in my area now, rather than waiting the few hours until my G/EPIRB signal is resolved, verified and the correct MRCC has determined what vessels (or other SAR assests) may be in the area, and sent out my distress info to them via INMARSAT C or HF radio....
We may just need to agree to disagree a bit on this, as I am NOT even going to try to delve deeper into all of that here...






Dave, maybe my point about cheap means something different elsewhere...
Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I would say today , where I fitting out , Id seriusly consider Fleetboardband, rather then HF radio. Internet access is 'priceless' and is teh only future proof component.
But, here in the US, there are many who think $5000+ USD (plus air time / $$ per MB) is a lot to spend on a sat comm solution.....especially when many here are equipping with a used M-700 / M-710 w/ remote tuner for $500 - $1000....and a new M-802 w/ AT-140 costs only $2400....







Here again, my "advice" is not only experienced, but also related to what I personally see (and hear from others) regarding the expense (and complexity) of what some are being "sold"....
Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I agree with evans , your advice is admirable, but dated. Take a look at the comms percentages on the ARC. HF has been declining steadily and sat comms gaining ground rapidly certainly HF is not a cheap install.
I'm actually hesitant to specifically comment much here....as I don't wish this to become an "old fashioned" vs. "new technology" argument....nor an economics discussion....
But in my opinion, the "ARC Participants" are not the typical budget-conscience cruisers, nor even "typical cruisers" without regard to budget.....look at the size and price of the boats, and it starts to look like the world economic issues seems to have bypassed some of you in Europe!!!

Understand that I have made my living for the past 30 years in satellite communications (most of the past 20 years in commercial sat comm), and I think FB, Iridium Pilot, etc. are wonderfully systems....and if a sailor/voyager/cruiser has the room, the money, and the desire to stay that "connected", then they are great ideas.....
Heck even a handheld Iridium phone is great piece of kit....(My first use of an Iridium phone was many, many years ago....during their first month of service....my brother was a chief design eng. at Motorola back then....and I've used them over the years since then....)

So, as you see, I LOVE satellite communications!!! (and other modern hi-tech stuff..)
But, there are some that can't afford it....some that can't figure it all out....some that don't desire the "connectivity"...some that just desire an alternative...etc. etc....




BTW, I've seen non-GMDSS complaint INMARSAT-C terminals selling new for about $2500 USD last fall here in Florida.....about the same price as an M802/AT-140....and not much more than an Iridium phone, data kit and ext. antenna....
Last I looked....FB terminals are about $4500 - $5500 USD... and Iridium Pilot is about $4500


Okay, enough of my ramblings....

Fair winds to all...

John
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Old 14-05-2013, 14:42   #21
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Fist of all, thank you John / ka4wja, for starting this thread. You have posted some extremely useful information.

Now, some comments:
Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I would add that a New full featured HF with Pactor is Way way more expensive then a new ISATPHone. ( like 4-5 times more) , so feedback the TCO against the operating costs of the sat phone, it will pay for a hell of a lot of minutes.
I suggest that anyone considering this compare the IsatPhonePro and the Iridium phones. IsatPhonePro users have reported problems getting reliable email connections, and unhappiness with the changing rate-plan. Of course, some Iridium users also have their problems, but I've found Iridium to be relaible enough.

Quote:
'weather info, data/email (pactor).' since all methods do this , this is not really a comparative advantage , however getting high speed PACTOR, like anywhere near 2400 is hard to do in my experience. if you go into ham system hardware is cheap but the throughput is appalling.
I'm not sure where you get this. Yes, satphone data rates are usually faster than SSB. But most ham email is using Pactor 3, the same as Sailmail and other SSB email services. Pactor 4 is starting to be installed in both ham and marine SSB, but I believe the P3 is still the dominant protocol. Ham also has lower-cost and lower-performance hardware and software digital modulation systems available (WINMOR, for example), but that's hardly a drawback of ham email.

Quote:
IN my view HF ( especially Ham on board ) is a radio hobby. and its proponents are fanboys obviously.

With the arrival of cheap ( well cheaper) satcomms, 'ordinary' non-fanboys have trended away from HF ( and Ham )
"Fanboys", hmmm.... You know, I know many, many cruisers who use SSB (some receive-only) for their weather info. This includes broadcast WFAX, email GRIBS, and even voice broadcasts. These aren't radio fanboys, they're just using a system that works for them.

Quote:
Access to cruiser nets is a two edged sword in my mind!!, ( mind you especially VHF harbour nets-- run away).

Get a furuno Wx receiver and a satphone- sorted!!!!

Dave
If you don't like cruiser nets, don't tune in. It's just that simple.

Look, since 2003 I've been using my Iridium satphone for voice, and email, including GRIBs and WFAX images. I have SSB with Pactor 3 on board, and I am also a ham. Sure, I'm a fanboy, but I've helped lots of people set up their satphone *and* SSB systems. They both have their advantages and their disadvantages. If someone wants a turnkey, no special skills needed, system for communications and weather, I'm probably going to suggest satphone. If they want the absolutely cheapest way to get weather, I'm going to tell them about cheap SSB receivers and WFAX software. But, there are still those who want what SSB provides.
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Old 14-05-2013, 14:45   #22
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Conachair,
You're welcome!!

Fair winds...

John
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Old 14-05-2013, 14:56   #23
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Someone, I guess it'll be me, needs to point out that NONE of this is actually "must have" to go cruising. Many thousands have, are, and will be cruising in small boats on shoestrings and having a fine time of it. I'm not saying you should, just that one man's need is very often another man's outrageously expensive luxury.

Says the guy posting from his cell phone...they used to be expensive too lol :-)
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Old 14-05-2013, 15:24   #24
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Mike,
I think you've got a fairly good grasp of things.....except for a few things....(see details)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
As someone ramping up for the big departure day, I keep bouncing back and forth on this question. Here's my breakdown. Tell me if I've got it right.

Sat. pros: Easy and somewhat cheaper to install (vs SSB), easy to use, direct communications (one-to-one), email, access to weather info via data
downloads, portable, no license requirements.
Sat comms systems that work below decks are NOT cheap (think 1000's of dollars), nor easy to install....
Handheld sat phones (that will not work below decks) are cheaper, but require additional pieces to get them to work well for you (such as working below decks, and connected reliably to your computer...)

Iridium sat phones (handheld) while moderately pricey, can use an inexpensive "passive" external antenna and a data kit or homebrewed connections to your computer.....
Installation is not too bad, but not as easy as some will make you think!!

ISatPhone's (handheld) are cheaper, but require an expensive "active" external antenna / interior docking station in order to allow you to use them below decks.....which makes them about the same price overall as an Iridium sat phone....
BUT, many users have reported ISatPhone e-mail issues, as well as other issues, so I'm not comfortable recommending them at this time...



Sat. cons: Significant operating costs, no access to cruisers' nets, less durable (perhaps).
Correct....



HF (SSB) pros: Small operating costs, access to cruisers' nets, one-to-one comms, weather info, data/email (pactor).
Correct...
But, HF radio also allows "broadcast" communications, meaning "one-to-many", as well as on-to-one....
Also, HF radio (whether inexpensive/cheap receive-only, or a full-fledged transceiver) provides access to weather data/forecasts WITHOUT a PACTOR modem, which is one of the main points of this thread...(read over the details in my original post.)



HF cons: Higher skill needed to use effectively, somewhat higher install costs (compared to sat.), not portable, licensing required.
Yes, you will need to spend a few hours learning how things work, but no more time than you'd spend (and maybe even less) learning how to hook-up and use sat phone data service.....

Install costs are going to be based on what type of HF radio system you choose (rec-only, ham radio, marine SSB, or marine DSC-SSB...) and of course, on how much of the installation you can "do yourself".....

As for HF radio equipment costs, in general, the range is from $100 to as much as $4000....
But, typically figure on about $2500 for a full-fledged HF-DSC-SSB w/ remote antenna tuner (Icom M-802 / AT-140).....which is about what a sat phone, external antenna / cable, and data kit will cost you....

Have a look at Gary's site....He's a good guy...
Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components

Or check Farrollon Electronics as well....



I'm currently leaning to an SSB setup, but the main reason is due to the operating costs of satellite. Remove that impediment and I think I'd go sat.

I hope I helped sort things out some, but didn't complicate things more for you???
Read over my original post here, for the details...


Fair winds...

John
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Old 14-05-2013, 15:28   #25
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

ElGatoGordo,
Thank You!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElGatoGordo View Post
Someone, I guess it'll be me, needs to point out that NONE of this is actually "must have" to go cruising. Many thousands have, are, and will be cruising in small boats on shoestrings and having a fine time of it. I'm not saying you should, just that one man's need is very often another man's outrageously expensive luxury.

Says the guy posting from his cell phone...they used to be expensive too lol :-)
And, just to be clear, I agree completely that NONE of this necessary.....
It was just my intent to post some info that might help those trying to sort thru the technical mumbo-jumbo, and maybe clear up some misconceptions, regarding access to offshore weather data / forecasts....


I don't think I even came close to implying that any of it was "necessary", but if I did, I thank you for reminding us all otherwise!!!


Thanks again...

John
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Old 14-05-2013, 18:03   #26
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
We sail with an iridium phone and a laptop, and get our offshore weather by grib.
I've had good success with just the gribs as well, though I often also use a cheap receiver or HF to get wx faxes in the Tasman where NZ and Aus still put out good weather faxes, despite occasional mumbles about doing away with the fax radio broadcasts.

With the gribs I have found it's very important to watch the consistency of the forecasts over time. If they are changing significantly from one forecast to the next you know the computer is unsure and the situation is dynamic, in this case it is wise to be very cautious.

If they are consistent (stable) you can be pretty comfortable with the accuracy (by and large). The Gribs seem to show this better than the regular human interpreted forecasts and weather faxes which try to smooth out these computer generated irregularities.

The gribs seemed to me to be much less accurate around the coast than far offshore. But with a bit of commonsense you can often guess what additional local effects might be if you are to remote for proper local forecasts.

I have also used a Sky eye, and found it well worth it's space. It gives you the direct image downloaded from the satellite overhead, often before the met office gets them. By overlaying the satpic over the gribs you can get a very good idea of how accurate they are as far as low centres and frontal positions. It was also handy for forecasting clear days for shore trips. And brings the cloud patterns back into your forecasting, for example you can see if the cold front is Ana or a Kata type, and see how squally the cold pool behind it is. Also useful are the lee waves behind any islands or mountains, giving you an idea of cloud base height and wind direction.

Click image for larger version

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This Pic I took down on the peninsula, you can see the grib overlay is slightly out of position, It clearly shows the banana belt with clear skies and light winds over the Antarctic Peninsular north of le Marie. This is not the best picture, but it's the only one I have (my camera died).
This one shows good correlation with the gribs, look at the small low just west of cape horn, And the lee waves to the north of the falklands. Also note the light airs in the belt of clear skies to the east of cape horn. With this overlay you have all the tools to use the clouds estimate where you are in the weather systems around you.

I am very interested in the experiments with using software defined radio (with the cheap usb TV dongle) and a homemade antenna to pick the weather satellites up.
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Old 14-05-2013, 18:19   #27
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

^^ Yes, Sky Eye is interesting. Because Jonathan was down in Ushuaia it was/is used down there alot (and by some volvo and vendee racers) but cruisers/sailors elsewhere are less familiar with it.

I have been lazy and invested less time learning its strengths and capabilities than I should have. Perhaps you should start a thread and educate us all?
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Old 14-05-2013, 18:28   #28
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Quote:
Look, since 2003 I've been using my Iridium satphone for voice, and email, including GRIBs and WFAX images. I have SSB with Pactor 3 on board, and I am also a ham. Sure, I'm a fanboy, but I've helped lots of people set up their satphone *and* SSB systems. They both have their advantages and their disadvantages. If someone wants a turnkey, no special skills needed, system for communications and weather, I'm probably going to suggest satphone. If they want the absolutely cheapest way to get weather, I'm going to tell them about cheap SSB receivers and WFAX software. But, there are still those who want what SSB provides.
Couldn't agree more

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Old 14-05-2013, 19:11   #29
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

It appears that a very small part of my original posting (my opinion / recommendation) has caused some confusion / consternation here, but more importantly is masking the INFORMATION that I posted....
Even though I included experiences, web links, surveys, even prices / comparisons, I suspect that some won't read them too deeply, nor click on the links...

Heck, in addition to briefly including my own experiences and links to my own Nav Station, etc....I even included info about the 2012 survey by the WMO/jcomm Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology, showing a large majority of commercial shipping still using HF radio....
But, since I also included my opinions / recommendations, controversy rains....

However, since I cannot edit an existing posting (after 30 minutes), there is little to do but attempt to direct people back to my original posting....

Although, I thought I'd try one thing here which may help....quote my own posting, and "low-light" the controversial section (my opinion / recommendation), and hopefully allow everyone to reap the benefits of this information without getting sidetracked by "opinion" / "recommendation"....

So, here goes...
Please take note of the "low-lighting" of my opinion / recommendation....everything else is information that shouldn't stir up controversy!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Last year, on the SSCA Disc Boards, I posted detailed info on obtaining offshore weather forecasts while at sea and/or in remote locales.....primarily for the typical US / Caribbean / EU / Atlantic / Pacific cruising areas...
And, I've referenced / referred many to that thread, but now I'm thinking that it might make good sense to actually write all of that here as well...

So, while "weather" is more of a 'seamanship" issue, the obtaining of the forecasts is typically an "electronics" / "communications" issue....so thought posting here would make sense.

~~~~~
~~~~~

From Aug, 2012....



-- As for offshore / hi-seas weather data and forecasts, etc...

1) For most of the N. Atlantic, all of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico (including US East Coast, Bermuda, Azores, Bahamas, Caribbean, Central America, etc.), as well as the Eastern and Central Pacific, etc.... you have easy / FREE access, via HF-SSB Radio, to the "gold standard" in offshore marine weather data/forecasts (the US NWS/NOAA Marine Weather, broadcasts in voice, text, and WeFax, from the USCG...)


a) Here is the general Marine Weather page.....with all the links on it...
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/home.htm


b) Here are the pages, showing the WeFax (weather charts / sat images) broadcasts....
Have a look at all these pages to get an idea of what charts are transmitted, etc...
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/radiofax.htm
http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/marine.shtml

c) For the North Atlantic...
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfmarsh_links.htm
http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/marsh.shtml
{I use NMF/Boston...for most of the N. Atl...}

d) For the Tropical Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Tropical East Pacific...
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfgulf_links.htm
http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/gulf.shtml
{I use NMG/New Orleans...all the time....for SW N. Atl. / Carib / Trop N. Atl....}

e) For the North Pacific and Tropical East Pacific....
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfreyes_links.htm
http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/ptreyes.shtml

f) For the Central, Southeast and North Pacific...
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfhi_links.htm
http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/hawaii.shtml

g) For the rest of the Atlantic, Med, Pacific and Indian Oceans....
Here is a page with worldwide WeFax broadcast schedules...
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf
{note that I use GYA, from the UK, for eastern N. Atl. WeFax...}


h) Also, for the past 25 years, Herb Hilgenberg provides excellent offshore weather forecasting and routing advice, via Maritime HF-SSB Radio....(for FREE!!), for the whole N. Atl., Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and areas further on request....
http://www3.sympatico.ca/hehilgen/vax498.htm


i) For subscription fee, Chris Parker also provides offshore weather and routing advice via Maritime HF-SSB Radio, for the Caribbean, Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico...
http://www.caribwx.com/



2) For offshore and hi-seas Voice and Text weather broadcasts....
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfvoice.htm
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfsitor.htm

{Note: For hi-seas / offshore voice (and/or text) weather broadcasts further along your route, there is Aus, Brunei, NZ, etc... have a look at a thread here..
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8301
For worldwide offshore/hi-seas text weather data and forecasts, there is always INMARSAT C....
And, for near-offshore broadcasts, don't forget NAVTEX!!!! ]




3) As for how to "get" the above weather data / forecasts...it is all transmitted for FREE over HF radio (i.e. "Marine SSB Radio"), by very powerful (4000watt) transmitters....
You can access all the above by:

a) a Standalone, dedicated HF WeFax receiver/chart printer....such as a Furuno FAX-408...at about $2200 (street-price) it is pricey, but VERY reliable, and used worldwide on many commercial vessels (and some pleasure craft, such as mine)
http://www.furunousa.com/products/produ ... eather+Fax
{ This is what I use, and used an Alden MarineFaxIV for many years before I installed my new Furuno FAX-408 a few years ago....
http://www.c470.jerodisys.com/470pix/47003.htm using a 22' long vertical "random-length" wire antenna, and have excellent reception and crystal-clear charts....}


b) a dedicated WeFax receiver-only networked to a Furuno NavNet display or PC/laptop...(if you already had a Furuno NavNet display, the FAX-30, at about $900 is a good choice...but unless you've got the Furuno NavNet system, this is also a bit pricey, as you can use your SSB radio to do the same thing....)
http://www.furunousa.com/products/Produ ... duct=FAX30


c) a Marine SSB transceiver (such as Icom M-802/AT-140) for voice broadcasts, and for WEFax (and text) broadcasts, connected to a PC/laptop, using FREE software (such as JVComm) allows for WeFax (and text/SITOR) reception....typ. prices are about $2400 for transceiver/tuner/etc....
http://www.docksideradio.com/Icom%20SSB%20Radios.htm
http://www.docksideradio.com/wefax.htm


d) an inexpensive HF/SSB receiver (such as a Sagean 909 or Sony 7600, etc.), using a good antenna, for voice reception....and for WeFax (and text) reception, connected to a PC/laptop (and again using JVComm, etc)
Typical costs here are from $150 to $500, depending on receiver and antenna set-up....
{this is usually considered a "back-up" system, with the vessel's primary Marine SSB Tranceiver being used as the "primary" HF receiver for WeFax, Voice, etc..}


e) should you also find the need for e-mail access while offshore / out on the hi-seas (many simply use e-mail / internt in port only, using Wi-Fi and/or G3 aircards, etc.), then you'd certainly have a PACTOR modem (~ $1200) attached to your Marine SSB Transceiver (~ $2400, plus installation)....and using this set-up, you could request the WeFax charts that you desire to be sent to you via e-mail, using saildocs, etc.
http://www.docksideradio.com/Pricing%20&%20Ordering.htm
http://www.sailmail.com/
http://www.saildocs.com/


f) Also, note that you can use your Marine SSB for telephone calls as well, at 99 cents/min.....
http://www.shipcom.com/
And in addition to telephone interconnects and traffic lists, WLO / KLB also provide NWS/NOAA Offshore and Hi-Seas Voice weather broadcasts....as well as high-quality / hi-power PACTOR modem interconnections / e-mail...
http://www.shipcom.com/frequencies.html


g) You can also use a satellite terminal (or fixed-mount sat-phone), with typical costs from $2500 - $6000+, plus lots of $$$ for airtime/data....to gain access to these "free" (US Tax Dollars Paid For!) weather charts / images....
http://www.ocens.com/Cruising.aspx
http://www.saildocs.com/



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Please note, that while there are many cruisers who use laptops on-board, there are fewer that use them on long passages....as the difficulty of use (hanging onto them, yourself, etc.) when offshore can be a pain!!!
So, dedicated weather reception, such as a FAX-408 when ofshore / hi-seas (or NAVTEX equipment for coastal/near-offshore, out-to ~ 200 miles) is usually much preferred!!!
For those utilizing computers, many find a dedicated, low-power fixed PC to be much easier to use, and more reliable, than trying to use a laptop...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



4) Should you decide that some type of satellite communications is desireable for your planned cruise (such as for a bit easier or more private telephone calls when offshore / on the hi-seas...or if medium-to-hi-speed / broadband data and internet connections are desired in far flung/remote locales and/or when offshore...etc. etc...), there are 3 or 4 "basic" types of sat comm systems....and a few "advanced" types...

--- "basic" types are:
a) Handheld sat phones, such as Iridium 9555 (or IsatPhonePro), usable above decks only and need clear view of sky at all times (which can be difficult when in a decent seaway)...usually only used for brief voice contacts when offshore in good weather.....and aren't very effective for data connections (trying to rig/wire things up, in the cockpit!!!)
$600 - $1500....(plus airtime costs of about $1/minute...)


b) Handheld sat phone (as above), with a fixed-mount external antenna and below decks "docking station".....(these allow use of phone below decks and also allows LOW-SPEED / E-MAIL ONLY data connections...typically about the same speed as PACTOR 3 on HF-SSB / Sailmail...)
Adding appox. another $1000 to the basic handheld sat phone....(giving you typical costs of $2000 - $2500...) plus airtime costs of about $1/minute...
Data compression software is also an absolute requirement, whether you use airmail, or OCENS, or X-Gate....

{This set-up has similar up-front costs compared to Marine SSB, but without the versatility...plus sat phones have the added costs of daily/monthly airtime....as well as added complexity....
And, of course a sat phone does NOT have the emergency (or Distress) communications ability of a HF-DSC-SSB Radio (such as the Icom M-802)....
Further a sat phone cannot connect you with weather nets, cruisers nets, ham radio nets, merchant vessels, etc. as a marine HF-DSC-SSB can...}

http://www.ocens.com/Cruising.aspx


c) Fixed-mount / Portable (non-marinized / non-stabilized) satellite terminals...such as INMARSAT B-GAN....
Allows for medium-speed (~ 64-128k) data connection / internet access, when in port, in remote areas...
Typical costs are $3000 and up....(plus lots of $$$ for airtime/data...)

There is also INMARSAT C, which is a low-speed (~ 600 buad) text / telex system, which provides SafetyNet weather and warnings (for free)....
It is VERY ROBUST and RELIABLE, and like the MF/HF-DSC-SSB radio is part of the GMDSS....(great for those sailing the world via the great capes, etc..)
Typical costs here are also about $3000 - $4000....


---- "advanced-types" are:
d) Iridium Pilot / Openport....allows medium-speed (128k) data connection / internet access, worldwide at sea, in all weather conditions.....
Typical costs are $4500 - $5000 (plus lots of $$ for airtime/data...)


e) INMARSAT Fleet Broadband (FB).....allowing medium-speed (128k - 500k) data connection / internet access at sea and in remote areas....
Typical costs are $5000/$6000 to $15,000/$20,000 (plus lots of $$$ for airtime/data...)


f) Maritime VSAT systems....allowing hi-speed (500k - 1.5Mb) data connection / internet access at sea and remote areas....
Typical costs are $15,000/$20,000+ and UP....(plus LOTS of $$$$$ for airtime/data...)


For more details on sat comm equipment and data services see:
http://www.ocens.com/Cruising.aspx
http://www.iridium.com/products/iridium-pilot.aspx
http://www.globalmarinenet.com/xgate.php
http://www.kvh.com/Leisure/Marine-Syste ... ernet.aspx




5) As for specific equipment....and its usefullness for weather / communications, when offshore and in remote areas...
First off, in my opinion, a maritime HF-DSC-SSB Radio (such as the Icom M-802) is an almost necessity on all offshore cruising boats / ocean-going pleasure craft of all types....as it is the ONLY way to directly signal "Distress" to other vessels past VHF range (anything past 20-25 miles)....
Secondly, a marine HF-DSC-SSB radio would allow very effective and cheap (aka free) access to offshore/hi-seas marine weather...(see details above)
Third, a marine HF-DSC-SSB radio allows you to contact/stay-in-touch with both other cruising boats and those back on-shore (should you desire to do so...)...not to mention the great addition that having a ham radio license will allow...
NOT having a well-insatlled and properly working marine SSB on-board is a
big mistake that can be easily avoided!!!

So, my recommendations, in order of preference and usefullness/performance....(while the above info is "fact", my recommendations are of course "opinion"!!!)

a) My first recommendation is easy....an Icom M-802/AT-140 Marine MF/HF-DSC-SSB Transceiver/Tuner, properly installed and tested.....

b) Next, I'd add either a dedicated wefax receiver (such as a Furuno FAX-408), or a low-power dedicated PC attached to your M-802, using free software to decode the WeFax charts (and text forecasts)....

c) Third, would be the addition of a PACTOR modem (SCS P4 Dragon) and AirMail software in your dedicated PC....along with a subscription to sailmail (and/or Shipcom).....

d) Fourth and Fifth, would be a combination of a dedicated NAVTEX Receiver, and an INMARSAT C termina, for SafetyNet / hi-seas weather forecasts....
Along with MF/HF-DSC Signaling, these are both part of the GMDSS, and make excellent dedicated text-only weather receivers, where data is transmitted for FREE, no subscription is needed!!!! And, they make excellent additions to any offshore sailing boat!!
(I'm already in the process of adding a separate, dedicated NAVTEX unit....and will be considering a Sat C unit before any circumnavigation plans...)

[Note that 4 of these first 5 systems require NO subscription fees, and are FREE to all users....and with the US, UK, Aus, NZ, Japan, China, etc. etc. etc. all recently stating their continued commitment to hi-seas weather forecasting / broadcast, these tax-payer support services will be here with us for many, many years to come....]


e) And, further down the list would be an Iridium 9555 phone, fixed ext. antenna, and docking station....

f) And, then maybe an Iridium Pilot (OpenPort) or INMARSAT FB.....


6) Tieing it all together, isn't necessary at all...and usually not even desired, as keeping your systems separate or at least able to work pretty well without being "tied-together" is a BIG part of the Keep-It-Simple-Stupid (KISS) approach!!!

There are some more advanced computer-type cruisers that do weather chart overlays, on top of their electronic charts....but, this usually requires pricey displays/computers (not something that is easy to keep working reliably offshore and in remote locales) and specific software (such as MaxSea) and pay-for charts/services....AND does require all things to work well together....(not really the best for long-range / offshore cruising, as it is a bit gimmicky....but is used by some)

Note, that you'll find that when offshore you'll not be using a chartplotter much at all....and in many popular cruising areas (Caribbean, etc.) you'll not need radar much either....
Although, radar is VERY nice to have when offshore, in "unsettled conditions" (esp useful in the ITCZ)....to find and weave-thru squals and storms....in many areas, you're not likely to use the radar too much....(but do make sure it works well, before you shove off for far flung locales...)
So, even if desireable to do so (it is NOT), worrying about chartplotter and radar integration, into your on-board weather forecast receiving systems is a rather moot point.....and shouldn't figure much into your decisions....



A few last thoughts....
7 ) Please do not forget that in addition to refrigeration, autopilot, etc. you'll need the electrical power to run all of the stuff on-board...so whatever you can do to use as little power as possible and/or for as short period of time as possible, is always a good idea....and you'll need to take into account the power used by different systems / equipment on-board, AND make sure you have enough electrical generation (solar) and storage (batteries) to use what you desire.....
Have a look here at what I've done....
http://www.c470.jerodisys.com/470pix/47004.htm
http://www.c470.jerodisys.com/470pix/47074.htm
http://www.c470.jerodisys.com/470pix/47145.htm


8 ) Here's my Nav Station, Cockpit, etc....it's all worked great for almost 6 years now, including two Atlantic crossings, 12,000+ miles offshore, multiple full Gales, severe T-Storms, etc...
http://www.c470.jerodisys.com/470pix/47003.htm
http://www.c470.jerodisys.com/470pix/47002.htm
http://www.c470.jerodisys.com/470pix/47148.htm


9 ) For some more info on using HF-SSB Radios, have a look here...
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13306
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13270
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13490




10 ) Note that no mention is made above of GRIB charts (Gridded Binary charts), which are raw computer model data.....in many users' experience these are not as accurate/reliable as profesionally prepared (by humans) weather charts, and are suited to those individuals that are better forecasters than those professionals at the NWS, Ocean Prediction Center, Tropical Precdiction Center, National Hurricane Center, etc...
(although in some remote parts of the world, GRIB charts are about the best you can do for offshore weather charts....for most cruisers, they are not needed and fall short of the "gold standard" of offshore marine weather forecasts, but unfortunately some new cruisers are easily "sold" on them by marine electronics dealers/installers/vendors.....)


~~~~~~
~~~~~~
~~~~~~

From 2009...

And, regarding English language Voice forecasts in Asia... (posted in 2009, although still applicable)....
~

{Please note that a weather chart, via HF WeFax, etc.....is usually considered the preferable offshore/hi-seas forecast mode.....and I'd advise using them......

Also, note that NAVTEX 518khz broadcasts are in English worldwide......
Although it is "text" not "voice".....it seems to me to be exactly what you need for your cruising grounds and application....

Using a dedicated NAVTEX receiver will give you redundancy to your existing set-up.....
Since I'm not a fan of relying on laptops for critical missions, I'd recommemd a dedicated NAVTEX receiver (Furuno) as your primary SE Asia offshore/coastal weather receiver and use your existing MF/HF receiver with laptop / software as a back-up.......(of course continue to use your laptop with WeFax software as you do now......and a dedicated NAVTEX receiver can serve as a co-primary source of weather info/forecasts....)

You can use you existing set-up to receive NAVTEX right now (there's cheap or free software availabale), before your depart on any offshore voyage to get used to it....and to see if it will give you what you need.....

NAVTEX is designed for coastal and near-offshore waters, out approx. 250 - 300 miles.....
While it won't give you coverage across the Pacific (that's what HF wefax, text and voice braodcasts are for), it WILL cover your cruising area very well.....(most heavily transited areas of the world are covered with NAVTEX stations....)

In your cruising areas, there are many NAVTEX stations.....here's just a sampling....
Bangkok, Singapore, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak, Jakarta, Makassar, Ambon, Jayapura, Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Hong Kong, Sanya (and 4 others in Chna), Chennai (and Mumbai).....as well as Guam, 5 stations in Japan, 2 in Korea, 2 in Taiwan, etc....}


But you asked about "voice broadcasts, in English"......so that's the answer I'll do my best to provide....

1) Yes, there are HF Voice Weather broadcasts, in English, that cover the Pacific Ocean and Asia.....
But, I cannot think of one website that lists all of that data, so I'll try to give you what I can here, from my own recollections....and hopefully a few links if I can find them...

2) USCG NMO, Hawaii and USCG NRV, Guam broadcast Pacific Hi-Seas Forecasts.......check their schedules at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfvoice.htm
(Generally covering the South Pacific, Central Pacific and Eastern Pacific........coverage to 160 East, and from 25 South to past 60 North....)

(USCG, NMC, Pt. Reyes, CA also broadcasts some Pacific Hi-Seas weather....)

3) Also, WWVH does broadcast Pacific Hi-Seas forecasts, from their transmitters in Hawaii at 48 - 51 minutes past each hour, at 2.5, 5, 10, and 15mhz.....
These are NOT detailed forecasts, but typical of wide area coverage Hi-Seas forecasts, with mainly significant weather, significant systems, and any warnings mentioned......

(WWV, in Ft. Collins, CO also broadcasts a Pacific Hi-Seas warnings at 10 minutes past each hour on 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and 20mhz....)

4) Listening to (and speaking with) amateur radio Maritime Mobile Nets will give you a great deal of info, weather forecasts and otherwise......
In addition to the MMSN ~12 hours a day on 14.300mhz......check out the Pacific Seafarers Net (14.300 at 0300z) and the Manana Net (14.340mhz) and the Pac MM Net (21.402mhz)....


You may also wish to check out Don Anderson, N6HG's schedule (see Pac Sea Net's website), since he can provide weather info for both Atlantic and Pacific (out about 7000 miles from CA), on both HF Maritime Freq (via WPXU557) and/or amateur radio......

5) Late at night and Early Morning, here in Florida I still hear Australian Weather on 8mhz Marine / Aviation Freqs.......heard them just last month...... so they have GREAT coverage.....and, I know that they're on other freqs as well (4, 6, 8, 12, and 16mhz bands depending on time of day)......

VMC, Queensland, AUS and VMW, Western, AUS provide HF Voice weather broadcasts......
Have a look at the Australian Marine Weather page, and follow the links for coverage areas, times, and freqs....
http://www.bom.gov.au/marine/

And.......VZX, Australia, although still on-the-air (sailmail), ceased its voice service in late 2006.......

6) Brunei Bay Radio (V8V2222) also provides Marine HF Voice Weather Broadcasts......
I think you'll find their website informative....
http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/index.html


7) New Zealand also has a decent Marine HF station(s)......Taupo Radio.....
And their Metservice has excellent weather forecasts of the South Pacific, south of 25 degrees South.....
I know that their HF WeFax broadcasts are still on-the-air, but not sure of their HF Voice broadcasts.....if you require these very southern Pac forecasts, do a search for NZ HF Marine Voice Weather broadcats......

8 ) VIG in Port Moresby, Papua, supposedly also has HF Voice Weather broadcasts......

9 ) And while my info shows that HSW, HSA, and HSJ in Thailand broadcast HF FAX and CW, they may also still do HF Voice??????




So, Jim, to sum up......there are HF Marine Voice Weather Broadcasts, in English, for the Pacific and Asia.......
If Pacific coverage from US to 160 degrees East will suffice, the the USCG Voice broadcasts are good.....
If you wish better coverage of SE Asia, Brunei Bay Radio is good....
You can also use Australian and/or New Zealnad HF stations...and Amateur Radio for even more info and weather forecasts...
And, if all else fails, you can at least hear Pacific Warnings and Sig Wx via WWVH.....

(Oh, and if you want current weather in MANY areas, there's always the HF Aviation VOLMET stations....)


~~~~~
~~~~~
~~~~~


And, from this past week, regarding a SIMPLE / CHEAP way of getting weather while at sea / in remote locales, while heading from Seattle, WA to Mexico....


I understand your frustration / confusion, and I do believe I can help you sort through this maze!!!
Please go thru item by item, and follow the links, and I think we'll get you on the right track....

{PLEASE forgive my bluntness!!}
There is NO need to "get ham certified" in order to get excellent HF radio reception....but, just about any $200-$300 used ham radio (like an old IC-735, etc.) would work MUCH better than that Si-Tex...
Doing these 3 things will get you all the weather data/forecasts you'd need/desire....and it won't cost you much money, nor take much time!!!
----Getting a decent radio and antenna....
----Spending a few minutes (certainly no more than an hour or two) learning about HF radiowave propagation....
----Getting rid of the probable high amount of RFI on-board and/or surrounding your boat....


First off, directly on your exact points...
A) The SiTex "SSB Receiver" is a piece of crap, as has been discussed here and on the SSCA Disc Boards for many years...
B) The trick in using an HF radio, primarily HF receiver, is two-fold....
---First, understanding the incredibly high amount of interference ("RFI") that is around your boat, marina, yacht club, etc...
AND, reducing/eliminating that interference to allow easy/clear HF radio reception....
Take note that while I have ~ 40 years experience in this area, it is NOT that complicated, and there are many, many threads that are loaded with the details on how-to reduce/eliminate RFI on-board....
---The first approach is usually to get away from the dock/marina (at least 1/2 mile away), and disconnect power/switch off breakers (or even the main battery switch), to everything on-board except your radio....and then see how well your radio and antenna work....you'll be amazed at how well even cheap, mediocre-quality radios work without lots of RFI around....
---Secondly, spend a few minutes (or as much as an hour or two) learning a bit about radiowave propagation, and how you'll use different frequencies/channels at different times of the day and over different distances...(here again, there are many threads here and on the SSCA Disc Boards that can be of great help...)


C) In areas where there are NAVTEX transmissions (such as along US/Canada coasts and throughout Europe, and parts of SE Asia), NAVTEX is a great source of text-based (written words and abbreviations) weather for coastal and near-offshore waters, from the coast out-to approx. 200-250 miles offshore (w/ maximum ranges to be 300-400 miles, but not to be relied on past approx. 250 miles)...
But, NAVTEX coverage is NOT available, or very unreliable, in many areas (such as the Mexican coast)....and/or sporadic coverage due to atmospheric noise, etc. (such as in the Caribbean, etc.)....SO...
So, for YOUR application, assuming you are in fact in Seattle and are heading down the coast to Mexico, NAVTEX would NOT provide you with decent weather info once you have gotten more than 100 miles or so south of US waters....
(so, while the Furuno NX-300 is a fine piece of gear, and is on my wish list, it would mostly be a waste of $$$ for you, at this time...)

Have a look at these pages, for some info on NAVTEX and coverages for your area....
NAVTEX Maritime Safety Broadcasts
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/images/marcomms/navtex-p.gif
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/images/navtexe.jpg
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/images/marcomms/SAVANNAH.jpg
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/images/navtarea.jpg
GMDSS | WMO
http://www.icselectronics.co.uk/navt...rea.php?nva=12
http://www.icselectronics.co.uk/navt...area.php?nva=4
NAVTEX Database | ICS Electronics Limited





1) Not exactly sure where you're planning on sailing/cruising (and this plays a BIG role in determining what you can best use to attain accurate and timely weather forecasts), but assuming you're still in Seattle and are heading to Mexico...here are my thoughts....

2) Along the US west coast, you'll be well served with normal US NOAA weather radio broadcasts on VHF radio....

3) If you venture further offshore than their coverage (> 25 - 50 miles off the US west coast), AND when you leave US waters, you WILL need some other method of receiving marine weather data/forecasts....
a) Typically the most useful offshore / hi-seas weather data/forecasts for recreational sailors (not professionally trained and/or experienced in ocean meteorology), is a surface weather chart and/or a wind and wave chart....
Both of these are broadcast multiple times per day...showing current conditions, as well as 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hour forecasts...
These are know by mariners as "WeFax charts", and for the areas you are interested in, are prepared by seasoned professional oceanographic meteorologists, with the US NWS/NOAA Ocean Prediction Centers, updated 4 times per day, and transmitted for FREE by the USCG 4+ times per day on multiple channels/frequencies, from a couple different locations.....
These maritime weather "WeFax charts" from the US NWS/NOAA, are considered (by most offshore mariners, professional and recreational) to be the "Gold Standard" by which other weather forecasts and Met offices are measured against....
And, these can be received (FREE of charge) by anyone with a decent HF radio (and antenna) and minimal experience.....with the radio's audio output connected to the sound-card input of any PC/laptop, etc...

b) These US NWS/NOAA Offshore and Hi-Seas forecasts are also transmitted in an very easy-to-follow format/pattern by voice, from the USCG....multiple times per day, from multiple stations....as well as retransmitted by Hi-Seas Coast Stations WLO (Mobile, AL) and KLB (Seattle, WA)....
And, here again are provided FREE to anyone with a decent HF radio (and antenna) and minimal experience....
The use an easy-to-understand "Iron Mike" synthesized voice....

{Please take note that these above two types of radio transmissions, of offshore and hi-seas weather (as well as those from the UK's Met office), have served me (and 10's of thousands of others) well over the past 35+ years of sailing/voyaging from FL, Bahamas, Caribbean, across the N. Atlantic numerous times, thru the Med, etc. etc...and while dubbed a bit "old fashioned" by some, they ARE currently in 2013 STILL transmitting (and will be for at least another decade or two) and STILL being used daily by many mariners (professional/commercial and recreational) worldwide.....

See the recent survey results from WMO/jcomm Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology, for surprising results, that show outside of Europe (where NAVTEX is prevalent), HF radio (and especially HF WeFax) is still used by many large commercial vessels, even though many have satellite provided internet access, they still use HF radio and HF-Radio transmitted WeFax daily....}


c) Last year, I wrote a very detailed post about offshore and hi-seas weather, etc. on the SSCA Disc Board....where all of the details of the above summaries are spelled-out, and many direct links are provided...
SSCA Forum • View topic - Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

Sorry about my bluntness about the Si-Tex receiver, learning a little bit about radiowave propagation, and about reducing your on-board and surrounding RFI, but if I had a dollar for everyone with the same issues/problems you've mentioned, I'd be sailing a new Hinckley SW-52, instead of a Catalina....
And, don't forget that you needed to learn how to sail once, and you needed to learn navigation, anchoring, docking, etc. so why not spend a few minutes learning about radiowave propagation as well, it's just another piece of knowledge that you can use to enjoy cruising / offshore sailing....



Jared, I know this is a long post with lots of details, but I do hope you find it useful and not overwhelming!!

~~~~~
~~~~~
~~~~~





So, while this posting doesn't cover everything, I think it's a good start...
And, I do hope this helps, but doesn't overwhelm...

Fair winds..
John
s/v Annie Laurie



Even if you don't agree with me, I hope that everyone appreciates my efforts here to "remove" (by "low-lighting") the very small part of my original posting (my opinion / recommendation), which has caused the controversy, and that everyone can now read, use, and enjoy the information!!!


Fair winds to all....

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 14-05-2013, 19:25   #30
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Re: Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Mike,
I think you've got a fairly good grasp of things.....except for a few things....(see details)

...
I hope I helped sort things out some, but didn't complicate things more for you???
Thanks John, I appreciate all you, and everyone else, has said here. I think I've got a reasonable grasp on things, and am still leaning heavily to a marine SSB (likely ICOM 802/AT-140) setup. I may go for the full HAM as well. One bonus for me is that our boat already has the insulated backstay installed by a PO.

As I say, upfront costs are less of a concern for me compared to ongoing operating expenses. Both are going to be expensive to set up (and thanks for the additional info on sat. costs), but it is the $1+/minute costs of sat. that seem to make it unsustainable for me.
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