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Old 21-08-2016, 15:52   #16
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Where did you get the info that the GO was ready for Iridium Next data speeds?

I see this statement online
rats. I've been had when we were considering I was assured that it'll be updated to take advantage of the next constellation.
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Old 21-08-2016, 16:52   #17
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

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Originally Posted by edmundsteele View Post
When we reached the Marquesas, we discovered that all of the anchorages are on the lee side of the islands (naturally!!) and the SSB reception was blocked by mountainous peaks when attempting to download pre-departure weather forecasts. This is simply because all of the ham or Sailmail stations were on the mainland of the Americas, behind us and to windward. We continued to use the SSB for weather downloads once we clear of the islands.
I've had good results with SSB in the Marquesas, but in some of the more restricted anchorages I had a hard time getting a good Iridium satellite connection. Ultimately, either system will generally work.

For a short-term voyage the satphone may be the cheaper solution, but in your 5-year case the cost of installing a modern SSB and Pactor modem will be nicely amortized. If you get a ham license you even get free Ham radio email (see Winlink). Otherwise you need to pay about $250 / year for Sailmail or a similar service. Ham radio has a "no pecuniary interest" regulation, so that may not meet your needs.

Satphones, especially Iridium and variants, are extremely useful. You need to pay for connect-time, or have some sort of monthly plan, and you need to pay for a service provider. Look at XGate from Global Marine Networks, or Iridium Go.

All of these solutions have their advantages and disadvantages, and you will need to figure out what works best for you. Personally I use Iridium mostly, and have SSB Sailmail and Ham as backups, but this is not the least expensive way to go.
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Old 24-08-2016, 15:39   #18
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

Caroline Joan,
1) I'm usually a big proponent of a full HF-DSC-SSB Radio....and it might turn out that this would be "the best bang for the buck", and end up costing less money in the longterm, AND give you the best overall means of safety and weather communications...
But...

Assuming you are willing to trust a 25 year old radio....


2) But, if you are truly on a VERY tight budget, then please understand that you don't really need anything more than you have already!!!
People have sailed successfully and safely, across oceans, for many, many years, without any SatComm gear, without any long-range comms gear, without GPS, etc. etc...

FYI, my first Atlantic crossings in the 1970's, were all done on mid-sized sailboat, with no GPS (it wasn't invented yet!), no SatComm (INMARSAT-A was WICKED expensive and the 6' domes were huge and heavy, and used a LOT of electricity!), and a 12/24-channel Marine HF SB Radio....
And, even on my most recent Atlantic crossings in the past few years, while I do have Icom M-802 MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radio, I still have NO SatComm gear, NO e-mail at sea, NO laptop, NO "trackers", etc...

Please understand that while there are more large ships out there these days, to look out for, you DO look out for them....and while global climate change might be giving us more tropical weather systems to watch, they dissemination of this weather info/forecasts is much better than in previous decades....

So, while I'd love to detail all the great features of all these communications systems, the facts are that assuming you have a reliable, modern Class D VHF-DSC-FM Marine radio (well installed, with good antenna and clean/new cable and connections), AND have a new (or recently tested/certified) properly registered 406mhz EPIRB....you really do not need anything else!! (there are no real "requirements"!)
DSC (Digital Selective Calling) Explanation

EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds!!

EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds




3) I'd love yo discuss the specifics with you....if you were local to me, it would be easy....
But, the fact that you are on the other side of the world, this will do for now!

Assuming you are willing to trust a 25 year old radio....

a) If your older Codan is a synthesized radio (I assume it is), and can be programmed (and reprogrammed as needed), you CAN use this quite effectively to both "get" excellent weather info/forecasts, AND to use in emergency to contact some shore stations....

--- For crossing the Atlantic, you should have 3 or 4 channels programmed to WeFax broadcast freqs (an 8, 12, and/or 17mhz channel from New Orleans, and a 9 or 12mhz from Boston)...another 3 channels on 8291.0, 12290.0, and possibly 6215.0 or 4125.0, and one or two channels programmed to 8764.0 and 13089.0...and if you have one left over, one of Chris Parker's 12mhz channels and/or a "cruising net"....

--- Once in the Caribbean, you can reprogram a couple channels to the local HF Cruising nets...
--- Then once heading across the Pacific, reprogram the Boston WeFax channels to ones from Pt. Reyes....
--- Then once half way across, you can reprogram it to some of the Aus and/or NZ WeFax channels....

The precise choice here will depend on exactly what routes you plan, and time-of-year....but understand that the USCG, AMSA and NZMA all still monitor some marine SSB Voice channels, and all 3 still transmit quite powerful marine weather info/forecasts (Voice and WeFax), so you can make your old Codan work for you...



b) In order to be specific on other recommendations, I'd need to know what your needs / requirements are...what your application is...
But, in general, unless you desire to have everyone "following you", there is no need for any "tracker" at all....(although, the Yellow Brick is great, and would be my recommendation if you needed one, I don't see any need at all!)


c) Sat comms....typically too expensive for most cruisers / sailors on tight budgets...but, if there is some specific application / necessity you have, then it's going to be Iridium....but, it isn't cheap!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline Joan View Post
We are going to spend 5 years plus cruising from MED back to New Zealand and very much appreciate your advice on what communications systems we should have. Currently we have VHF - so not much good in the ocean. We have a 25 year old NEW never installed Codan SSB transceiver that has 8 channels - I thought probably just a back up communications system and certainly no good for emails. So what do I need going forward, Satellite Phone? New SSB?
Is yellowbrick tracker worth it?

We are now on very fixed income so we need best bang the dollars, while making sure we are safe. We want to be able to get weather forecasts readily and send emails each week

Thanks team
4) Caroline Joan, I left this last item on its own....because a requirement of sending e-mails each week, while at sea and/or in remote areas away from cellular or Wi-Fi, will be expensive!
And, in all honesty, seems pretty far removed as a requirement for those on a very tight budget...

I might be reading too much into your words...
Quote:
We are now on very fixed income so we need best bang the dollars, while making sure we are safe. We want to be able to get weather forecasts readily and send emails each week
But, you do NOT need any e-mail connectivity at all to get not just excellent weather forecasts, but the actual "Gold-Standard" of offshore/hi-seas marine weather....and no budget e-mail system will "keep you safe"!!

The GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) was designed to do exactly what you desire...
Quote:
making sure we are safe. We want to be able to get weather forecasts readily
Perhaps you should look into what this is, how it works, and adapt as much of it as you can afford / budget....
As this would be the "best bang for the buck", no question about it!
It isn't "sexy", it isn't "smart-phone-based", etc., but it works, it works well, it is VERY reliable, and is being used daily by 1000's of professional mariners worldwide...
(but, has little to do with "e-mail"...)




If you have decent internet access now, please have a look at these videos....and look at some recent threads here...

Where almost all of these questions are fully discussed and you'll see, real, live, no BS use of both Voice and WeFax (and some DSC, too), for communications / safety / weather ....


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



Maritime HF Communications (SSB)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y



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

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

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

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


EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds!!


DSC (Digital Selective Calling) Explanation

Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts


http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/marine-ssb-stuff-how-to-better-use-proeprly-install-ssb-and-troubleshoot-rfi-etc-133496.html




There is more, but I think this should get you started....and if you give us more details regarding your exact application / requirements, we can give you more specific info too!

Fair winds...

John
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Old 02-09-2016, 19:31   #19
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

Thanks John and all others for your help

Looks like I firstly have to spend a few dollars on a decent HF SSB with DSC. Do you guys have any recommendations?
I will be getting a back stay aerial installed.

Looks like choices available are:

Icom IC-M802

Icom IC-M801

Icom IC-M710

In addition i'll need auto tuner and if I decided to go for email I'll need a pactor 4 modem - is that everything

I'll look at satellite option in a couple of years when I decide to leave the MED

Also I see some Marine radios have HAM channels, even if I don't use those channels will I have a problem because my licence is only for marine channels? I don't really want any jail time, even though it would make a good story
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:18   #20
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

We used to have Inmarsat but gave up and moved over to Thuraya and then to Iridium. The problems we had were extended periods to connect and occasional periods with no connectivity at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Symphony View Post
Does anybody have experience with more than one brand of satellite hardware, so as to compare?
Inmarsat
Iridium
Globalstar

UUplus service
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:44   #21
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline Joan View Post
Thanks John and all others for your help

Looks like I firstly have to spend a few dollars on a decent HF SSB with DSC. Do you guys have any recommendations?
I will be getting a back stay aerial installed.

Looks like choices available are:

Icom IC-M802

Icom IC-M801

Icom IC-M710

In addition i'll need auto tuner and if I decided to go for email I'll need a pactor 4 modem - is that everything

I'll look at satellite option in a couple of years when I decide to leave the MED

Also I see some Marine radios have HAM channels, even if I don't use those channels will I have a problem because my licence is only for marine channels? I don't really want any jail time, even though it would make a good story
If you want HF DSC you can forget the 710...you will want an M80x

Stick with an Icom tuner....

I would dearly love to have a P4 but the IIIUSB will probably do everything you want if cost is an issue

Just having the Ham bands opened up is not a problem... just don't use them unless it is an emergency.

Ping
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:54   #22
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

And also.... if you decide you don't want HF-DSC and want a 710 make sure it has been opened up for ham.... very hard to get it done now... needs cloning cable...ms-dos... floppies..... was once easy... not now.

From French Polynesia west the Isabella Net and Gulf Harbour Radio are good to be involved with.. both are on marine bands..
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Old 03-09-2016, 15:53   #23
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

Caroline Joan,
I think El Pinguino has gotten you sorted out....but just to clarify...

1) No matter what radio you get, new or used, ham or marine, DSC or not....you will need a remote auto-tuner (and antenna!)...this is usually sold together with the radio (and associated cables, accessories, etc.) as a "system"....
Please be wary of someone selling pieces/parts (new), as this might be a bait-n-switch scheme.


http://www.docksideradio.com/Icom%20SSB%20Radios.htm


http://icomamerica.com/en/products/m...2/default.aspx

2) The Icom M-802 (or M-801e) is the ONLY affordable MF/HF-DSC-SB Radiotelephone on the market....(it sells in the US for about $1800 USD, and with the AT-140 tuner, and all associated cables/hardware/etc., will cost about $2600 USD....figure another few hundred max for any special extras....)

http://www.docksideradio.com/Icom%20SSB%20Radios.htm


http://icomamerica.com/en/products/m...2/default.aspx

The M-802 comes right out of the box, "ham ready", and is actually a very nice ham radio!! so no worries there...just don't talk on the ham frequencies without the proper license....listening is fine!!
Get your New Zealand ham license, and you'll have a blast!!
(FYI, the OLD non-DSC Icom M-700Pro is also a nice "ham radio")

The other MF/HF-DSC-SB Radiotelephones (Furuno FS-1575 / 2575, Sailor 6350, etc. and the soon-to-be released Icom GM-800) are 24vdc radios and the Furuno's and Sailor's sell for $8000 to $12,000!!! (I suspect that the GM-800 will be about $5000 to $6000)


3) Your words here are telling though...
As I assumed that you were equipping / commissioning for a 5 year cruise across a couple oceans, etc...BUT..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline Joan View Post
I'll look at satellite option in a couple of years when I decide to leave the MED
But, if you will be in the Med for a while, there is no need to be in a hurry...
You can equip as needed / when needed....but doing so now does give you the advantage of learning the equipment and procedures BEFORE you head offshore!!
If you look, you may find good prices on some of this in the E. Med???
But, I suspect that you will not find them any cheaper than in Gibraltar...(except of course for in the US)




4) Yes, a backstay antenna is a good idea....but, you may never need e-mail when at sea / or in remote areas...you will certainly not need a PACTOR modem in the Med!!

And, I doubt you'll have a need for sat comm...(but if you do, you'll find some new options available in the coming years...NOT cheaper, just different!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline Joan View Post
I will be getting a back stay aerial installed.

....if I decided to go for email I'll need a pactor 4 modem - is that everything


I hope this helps..

Fair winds...

John
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Old 03-09-2016, 16:40   #24
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

John, aren't there some issues with the ICOM 801 that the ICOM 802 doesn't have?? Seem to recall something about Euro reg's made the 801 necessary and effected its usability. Might want to clarify if you'd be better having an 802 shipped to you in Europe rather than buy an 801 there.
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Old 03-09-2016, 17:22   #25
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Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

Peter,
If we knew where they were at...where they were commissioning/equipping...where they were cruising (and when)...what nationality they are.....and most importantly, what flag their vessel is sailed under...we could offer some more specifics...
But, 'til then....
I agree the M-802 is their best choice...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 03-09-2016, 17:39   #26
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pirate Re: Pacific & Atlantic cruising communications requirements

I don't know about Pacific coverage but..
On my last W-E Transat delivery a few weeks back the owner had a Yellow Brick on the boat.. we kept regular contact via SMS.. very handy as many of the systems were 'Jury Rigged' so every now and then I'd have to contact him for info as to rectifying the odd faults..
I think you preload it with phone numbers on line similar to my Spotgen3.. which sadly just has the Mayday, Pan Pan and 'Alls Well' messages.
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