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Old 29-07-2014, 09:00   #31
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Furthermore, two Atlantic crossings and two years of cruising taught us that the GRIB files were more than adequate weather information. We just didn't need more. Synoptic weather charts were not missed. This is a case where less is more.
Really? You don't think the centers of highs and lows and fronts aren't missed? I simply don't understand that.

NWS is working on meteorologist value-added grib products but they aren't there yet, and the software clients aren't either.
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Old 29-07-2014, 09:04   #32
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

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Shouldn't be ten times easier. "Research required to get it right" doesn't sound promising.

How much time did you spend learning about and understanding propagation? Weather fax? Basic meterology? There is a lot of good material on the web and classes are available in person and as webinars. I can send anyone interested a list. How does the time you spent learning about effectively using HF/SSB radio compare to what you spent learning about diesel engines, sail trim, watermakers, refrigeration, and other systems aboard?

I have trained people to be effective with HF/SSB on voice, weather fax, and e-mail in three hours. How much of an investment is that? Webinars are less expensive but take longer total time.
First point: would you prefer that we make up the install? Not sure what you are getting at here. It takes time to do it right the first time. Just search CF for SSB angst, there is a ton.

Second point: engineer and physicist with advanced degrees working the problem. We did our homework.
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Old 29-07-2014, 09:12   #33
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

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Really? You don't think the centers of highs and lows and fronts aren't missed? I simply don't understand that.

NWS is working on meteorologist value-added grib products but they aren't there yet, and the software clients aren't either.
It is pretty easy to tell where the centers are using the GRIB files. One clue is that the winds spiral into the low. Use the old "if your back is to the wind the low is..." We dodged 4 major lows on the northern crossing of the Atlantic.

So in general, we were only concerned with damaging storm force and gale force weather.
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Old 29-07-2014, 11:28   #34
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Most of the comments here favorable to SSB for a number of reasons seems to be the conventional wisdom. With a Satphone, you can only call one person. With an SSB, you can make general calls to a wide variety of people and in an emergency, you want the widest possible audience.

If you personally have had a problem using your SSB, you might want to be a bit more introspective about the reason(s) rather than blaming the problem on an inanimate object with which most of us have no problem.
The "Conventional Wisdom" has been that the earth is flat, the center of the universe, tomatoes are deadly poison, and cocaine is good for you. Give it a break. Just because some people once believed it doesn't make it valid. Ever heard of Jonestown? What was the "Conventional Wisdom" about the purple Kool-Aid?

I think you're wrong about the superiority of using SSB in an emergency because "you want the widest possible audience.
No, you don't. You want the most effective audience. That's probably one person, one point of contact. You want to be able to call someone who will get things done, and you want to contact them right now. And they either have a cell phone, a home phone, or a work phone you can call when you need to talk to them. Or maybe your buddies all walk around with pocket SSBs all day just in case you want to call at an odd hour. Mine don't.

Blindly broadcasting your problems to people thousands of miles away does you no good at all, if you're expecting them to help you. They can't. For one thing, they're all on boats. Useless to you. The people close enough to help you are within VHF range. Has it occurred to you that bad people listen to radios too? There are a lot of people out there who will be very interested in hearing about your location and problems, who have no intention of helping you at all. They do have an interest in stripping your boat, though.

I doubt that would happen if you made one phone call to someone who might, for example, know a couple of senators and a few admirals on a first name basis. Or who can get on the phone and immediately start making things happen. On YOUR schedule.

If I'm going to be relying on my one message getting through to someone who can make a difference, I want that call to go to someone who will then take over managing what I need in the way of support while I deal with the immediate and local issues.

Your comments about me "blaming an inanimate object" are ludicrous. I'm not blaming anything about anything. I'm trying to evaluate how useful a SSB would be to me, and whether to put any money into it.

I don't need another hobby, and that's what SSB is evolving to, it seems. Still useful, but outdated. Difficult to use, and dependent upon having boat power.

Or are you also walking around with a battery powered SSB transceiver in case one of your friends in the Indian Ocean has an emergency and needs to contact you....

oh wait, he doesn't need to contact YOU, now does he. You can't help him. But you can sure have a great chat about it on the SSB net while he's sinking.
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Old 29-07-2014, 11:31   #35
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

BigIdea,
This topic comes up quite often here....
And, I'll refer you to many recent threads/discussions that will answer all your questions....
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigIdea View Post
Besides cost, what are the pros and cons of Sat-fi vs. SSB?
I am considering purchasing an SSB as a way to get weather and email when offshore but have always wanted broadband internet so I could work while traveling. Satellite data subscription costs have been coming down & recent Sat-fi equipment such as the Inmarsat IsatHub iSavi bring broadband within reach.
1) But, first the short answer:
--- "SSB" is the answer, for getting weather info/forecasts....it is reliable, efficient, inexpensive (free), an fairly easy to use...
See this thread for LOTS of details...
Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

{The above "SSB" answer is actually defined as: A properly installed Marine HF-DSC-SSB transceiver (such as the Icom M-802), and you spending 30 minutes or so learning about HF radio communications and how-to properly operate the radio...}

--- If you require e-mail at sea (in addition to the "weather info/forecasts"), then a PACTOR IV modem attached to your "SSB" (and a $250.yr Sailmail subscription) is the answer....

--- If your require hi-speed data, i.e. "broadband" internet when in port, at anchor, at the dock, etc....then a good external Wi-Fi system and/or a good cellular/3G/4G/LTE wireless system on-board is the answer...

--- If your require (desire?) hi-speed data, i.e. "broadband" internet when at sea and/or in remote locales (away from Wi-Fi and cellular networks.....then an expensive hi-speed sitcom terminal is the answer (iridium Pilot, or INMARSAT FleetBroadband, at ~ $5000.....or a larger VSAT terminal at $15,000 - $75,000....)


PLEASE see below for much detail in the many threads / discussions that I'll provide links to...



2) The long answer:
Read thru some / all of these discussions and you'll learn a LOT (more than you expected and maybe more than you think you want to know....but if you're heading offshore, the one thing you can't have too much of is knowledge, especially knowledge of communications, safety, etc. which IS what you'll find in these discussions below...)

Understand that while a few of these may show up with the same "names", they are different posts, with different/additional info...


Advisability of Depending on Satellite Comms & Knowing the Transmitter Works

Sat Phone or SSB, if you had to pick one?

Ham, $$B, Iridium ?

Advisability of Depending on Satellite Comms & Knowing the Transmitter Works

Advisability of Depending on Satellite Comms & Knowing the Transmitter Works

SatPhone vs SSB/SW

SSB or SatPhone ?



Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Whats the best offshore internet connection?

Best options for internet.

Internet at Sea

Satellite Email / Internet / Phone



3) Bottom line:
READ all the above....and you'll find like most these will be the resultant thoughts/ideas/plans...

--- Install an Icom M-802....and learn how-to use it (there are easy helpful videos that will make it a cinch!)
--- Install a good ext Wi-Fi system (most have found the Ubiquiti Bullet-based systens to be excellent) and possibly a good 3g/4g system/plan...
--- Add a PACTOR modem only if you need e-mail when offshore / in remote areas...

--- If you really need "broadband" when at sea and away from Wi-Fi/cellular networks, it WILL cost you a LOT!!! (but, if you "need" it, you can probably afford it...




I hope this helps....
If you need further clarification / explanation, please let us know and we can help more...


Fair winds...

John
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Old 29-07-2014, 12:05   #36
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Dan,
There is NO need to be a rocket scientist at all!!

While my 40 years of experience might make this statement moot....
But, I bought an Icom M-802, plugged it in (installed it), and it worked"...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
I am a tentative SSB fan - I am waiting for someone to post a thread that says - "Bought Radio Model XYZ, plugged it in and it works."
Now, I have also gotten quite a few responses from sailors out there who watched my HF radio / M-802 videos, and they have written to me saying things like:
"wow, now I actually get it!"....
"thanks for actually explaining this stuff!"...
"the Icom manual didn't tell me anything about how to use the radio, let alone how any of this stuff works!"....

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

And the list goes on and on....and just 2 days ago I got this e-mail from another Cruiser's Forum member...
Quote:
First, let me say I read and downloaded your series on using the ICOM M802 SSB. I just installed one on my boat and was having difficulty making heads and tails of things like programmed channels, ITU channels, frequencies and the like. Your videos were perfect for providing clarity in this regard. The ICOM manuals leave a lot to be desired in my opinion. I'm not a stranger to radios, having used FM radios a great deal in my time in the military as well as on my boat. Granted, those are FM radios with line-of-sight propagation, but .... the ICOM manual was useless as well for things like what HF frequency to use at various times of the day as well as factoring in the desired range. Your series of videos are going a long way to get me started. Those videos are just super! ICOM would be smart to license them. I have connected to WLO and the USCG weather transmissions using your videos.

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

So, my questions for you are:
Is there something I can do to alleviate your tentativeness??


Have you watched the videos???
Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call
If so, are there still areas that you are unsure of, and are there other things that I could include in some future videos that might be of more help??
And, are there any things that I did cover that are unclear, which need clarification?? Or things that are too simple/mundane that you'd wished I'd not included??
(please help me here, as I'm really trying to get some solid critiques from non-technical / HF radio novices...)


Fair winds...

John
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Old 29-07-2014, 12:36   #37
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Canibul,
I've spent quite a bit of my spare time trying to help you, and I think it's VERY disingenuous for you to "knock" HF comms ("SSB") because you have tablet/software issues and/or operator issues...

Weather Frequencies
Weather Frequencies
Weather Frequencies


Please understand that I mean nothing personal here, and I do appreciate your frustrations....but, you easily got the radio to work fine and received Offshore Voice weather forecasts (once you knew what station/freq/time to use)...with a simple small portable radio, from stations 1000+ miles away...
The fact that you haven't been able to get your tablet (and software?) to "properly" work to show the wefax weather charts, is NOT the fault of the HF communications / "SSB"!!!!
I have tried to help further, and there are others on this forum and involved in that thread, that may have the answers for you (regarding tablets/software/configurations, etc.), and they are there/here waiting....but, you do not return with more info or requests for further assistance, rather you come here to misrepresent your unfortunate troubles as an "HF radio" issue, when they clearly are NOT...

Nobody here is/has recommended trying to use your set-up (whatever tablet/software, etc.), and just because you've had difficulty with it, does NOT have anything to do with "HF" radio!!
This sort of false prophecy, blaming something that has no blame/responsibility is not just disingenuous, but downright harmful to someone who truly may wish to LEARN (such as the original poster here)...


Again, I understand your frustrations....but, after I've spent untold hours trying to help, you come here with sour-grapes, instead of actually providing further info or asking for further assistance (perhaps even from someone familiar with your software)????
That just doesn't make much sense!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
you're right about the HF. I've been trying for three days to get a weather fax from a SSB receiver and a tablet. If I had been dependent upon this actually working out of the box, or even with some help, I'd be up the proverbial creek.





Now, as for trying to call someone on a sat phone in an emergency??
Well, this has already been covered many times....and with the unfortunate facts that they just don't work well in many "distress" situations and of course not from below decks, etc....it seems odd that this myth seems to propagate on...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
For weather and emergencies, I think it's pretty obvious that if you can call someone ashore with a sat phone, they can look up and read you everything you need with no hassle whatsoever. Plus you get to speak with someone of your choice, whom you know.

And if it's an emergency and you need help, your shore support can call the appropriate authorities and do a much better job of bugging them than you'll ever do sitting there for hours trying to fine tune a SSB and then hope you can decipher what actually comes out of the speaker.
I'm sorry sir, but this is just not how these things work....I won't try to convince you, but should you actually desire to learn, you can read the threads referenced in my earlier post here...
Sat-fi vs. SSB



Fair winds and still sincerely wishing you good luck....

John
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Old 29-07-2014, 13:41   #38
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

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Now, as for trying to call someone on a sat phone in an emergency??
Well, this has already been covered many times....and with the unfortunate facts that they just don't work well in many "distress" situations and of course not from below decks, etc....it seems odd that this myth seems to propagate on...I'm sorry sir, but this is just not how these things work....I won't try to convince you, but should you actually desire to learn, you can read the threads referenced in my earlier post here...
Sat-fi vs. SSB



Fair winds and still sincerely wishing you good luck....

John
s/v Annie Laurie
John, as you know this is simply not true and is an unfair comment.

Emergency numbers are preprogrammed into the phone. Two button clicks and you are instantly talking with the Coast Guard or British S&R from anywhere in the world. These folks can then professionally coordinate a rescue.

Explain how you would take your SSB into the life raft. The satphone is a great backup to the EPIRP.

A properly installed satphone works perfectly below deck and taking the phone out of the cradle works perfectly above deck and when the boat batteries have shorted out the satphone is still working.
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Old 29-07-2014, 13:56   #39
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Two button clicks and you are instantly talking with the Coast Guard or British S&R from anywhere in the world. These folks can then professionally coordinate a rescue.
This, more than anything else I've read here, would sway me toward the sat phone if I were in an either/or situation. And I'm not. I may decide on both.

But we're in a situation that I think many cruisers are, we're a husband/wife couple sailing this boat. I ask myself, if I just underwent some major incapacitating incident, of ANY kind, and was not even conscious or able to communicate with her in any way in the midst of this emergency, which system do I want her trying to operate to save our lives, without my help, while running the boat.
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Old 29-07-2014, 14:00   #40
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Lake superior,
Yes, I was somewhat abrupt in this answer and failed to be precise....for that I apologize...

And while I did write "that they just don't work well in many "distress" situations", meaning that not all is lost of course, but that they are not the preferred way to signal distress....(that of course being via an EPIRB, followed by MF/HF-DSC and INMARSAT-C)...

I was of course referring to simple handheld sat phones (and these new "sat-fi" devices), not "properly installed, below decks satellite communications gear / sat phones"....
So, you are correct that "properly installed" gear can be effective....my apologies again for not being precise...

But, just to be clear the original poster here was inquiring about "sat-fi" (a new marketing term I wasn't familiar with until today) vs. SSB and specifically asking about the iSatHub....
And, the iSatHub (or other "sat-fi" device) is clearly NOT a good alternative to an EPIRB, HF-DSC-SSB, etc. for "distress" signaling....and of course the iSatHub are NOT designed to work at sea on a rolling/pitching boat, and depending on his specific application, I believe would NOT work well for him (or possibly not at all, again depending on his specific application/use)...



But Lake Superior, to sum up....I should've have been more precise...so I thank you for correcting/clarifying things!!!


Sorry, gotta' go...
Fair winds...

John
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Old 29-07-2014, 14:36   #41
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
The "Conventional Wisdom" has been that the earth is flat, the center of the universe, tomatoes are deadly poison, and cocaine is good for you. l at an odd hour. Mine don't.



Your comments about me "blaming an inanimate object" are ludicrous. I'm not blaming anything about anything. I'm trying to evaluate how useful a SSB would be to me, and whether to put any money into it.
You seem to have a closed mind on this issue which you already made quite clear. Repetition doesn't make it right.

Those of us who have been cruising for some time and have therefore obtained the experience, both good and bad, have expressed our opinions. That you disagree is fine but that you are dismissive isn't if your intent is to help those seeking objective info.

You imply the use of an SSB is both complex and not dependable. Having built, installed and maintained one since I was 12 years old and having used one while cruising for many, many years, I disagree as do apparently most of those with similar experience.

I long ago lost count of how many times boaters in distress where helped by making general calls to anyone anywhere rather than try to rely on an intermittent phone connection to only one party.

Perhaps you could relate the experience base you have cruising and emergency and generic communications which you base your judgments
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Old 29-07-2014, 14:46   #42
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

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I long ago lost count of how many times boaters in distress where helped by making general calls to anyone anywhere rather than try to rely on an intermittent phone connection to only one party.

Perhaps you could relate the experience base you have cruising and emergency and generic communications which you base your judgments
With your experience perhaps you could give us a count of how many times boaters in distress tried to use their SSB and found 1. no power, 2. bad propagation, 3. no response, 4. task loading prevented effective communication over a noisy channel. In other words how about some examples where the SSB was ineffective in an emergency from your experience base for a balanced response.

How many times have you used a satphone and found it to be intermittent? It was not our experience over two years and 2000 minutes.
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Old 29-07-2014, 14:53   #43
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Hi John,

If I may jump into this part of the discussion with a question that is I think relevant and only minor thread drift.

I have an Icom M700P and a Tecsun 660. For now I am playing with both at home (in a suburb close in to a medium sized town) until I'm back in the water and on the ocean. Have a plain long wire hooked up for receive only, no ground.

So the question. From my admittedly limited information and experience receiving HF signals in city areas is problematic. I guess all sorts of RF interference from TVs, computers, the neighbor's pirate CB with the 1000 watt linear and who knows what else.

My experience trying to "surf the bands" at home does seem to confirm this. I tune into various nets when they're supposed to running, tune into weatherfax channels when broadcasts are scheduled, etc and don't get much but static and white noise. Once in a while I pick up very faintly some of the marine nets and once I picked up a stronger but staticy conversation on a ham band that turned out to be a whopping 60 miles away.

I can get WWV with some regularity on different frequencies and occasionally WWVH so I know the radios have at least minimum functionality.

So is this what one should expect trying to listen to HF in town? How far would I need to go to play with my radios? Would 5-10 miles out of town in the woods work? I would like to get in some real practice and at the minimum set up my weatherfax and get that working before I set off into the wild blue.

So other than going to sea or 100 miles out into the jungle any way I can enhance my HF listening experience?
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Old 29-07-2014, 15:01   #44
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

LakeSuperior,
Sorry, I had to truncate my post from last hour, I had a family matter that needed immediate attention....

Understand that I'm writing this with both humor and factual info in mind!


So, if we're gonna' compete on the ease/reliability of signaling for distress... My HF-DSC radio does it with only ONE button press....
Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Emergency numbers are preprogrammed into the phone. Two button clicks and you are instantly talking with the Coast Guard or British S&R from anywhere in the world.
--- We all know an EPIRB is first....easy, one flick of a level/switch...and while it will take a while for the signal to get thru to the RCC's and a fix calculated/received (typically 1 - 3 hours), it will go on transmitting your distress for at least the next 48 hours, without any other input from a human....
EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds


--- And, as long as you have ship's power, MF/HF-DSC gives us a "one button" press and our distress is instantly transmitted to > 80 HF coast stations covering the whole globe.....(and > 450 MF coast stations covering almost all coastal areas of the world, out to ~ 200 offshore).....and every SOLAS vessel (ocean going commercial ships) within range (20 miles - 5000+ miles away, but most importantly those in the 20 - 500 miles away)....and you are instantly (as soon as they answer, which is usually within 15 - 20 seconds) in Voice Contact (via "SSB" Voice) with an appropriate shore station / RCC, and/or a multitude of other vessels at sea that can respond (if a coast station and/or RCC is unable to do so)...
{So, as long as you have ship's power, or some other power for the HF-DSC-SSB radio, this provides a "one-button" distress signaling and direct two-way voice contact with rescue authorities, etc...}

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


Is this "better" than a handheld sat phone???
Maybe, maybe not....
Of course, I vote yes....but I understand that others disagree with me...no worries...
And, of course, if you do not have ship's power (or some other electricity to run the radio), then it is obvious that a handheld sat phone, is better...

Again, I'm hoping to use humor here to make a point....
Whether it takes one button or two buttons, is not the issue....what matters is that you have the systems that will work...


And, finally....
Yes, I agree that the old "man pack" HF radios for survival craft / liferafts are a thing of the past....and certainly a handheld sat phone is better in a liferaft...

Although, I think a lesson to learn from all of this just might be:
Good comms gear, access to good weather info, and a skilled/experienced captain/crew can go a LONG way to never needing to use an EPIRB, send a DSC Distress, or call an RCC on a sat phone!!
Hoping we can all agree on that...yes??



LakeSuperior, fair winds my friend!!

John
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Old 29-07-2014, 15:22   #45
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Skipmac,
While I'm only about 250 miles SSE of you, my ham HF station at home (about 35 miles from you), like over a half-million other US ham HF stations (and > 1 million other ham HF stations worldwide) work fine, right in the cities and suburban areas....and many 1000's even in industrial areas, all work fine....

Yes, some have RFI issues....and yes the guys in country, with 200' tall towers on top of the rolling hills, or the guys out on a remote cliff over-looking the ocean, might have lower noise levels at sometimes....
But, if you look at some of the more successful contester's and dx'ers, many of them live/operate right on city lots and/or in the crowded suburbs!!

So, it can be done...
How?? You ask...

Best to discuss this away from this thread, please e-mail or PM me and I'll get back with 'ya....

Gotta go...

Fair winds..

John
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