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Old 01-08-2015, 14:42   #1
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Sea of Cortez & Sirius/XM Weather

Hello! We sailed the Sea Of Cortez last spring for six weeks on our Catalina 22. We found the only thing really lacking is a good reliable weather radio. We were relying on a SSB receiver as our sole weather radio. That was not as reliable as we had hoped and we are now looking for some sort of good weather radio. Don't care much for 150 music channels, just want reliable weather. We will be making the crossing from San Carlos to Concepcion in March. Any suggestions? Thoughts?
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:19   #2
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Re: Sea of Cortez & Sirius/XM Weather

I have a great deal of info for you...
I just need to find the time to post it all..

More later.
Fair winds...

John
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:45   #3
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Re: Sea of Cortez & Sirius/XM Weather

I hope to hear from you soon John! Thanks!
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:02   #4
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Re: Sea of Cortez & Sirius/XM Weather

Altairishgirl,
Please read this thread here....as I think it will help you a LOT....
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/ssb-receiver-advice-149799.html#post1873587




And, no onto some specifics...

1) In general, while the Sirius Marine Weather products are good (and their weather guys, WSI, use the US NWS/NOAA Marine weather products, etc.), for the most part you will find there to be no added value to you....and probably find the system to be of little to no use to you, for your application....

Yes, you will find plenty of signal strength from Sirius satellite radio and Sirius Marine Weather data.....BUT...
But, the actual weather info and forecasts for the Sea of Cortez will be fairly general (if at all?)....



2) I understand that sailing a 22' boat, you are more susceptible to unsettled weather than most, so I was going to suggest two things...
a) An SSB receiver (and a few minutes watching some videos and reading some info, in order to be more familiar with both the radio and the vagaries of radiowave propagation), a good antenna (just a piece of wire), and ridding your boat of on-board RFI (RadioFrequency Interference)....
This will get you good weather info / forecasts everywhere....but, they are NOT too detailed...

SSB receiver advice?

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

Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

And, some other threads where even if the title seems odd, they DO have lots of good info for you...
HF Radio Freqs, summertime Atlantic crossing, offshore Net..
Testing a SSB/Ham radio - poor reception
ICOM 706 MK2 G optimization.



b) Better internet connectivity....
Using a Wilson cellular/wireless/3G/4G "booster", and a hi-quality ext. Wi-Fi "booster"/system....
This will only get you access to weather info / forecasts when near cellular networks or Wi-Fi networks, but you will find more detail for the Sea of Cortez...


Quote:
Originally Posted by altairishgirl View Post
Hello! We sailed the Sea Of Cortez last spring for six weeks on our Catalina 22. We found the only thing really lacking is a good reliable weather radio. We were relying on a SSB receiver as our sole weather radio. That was not as reliable as we had hoped and we are now looking for some sort of good weather radio. Don't care much for 150 music channels, just want reliable weather. We will be making the crossing from San Carlos to Concepcion in March. Any suggestions? Thoughts?
Have a look at these videos...
"Maritime HF Communications" (SSB)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y
(especially watch the first, third, and fourth videos!!!)



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






3) You can do a search here for Mexican Weather, Sea of Cortez Weather, etc. and you'll find many who have cruised these areas recently and some that are there now....(and also some info from me, along the way...)
They will be able to give you some more specifics that I can only give you 2nd hand...





4) FYI, I can give you a GREAT DEAL of info on Sirius Satellite Radio and Sirius Marine Weather signals, etc....
(please take note, that while Sirius and XM did merge, they still use two completely different types of satellites, and it is Sirius that has both vastly greater satellite coverage, and much greater coverage of weather info as well...

Should you care for this info, I'll point you to some other threads here...
Re: sirius weather - mexico
Re: Sirius or XM radio in Mexico Panama, Carribean?

Sirius Weather Service ?
sirius xm weather in the caribbean?
XM Radio?
XM Weather
XM weather or what else

Sirius Satellite Radio coverage
Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: Sirius vs XM, the coverage footprints



I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 05-08-2015, 16:31   #5
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Re: Sea of Cortez & Sirius/XM Weather

Altairishgirl,
I hope what I wrote above is helpful...
And, I've got some additional info for you...


1) Have a look at this thread here from May, where you'll see some good info for Mexico weather info/forecasts and some shots of NWS/NOAA WeFax charts...
Weather Services



2) And, when I wrote that the NWS/NOAA Marine Weather forecasts for Mexico (and Sea of Cortez, such as it is) are general, I figured you may already know that, but then thought maybe you didn't have too much luck with the "SSB Receiver", so you might not be clear on what I meant...so..

So, have a look here at those shots of the NWS/NOAA WeFax charts (transmitted by the USCG 4 times a day), that I posted in the other thread....
Weather Services




I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 19-08-2015, 10:27   #6
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Re: Sea of Cortez & Sirius/XM Weather

altairishgirl,
In addition to the "overwhelming and technical" stuff...maybe I can actually break things down into more manageable pieces!

But, first off I had hoped that some that are actually out there cruising Mexico and Sea of Cortez (or recently returned), would have chimed in on what they find to be most usable...but that hasn't happened, yet...
(while I certainly have the technical expertise and have a great deal of decades-long personal experience with offshore weather in the N. Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Mediterranean, and am very familiar with the weather sources for offshore and hi-seas weather...I've never sailed the Sea of Cortez....so, understand that you may get some further info from those in Mexico now...)


Also, let's remember that the Sea of Cortez is about 600 miles long and almost 100 miles wide in parts....and this is a big area to cover with a weather forecast...as an example the US NWS/NOAA would have 3 sections of "offshore weather" and quite a few "coastal weather" forecasts for this same sized area (such as in the Gulf-of-Mexico, etc.), and there isn't even the shoreside terrain weather effects that the Sea of Cortez has!!
AND...
And, since you have a 22' boat, which places you in a more weather-dependent-mode than most...and also means you don't have the room-on-board, nor electrical power, for the more traditional offshore weather systems used by many cruisers....

Okay, enough disclaimer!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by altairishgirl View Post
Thanks for your info. It's all pretty overwhelming and very technical. I think I need to segment down into manageable pieces and do one piece at a time. If you have the time, I'd love to just ask you as you seem to have alot of technical expertise.

1. Wifi booster - I will be setting up an international data plan through ATT for my iphone and using that to broadcast signal to my ipad. What is the best wifi booster that you have found for boaters, knowing once we leave major ports, it's all going to be worthless.

I appreciate your time. Thanks!
1) Think about obtaining weather info / forecasts in two different scenarios...
a) When you do NOT have internet access...
b) If you have internet access...


2) We'll break that down further....and let's start with "a"...
When you are away from internet access, on a 22' sailboat, cruising the Sea of Cortez, you're best overall sources for marine weather info are going to be:

a) Other cruisers and cruisers nets, accessed by VHF-Marine Radio....(having a good, clean, reliable masthead VHF antenna system, new coaxial cable with new properly installed connectors, and a newish/reliable VHF radio, are ALL going to be important here!!)

b) "SSB" Cruising Nets....which you can listen to with a cheap (~ $100) Shortwave Receiver (w/ an "SSB Switch")...
But, having a basic understanding of HF radiowave propagation, AND ridding your boat of the annoying HF radio interference items (RFI generating stuff), or at least disconnecting them, when listening to the HF Shortwave radio, is going to be very important here!!!

c) SSB Voice Weather broadcasts from Shipcom Radio's WLO and from the USCG's NMC...
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

USCG HF Voice


And, if you connect the SB receiver to a laptop to get weather charts and images, use the USCG's WeFax broadcasts from both NMG and NMC....(although, introducing the use of a computer can further exasperate the radio noise / RFI issues...so this may need some attention...)

New Orleans Radiofax Schedule with Links

Pt Reyes Radiofax Schedule with Links



d) Local Mexicans....whether on shore of fishermen, etc...(speaking Spanish is going to be important here)


3) When looking for Sea of Cortez weather on the HF (SSB) radio, in addition to the excellent Sonrisa Net, there are various other HF Cruisers Nets, that should also provide weather info/forecasts...
Have a look here...

Sea of Cortez / Baja Weather

West Coast Nets


You mentioned: "We were relying on a SSB receiver as our sole weather radio. That was not as reliable as we had hoped."
Not knowing what radio, what antenna, etc. I cannot offer any specifics....but, I can offer some generalities...

As I wrote above:
Having a basic understanding of HF radiowave propagation, AND ridding your boat of the annoying HF radio interference items (RFI generating stuff), or at least disconnecting them, when listening to the SSB radio, is going to be very important here!!!

To put a finer point of this...
----- This means that you're NOT going to hear all the stations, or maybe not even the Net Control Station, when listening to some of the SSB nets, as they may be too far away from you (for that time-of-day, and that frequency)....
This will be most notable on the lower freqs of 3968 and 4030, etc...as well as on the 6227 and 6516 freqs....and depending on where you are at, even on the 7mhz and 8mhz freqs, as well....
(please watch the videos and other threads I referenced earlier, for more details...)

------ This also means that you need to understand that SO MUCH of the conveniences that we use these days generate copious amounts of RFI (Radio Frequency Interference), aka "Radio Noise"....and that alone can be a big detriment to listening to HF / SSB Radio!!!
(here again, please watch the videos and read the other threads referenced, for more detail...)

Be sure to read this thread!!!
SSB receiver advice?

I cannot stress this enough....
Most folks that want to sail, voyage, cruise, etc. learn to sail, navigate, dock a boat, how-to set their anchor, etc. etc. etc...many also learn engine maintenance, sail repair, foreign languages, etc. etc. etc...
But, most do not spend any time at all learning about Radio Communications, how-to properly use their radios, and how to rid their boats of interference, etc. etc. etc....
And, I am a complete loss as to why???

Please understand that I'm NOT saying that everyone that wants to go cruising should be a radio nut!!!
Not at all....
But, why in the world do so many simply think that "all 'ya do is plug sumtin' in, 'n it wurks"???
Is this because the mass advertising and consumer electronics industries are so good at making everyone think that they need every new gadget that's developed....and that there is no need to understand why, nor how it all works???
As long as you "look cool" with your new smart phone or smart watch, or a phone the size of a dictionary (anyone but be still own a dictionary?), it matters not what works, doesn't work, or how it all works!!

Please don't think I'm picking on anyone specifically here, ad I'm not off on a rant here!!
I just saying that it seems that those that have trouble hearing on the SSB from just a few hundred miles away, have either way too much RFI or little understanding of radiowave propagation....usually both!!




4) Okay, how about some good news!!
What to use when you do have internet access, and how to get internet access...

In addition to the wealth of info from the US NWS/NOAA...there are other sources which have some specific Sea of Cortez info/forecasts..

National Weather Service Marine Forecasts

Sea of Cortez / Baja Weather

Hurricane storm and weather info for La Paz Cabo San Lucas Baja California Mexico Storm, and Hurricane tracking

Sea of Cortez Marine Weather Forecast | BUOYWEATHER.COM

Sea of Cortez Weather : Geary's Sea of Cortez Weather for 08/19/15 | Weather Underground



And, as for how to get internet access....
Your best bet with Wi-Fi is going to be: Buy a complete system from Islandtime PC....
Marine PC's & WiFi by IslandTime PC
Bob is a great guy, knows his stuff, and is also a sailor and part-time cruiser...
I recommend him highly!!!




And, for cellular/3G/4G...have a look at Wilson's cellular boosters...(but be aware that the separation is VERY important here....and on a small 22' boat, you may have some issues trying to get it work well....it will work, but maybe not as good as you think...)

https://www.wilsonamplifiers.com/

https://www.weboost.com/us/




I do hope this helps....without being too overwhelming!!

Fair winds...

John
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Old 26-08-2015, 16:59   #7
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Re: Sea of Cortez & Sirius/XM Weather

altairishgirl:

As John pointed out, the Sonrisa Net weather guy (Geary -- not a typo) is quite good. Since the Sonrisa morning net operates on HAM frequencies, you need a HAM license to transmit, but of course you can listen for "free". however, if you do not already have your license, I strongly encourage you to get on (the "General" class is needed on the Sonrisa frequencies), as this will enable you to ask Geary specific questions or ask for repeats if you missed something.

You can get current net operating times and frequencies at sonrisanet.org.
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