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, 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!!!
Originally Posted by altairishgirl
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.
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
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
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...)
I do hope this helps....without being too overwhelming!!