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Old 06-04-2013, 06:57   #1
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SSB or Not

We have ordered a new sailboat and we are trying to decide on electronics. First up do we need SSB or not? We will be coastal cruising along the east coast mostly 3 - 10 day jaunts. Once or twice a year the boat will be moved by a delivery crew (because I don't have a lot of time). For these few offshore passages I plan to have a sat phone on board so I am questioning the need / value of the SSB.

All thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:28   #2
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Re: SSB or Not

Doesn't sound like SSB would be used much in your case. You could always get a small portable receive only and then use it for some SSB weather when you felt you wanted it.The Satphone, if set up properly, will get you GRIB and weather downloads.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:48   #3
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Re: SSB or Not

I run amateur SSB, even when coastal cruising in the PNW, for checking into local boaters nets. (Great Northern Boaters Net, in particular)

It has enabled us to hook up/meet fellow boaters in the area, whom we otherwise would never meet. Which is sorta fun.

It is sort of a hobby also.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:10   #4
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Re: SSB or Not

Absolutely not, unless you are interested in it as a hobby or for social networking.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:01   #5
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SSB has a huge value due to its "one to many" capabilites.

However these benefits are mostly of value to long term and long distance cruisers. While SSB is brilliant to have it is also a pain in the ass to install correctly to get full benefit: pactor modems, radio and antenna install, setup of all features and integration - and its bloody expensive as well.

For the needs you describe there is absolutely no reason to install SSB unless you enjoy HAM/SSB as a new hobby.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:34   #6
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Re: SSB or Not

ssb is something non-emergent ... mine is still uninstalled.....the emergency stuff is installed, but not my radio my momma bought for me for her info receiving benefit...so far--i am still alive and momma still hears from me, just not when i am at sea
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:36   #7
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Re: SSB or Not

Oh Boy... Another SSB should or should not question... Like asking which anchor to carry, this discussion will get many opinions for and against.

SSB is a useful tool, not mandatory, but very useful.

You will have access to SSB Cruisers Nets, Weather and Email. You will also have direct access to USCG and surounding vessels.

We use both SSB and Satallite Phone and each has its own advantges and disadvantages. Satallite phones are not as dependable as SSB and they certainly don't allow area wide coverage to other vessels in the event of an emergency. They are also more expensive and frankly, the cost of a regularly used Sat Phone over three years will pay for a SSB.

So if you can afford it, I would say you should have an SSB installed.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:32   #8
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Re: SSB or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post

You will have access to SSB Cruisers Nets, Weather.......

.
Which you can also hear with a sub $100 kaito 1103 sw receiver... Just add batteries.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:32   #9
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Re: SSB or Not

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Which you can also hear with a sub $100 kaito 1103 sw receiver... Just add batteries.
Not necessarily. Receive performance with a tiny antenna will be vastly less than a real SSB set.

But as others have said -- for coastal sailing there is absolutely no necessity to having an SSB radio. And it's a very expensive thing to buy and install -- the installation can easily cost more than the radio, and get you into $5000 territory easily if you're not doing it yourself.

But just because it's not necessary doesn't necessarily mean it's not worthwhile. I'm in the middle of installing an Icom M802 myself, although it will be a couple of years, at least, before I do any ocean-crossing. I am installing it because I like the idea of it and want to learn how to use it. I also got a ham radio license recently so that I can operate on the ham bands. So I guess I fall into the "hobby" category.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:41   #10
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Re: SSB or Not

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......

But just because it's not necessary doesn't necessarily mean it's not worthwhile. I'm in the middle of installing an Icom M802 myself, although it will be a couple of years, at least, before I do any ocean-crossing. I am installing it because I like the idea of it and want to learn how to use it. I also got a ham radio license recently so that I can operate on the ham bands. So I guess I fall into the "hobby" category.
Dockhead's words are golden!

However, don't forget that "hobby" can quickly turn to "useful" and to "essential" when you are actually out there cruising. How? As Elizabeth Browning said, "How do I love thee...let me count the ways"

I wouldn't leave home without it. But, then, I've had a 45-year love affair with SSB radio on boats :-)

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Old 06-04-2013, 12:38   #11
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pirate Re: SSB or Not

All depends on your need for social interaction... personally you can keep SSB.. Coastal or Ocean..
But I'm weird like that..
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:52   #12
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Re: SSB or Not

We decided to go with a portable receiver and opt for a Delorme and wifi hotspot for communication. On the west coast of N. America we were able to get cell reception up to 30 miles offshore. The receiver was great to listen to the election results last Nov off of the coast of baja.
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:55   #13
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Re: SSB or Not

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

But just because it's not necessary doesn't necessarily mean it's not worthwhile. I'm in the middle of installing an Icom M802 myself, although it will be a couple of years, at least, before I do any ocean-crossing. I am installing it because I like the idea of it and want to learn how to use it.
Please let me know when you get yours installed; I'll have someone to talk to.

Ken
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Old 06-04-2013, 14:17   #14
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Re: SSB or Not

Break 19! Mauritz
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Old 06-04-2013, 15:42   #15
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Re: SSB or Not

For coastal USA it is not needed.
Bahamas, it comes in handy.

Our Kaito 1103 did not perform well. When we replaced it with an Icom M600 we greatly improved our reception. We're adding a tuner later this year.
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