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Old 13-11-2015, 11:49   #31
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

Any older solid state Ham SSB.
(No tubes or valves)
Manual antenna tuner.
eBay is your friend.
Wire antennas and grounds as described here.

Thousands of hams monitor the bands 24/7
Break in on any on-going conversation to declare an emergency.
(Mayday or PanPan)
Better than D.S.C for the price.

Consider a AM Aeronautical VHF handheld.
1000's of Airline pilots monitor 121.5 MHz across the ponds...

Spot Tracker
DeLorme In Reach
Raspberry Pi with WSPRry Pi software from Github and manual position entry.
Your position is displayed on the WSPR website map.

Hamsailor.
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Old 13-11-2015, 13:18   #32
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

Before you buy all the bells and whistles you may want to buy a cheap receiver and listen to the traffic.

I have an 802 / a 140 tuner and seldom turn it on because my lady hates it, even though I bought at her insistence.

I find I use my InReach regularly.


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Old 13-11-2015, 17:25   #33
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

to minimize cost you can save on the antenna and ground. get a good radio and tuner. make your own dipole antenna. the discarded forestay from somebody"s Hobie insulated by a couple of lengths of string trimmer line and hoisted to a block on the mast is ideal. grounding is just a whole bunch of copper foil duct taped in your bilge. continuous 3 inch foil zig zaged with 2 inch gaps 'looks' like one big sheet of foil to your radio. you dont need a more expensive ground.
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Old 14-11-2015, 06:10   #34
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

[QUOTE=Cap Erict3;1961729]Before you buy all the bells and whistles you may want to buy a cheap receiver and listen to the traffic.

I have an 802 / a 140 tuner and seldom turn it on because my lady hates it, even though I bought at her insistence.

I find I use my InReach regularly.

Why does your lady hate it???
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Old 14-11-2015, 07:30   #35
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
Why does your lady hate it???
I'm guessing she finds the sound (noise?) offensive. AM/SSB compared to an FM transmission tends to be staticy and noisy. Monitoring for some time can get tiresome to those exposed to the sound but not focused on hearing the message.
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Old 14-11-2015, 08:36   #36
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

[QUOTE=chuckr;1962086]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cap Erict3 View Post
Before you buy all the bells and whistles you may want to buy a cheap receiver and listen to the traffic.



I have an 802 / a 140 tuner and seldom turn it on because my lady hates it, even though I bought at her insistence.



I find I use my InReach regularly.



Why does your lady hate it???

She walked around in axe murderer mode decades ago when I had a CB base station for a few months.

The key to a happy marriage is understanding the "what." The "why" is often beyond my gender.


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Old 14-11-2015, 10:32   #37
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

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Originally Posted by Hamsailor View Post
Raspberry Pi with WSPRry Pi software from Github and manual position entry.
Your position is displayed on the WSPR website map.

5Volts .5 Amp
Small solar panel or small battery.

15 milliwatts ....world wide !

Hamsailor.

https://gerolfziegenhain.wordpress.c...r-transmitter/
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Old 14-11-2015, 11:07   #38
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

[QUOTE=Cap Erict3;1962170]
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckr View Post


She walked around in axe murderer mode decades ago when I had a CB base station for a few months.

The key to a happy marriage is understanding the "what." The "why" is often beyond my gender.


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Old 14-11-2015, 12:57   #39
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

When we were out and about on our boat going down the Pacific US coast we did not use our SSB. Nor did we use it much in Mexico. Just wasn't a good use for it, although when we go down next we'll probably use it for getting weather while on passage and a few emails. Where it really came in handy was making long passages across the Pacific where we kept in touch with other cruisers in each region who were on passage or had shore stations or at anchor. Also for email and weather but the radio ship to ship communication was very useful for safety and keeping in touch. So in my mind it was like radar, you only need it when you need it. Other options like InReach look great for what they provide but don't seem to be suited for inter-ship communications unless I just don't understand something. SSB is a pretty expensive system to put on your boat and I put it in the extremely useful category that we could sail without but would not want to. That's just us of course. Once we paid for the install and the annual cost of the sailmail system it was free though.

My wife was even more intimidated by going on the nets and using the radio than I was at first, but she picked it up and was pretty proficient. She didn't really understand how to set it up for custom frequencies and such but that really wasn't a problem. I do have a bone to pick with the lock that Pactor has on the modem side though. A monopoly like that could use some competition to get the price down. But hey, everything on a boat is ridiculously expensive.
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Old 15-11-2015, 17:54   #40
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

I do not wish to be overly critical of some of the opinions and experiences posted here....seriously I don't!!
And, I've spent the last day thinking about how to post some basic clarifying info, without being critical!!
Not sure how successful I'm going to be in this, but here goes...


Unfortunately as happens here too often, there seems to be a rush to argue the "SSB" vs. "sat com"....with many not actually understanding that they are two completely different things, that DO two completely different things, and are therefore complimentary to each other, NOT a substitute for each other!!

And, rather the discussion should actually be about 3 things:
a) what the original poster actually asked about...
b) the lack of need for e-mail when offshore on passage...
c) "PACTOR modem" vs. "sat com device", should the sailor actually have a need for e-mail when offshore on passage, and/or when in far remote locales (removed from terrestrial-based Wi-Fi / cellular/3G/4G/LTE systems), the discussion should be about "PACTOR modem" vs. "sat com device", not "SSB" vs. "sat com"...


And, in this particular situation, it appears possible that some here didn't notice that "alctel" (the original poster here) was looking for a low-cost approach to Marine SSB Radio, for vessel-to-vessel communications, cruiser's nets, weather forecasts, distress/safety comms, etc. while sailing offshore and across oceans....(things that sat com systems do not do, or don't do well/cheaply/efficiently)
And, that some may have also misunderstood the capabilities (and costs) of various systems....

So, if alctel is still reading, I'd like to pass on some clarifications...

{please note, that I love satellite communications, as I've made an excellent living in the satcom industry now for over 30 years...and I love Iridium (I was an early alpha/beta tester way back in the original Motorola/Iridium days....and have used Iridium in some pretty remote locales)....so, I am not bashing sat com systems, rather just pointing out some facts that some may find helpful!!}

First, some basic facts / points:
1 ---- Satcom systems are point-to-point / person-to-person com systems, where you must know how-to get your message to the recipient and the recipient must know that you are sending them a message, in order for the system to be effective...(whether it is a SMS, e-mail, or phone call)

2 ---- HF Radio, especially HF-DSC-SSB Radio, is a "broadcast" type system, sending your message to everyone...


These facts are not really in dispute....and taken alone, they are not even controversial, and might not seem to be important...but, when understood together they do take on an importance that is often ignored...

And, when you add in "alctel's" (the original poster here) specific requirements (where he mentioned that was looking for a low-cost approach to Marine SSB Radio, for vessel-to-vessel communications, cruiser's nets, weather forecasts, distress/safety comms, etc. while sailing offshore and across oceans).....and then examine the various costs involved, as well as the capabilities of the various systems....you begin to fully understand the situation....
{please note that what works for one application / one sailor, doesn't necessarily work for another...}



And, if you look at the costs vs. features / benefits.....things do start to become clear...

---- You cannot signal other vessels, nor participate in cruiser's nets, signal distress directly to an RCC, nor to other vessels, etc. with any basic sat phone / sat messenger system...
You CAN do these things with a Marine MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephone (aka "SSB")...as well as place phone calls, etc...receive the "gold standard" of offshore weather forecasts (wefax, etc.)
The cost for this (M-802/AT140, plus accessories) new is about $2600...


---- You cannot use an inexpensive sat messenger device (such as the $350 Inreach, plus monthly/annual subscription) to receive weather charts / weather forecast, nor to send/rec e-mails, etc...as it is limited to 160-character SMS only....


---- An IridiumGo and a smart phone, or an Iridium sat phone and data kit (either going to cost ~$1500) will allow for VERY low speed (2.4kb) data/e-mail connectivity....a PACTOR modem (~$1200 - $1800) will allow slightly faster (4.8kb to 10kb) data/e-mail connectivity...





Again, please understand that I'm not trying to be critical of others opinions, nor imply that others' experiences are not valid, but rather simply pointing out some hard facts....and highlighting the original poster's application....

And, I do hope this helps...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 16-11-2015, 09:54   #41
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
I do not wish to be overly critical of some of the opinions and experiences posted here....seriously I don't!!
And, I've spent the last day thinking about how to post some basic clarifying info, without being critical!!
Not sure how successful I'm going to be in this, but here goes...


Unfortunately as happens here too often, there seems to be a rush to argue the "SSB" vs. "sat com"....with many not actually understanding that they are two completely different things, that DO two completely different things, and are therefore complimentary to each other, NOT a substitute for each other!!

And, rather the discussion should actually be about 3 things:
a) what the original poster actually asked about...
b) the lack of need for e-mail when offshore on passage...
c) "PACTOR modem" vs. "sat com device", should the sailor actually have a need for e-mail when offshore on passage, and/or when in far remote locales (removed from terrestrial-based Wi-Fi / cellular/3G/4G/LTE systems), the discussion should be about "PACTOR modem" vs. "sat com device", not "SSB" vs. "sat com"...


And, in this particular situation, it appears possible that some here didn't notice that "alctel" (the original poster here) was looking for a low-cost approach to Marine SSB Radio, for vessel-to-vessel communications, cruiser's nets, weather forecasts, distress/safety comms, etc. while sailing offshore and across oceans....(things that sat com systems do not do, or don't do well/cheaply/efficiently)
And, that some may have also misunderstood the capabilities (and costs) of various systems....

So, if alctel is still reading, I'd like to pass on some clarifications...

{please note, that I love satellite communications, as I've made an excellent living in the satcom industry now for over 30 years...and I love Iridium (I was an early alpha/beta tester way back in the original Motorola/Iridium days....and have used Iridium in some pretty remote locales)....so, I am not bashing sat com systems, rather just pointing out some facts that some may find helpful!!}

First, some basic facts / points:
1 ---- Satcom systems are point-to-point / person-to-person com systems, where you must know how-to get your message to the recipient and the recipient must know that you are sending them a message, in order for the system to be effective...(whether it is a SMS, e-mail, or phone call)

2 ---- HF Radio, especially HF-DSC-SSB Radio, is a "broadcast" type system, sending your message to everyone...


These facts are not really in dispute....and taken alone, they are not even controversial, and might not seem to be important...but, when understood together they do take on an importance that is often ignored...

And, when you add in "alctel's" (the original poster here) specific requirements (where he mentioned that was looking for a low-cost approach to Marine SSB Radio, for vessel-to-vessel communications, cruiser's nets, weather forecasts, distress/safety comms, etc. while sailing offshore and across oceans).....and then examine the various costs involved, as well as the capabilities of the various systems....you begin to fully understand the situation....
{please note that what works for one application / one sailor, doesn't necessarily work for another...}



And, if you look at the costs vs. features / benefits.....things do start to become clear...

---- You cannot signal other vessels, nor participate in cruiser's nets, signal distress directly to an RCC, nor to other vessels, etc. with any basic sat phone / sat messenger system...
You CAN do these things with a Marine MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephone (aka "SSB")...as well as place phone calls, etc...receive the "gold standard" of offshore weather forecasts (wefax, etc.)
The cost for this (M-802/AT140, plus accessories) new is about $2600...


---- You cannot use an inexpensive sat messenger device (such as the $350 Inreach, plus monthly/annual subscription) to receive weather charts / weather forecast, nor to send/rec e-mails, etc...as it is limited to 160-character SMS only....


---- An IridiumGo and a smart phone, or an Iridium sat phone and data kit (either going to cost ~$1500) will allow for VERY low speed (2.4kb) data/e-mail connectivity....a PACTOR modem (~$1200 - $1800) will allow slightly faster (4.8kb to 10kb) data/e-mail connectivity...





Again, please understand that I'm not trying to be critical of others opinions, nor imply that others' experiences are not valid, but rather simply pointing out some hard facts....and highlighting the original poster's application....

And, I do hope this helps...

Fair winds..

John

Nicely put and accurate. Thanks for posting it.
Joe
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Old 16-11-2015, 13:17   #42
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

A note for someone interested, a buddy of mine has an 802, 140, Pactor 4 ++other bells and whistles still in box for $3k.


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Old 17-11-2015, 12:09   #43
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

Johns Youtube videos are very good and should be watched. ICOM should at least buy John dinner for the ICOM related videos.

Later,
Dan
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Old 17-11-2015, 18:44   #44
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

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Originally Posted by Hamsailor View Post
I tried this last night. Fun!! Note: the current programs do not work on the new RPi "B+" unit -- you need the original model. The program has some hard-coded memory mapping that is broken with the new model.

Also, for WSPR to run correctly, your computer (the Raspberry Pi) needs to have it's clock accurately set to within a couple of seconds. This will be hard to do at sea without manual intervention.
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Old 17-11-2015, 20:25   #45
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Re: SSB radios - which one to get as a cheap starter one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
I tried this last night. Fun!! Note: the current programs do not work on the new RPi "B+" unit -- you need the original model. The program has some hard-coded memory mapping that is broken with the new model.

Also, for WSPR to run correctly, your computer (the Raspberry Pi) needs to have it's clock accurately set to within a couple of seconds. This will be hard to do at sea without manual intervention.
I think this was the original author:

See if you can write code to insert GPS input.

You will be a hero if you can, since then you will have a solar panel operated tracker for the boat.
Let the RPi reboot at sunup.
Maybe start a whole new thread with this...😀

https://github.com/DanAnkers/WsprryPi

Hamsailor.
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