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Old 11-08-2008, 19:38   #1
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SSB Receiver ?

I've been looking for a Grundig Yacht Boy 400 but it appears it has been discontinued. Replaced by the G5. Is that a suitable substitute? Is there a better option for receiving SSB communications? Is having an external antenna that can be run up a mast important?
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Old 11-08-2008, 19:44   #2
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Any HF receiver is good.

The big demands are on transmitting, grounding, antenas, etc.

I had an HF receiver on my boat for a couple of years before I installed a Transceiver. Sold the old receiver for $300.00 and paid $4,000.00 for the Transceiver. Not sure it was worth the money.
Good rig for sure, but never had to ask for help or beg for weather on the SSB freqs.
Full-time cruisers value their SSB radios however. Glad I got mine, but it is not used a lot..
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Old 11-08-2008, 20:04   #3
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For the past few years I've been using a Sony ICF SW7600GR from Amazon. Much better performance than the Yachtboy. No external antenna necessary although it does come with one. Just the telescopic antenna will do.
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Old 11-08-2008, 20:31   #4
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Here is what I posted on SailFar;

The Sony is better then the Grundig... (I have a yachtboy, and it is barely useable IMHO).

I found one that the ham guys swear is better then the sony, and about 1/4 the price...



Shortwave radio review and discussion
One of the things that Rose and I really came to rely on was our shortwave radio. I had researched various brands and read all I could about them, and then bought the Kaito 1103. It’s alarm was set to make sure we were awake to listen to Chris Parker’s weather net every morning it was on.
Kaito 1103 specs from Kaito site;

Now, I do not believe that a ham set, or even an SSB transceiver is a requirement onboard a small boat, but I have to say that a good shortwave receiver, capable of decoding SSB transmitions is an important peeve of gear.
When you are close enough to the US, you can still get NOAA on the VHF, but that was good for about 75 miles on a good day (for us). Others use more advanced methods, some you have to subscribe to, to get their info. I bet that XM weather is nice, but don’t care for the equipment requirements or the monthly subscription fees.
I admit I had not gone much beyond buying the gear before we left US waters… this was not a good idea. While I have a pretty strong background in electronics, especially communication’s I struggled to get the right combination to get a reliable signal.
The ham guys, and most everyone I checked with had nothing but praise for the Kaito 1103. Read some reviews on Ham.net here. It is also marketed as the Degen 1103, and tested against the standards seems to perform well. The Sony’s are great radios, less so the old standard which is the Grundig Yachtboy…. which no longer is much of a contender according to many of the the radio guys, but still seems to be popular talking to other cruisers in anchorages in the Bahamas.
Both cost more then the better rated Kaito which a quick search shows can easily be had online for less then a boat buck. There is also a 1102 model, which many like. Whatever radion you go with make sure it has the SSB (USB/LSB) decoder... I have a YB300 that does nothave this. It is ok for news, but not IMHO a cruising radio. The Kaito also have a solid feel, not like the cheap plastic feel that Grundig has adopted (my Yachtboy YB300 is positively cheap feeling compared to the kaito)
I had great success with my dodger frame as an antenna… which was surprising since I had less success with long (even tuned) antennas I tried to hoist up into the rigging.
One thing I did not try, but do not hesitate to recommend would be following James Baldwin’s advice on his web page. He mentioned this page to me when we visited them, I later wished I had taken the time to put one together before I left. The link is; Aerial Tricks - making a dipole antenna for your SSB radio
(with notes on SSB receivers and RF ground planes)
by James Baldwin
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Old 11-08-2008, 21:15   #5
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I'm one of those "ham guys"....actually, a nut on HF communications for sailors.

Don't waste your money with a YachtBoy. Any model.

Buy an 1103. You can find them on eBay, new, for about $70. Terrific radio for the money.

If and when you graduate to more serious radios, get a good ham set -- you don't have to pay $4000 or even a quarter of that for a good one -- and get on the air with both transmit and receive.

IMHO,

Bill
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:15   #6
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Great info, thanks.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:27   #7
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Just another plug for the Kaito KA1103, Iv'e had one for a couple years and it's a great little shortwave receiver. There's a good video review of it on AmateurLogic TV's episode 15. It's near the end of the video.

Eric
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Old 17-08-2008, 12:44   #8
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Hi, I have a question about this KA1103. Will this receiver allow you to received wx maps to your laptop? And if so, how is it done?
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Old 23-08-2008, 11:50   #9
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Maduro,

You might give SeaTTY a try. I haven't but if you do let me know how it works!
http://http://www.freedownloadscente..._Download.html

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Old 23-08-2008, 12:36   #10
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The Chinese Degen DE-1103 is the same radio, available in Hong Kong with English labels and handbook for a few bucks less. Shipping to the US brings the price back up, but it would be a great buy in OZ.
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Old 23-08-2008, 12:50   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maduro View Post
Hi, I have a question about this KA1103. Will this receiver allow you to received wx maps to your laptop? And if so, how is it done?
I've downloaded wx faxes to my Sony ICF SW7600GR, just to prove to myself it would work. I simply had a cable from the headphone jack on the radio to the microphone input on my computer, plus a piece of weather fax software. I assume the 1103 would work the same. It was a few years ago, but I think I used a version of the SeaTTY software mentioned above.
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Old 03-11-2008, 16:23   #12
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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Wondering if anyone has used a Grundig G5 as available from Radio Shack for a relatively cheap way to listen in on any of the marine/ham SSB nets.

Thanks!
Make sure it has an SSB decoder. Probably do better with one (Kaito) mentioned above. If your heart is set on the Radio shack model, and it has the decoder... look online and you will probably find it for less. Radio shack has a pretty good markup IMHO.

Good luck, and make sure to play with whatever you buy before you need to rely on it.
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Old 03-11-2008, 16:56   #13
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Quote:
If and when you graduate to more serious radios, get a good ham set -- you don't have to pay $4000 or even a quarter of that for a good one -- and get on the air with both transmit and receive.
Well, the $4,000.00 was for a good radio PLUS installation, plus rigger to do the back-stays with insulators, PLUS the haul-out for grounding plate, etc., etc. Transceiver: Transmit and receive.

I love my radio, but the total cost 9 years ago was around $4K with everything included, not sure a ham set is any better than a proper marine SSB with ham freqs available?

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Old 03-11-2008, 20:06   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maduro View Post
Hi, I have a question about this KA1103. Will this receiver allow you to received wx maps to your laptop? And if so, how is it done?
Yes, it will allow you to receive wx maps (called wefax) to your laptop. I just used this same unit along with Multimode MultiMode - CW RTTY SSTV FAX MORSE PSK31 ACARS SITOR AMTOR ALE DTMF FFT ASCII Decoding Software for the Macintosh to get my first ever wefax. And I did not even have a direct connection between my laptop and the radio. The audio from the radio was picked up by the microphone in the mac.

There is a ton of software that can decode the transmissions -- you just need to find the right one for you. Weatherfax 2000 makes some interesting software too.

Couple of heads up tricks: On the Kaito unit, once you tune in the frequency, you will want to play with the band width filter slider switch on the right hand side of the unit. The irony is that the Kaito fax image surpassed the image from my ICOM 718 and my ICOM R75!

You can find the schedule here: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf For me, I went after the Pt Reyes station at 4346 or 8386. So check to see which station is closest to you in the schedule.

Finally, you need to free your computer processor up for reception. I had several interesting "anomalies" occur because the mac was likely doing something else. You can get your fax stopped, then the image reversed or other weird stuff if your computer is doing all sorts of stuff in the background.

This link: Receiving Weather Fax and Weather Satellite Images With Your Macintosh has a good write up on some problems and what to expect and how to do it. They also have an up to date listings HF wefax frequencies. Although they sell mac wefax software the information applies across the board.


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Old 13-11-2008, 19:29   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MV View Post

You can find the schedule here: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf For me, I went after the Pt Reyes station at 4346 or 8386. So check to see which station is closest to you in the schedule.



Michael
Actually, Michael that is not quite right on several counts. The carrier frequency is 1.9 kHz below the assigned frequency. Thus, you have to subtract 1.9 kHz from the initial frequency. Therefore, the correct frequency to tune to would be 4344.1 to receive a Pt Reyes wefax. And it is 8682, not 8386 and that means you would have to tune to 8680.1.

But.... check the PDF file yourself to be sure! (pp. IV-4 - IV-5)
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