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Old 05-05-2014, 16:42   #1
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SSB transceiver

I am a bare bones cruiser.....really......used to wearing a headlamp and using oil lamps instead of worrying about wiring interior lights......

I have been using a grundig short wave/SSB receiver, using AA batteries for a long time to get weather updates and time. I have read that a SSB transceiver receives better than a SSB receiver and that I would be able to listen in on more weather information.

I know very little about HAM/SSB units......I am on a bare bones budget. When I look on ebay.......it is 10 meter, MHZ etc. etc.

Can someone who is knowledgeable in this area......just give me a few keywords, brand or model, to guide me so I can buy a very basic unit to listen to weather and info for cruisers?

I am borderline antisocial......I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to send email......receive weather faxes, or transmit in anyway, etc......I just want better weather reports.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 05-05-2014, 17:14   #2
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Re: SSB transceiver

The transmitter part of a transceiver has nothing to do with the receiver.

First step is what kind of antenna are you using. A good antenna is one of the more important parts of radio reception. Then if your antenna is good, but you have a cheap receiver, you would upgrade your receiver. Selectivity and Sensitivity are the first numbers I'd look at.
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Old 05-05-2014, 18:32   #3
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Re: SSB transceiver

Boomer8654,

Where are you located? And, where will you be cruising, i.e., what areas do you need weather for?

Re: transceivers, what was meant by those remarks was that the typical ham or marine transceiver is fitted with a better receiver than those typically found in cheap standalone receivers like the Degen, Sony, Grundig, etc. They're also more precise in tuning...you can tune directly to a specific frequency, and you can store them in memory.

As was mentioned above, the antenna is really important as well. It need not be expensive.

Tell me where you are/will be cruising and maybe I can help you find a satisfactory solution.

Bill
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Old 05-05-2014, 19:35   #4
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Re: SSB transceiver

Thank you for the information.

I have cruised the west coast and crossed to Hawaii. I recently bought a boat in Detroit, Michigan and brought it to the east coast via Erie canal/Hudson river.

My future plans are gunk holing up and down the east coast and Caribbean for the next year as I get the boat sorted out. After that my plan is open ended cruising.....maybe South America.....maybe crossing and doing the canal system in France.

I am former military.....I have experience with HF field antennas.......mostly sloping long wire.......but the antenna was directional. I am assuming a sailboat antenna needs to be omnidirectional.

I see SSB radios that are mobile transceivers.......they appear to be rated at lower watts.....like 50-75w. Does this relate to transmitting only?

I would like to purchase a simple and reliable unit that will work wherever I go.....but that may be unrealistic.

I have also read that the marine versions are more tolerant of power supply fluctuations.....a Ham version would need to be run off a back ups type power supply?

Thank you for your patience....
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Old 05-05-2014, 20:08   #5
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Re: SSB transceiver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomer8654 View Post
Thank you for the information.

I have cruised the west coast and crossed to Hawaii. I recently bought a boat in Detroit, Michigan and brought it to the east coast via Erie canal/Hudson river.

My future plans are gunk holing up and down the east coast and Caribbean for the next year as I get the boat sorted out. After that my plan is open ended cruising.....maybe South America.....maybe crossing and doing the canal system in France.

I am former military.....I have experience with HF field antennas.......mostly sloping long wire.......but the antenna was directional. I am assuming a sailboat antenna needs to be omnidirectional.

I see SSB radios that are mobile transceivers.......they appear to be rated at lower watts.....like 50-75w. Does this relate to transmitting only?

I would like to purchase a simple and reliable unit that will work wherever I go.....but that may be unrealistic.

I have also read that the marine versions are more tolerant of power supply fluctuations.....a Ham version would need to be run off a back ups type power supply?

Thank you for your patience....
I think if you are on a tight budget and just want to listen to weather reports you really just need a sensitive portable receiver. You can always clip on a wire leading to an external antenna if you need more sensitivity.
You might look at the reviews for general coverage receivers on eHam.net
eHam.net Reviews - Receivers: General Coverage
If your current portable is listed you could check to see how it compares to other modesl from Sony, Grundig, Eton, Degen. Find a radio with better sensitivity and selectivity than your current portable. A relatively recent marine SSB like an Icom M710 is going to be a lot more expensive, bulky and a nuisance to intall compared to just using a portable. Personally I doubt you will pick up weather reports significantly better with a marine SSB than a good portable.
In answer to your other comments/questions, those mobile SSB units are ham radio units and the wattage quoted is transmit power. As for installing a ham radio in your boat, you do not need anything like a UPS. Basically the radio is connected through fuses in the positive and negative power lines directly to you battery bank so that the radio can draw the required amps when transmitting. If you only ever used it as a receive you could use smaller wire than if you wanted to transmit.
Hope this helps.
Gordon
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Old 05-05-2014, 20:17   #6
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Re: SSB transceiver

It does......thank you.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:59   #7
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Re: SSB transceiver

If you really have no interest in transmitting then paying for a transceiver seems a bit of a waste. Truth is that the Grundig portables are generally well respected. I doubt that you will get any more weather information with a transceiver than you would with the Grundig and a good antenna. At best, what you hear might be a tiny bit more clear with a much more expensive radio.

If you really want something else, this is also a highly rated radio that will receive all the weather that's fit to receive... http://tinyurl.com/lxgg382

In any case, for your purposes, I would strongly recommend that you stick with a simple, inexpensive, portable receiver of the type that you already have.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:44   #8
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Re: SSB transceiver

I don't agree since compact mobile HAM trasceivers can be found second hand at really interesting prices, they will have a far better receiver AND you can always "upgrade" later on the a HAM license and be able to transmit.

Even without license, in an emergency, it is a safety tool.

Jan
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:01   #9
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Re: SSB transceiver

Well, the OP said that he doesn't want to transmit in any way. I took him at his word. Of course, anyone who thinks that they might want to transmit someday should consider a transceiver.

Further, while a transceiver can be useful in an emergency, if you have never bothered to learn anything at all about transmitting with it, then not so much. Will the OP spend the time to learn how to use it as a transmitter, and set it up with an appropriate antenna for transmitting? Maybe, but if we believe him when he says that he has no interest in ever transmitting, that kind of indicates probably not.

Besides that, while I would agree that you can get used transceivers at "interesting" prices, those prices are still going to be well above what a brand, new, portable receiver will cost. And finally, that transceiver is going to use a lot more electricity--even just receiving--than a small portable will.

Hence, while I would agree with you that for a whole lot of people a used transceiver would be better, I don't see that being true for the OP.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:17   #10
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Re: SSB transceiver

Being used to oil lamps the OP can always send out a pigeon with a distress note in case of an emergency

LOL

I had a small Sony SSB receiver on the boat when I bought it, but I never managed to get a Navtex signal out of it hooked up to a computer... I never tried for weatherfax.

Jan
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:25   #11
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Re: SSB transceiver

There are higher quality recievers available from the Ham Radio Manufacturers. They are pricier than the mass market radios but way higher in quality. Fortunately, they turn up used for decent prices.

As others have said, a good antenna is the first place to start. One thing I found that helped my Sangean 909 radio was an antenna booster. This was something I picked up at a garage sail a number of years ago. Don't know whether they are still available. It was finicky to tune because it was so sensitive but brought in usable stations that weren't even heard without it in conjunction with the radio's whip antenna. Used it with a number of different HF radios and helped them all. Unfortunately, sold it when I got a Transciever with antenna tuner and can't remember the brand. Googled 'Powered Antenna and Antenna Booster' and only see one unit from China and a couple of kits. Others may know if these work well enough to buy or build.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:23   #12
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Re: SSB transceiver

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
...If you really want something else, this is also a highly rated radio that will receive all the weather that's fit to receive... Amazon.com: Tecsun PL-660SLV Portable AM/FM/LW/Air Shortwave World Band Radio with Single Side Band, Silver: Electronics

...In any case, for your purposes, I would strongly recommend that you stick with a simple, inexpensive, portable receiver of the type that you already have.
++ 1 on that.
Tecsun looks like a good product based on the reviews. Thanks for the hint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
...Besides that, while I would agree that you can get used transceivers at "interesting" prices, those prices are still going to be well above what a brand, new, portable receiver will cost. And finally, that transceiver is going to use a lot more electricity--even just receiving--than a small portable will....
To transmit: Add antenna, auto tuner, ground plate, batteries, etc, etc. Or, everything the OP does not want.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:44   #13
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Re: SSB transceiver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goudurix View Post
I don't agree since compact mobile HAM trasceivers can be found second hand at really interesting prices, they will have a

far better receiver


AND you can always "upgrade" later on the a HAM license and be able to transmit.

Even without license, in an emergency, it is a safety tool.

Jan
Not so sure about that, I have a icom ic7000 and a degen 1103, with the degen plugged into the back stay antenna the icom is definitely better, but there's not that much in it. Even with any old bit a wire and a degen wfax usually isn't a problem so far, round the Atlantic anyway.
But for voice those digital filters on a ic 7000 are great

Sent from my SGP312 using Tapatalk
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Old 06-05-2014, 14:55   #14
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Re: SSB transceiver

Boomer, figure out what frequencies you want to listen to, now and in coming years, and look into an antenna (or antennas) aimed at that. Longwire and rigging antennas on any sailboat area bit of a crapshoot, no two installations are the same even on "twin" boats but you should be able to make a big improvement over whatever comes with the radio.

I doubt you'll find any better receiver OR transceiver, ham or marine, that won't require ship's power from a 12v source, so if you like to treat lightly and use the penlight batteries...look into the antenna first.

Even if you spent two grand on a great receiver, it would still work poorly without a good antenna, so you've got nothing to lose by optimizing the antenna first.
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Old 06-05-2014, 15:57   #15
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Re: SSB transceiver

A question please...... Can a SSB receiver, with an improved external antenna, pick up all of the Marine SSB cruiser net weather freqs and HAM weather freqs as well? Or does having the more expensive units cover a range of freqs not available on the receiver?

It sounds like....the transceiver components are of higher quality and the ability to tune better maker it easier to receive. Is that correct?

As a side note.....but related.......If I am not a social butterfly....why would I spend thousands of dollars and go through what sounds like an expensive purchase, license, installation and set up process.....to be able to call for help....when you can get a 406 EPIRB that does the same thing for a few hundred bucks? The EPIRB is automated, freeing me to accomplish more important things WHILE it is signaling my MAYDAY and giving my position. It also transmits a homing signal. Furthermore, it is waterproof, has its own power source, floats and can be kept with you long after your boat has lost power and sunk.

The other thought that I have.....I have seen too many interconnected systems fried by lightning. I prefer stand alone, inexpensive systems, that are not connected and are easily replaced.

An added benefit, is your gear can be thrown in a pack or duffel and taken off the boat with you. If someone wants to steal my oatmeal, fine. I can lose a few pounds and they probably need it more than I do.

There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. From my experience in the military, keeping everything very simple....is what gets you through.

Thanks for all of the information.....It is greatly appreciated.
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