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Old 26-09-2006, 12:48   #16
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Coaster,

Indeed you do, and you have to have a real type-accepted marine rig to be legal :-)

Bill
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Old 26-09-2006, 13:07   #17
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"Is it necessary to modify the TS-50S to transmit on the marine SSb bands," That would be illegal, as BT points out. While many hams use their radios as SSBs while offshore in international waters (where as a practical point, no one is going to check on the equipment as long as the signal is clean, but as even Gordon West points out, a good ear can tell the audio is different) it is ILLEGAL to use a ham radio on the SSB service, where "type accepted" equipment is required. Except for emergency use, of course. Each radio requires a separate license, and AFAIK there are only one or two ICOM ham radios that also are type-accepted and capable of legal marine SSB use out of the box.

I'd be reluctant to use modified equipment inside territorial waters for casual use.<G>

OTOH, the vertical should work perfectly well if it isn't too cumbersome--it just will need a proper counterpoise, the same way it would need radials to work well on land. Going up the Hudson valley you will find extensive 2m and 70cm repeater coverage, they would be of more value than HF.

Something like the "BuddiPole" also might be convenient to keep on the boat for casual HF use, to set up or take ashore as you travel. The biggest complaint I've heard from hams afloat is RF getting back into the rigging and either blitzing the electronics, or shocking the crew. Can't overemphasize the need for a proper counterpoise, and RF measures.
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Old 26-09-2006, 13:25   #18
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I am just at the listening point, no meed to modify my radio, I am just trying to get my ear in the door so to speak to get the hang of the usefulness of marine SSb vs Ham.
It seems there are merits to both, but what about a Mayday call on the high seas?????
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Old 26-09-2006, 13:40   #19
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Indeed, there are merits to both. And, these days, much of the same kind of marine traffic takes place both on the marine SSB channels and on the ham bands.

This wasn't always so. The marine bands used to be very useful for BUSINESS-RELATED communications. There were several shore-based marine operator stations (in NJ, Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco, etc.) which could patch you through to any telephone. All of these except NLO in New Orleans are now closed. You can make NON-BUSINESS related phone patches over ham radio.

Email is a biggie amongst cruising sailors. Hams use WinLink for free. Only restriction is NO BUSINESS TRAFFIC, except personal stuff related to the boat (like ordering parts). Marine SSB email is carried out via SailMail and others at a (low) cost, and can be used for business.

While hams have run "maritime mobile nets" for many years (I started the TransAtlantic MM Net almost 30 years ago...it's still running), there are now a number of nets on the marine SSB channels. CruiseHeimers is one of the more active ones on the East Coast and Caribbean; there are lots of others. Weather information can be found both on the ham bands and on the marine SSB channels. Herb, Southbound II, is one of the best: he's found daily on 12359 USB for several hours, providing detailed weather information for Atlantic and Caribbean sailors.

Re: distress calls, both ham and marine SSB are helpful. The USCG may be contacted directly on one or another of their SSB watch frequencies, or they may come up on the ham bands when notified of an emergency. They often do so on the 14300 KHz maritime mobile net. And, when they do come up, you know it....they've got huge antennas and very powerful transmitters.

Both systems are useful. Even critical aids to cruising. However, neither one is very useful unless you KNOW SOMETHING, and have SOME USEFUL EXPERIENCE in operating your radio and making real contacts.

I'd urge you to stop just listening, and start making contacts. Especially since you're basically a CW guy; many of these tend to be shy or timid on the voice bands. This won't get you very far in assuring reliable MM contacts.

Bill
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Old 26-09-2006, 13:53   #20
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"but what about a Mayday call on the high seas?????"

Two hands, two radios, two mics, and simulcast on both!<G>

Funny thing about radio, you never know what is going to be heard by who, there's always a "pot luck" factor. With any HF radio, unless you are using an NVIS antenna (intentionally or accidentally) there's a chance you won't reach anyone locally, and if there's help nearby to you...that might be a problem. Using a VHF first, might get you a faster local response.
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Old 26-09-2006, 14:05   #21
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Hellosailor,

Yeah, that's part of my reasoning behind the advice to stop listening and start making contacts.

There's no doubt that if you're in an area where other boats might be nearby a VHF distress call would be a first choice.

But, if you're not, SSB might be your first line of defense. Marine SSB might be fine if you're within range of a shore station. Most boats don't routinely monitor marine SSB, except for nets and WX.

Ham radio offers a worldwide audience of roughly a million stations, dispersed all over the place. Even in difficult propagation conditions, it's difficult to imagine that you could not make a contact with someone, providing that you know something of propagation, how to operate your radio, and good operating practices.

A good radio operator with 3 watts and a lousy antenna will make contacts MUCH FASTER than a poor radio operator with 100 watts or 1000 watts and a good antenna. There's no substitute for knowledge and experience afloat, whether you're talking about trimming the genoa or tuning the SSB!

Bill
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Old 26-09-2006, 19:05   #22
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BTRAYFORS,

This thread has become quite informative, but you have sort of hit a nerve saying that CW guys are timid, I enjoy banging out a QSO at 30 WPM, and the best part is I can do it with headphones on and never disturb my family.

I am really just trying to determine which is most useful to my situation. Marine SSB or Ham Radio. Listening is learning.

If we were all talking, then who would be listening?
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Old 26-09-2006, 21:41   #23
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"a QSO at 30 WPM,"
Oh heck, I can TYPE faster than that.<G> Competent typists start around 60wpm, and compression can send ASCII files 10x faster than that.

The question is, are you using mechanical or computer assistance, or using a STRAIGHT KEY like real men?<VBG>
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Old 26-09-2006, 22:05   #24
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Vertical Dipole

Guys,

Going back within the thread. I've been trying to source the Budwig HQ-1 insulator for some timie. I had no success from their website. Thanks for the lead to Henrys Radio.
I'm in the process of building a vertical dipole for my 42 meter sloop but using a 1:1 balun instead of the budwig as a centre isolator.

The budwig centre isolator vertical dipole does not use a Balun. Has any one any comment on this. I always though it was necessary, or at least very advisable to use a balun on a vertical dipole.
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Old 27-09-2006, 04:19   #25
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As I recall, that's only if you leave the country, but i'm sure someone can clarify. If you get a station license, the FCC paperwork or on-line application can be a nightmare. There are some companies that do it for you and it's well worth the money, in my opinion.
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Old 27-09-2006, 05:24   #26
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Thanks for all the input

A pleasant day to all.
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Old 27-09-2006, 06:12   #27
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Glad I stumbled into you guys - interesting stuff. I take my Technician level test Oct 7. I have a marine licence (WDD3833) now but everything seems to be happening up on HF.
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Old 27-09-2006, 06:22   #28
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Leighton,

Yeah, the Budwig insulator is a bit of a chore to find, but be persistent...you CAN find them and they're the absolute best choice for a dipole on a sailboat. IMHO.

You DO NOT need a balun. Just adds windage and something to burn out. And, despite all the theory and hype, I've found a balun to be completely unnecessary in over 35 years of messing with vertical dipoles aboard.

You do need to trim the dipole, though. See instructions I've posted on SSCA Board, and elsewhere. That's the most tedius part.

Good luck.

Wow...a 42-meter sloop! You could put up a vertical dipole for 80m on that thing :-)) Just kidding...assume you mean a 42-foot sloop.

73,

Bill
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Old 27-09-2006, 06:54   #29
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Vertical Dipole

Bill,

yes, your right just wishfull thinking - 42' not 42m


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Old 27-09-2006, 12:06   #30
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When a balun makes sense

Because almost any energy transmitted may be received as "five-by-five" (note the QRP people using milli-watts) any lousy HF SSB installation may usually work for you if you pump enough input power to the so-called antenna compromise.

If, however, you happen to be in various places in the world where it is difficult to obtain good communication you need to have everything going for you that you can in gleaning the most effective radiated output power from any radiator. With a dipole a balun located at the dipole drive point is then necessary when your transmission line is a 50 Ohm coax.

Another reason to use a balun is to effectively eliminate radiation from the coax leaving the transmitter which, otherwise, often causes problems belowdecks with various electrics like a propane detector, various LED indicators, etc.

When making your plans for a dipole installation consider these two factors.

BTW, I used HF dipoles positioned horizontally at the masthead, either athwartships or longitudinally using Shakespear SSB tips and tuning coils built into the radiator mount so as to use shorter than 1/2 wavelength overall dimensions. Such horizontal polarization adds to more effective communication by innately not interfering with the rigging below and by "matching" most shore installations which usually have horizontal polarization as well.
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