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Old 25-04-2012, 08:29   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Olympia, Washington
Boat: Spencer 35
Posts: 4
Testing Transmitter on SSB Radio

Would someone off-shore or coasting in the Pacific please let me know a boat- name or call sign plus a frequency you'll monitor and the zulu time you will be open to a call? I live in Olympia, Washington, on Puget Sound, in my boat.

I installed an ICOM M700 and it receives well, but I haven't found a way to test the transmitter beyond the range of ground-wave transmission. The networks I've found (like Pacific Mariner and others) require general HAM licensing which I don't yet have.

I would appreciate any suggestions how I can verify the ionispheric transmission on my SSB.

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Old 25-04-2012, 13:50   #2
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 1,849
Re: Testing Transmitter on SSB Radio

I'm assuming that you do not have a ham license, and are wishing to contact other stations on the maritime frequencies only???
Using SSB???

If that's the case:

a) Confirming that your radio is working fine, before you attempt to contact others is always a GOOD idea.....
Have you tested the radio's output (with a power/swr meter)???

b) Are you experienced enough in HF radio communications to understand the frequency choices, based on time-of-day and distance-to-communicate, etc.????
And, do you understand how to use the radio completely???

c) Have a look at the maritime/cruisers nets listed on Dockside Radio's page, for the times and frequencies...
West Coast Nets

d) Assuming you HAVE tested the radio, my advice would be to attempt local (groundwave) contact....Before you attempt to contact other sailors on those nets...
Which I assume you have done, and verifies that the radio does work, and that you sound good???....

But, in case you haven't found any professional HF operators, please call KLB (WLO's Pacific North West Station, near Seattle, WA) on one of their freqs....

e) After those ideas, if you'd really like to verify your HF comm equipment is up-to-snuff, please call NMC, the USCG CAMSPAC in Pt. Reyes, CA....using one of the 4 GMDSS Voice frequencies they monitor (4125, 6215, 8291, or 12290...depending on time-of-day / radio propagation conditions)
HF Distress and Safety Watchkeeping Schedule
USCG Communications Area Master Station Pacific

(you can call 'em on the phone, if you can't raise them see why they can't hear you....877-NMC-INFO)

f) Please be aware that without MF/HF-DSC Signaling (using just SSB voice), you're not going to raise a random ship at sea, as they do not maintain a voice radio watch (haven't done so in 13 years)....
You may find some "pleasure craft" around on-the-air, that you can randomly contact (as well as USCG, and a few other shore stations, monitoring), but there are few "regular users" monitoring HF Maritime Voice frequencies.....

g) You specifically asked about Pacific Nets, but there ARE other nets which may interest you / be of help to you....
Specifically Herb's weather net....
South Bound II VAX498 - Ship routing and weather forecasting

And, here are some others....
East Coast Cruising Nets

h) I'm off my boat for a few days (and 3000 miles in the wrong direction, in South Florida), or I'd offer to help you today!!!

i) I left this for last, as I didn't wish you to think I was ignoring your requests.....But...
PLEASE get you ham license, and learn as much as possible about HF communications / radio wave propagation / well as who/what/how HF radio comms is being done on maritime frequencies (i.e. HF-DSC comms, etc.)

Best off luck....
Fair winds...

s/v Annie Laurie
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radio, ssb

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