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Old 05-04-2011, 08:09   #16
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Re: Weather Fax ?

You may want to also get weather gribs. You will need a software program to display them. They bcan be obtained from mutiple sorces; I think Sailmail transmits them. I get mine through MaxSea by email.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:10   #17
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Re: Weather Fax ?

This may help. The Airmail Home Page
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:50   #18
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Re: Weather Fax ?

You don't need a SSB, or a computer or any software. You can buy a completely self contained weatherfax receiver and just add an antenna. Here is one on ebay

Furuno Weather Fax-408 Boat Marine - eBay (item 400195924209 end time Apr-17-11 12:19:02 PDT)
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:59   #19
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Re: Weather Fax ?

Getting a dedicated PC should be cheaper, since I alreadyb have the SSB and antenna.

Trying to figure out the requirements- this is what I have so far (per Auspicious):

SSB- √
Pactor Modem - to buy
Cable to PC - to buy
cheap PC - to buy
JVComm32 software - to download
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:08   #20
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Re: Weather Fax ?

If you are voyaging world-wide than you probably will get a complete SSB transceiver setup with a Pactor. That will give you worldwide access to other world voyaging cruiser nets and data links either through the Winlink/Airmail system or the Sailmail/Cruise Email systems. Within the package of programs in the Airmail/Sailmail systems is a neat utility program called "GetFax". That is one very good little program and will dispay on your computer the Marine Weather Fax charts - IMHO - a little better than the JVCOM32 system.
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:15   #21
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Re: Weather Fax ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
Getting a dedicated PC should be cheaper, since I alreadyb have the SSB and antenna.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RSMacG View Post
Hi all,...I have an embarrassingly basic question about marine weather faxes.
...What sort of equipment is needed to receive the transmissions?
Sorry Lorenzo, I was responding to the original poster...
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:01   #22
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Re: Weather Fax ?

Re the ssb / Pactor way, I would not take it. Maybe unless the radio // Pactor are already on the boat.

In any new installation, I would go the satellite way - cheaper, less complex, more energy efficient, no licensing, etc..

But the SSB / Pactor way is great for any radio amateur that would like to use the radio to keep up their HF friendships.

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Old 05-04-2011, 11:03   #23
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Re: Weather Fax ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
Getting a dedicated PC should be cheaper, since I alreadyb have the SSB and antenna.

Trying to figure out the requirements- this is what I have so far (per Auspicious):

SSB- √
Pactor Modem - to buy
Cable to PC - to buy
cheap PC - to buy
JVComm32 software - to download
If SSB / Pactor then you do not have to bother with the radiofax - you can simply request and receive the pictures from NOAA ftp server. That's why you have the Pactor there.

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Old 05-04-2011, 11:21   #24
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Re: Weather Fax ?

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In any new installation, I would go the satellite way - cheaper, less complex, more energy efficient, no licensing, etc..
Satellite would be the way to go for sure but the last time I checked, satellite service was extremely expensive compared to anything else. Air time and minimum service contracts (Iridium) are prohibitively expensive for many of us. Has there been some reduction in price lately or some service I have not checked out?
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:31   #25
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Re: Weather Fax ?

Last I looked into this you could buy a HF "reciever" for like $50, not sure how much the external antenna would run and maybe buy the software for your laptop for another $50 or get the free stuff. So spend thousands on an SSB "transiever" with or without the pactor, spend hundreds on a sat phone and service, or buy a $50 radio and be able to recieve all the same weather maps (okay mayne not ALL the same maps).... Hmm hard choice.

Of course the SSB gives you a lot of other features so too the sat phone route.

While Im here can anyone recommend a specific radio and external antenna source? I have looked at some of the Grundigs but was hoping someone here might have an opinion on a specific model? On the antenna is this something thats easily just made yourself? What sort of wire/cable?

Thanks
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:51   #26
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Re: Weather Fax ?

Installed an ICOM 700 Pro (now superseded by 710), AT 140 tuner with Pactor II and Split lead antenna. This system works very well and was able to install myself. The most difficult part is installing a copper foil ground plane but I hear there is a better solution to that whole idea now. Some newer boats have a ground plane installed in the hull already. It was probably the largest single expenditure in equipping the boat but having first rate communication and weather was worth it to me. The split lead antenna just slides up over the backstay and is easily stowable of season. It also eliminates all the potential failure points created by the typical insulators. From the Northeast, am able to receive/transmit weatherfax and email as far as Florida stations.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:56   #27
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Re: Weather Fax ?

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Satellite would be the way to go for sure but the last time I checked, satellite service was extremely expensive compared to anything else.
Last time I checked a SSB radio / Pactor / tuner / were way more expensive than a sat phone. The cheapest transceiver I have seen was around 800, pactor 500, tuner 200 (all second hand). If you allow for the batteries, fuel, etc.. then I think an SSB installation would cost at least 1500 bucks (?).

A friend of mine got the blue toy of IsatPhone for approx 500 bucks. His voice calls are cheaper than Iridiums. For their data capabilities read here:
Inmarsat Introduces Data Capability for IsatPhone Pro -- WASHINGTON, DC, March 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --.

Globalstar has a new phone and data services scheduled for later this year. They will have to go below Inmarsat or give more bang for the buck, otherwise why bother. They already provide global two way msging via the network.

Iridium has the OpenPort - more expensive, but global and faster. Also the data option on handhelds - but I found it mostly a misnomer. (Others had more skill though and got it working).

Just google around and all the info is out there. All it takes is some web search time.

Spend your bucks so that you get what you want, not what others have.

Cheers,
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:09   #28
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Re: Weather Fax ?

Thanks Barnakiel. Did a lot of research on this a couple of years ago when deciding which way to go with communications. Finally went the ICOM, Pactor, Sailmail route. Did find some good deals on satphone equipment but figured the the usage time would be prohibitively expensive, especially at the slow baud rates available then. It would certainly be nice to be able to talk to people instead of email (sailmail) and to be able to get GRIB, Weatherfax, internet without the pitifully slow, power draining (but free) HF signal. Maybe the cost has come down since then. Will have to check it out again.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:25   #29
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Re: Weather Fax ?

Oh my -- too long since I checked in here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doug86 View Post
Or, you can actually buy a dedicated weather fax receiver like this: Furuno FAX408 Weather Fax - 8'' Paper
Agreed. Getting the thermal paper for the dedicated fax machines can be a challenge unless one is sufficiently organized to buy in bulk ahead of time.

Some of the used machines on eBay and similar venues are programmed with an old set of frequencies and require a goodly amount of time with the user manual to reprogram.

Still, I have one boat I deliver regularly that uses a Furuno 408 and it beats the heck out of gribs over Globalstar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
As so often, Gord's fingers do the walking for many of us. The list on the NOAA page has both free and paid software products. The best are those that allow radio frequency control and a scheduler. The older, production version of ViewFax (part of Airmail) has that - the latest beta version has dropped it as part of integration; it's supposed to be back in a later version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speciald@ocens. View Post
You may want to also get weather gribs. You will need a software program to display them.
There is a thread here specifically on gribs with a lot of discussion. The disagreement is interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
Trying to figure out the requirements- this is what I have so far (per Auspicious):

SSB- √
Pactor Modem - to buy
Cable to PC - to buy
cheap PC - to buy
JVComm32 software - to download
I don't think I said you need a Pactor modem for wefax. I shouldn't have. You just need a cable between the headphone jack of your radio and the mic jack of the laptop.

See Gord's link above for software. I like JVCOMM and use it. I also use GetFax/ViewFax from Jim Corenmon and multiPSK (because I can send fax as well as receive it, which is cool). I haven't evaluated all the software on the list so I can't speak to what I haven't used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
In any new installation, I would go the satellite way - cheaper, less complex, more energy efficient, no licensing, etc.
I respectfully disagree. I have seen lots of folks buy a sat phone as the cheaper option, and by the time they get data cables and car kits and marine antennas the cost is pretty much the same as an SSB and Pactor modem. Those who started with a handheld phone and data cable and tried to work in the cockpit sometimes found themselves replacing a wave soaked phone AND laptop which makes the cost pretty high. You really do want to have a dry, below-decks installation if you are going to use any comms setup for mission-critical functions like weather.

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
If SSB / Pactor then you do not have to bother with the radiofax - you can simply request and receive the pictures from NOAA ftp server. That's why you have the Pactor there.
Again, I disagree. The one-to-one connection of e-mail (or ftp over e-mail) is a waste of resources when radiofax is available. Pactor is a great solution to one-to-one functions like e-mail, but unnecessary for weather products that are available on radiofax and Navtex.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:49   #30
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Re: Weather Fax ?

Quote:
I don't think I said you need a Pactor modem for wefax. I shouldn't have. You just need a cable between the headphone jack of your radio and the mic jack of the laptop.
So, is the Wfax signal just running through the Pactor modem? If the Pactor should malfunction, is the Wfax still available directly with the cable from SSB to computer? Will the Airmail/Getfax software still work without the modem?
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