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Old 24-03-2009, 15:05   #1
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Weather Faxes Worth the Effort?

I just got a Kaito 1103 SSB capable receiver. I'm thinking about adding Sea TTY V2.2 software to my laptop in order to get weather faxes on SSB. I did this to get weather info. in the Bahamas (for a first time trip next winter) where we will go to the Exumas and wander north before returning to the states. I understand it's tricky to get a usable signal out of the receiver and then I have to learn how to interpret weather maps. Is it worth the effort? Are there going to be instances where I can get a weather fax signal but not a voice weather report? Recommendations about other TTY software?
BTW I'm not buying a SSB transceiver.
I appreciate your input, thanks
bob
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Old 24-03-2009, 15:55   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobalpep View Post
.
I appreciate your input, thanks
bob
Hi Bob,

I can't show you an example as I have deleted them off the computer.
I am waiting for my new SSB receiver to arrive from the USA via a nice CF member!

My old one worked quite well, but the trick is to play around with seaTTY to get it configured correctly.

If you are into synoptic charts and are cruising long distances its pretty good to have

It would be nice to get a free version of seaTTY as the normal one is US$45 after the evaluation period.

Mark
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Old 24-03-2009, 20:09   #3
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Even if you don't use the weather faxes...the software will let you get text forecasts from Navtex as well which is worthwhile. seaTTY works well once you get the radio tuned right.
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Old 24-03-2009, 21:55   #4
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I get weather faxes several times a day when I am concerned about the weather while out cruising. I am a visual person, and its easier for me to understand what's happening when I'm looking at a weather fax. A weather fax and a barometer keep me honest. It's much harder for me to visualize the oncoming weather from a written or spoken forecast.
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Old 24-03-2009, 22:30   #5
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Example

Couldn't do without it. Satphoto is current pos. of hurricane Chris 2006; drawing 24 hr forecast.

p.s. these are downloaded from winlink using a pactor modem so perfect quality. If you use a weatherfax receiver instead, you get some noise but it's cheaper as you don't need a transceiver nor the pactor modem.

These are just two of 13 images you receive every 6 hours from New Orleans.

cheers,
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Old 24-03-2009, 22:45   #6
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Don't leave home without them

I use weatherfax extensively.

Take a look at the web version of the NE Pacific. Absolutely invaluable.

On a passage from Honolulu to the PNW, we checked the weather fax every day to determine if we wanted to make eastings or northings. That was an SSB through a laptop to a printer.

Jack
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Old 24-03-2009, 23:51   #7
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Yes absolutely, even for shorter passages in the Caribbean. I was one of the few boats in Providencia one time pulling in weather faxes; so was one other boat. The other boat was convinced that a window was opening up between northers and convinced a number of other boats to join them. I looked at the same fax and tried to convince a number of boats NOT to go. The other guy was being optimistic IMO.

That night, 3 of the 6 that left limped back into port after being rather beat up by the weather. It's nice to be your own weather guesser instead of relying on somebody elses opinion.
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Old 25-03-2009, 06:23   #8
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In my opinion, it's irresponsible to cruise in unprotected waters without the ability to download, read, and interpret graphic and text weather forecasts, however you get them. It's part of the cruisers' self-reliance ethic.
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Old 25-03-2009, 09:47   #9
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Free wefax software

G'Day, Bob,

I'll add my vote for the necessity of being able to get wefax broadcasts while cruising. All of the "pro" comments above are worth considering. Getting the morning MSL is a regular part of our early AM life on Insatiable II, and I would feel quite vulnerable without it.

There is also a free download wefax program available, one that we have used for years. It is called "JVcomm32", and performs very well indeed. Try a search on that name, and you will find the website for the download. Then all you need is a simple patch cord that runs between the audio output on your receiver and the "line in" or "microphone" input on your laptop.

Good luck with it...

Cheers,
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Old 25-03-2009, 22:07   #10
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Also: if you have an SCS pactor modem, many fax decoding programs for the computer support the pactor modem for receiving the faxes. This way, you don't have to use the audio-ports. I must say that I only see a difference when reception is bad: the pactor is slightly better in that case.

I also think there's much better software than JVcomm if you just want to receive weatherfax and navtex, like Mscan Meteo Pro. This isn't free but not expensive either.

I fully agree with Hud too: study that stuff, there's enough time and there's good books. I barely dare to mention the "Mariners Weather Handbook" from Dashew ;-) It really is a good book though.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 25-03-2009, 22:38   #11
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Guide to undestanding weatherfax

http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/UsersGuide/UG.pdf
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Old 25-03-2009, 23:40   #12
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I also agree that the Wx fax can be very useful, I sometimes cruise in areas where there is no local radio (out of range) and the only way you can get any weather updates is via HF voice or Wx Fax.

The Fax has proved most useful and I have planned several passages utilising this data, all of which made life very easy (and dry). I used the JVComms software into the PC, easy and foolproof.
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Old 01-04-2009, 19:05   #13
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Are weather faxes worth the effort? Or the price?
I live 1076nm (1992km) from the closest transmitter. Some years ago I spent more than 6 months trying to get an acceptable weather fax with a Sony ICF-SW7600, a Sony ICF- SW35 and an iCOM IC-R20 without any success. I have tried many different type of aerials. I have also tried different software. I have concluded in reading the following that getting weather faxes was a too long shot. I am happy to be proved wrong. It will be interesting to find out if Mark in his travel to the North of Oz will be able to receive weather faxes.

Alden AE-3300 Wideband Receiver Icom R2500 Wideband Radio - Power & Motoryacht - Black Box Wideband Receivers
Ground wave: 100 km over land to 300 km over the sea depending on transmitter power. Alden AE 3300 test is between Maine and Boston, a distance of approx 150 nm and according to the report, this is if the propagation is good
Radio wave propagation illustrated
The following illustrations show the characteristics of ground wave and sky wave propagation during day and night time. In each illustration the height of the ionosphere above the ground is shown.
In both illustrations Station A communicates with Stations B, C and D. Propagation from Station A to B is by ground wave. The diagrams illustrate that the ground wave is not affected by the time of day and the height of the ionosphere above the ground.
Propagation from Station A to C and D, however, is by sky-wave and as the diagrams illustrate the sky-wave is significantly affected by the time of day and the height of the ionosphere above the ground.
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Old 26-06-2009, 16:44   #14
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I don't know what I would do without a weather fax. It is invaluable.
I use JVComm32 JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program it`s free software, it works great. I have used other software but I keep going back to JVComm32.
I used to regularly pick up New Orleans when I was in Panama on my ICOMtransceiver. When I hooked up to my Grundig YB 400PE in SSB mode with the atennae extended I would get a very weak intermittant signal. Hooking up a ground to the radio helped somewhat. You might need to be a little off frequency to get the best signal.
If you go to the SailMail site you can download Airmail for free, site is
Airmail Version 3 for Sailmail The software includes a propagation program that predicts the Reliability and Signal to Noise ratios for various times of day and frequencies. You also need to download ICEPAC which is the prediction engine to make it work. It will help you determine which frequency and which broadcast to try to get if you are in fringe areas using a SSB receiver. You probably will only get a signal if the propagation program has a signal to noise ratio of 40 or more (above 90% reliability).
Nothing beats a transceiver for picking up weather faxes. They are expensive but invaluable.
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