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Old 29-02-2012, 08:11   #31
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Re: Weather ... SSB or Sat Phone ?

Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Let's look at a few real world facts
Responses in line:

> 1. Virtually no ships on HF these days. anything useful is on ham bands

Not consistent with my experience. Things are no more nor no less chatty than in the last three decades.

> 2. Link calls to landlines has almost disappeared, ham still has them but
> primarily in the US. Certainly in Europe There is no mf links left and I'm
> not sure even if lyngby are doing link calls.

In the US you can get easy ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship from at $0.99/minute, not minimum, no fees. I believe there is a Med facility also but I don't have the data in hand.

Ham is still easy and free.

> 3. An iSatphone phone costs 440 dollars with calls at about $1 /minute.
> A new SSB installation is well over $4000 if you include back stay
> modifications, pactor etc. buy a lot of sat airtime with the difference.
> You'd buy two isatphones for the price of a pactor modem alone

Apples and oranges. Most cruisers rapidly become disenchanted with their handheld sat phones and add car kits, marine antennas, data cords, and more. The total installation costs end up being pretty close to the same.

> 4. Leisure HF is most definitely on the decline, stats like boats so
> equipped on the ARC show a steady drift to sat phone. Sat phones have
> been in the majority in the recent years a compete turnaround from 10
> years ago.

I can't speak to the ARC so I'll have to take you at your word. Traffic on the marine and ham nets is not down.

> 5. For weather a sat phone and data connection is far more useful then

Free synoptic charts and GRiBs (if you swing that way) over HF e-mail vice pay as you go on sat phones. How is that more useful? You can get everything that sat phones offer cheaper over HF.

> 6. As to HF/MF cruiser nets. In my experience they seem to be on the
> decline ( I'm a ham radio operator) maybe due to the increase in sat
> phones. There still are many impromptu VHF nets anyway.

My experience differs.

S/V Auspicious
SSCA Annapolis Cruising Station
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Old 29-02-2012, 14:52   #32
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Re: Weather ... SSB or Sat Phone ?

Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Hang on Island Hopper, You seem to have forgotten the requirements of GMDSS. Thank you but i haven't forgotten anything.....

Certainly here in Eurup, I find that unless I generate a MF/HF DSC call my MF/HF call will go unanswered. This is because of course under IMO/GMDSS rules there is no mandatory listening watch on MF/HF, whereas the provisions were extended for VHF. That may be the case in Europe but not the rest of the world, mandatory or not all equipment including MF/HF is on and being watched 24/7.......including sat phone, which does not ring......just because it is not mandatory to do so does not make it so, on my bridge you will be keeping a MF/HF watch...period....

Secondly according to various bodies and a read of the very good, nearly 99% of MF/HF DSC alerts are false, to such an extent that the very system is under question. Agree but i would not go anywhere near 99%, in fact lately the incidence of false alarms has dropped significantly, the last two we received when i was on board proved genuine. The system has always been under review, it was never said to be perfect from the start.....but i have heard of no plans for the scrapping MF/ plans exist to date as far as i know.....

Immarsat EGC system, widely used for safety and distress alerting has, as an alternative worked really well. The vast vast majority of ship to shore traffic is now Sat based. Agreed as far as the EGC goes....but not Sat phone use, we go months on end without it ringing at all.....

I was making the point, that on a lot of modern bridges Inmarsat M ( or A/B) is used to meet the GMDSS carriage requirements ( and YES your phone number is published in the ITU quides - BTW). I know about the ITU guides thanks, and where to find mine and others numbers, we are required to carry the things you know...! will a yachtie have these on hand, will they be required to carry them ?

For Yachties, ordinary non-approved sat phones such as LEO systems or Isatphone, do fine for rescue. The whole purpose of GMDSS was to remove the need to try and contact surrounding ships, BUT TO CONTACT THE RCC This seems to be repeatedly forgotten by people still with old SOLAS concepts. Old maybe, but fortunatly still very valid.....plucking people from the water will always overide protocol....a sister ship of ours pulled three souls from the water while the RCC was still trying to organise itself, and copped a rebuke (from RCC) for not following protocol, it's a long story but in a nutshell the investigation resulted in the RCC being told to pull it's socks up......RCC organisational balls ups are not unknown.....

Hence you program up your non GMDSS sat phone with a convenient MRCC number, i.e. Falmouth or Haliifax, ring them ( not relying on dodgy HF, or maybe your in a lifeboat) , They then set off the appropriate rescue assets, including local ships ( via AMVER etc) and SAR etc. YOU DO not need to broadcast distress. In fact on MF/HF this has brought the system to its knees. Again, not in my experiance where i operate....maybe Europe needs to get itself sorted out....

The fact is that a modern non-compulsory fit sat phone, will do the average leisure user fine, in weather info, in face to face comms, and in rescue situations, backed up by a conventional DSC VHF unit. This is the most useful, most cost effective trans-ocean system we have.

Im not deriding MF/HF I'm an instructing GOC , i used to teach it and I'm an amateur and I have ( or used to have) on my boat a full Ham and MF/HF and sat phone setup. But thats just me. Its not at all necessary for the average person to have MF/HF in any way and still be able to communicate simply, reliability and conveniently.

as to commercial MF/HF. I still hear a chatter on MF mainly from fishing boats suffering from A2 carriage requirements. I hear almost nothing on HF. Well that must be a Euro thing again, seems to be still very popular where i work/play....

Ogh, an now that Inmarsat have a low cost sat phone service, how long do you think it will be before GMDSS rules allow it, instead of MF/HF, not long I think given the clout that organization has with COMSAR and the IMO/ITU unfortunately low cost usage does not equate to free usage, and while i am not exactly broke, the thought of signing up for another bill ****s me to tears, when i go cruising the idea is to reduce the bills, not add to them.....

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Old 29-02-2012, 15:08   #33
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Re: Weather ... SSB or Sat Phone ?

Island Hopper,

Must be a Europe thing. Certainly in Pacific HF is still important.
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Old 29-02-2012, 15:37   #34
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Re: Weather ... SSB or Sat Phone ?

Originally Posted by downunder View Post
Island Hopper,

Must be a Europe thing. Certainly in Pacific HF is still important.
Yes, i must confess while at work to tuning in and listening to a 2 or 3 way (and more) conversation between the ladies.....describing their activities in exotic places.....very depressing....

Can you have a party line with a Sat Phone?.....

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