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Old 26-08-2013, 03:44   #16
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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I'm fitting our boat for an RTW. And I'll need to send/receive e-mails (maybe some photos, but these could normally wait until we reached a harbour with a good internet connection). I definitely need to be able to download grib files (daily). I have my LRC (I suppose I should just get a ham license also - I mean - how hard can it be?) As near as I can tell, the Icom 802 can be "opened" and used for both SSB and Ham operation.
The M802 can be "opened" with two keystrokes -- it's made to be used on both ham and marine bands, but it's not supposed to be the most convenient ham HF transceiver as it doesn't have a real VFO.

I got my amateur radio license for exactly this purpose and I'm glad I did.

With an amateur license, you will be able to send and receive non-business emails for free and without the time limits imposed by SailMail. Plus you can participate in maritime mobile nets, and not just listen to them.

So yes, get the amateur radio license and a PACTOR modem.

As to how hard it is -- I passed all three U.S. tests in one sitting after several days (a long weekend) of extremely intense cramming. That is without any math or engineering background, so starting from zero with radio engineering concepts. For me it was hard (harder than the bar exam), but for someone with any clue about math or engineering I would think not too bad. I have no idea if the European tests are harder or easier.
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Old 26-08-2013, 04:27   #17
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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I am getting ready to drop the two and a half boat bucks for an ICOM802 plus tuner. Looking at the description in the catalog, it says the radio is set up for e-mail transmission/reception. I says nothing about needing a Pactor or other modem.

So why does everyone (apparently) have a Pactor or similar to receive e-mail? Am I just missing something? (Probably - happens all the time - just ask my wife (sigh))
You are dropping two and a half boat bucks on a world of frustration and sometimes pain. Get a 15 dB WIFI antenna for when you are in port and an Iridium satphone for when you are at sea (modem built in.)
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Old 26-08-2013, 05:53   #18
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For a RTW add what Lake Sup suggests. Its true that some people find HF radio painfull, while others extract a great deal of usefullness, pleasure, and satisfaction from it. The two can certainly complement each other, but in what ratio will depend on your personal inclinations.
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Old 26-08-2013, 07:37   #19
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" Looking at the description in the catalog, it says the radio is set up for e-mail transmission/reception"

This setting on the M802 is not used with a Pactor modem. In fact I have never come across a good use for it. I think it sets up the radio with a narrow receive filter, but there is no intrinsic email capability.
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Old 26-08-2013, 08:41   #20
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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Originally Posted by SoonerSailor View Post
" Looking at the description in the catalog, it says the radio is set up for e-mail transmission/reception"

This setting on the M802 is not used with a Pactor modem. In fact I have never come across a good use for it. I think it sets up the radio with a narrow receive filter, but there is no intrinsic email capability.
The "E-Mail" button on the M802 is made to invoke various settings which are good for use with a Pactor modem:

1. Special narrow filter
2. Correct mode
3. Memorized Sailmail or Winlink station channels.

It's not necesary by any means but saves a good bit of fiddling.

But that's not the only way the M802 is "set up for email" -- it has an interface and second serial port which allows the Pactor modem to control it. I think it's quite a bit more convenient to use with a Pactor modem than most other SSB radios.
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Old 26-08-2013, 09:08   #21
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You do not want a narrow filter for use with Pactor 3, or perhaps even Pactor 2 IIRC - they use pretty much a full 2.4 kHz bandwith. Perhaps in the days of Pactor 1 it would have been appropriate, but the current line of SCS modems do not need this mode and neither would Winmor if you managed to use it with the M802. In any event, with the SCS modem controlling the radio, it makes the appropriate settings automatically, so no need for the "EMAIL" button.
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Old 26-08-2013, 09:18   #22
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

Carstenb,

In addition to the times spent on long passages, there are a number of places around the world where, if you like to get off the beaten path, you will find yourself out of internet range. As you approach civilization, yes, the wifi antennas will allow you to have internet somewhat sooner. But 15 mi range, is only 3 hrs. sail in a slow boat...

The greater your need for out of the way places, the more useful the Pactor/winlink link will be, so IMO, getting the ham license and using ham radio for that, at least, makes sense, as stated above by Dockhead. In addition, we have found that by participating in ham nets, we sometimes make contacts with shore-based folks in areas new to us. Such contacts can be fun, and have been helpful to us as well.

Ann
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Old 26-08-2013, 09:50   #23
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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Originally Posted by SoonerSailor View Post
You do not want a narrow filter for use with Pactor 3, or perhaps even Pactor 2 IIRC - they use pretty much a full 2.4 kHz bandwith. Perhaps in the days of Pactor 1 it would have been appropriate, but the current line of SCS modems do not need this mode and neither would Winmor if you managed to use it with the M802. In any event, with the SCS modem controlling the radio, it makes the appropriate settings automatically, so no need for the "EMAIL" button.
Yes, true, if you set up the radio through the Pactor. I forgot about that.

I think the Email button, if you use it, can be programmed for just the filter you need. The filtering in the M802 is done with DSP.
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Old 27-08-2013, 01:18   #24
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

Ok, so I guess I do need to buy a Pactor. Next question. Thee things sell for anywhere between 1200 and 1900 bucks, depending on which kind. Is there any advantage in blowing 1900 for the Dragon with bluetooth? (I am aware that with the bluetooth, you don't need to hardwire your pc up). We will be going RTW and we are planning on a 5 year voyage, and we do expect to visit out-of-the-way places.

Aside from communication, we want the SSB for safety reasons (DSC).
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Old 27-08-2013, 04:07   #25
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Ok, so I guess I do need to buy a Pactor. Next question. Thee things sell for anywhere between 1200 and 1900 bucks, depending on which kind. Is there any advantage in blowing 1900 for the Dragon with bluetooth? (I am aware that with the bluetooth, you don't need to hardwire your pc up). We will be going RTW and we are planning on a 5 year voyage, and we do expect to visit out-of-the-way places.

Aside from communication, we want the SSB for safety reasons (DSC).
The bluetooth is to avoid using USB. USB operates at a frequency which can interfere with the signals. Unfortunately, no one makes computers with RS-232 ports anymore (you can build one, however). Therefore people use USB, and sometimes have problems with interference.

If I were you, I would probably start off with a used Pactor II (which should have been upgraded to Pactor III in firmware). It will be much cheaper and should be quite fast enough for plain text email. If the speed chafes, then you can sell it and upgrade later.
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Old 27-08-2013, 06:12   #26
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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I was involved in early testing with WINMOR, and have used both that and a Pactor 3 modem for digital communication.

Under ideal conditions, WINMOR is faster than Pactor 2 and not too far from Pactor 3. Under typical conditions, WINMOR is pretty close to Pactor 2 in speed.

Pactor 2/3 has the advantage over WINMOR of many more potential RMS (remote mail servers) to connect to. If you don't stray too far from North America, don't need to conduct business for financial gain via email, and your needs are not too time critical WINMOR may serve you well, otherwise a SCS Pactor modem is what you will want to use - be it on the WINLINK network or the SAILMAIL network.

Then there is the Satphone, which I have no personal experience with and have not rued the absence of.

Chip
What does this mean for European would-be users ? I would only be setting it up for fun for the moment, so Winmor & Winlink would do for me, being a HAM with someuser experience on digi modes via soundcard.

Jan
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Old 27-08-2013, 06:35   #27
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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What does this mean for European would-be users ? I would only be setting it up for fun for the moment, so Winmor & Winlink would do for me, being a HAM with someuser experience on digi modes via soundcard.

Jan
Well, by all means, go for it.

If I understand the technical reasons correctly, the reason the Pactor modem works better than sound card modes is that extremely precise control of timing of the signalling is needed for higher speeds. In the Pactor modem, this is implemented in hardware -- by a dedicated processor -- whereas in Winmor and other sound card modes, it is implemented in software by shared resources (computer CPU).

Someone who better understands might want to correct this if it is wrong or oversimplified.
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Old 27-08-2013, 06:40   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goudurix View Post

What does this mean for European would-be users ? I would only be setting it up for fun for the moment, so Winmor & Winlink would do for me, being a HAM with someuser experience on digi modes via soundcard.

Jan
No probs updating position report and downloading gribs in uk over winlink on RMS with an icom 7000. Think it was German stations. RMS is quite a nice piece of software, it will suggest to best station to try. No very quick but saves a lot of money on a pactor, and what's the rush anyway.
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Old 27-08-2013, 06:48   #29
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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.....
If I were you, I would probably start off with a used Pactor II (which should have been upgraded to Pactor III in firmware). It will be much cheaper and should be quite fast enough for plain text email. ...
If you can find a used one in good condition, then this will be the cheaper route. If you are buying new, then you might as well spring for the Pactor 4 over the P3 for an extra US$350 and enjoy the extra speed.
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Old 27-08-2013, 06:52   #30
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

Hi Conachair,

you mean the "RMS Express" software?

Jan
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