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Old 23-08-2013, 05:54   #1
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WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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))
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Old 23-08-2013, 06:24   #2
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

To connect to Sailmail you will need a Pactor modem. The ICOM does not have the modem built in.
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Old 23-08-2013, 06:31   #3
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

The icom is "Pactor Ready", meaning it can be controlled by the Pactor to set the proper frequency and key the transmitter. The Pactor is still necessary to send/receive email.
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Old 23-08-2013, 07:05   #4
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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Originally Posted by Capt.Alex View Post
The Pactor is still necessary to send/receive email.
Unless you have a ham license and use winmor.
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Old 23-08-2013, 07:17   #5
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Unless you have a ham license and use winmor.
or you have a sat phone
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Old 23-08-2013, 12:05   #6
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

A Pactor is a TNC-- a "terminal node controller", basically a radio modem. It's really good and really packed with technology, hence expensive. The M802 is designed to be hooked up to one and be controlled by it -- very convenient.

As someone said, there are software methods of doing the same job, like Winmor, but not nearly as well as the Pactor does it. And for Sailmail, in any case, you will need a Pactor.

Now that the Pactor 4 ("Dragon") modems are out, you ought to be able to find a Pactor II modem (which will probably have been firmware upgraded to Pactor III) for a more reasonable price.

I have a Pactor II USB, which has its own USB port, obviating all the futzing with RS232C port adapters. With the Pactor III firmware, it is still half the throughput of Pactor IV.
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Old 23-08-2013, 12:15   #7
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

I have a PTC-IIusb w/P3 loaded on it. I've had it for a year or so for Ham use before the P4 came out. The P4 is still compatible with the previous speeds and is considered top of the line and would be well worth it if you plan to hold onto it for a very long time. I've talked to a few people with a P4 modem and heard nothing but good things about them. Either way, P3 or P4 will do well for text only emails over HF.
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Old 23-08-2013, 12:21   #8
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

You may be able to do email with just a sound card in a computer. Winmor, the free Ham radio HF email service, has been experimenting with it but have no idea how well it works. Definitely would make it way cheaper than having to buy a Pactor Modem.

I used a Pactor 2e upgraded to a 3 with an Icom 718. Had to buy the serial connector from the US distributor. That made using the Pactor way easier. Had something like $600 in the used Pactor modem, P3 upgrade and proprietary cables by the time it was working. The Winmor email is not painless but it works. Downloaded Gribs all the way to Hawaii and sent daily emails to my wife to allay her fears. A few times took an hour to find a station that propagation would let me hook up with but most of the time could just dial in a frequency and transmit. In any case, sending and recieving was slow. You won't be streaming Netflix on an HF modem.

I did not try Sailmail so no idea if it's any better than Winmor. It functions much the same but is a commercial version done by the same people who developed Winmor.
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Old 23-08-2013, 12:30   #9
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
You may be able to do email with just a sound card in a computer. Winmor, the free Ham radio HF email service, has been experimenting with it but have no idea how well it works. Definitely would make it way cheaper than having to buy a Pactor Modem.

I used a Pactor 2e upgraded to a 3 with an Icom 718. Had to buy the serial connector from the US distributor. That made using the Pactor way easier. The Winmor email is not painless but it works. Downloaded Gribs all the way to Hawaii and sent daily emails to my wife to allay her fears. A few times took an hour to find a station that propagation would let me hook up with but most of the time could just dial in a frequency and transmit. In any case, sending and recieving was slow. You won't be streaming Netflix on an HF modem.

I did not try Sailmail so no idea if it's any better than Winmor. It functions much the same but is a commercial version done by the same people who developed Winmor.
I think you're confusing Winlink with Winmor.

Winlink (or Winlid, to its detractors) is the ham radio email service. It is similar to SailMail, but is more generous about attachments, doesn't have a time limitation, and is free. But you need an amateur radio license to use it, plus a radio which works on ham bands.

Winmor, is a soundcard digital data mode which can be implemented in software -- so, basically, a software modem. It's not nearly as fast or stable as the Pactor modes/hardware, but at free, is certainly a lot cheaper.
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Old 23-08-2013, 12:41   #10
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

Mahalo for the correction. I haven't been up on the HF radio for a couple of years and have forgotten most of what little I know about operating in the ham bands. Have been doing a too extensive rehab on my boat so the radio has been in a box in the box while I work SLOWLY on the boat. So does Winmor work through Winlink, just without the modem??
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Old 23-08-2013, 12:53   #11
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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So does Winmor work through Winlink, just without the modem??
Yes, it does, but the hardware modem from Pactor works better and faster.
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Old 23-08-2013, 13:40   #12
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

From a conversation with Jim Corenman, who is *deeply* involved with the Sailmail technology, I understand that under typical radio conditions the new Pactor-4 is definitely faster than Pactor-3. I can personally tell you that Pactor-3 is in practice faster than Pactor-2 or WINMOR.

If you need to send or receive a significant amount of data (more than a few ten's of kBytes), you will find that the increased throughput of the faster modems can make a big difference in your email performance. Sailmail has usage-time limits, and with Winlink it's not polite to hog the airwaves, so transferring more data in less time is a good thing.

If your needs are modest, such as text-only emails, or small GRIBS, or even small, highly-compressed photos, then the slower modes are perfectly adequate.
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Old 24-08-2013, 08:39   #13
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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.

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Old 24-08-2013, 08:58   #14
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

i am still seeking pactor for an icom 700 i found in mazatlan.... found the at 130 in la cruz---someday soon i will find the pactor.....
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Old 26-08-2013, 00:54   #15
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Re: WHY BUY A PACTOR?

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.
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