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Old 18-10-2012, 01:24   #1
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Best method while offshore with weather maps

Hi all.
I have heard there are some new devices that are ideal for getting weather maps and grid files. Because offshore sailing can be so uncomfortable and dangerous the weather it seems is one of the most important aspects to offshore sailing.
Would there be some sailors out there that would be happy to share their methods to receive weather information while sailing offshore.
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Old 18-10-2012, 04:32   #2
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I currently use Sailmail SSB for weather text and GRIB data. Someday soon, before the next major sea voyage, I'll probably switch to a SatPhone.

Note: Sailing offshore is not "dangerous". Driving to the mini-mart is dangerous.
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Old 19-10-2012, 18:44   #3
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Re: Best method while offshore with weather maps

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Originally Posted by daddle View Post
I currently use Sailmail SSB for weather text and GRIB data. Someday soon, before the next major sea voyage, I'll probably switch to a SatPhone.

Note: Sailing offshore is not "dangerous". Driving to the mini-mart is dangerous.
I helped install an APT receiver (icom PCR 1500) with a Quadrifilar Helix antenna and a PC running WxToImg on a friends sail boat.... Real time weather.... Free of charge...

For some great picts (not my friends set up) check out wzdave.com. This is a private site in the Bay Area (California) that has realtime daily satellite images, and post processing showing the information that one can get.
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:28   #4
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Re: Best method while offshore with weather maps

Thanks EzzyD
WxToImg looks ideal for what i want cheers for that.

Daddle i too am thinking of keeping my SSB and getting a Sat phone because of its mobility and another backup
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:32   #5
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Re: Best method while offshore with weather maps

Ham and SSB have their own advantages; another topic entirely. Also, my answer is very wrapped around my job so my gear is a little fancier than most; if I had to pay for this stuff myself I wouldn't have half of it.

I have a world data plan on a quad band phone so that handles anything in cell range. Outside of that, I use an Iridium 9555 almost every day for talking to my office.

I wrote a small (like ridiculously small) software application that downloads weather charts in chunks, because sat phone downloads are notoriously slow and buggy. I keep my links like this:

http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/fax/PJBA99.gif
http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/fax/PKFA88.gif

, then the little app just buzzes through and downloads them with compression. Works for me.
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:59   #6
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Re: Best method while offshore with weather maps

Interesting rebel heart
I did here that a 9555 wasnt too bad at receiving weather data as in time wise. But I suppose it can change with position and atmosphere. Being offshore out of cellphone range i am trying to find out if there is another other methods with receiving the weather faxes. If there is another device that can receive from Satellites.
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Old 21-10-2012, 20:16   #7
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Re: Best method while offshore with weather maps

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Interesting rebel heart
I did here that a 9555 wasnt too bad at receiving weather data as in time wise. But I suppose it can change with position and atmosphere. Being offshore out of cellphone range i am trying to find out if there is another other methods with receiving the weather faxes. If there is another device that can receive from Satellites.
I think a lot depends on your tolerance, expectations, and antenna. If you have a fixed marine antenna up high on a bimini arch or radar post that's a lot better than the little magnet mount remote. The boat bounces around and the satellites come in and out of view, so you can drop connections easily.

Part of my deal is that I have a ~200 minutes/month plan, so I don't mind eating into the minutes for weather. Other folks are more stingy (and rightfully so) with their satellite time.

If you want to bypass satellite phones you can use a short wave radio receiver plugged into a laptop with some software. Few hundred bucks that way.
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Old 21-10-2012, 22:51   #8
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Re: Best method while offshore with weather maps

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I have a world data plan on a quad band phone so that handles anything in cell range.
Who makes your world data plan?

I used to use Sprint's "North America" data plan to get a gig of free roaming in Mexico, but it wasn't worldwide.
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