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Old 11-12-2018, 22:19   #1
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Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

Looking at the options of getting weather offshore and in remote moorings. I love the idea of the ssb weather fax, but can imagine that setting up the laptop and fumbling with a sw radio everyday is not the most reliable.

Then I stumbled across the furuno nav net fax 30. A box that from what I can tell does all the tuning for you. I think you just connect it to a laptop with fax software or a chart plotter and it does it all for you. Is that right?

And it works out way cheaper than setting up an ssb radio, or an irridium go unit with predict wind subscription.

Am I being naive? Or missing something? Anyone with first-hand experience vouch for their reliability? How to wire them up? Alternative models?
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Old 11-12-2018, 23:26   #2
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

Hmmmmm....
I'll ignore the iridium option as I'm not familiar with the costs involved...

Lets look at SSB receiver v Furuno...

A good SSB receiver will cost about $200 for top of the line...... https://www.universal-radio.com/cata...able/0088.html
Furuno will cost $2k or so https://www.marine-deals.com.au/weat...avtex-receiver
A computer is needed whichever you choose...
Free software such as Cocoamodem is available for the Mac or you could buy something like this JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program ( this NOAA site gives a comprehensive list of programs...here NWS Radiofax )

Get frequencies from here.. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/rfax.pdf enter ones of interest into your radio's memory....

Whichever way you go you still have to decide which station/freq you want to receive...

So if you buy an SSB capable radio rather than the Furuno you will have somewhere on the high side of $1500 left in your pocket.....

And you will be able to listen to the news on the BBC... can't do that with the Furuno....

For an HF based solution the radio wins.....
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:17   #3
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Hmmmmm....
I'll ignore the iridium option as I'm not familiar with the costs involved...

Lets look at SSB receiver v Furuno...

A good SSB receiver will cost about $200 for top of the line...... https://www.universal-radio.com/cata...able/0088.html
Furuno will cost $2k or so https://www.marine-deals.com.au/weat...avtex-receiver
A computer is needed whichever you choose...
Free software such as Cocoamodem is available for the Mac or you could buy something like this JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program ( this NOAA site gives a comprehensive list of programs...here NWS Radiofax )

Get frequencies from here.. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/rfax.pdf enter ones of interest into your radio's memory....

Whichever way you go you still have to decide which station/freq you want to receive...

So if you buy an SSB capable radio rather than the Furuno you will have somewhere on the high side of $1500 left in your pocket.....

And you will be able to listen to the news on the BBC... can't do that with the Furuno....

For an HF based solution the radio wins.....

Thanks for those thoughts. Not sure my research tallies with those numbers. On ebay the furuno is 400us. Still more than a good ssb receiver. You're right.



But I'm worried about how finicky it is to make time on schedule, tune the radio, scan, miss the start... And then you can go a day without weather. I'd be happy to pay for a box that just does it all automatically and has the charts ready for me when I connect the laptop.



Furno is old school in terms of memory, only holds 12 images in the memory. According to manual. So I have questions about its practicality too on a frequency broadcasting 20 charts a day.
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:02   #4
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

If you want SSB weatherfax, I'd go with the printer style FAX-408. You can use the built in program schedule and just let it do its thing.... Tune, start, and print your weather info as they come in.

We have the Furuno 208a (does not work currently) on board, but only use the Iridium GO since its Weatherfax picture from NOAA is always clear, we can get it anytime we want, and we get GRIB files and emails at the same time. It's just easier to use for us.

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Old 12-12-2018, 10:07   #5
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

Weather fax are xmit twice a day.
So, even if you missed the prime time, there ia later in the day another re-emission of the map.

An you can hook to a different station to get the data at another time of the day.

Here is neat way to do it using an iPad and a basic radio HF receiver (scroll down the page to view the setup):

Réception de cartes fac-similé
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:11   #6
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

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Originally Posted by andypag View Post
Thanks for those thoughts. Not sure my research tallies with those numbers. On ebay the furuno is 400us. Still more than a good ssb receiver. You're right.



But I'm worried about how finicky it is to make time on schedule, tune the radio, scan, miss the start... And then you can go a day without weather. I'd be happy to pay for a box that just does it all automatically and has the charts ready for me when I connect the laptop.



Furno is old school in terms of memory, only holds 12 images in the memory. According to manual. So I have questions about its practicality too on a frequency broadcasting 20 charts a day.
Second hand Furunos are +/- $US400... new ones are not that cheap....

The ability to set and forget is good... however the Cocoamodem program will stop and start recording by itself ... you do however have to have your laptop turned on....

Major issue would be knowing what frequency to use... all OK once you are up and running but finding best time of day and a frequency to match could be an issue if you haven't done this before...

If I was starting from scratch I would be very tempted to go down the Iridium road...

Failing that I would start with a portable SSB such as the one I suggested which is the pick of the bunch.......
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Old 12-12-2018, 13:32   #7
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

So good to see your very smart choice to recieve Weather Faxes. So many these days are relying on the various computer models which while they start out utilizing the local meterologists weather information, they run on on the algorithms developed by each service. When a front approaches they become worthless and in the tropics fronts arrive quickly. With a weather fax a meterologist has had his hands on the weather situation at least twice a day. When you are talking about money spent 200.00-500.00 a year just for the subscription of say Predict Wind. Wouldn’t take long to pay for what ever equipment you might buy and have a far more accurate picture of the weather. Another way you could go is say Iridium Go and pay 200.00 a year for Sail Mail which you can order up weather products including Weather Faxes as much as you want. A bit of a learning curve tho.
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Old 12-12-2018, 13:36   #8
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

Whether you have a dedicated weatherfax receiver or not, you are going to want to have a method to receive GRIB weather models. For this you need a digital connection, either sattelite based or SSB pactor or winmor.
Weatherfaxs go out something like 72 or 96 hours. GRIBs go out a week or more, are easier to read and available world wide.
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Old 12-12-2018, 13:43   #9
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

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Originally Posted by philiosophy View Post
Another way you could go is say Iridium Go and pay 200.00 a year for Sail Mail which you can order up weather products including Weather Faxes as much as you want. A bit of a learning curve tho.

You don't need a sailmail account to get weatherfaxes over iridium GO. Saildocs.com (sailmail) does it for free.

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Old 12-12-2018, 13:52   #10
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

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Weatherfaxs go out something like 72 or 96 hours. GRIBs go out a week or more, are easier to read and available world wide.
GRIB can go 14 days. But anything more than 4 days is like crystal ball. GRIB are just spit out of the computers. No meteorologist verification or hand drawing of front, gales, new low coming in...

Sometime an expert view is just better than a basic GRIB. To me weatherfax is added value to GRIB.
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Old 12-12-2018, 14:02   #11
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

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GRIB can go 14 days. But anything more than 4 days is like crystal ball. GRIB are just spit out of the computers. No meteorologist verification or hand drawing of front, gales, new low coming in...

Sometime an expert view is just better than a basic GRIB. To me weatherfax is added value to GRIB.
Different models go out for different lengths. When planning a passage info greater than 4 days is still useful, especially if multiple models show the movements in a similar fashion. Its exactly what the forecasters start with before any updates for a WeatherFax.
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Old 12-12-2018, 14:11   #12
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

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Originally Posted by philiosophy View Post
So good to see your very smart choice to recieve Weather Faxes. So many these days are relying on the various computer models which while they start out utilizing the local meterologists weather information, they run on on the algorithms developed by each service. When a front approaches they become worthless and in the tropics fronts arrive quickly. With a weather fax a meterologist has had his hands on the weather situation at least twice a day. When you are talking about money spent 200.00-500.00 a year just for the subscription of say Predict Wind. Wouldn’t take long to pay for what ever equipment you might buy and have a far more accurate picture of the weather. Another way you could go is say Iridium Go and pay 200.00 a year for Sail Mail which you can order up weather products including Weather Faxes as much as you want. A bit of a learning curve tho.
I think you have that backwards. The weather readings from around tbe world including satellite passes are fed into the grib models multiple times a day. The local forecasters start with the grib outputs and make up the weatherfaxes from them, adding more graphics and local judgement.

I don't get your statement that when a front approaches gribs are useless. You can certainly see front predictions on gribs. There exact timing is always plus or minus. The actual conditions are simple to determine, look out the port hole.
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Old 12-12-2018, 16:45   #13
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Hmmmmm....
I'll ignore the iridium option as I'm not familiar with the costs involved...

Lets look at SSB receiver v Furuno...

A good SSB receiver will cost about $200 for top of the line...... https://www.universal-radio.com/cata...able/0088.html
Furuno will cost $2k or so https://www.marine-deals.com.au/weat...avtex-receiver
A computer is needed whichever you choose...
Free software such as Cocoamodem is available for the Mac or you could buy something like this JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program ( this NOAA site gives a comprehensive list of programs...here NWS Radiofax )

Get frequencies from here.. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/rfax.pdf enter ones of interest into your radio's memory....

Whichever way you go you still have to decide which station/freq you want to receive...

So if you buy an SSB capable radio rather than the Furuno you will have somewhere on the high side of $1500 left in your pocket.....

And you will be able to listen to the news on the BBC... can't do that with the Furuno....

For an HF based solution the radio wins.....
With the current administration, and the fact that Barry Myers, the chief executive of the private weather forecasting company AccuWeather, has been nominated chairman of NOAA, I wouldn't invest in anything that depends on free public access to weather data. It may go away in a heartbeat. I'm surprised our coastal VHF weather radios don't have coin slots to pay for the information (don't tell Barry about that idea).

The big shippers already pay for private access to weather data. We are such a small community, no one is going to listen if we scream about a service going away. They're shutting down WWV and its marine weather advisories by voice next year, and no one seems to care.

The BBC has stopped broadcasting to North and South America via HF ("shortwave"). You may still pick them up on the fringes, but their transmitters are very directional, and they are directing away from us. They assume (incorrectly) that everyone has BBC access via the Internet or broadcast stations. You can access the BBC via XM Radio (but that coverage is limited to the XM satellite footprint).

As much as we Americans are paying in taxes, it shouldn't be such a PIA to access weather charts at sea. There is no technical reason it can't be broadcast in a consumable form via satellite. But private-sector companies like AccuWeather are doing all they can to limit free public access. Gotta love "privatization" (profiteering). The taxpayers pay the bill for all the weather data gathering, and then AccuWeather sells it back to us, with their CEO at the helm. Ingenious!
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Old 12-12-2018, 17:01   #14
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

On board Sea Rover we have a Furuno Fax-207 which the previous owner put on the boat. We also have a SSB/Pactor. While on past passages with just these two products I loved the Fax printer as it was so nice to get up in the morning to a printed strip of 3 synoptic charts. I would then decide what other weather products I needed for the day and download them using the pactor.
On our last passage we purchased a Go. Given that you can get free, clear (interference free) images from Saildocs, we found no need to run the WFax. At almost $3000 for a new one I would never recommend a normal cruiser buying one, in fact the US govt just sent out requests for boaters to justify continuing to broadcast them.
If you've only got budget for one, I'd get the Go and spend no more than $100 on a good HF receiver that you can hook up to your computer... OpenCPN has the frequencies and schedule built in.
Even if you've got the budget for both I'd still get an SSB before I even considered the WFax. If you can find a WFax for $400 used you'll be able to find a good SSB for the same price.
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Old 12-12-2018, 17:03   #15
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Re: Furuno weather fax 30 v irridium go

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Isn't weather fax range limited to about 250 miles from a station (a little more at night)? With the current administration, and the fact that Barry Myers, the chief executive of the private weather forecasting company AccuWeather, has been nominated chairman of NOAA, I wouldn't invest in anything that depends on free access to weather data. It may go away in a heartbeat.

The BBC has stopped broadcasting to North and South America via HF ("shortwave"). They assume (incorrectly) that everyone has access via the Internet or broadcast stations. You can access the BBC via XM Radio (but that coverage is limited to the XM satellite footprint).

As much as we Americans are paying in taxes, it shouldn't be such a PIA to access weather charts at sea. But private-sector companies like AccuWeather are doing all they can to limit free public access. Gotta love "privatization" (profiteering).
Range of wefax broadcasts depends largely on frequency and time of day....

Right time of day the Honolulu and Nola broadcasts can be received in Patagonia..... not that they are much use as the charts only go 20*S

Ditto SW radio... I get the BBC African service for about two hours every afternoon..
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