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Old 22-04-2016, 14:19   #16
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Re: Offshore weather

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Congrats on the size of your diesel tank ! ;-) Ours is only 35 liters deep (some 7 gallons I think then) - and I can't buy a ssb receiver for 35 bucks ;-(

I like the Eton / Grundig unit heaps, mostly because of the looks, but I did not know it existed when we bought our kit.

http://www.etoncorp.com/sites/defaul...?itok=yXMeSaiW

We have a NASA one. I wish I had bought the audio out version but our Portuguese or Spanish dealer messed up the order ... it still gives usable radiofax via the mic though. What I truly do NOT like is that I have to operate it. I am firmly in the 'no touching' club. Hence my future is likely a two way sat messenger too. Maybe a phone, if I am that filthy rich.

Anyways, our "cheap" NASA ssb unit went mute on the first crossing then got dried out (with a hair dryer) by a skilled French servicemen in le Marin. Ever since, it has been working fine churning out news and radiofaxes in every ocean (except the South Atlantic, which had no coverage).

As re the religious freaks with HUGE ssb masts everywhere in the world ... they must have very very big diesel tanks ;-) I frankly listen only to the Muslim ones (and only when they chant) - I have no idea of what they are singing about, but they make me think of Cockeau Twins twice.

Many happy faces of cheap ssb receivers ;-).

Cheers,
b.
Just put 150 litres in the main tank in the keel today, plus a 25l can and about 70l already in the recently installed day tank that's a few radios. The degen 1103 I got ages ago as been a trouper for many years now, though relegated to more recreational sounds after I went for the full ham license and an ic7000. Still produced good images on a delivery just using a android tablet.
If only those TV dongles could recieve down to wfax frequencies then a raspberry pi could be a cheap viable option, but alas no, you can get down converters but the cost starts creeping up.
I treated myself to a birthday present fun cube dongle plus a while ago, I'm fairly sure you could automatically recieve whatever faxes you want with that and a Raspberry Pi (which is now the main boat nav computer anyway). The fun cube is not that cheap either though.
It will be interesting to see how the ham radio copes with getting gribs for the next few days across biscay. Can you order the ones you want with nice wind?

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Old 22-04-2016, 17:36   #17
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Re: Offshore weather

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post

(...)

just using a android tablet.

(...)

Can you order the ones you want with nice wind?
Hehehe - sure, I will try to talk my 'contacts at NOAA' (my contact, actually) into sending out the ones they normally send in June and July ;-)

BTW how do you feed the signal into your tablet? I have a very basic unit that has 'phones out' but no 'sound in'. But I will be upgrading when battery in this one dies. The one we have I think I could only use by placing it very close to the speaker and using the tablet's mic. Then I can experiment with ftdi chips too on the usb plug.

BTW2 - which Android radiofax app do you like best?

Take care, have fun on the water!
b.
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Old 22-04-2016, 20:10   #18
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Re: Offshore weather

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Hehehe - sure, I will try to talk my 'contacts at NOAA' (my contact, actually) into sending out the ones they normally send in June and July ;-)

BTW how do you feed the signal into your tablet? I have a very basic unit that has 'phones out' but no 'sound in'. But I will be upgrading when battery in this one dies. The one we have I think I could only use by placing it very close to the speaker and using the tablet's mic. Then I can experiment with ftdi chips too on the usb plug.

BTW2 - which Android radiofax app do you like best?

Take care, have fun on the water!
b.
Actually, I quite like that big ridge of high pressure showing up in the Atlantic for the next little while in both the gfs and ecmwf models, so I'll stick with the forecast I've got, thanks

I use Hf weather fax on Android, seems OK, it was just the one which came up in a search and never figured out a way to get sound in other than through the tablet mic, which is actually more sensitive that you'd think. Fine solo but not much fun for the off watch crew if there are any trying to sleep..

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Old 23-04-2016, 00:34   #19
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Re: Offshore weather

You do not say where offshore is. I would agree and disagree with some of the postings depending on where you are going to sail. Chris Parker is not going to help a lot in the Pacific or Navtex may not help in the Carib.
it does make a bit of difference.
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Old 23-04-2016, 02:30   #20
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Re: Offshore weather

Thanks to all for your input. Plan to sail from NZ to east coast of Australia, Brisbane and then up the inside of the Great Barrier Reef up into the South China Sea.
It may be SSB with laptop and Weatherfax 2000 and/or Iridium Go with Predictwind. Or both as redundancy.
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Old 23-04-2016, 03:33   #21
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Re: Offshore weather

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Thanks to all for your input. Plan to sail from NZ to east coast of Australia, Brisbane and then up the inside of the Great Barrier Reef up into the South China Sea.
It may be SSB with laptop and Weatherfax 2000 and/or Iridium Go with Predictwind. Or both as redundancy.
I was thinking getting the GO for weather as it looks good because of the unlimited data contract. Then I realised that my current plans mean I won't be offshore long enough to need "unlimited" and that in an emergency it would be a pain to deal with the GO and iPhone.

The other thing about the GO is that in the next 2 years, the iridium next service will start (hopefully). It's backwards compatible with the old handsets and the GO but it's questionable as to whether the GO will be capable of taking advantage of the higher speeds with Next.

So I started to look at used 9505A's on eBay instead (Aus is a great market for Iridium phones). If in a couple of years I have cruising plans that make a GO seem more "needed" then hopefully there will be a Next version of GO and the handset will live in the grab bag.

I used predictwind last year via mobile data and wifi and will use it this year by satphone when offshore


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Old 23-04-2016, 04:37   #22
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Re: Offshore weather

Both Australia VMC & VMW Radio Fax Schedule and NZ New Zealand's official weather forecasts & warnings - Meteorological Service of New Zealand (MetService) put out excellent voice and fax weather on HF and - in certain areas i.e. all of NZ and bits of Oz - voice on VHF.


There has been a lot of discussion on CF re the radio to buy but my favourite is the Tecsun 880 . Anon-Co are good people to deal with TECSUN PL 880 PLL Multi Conversion Am FM LW SW SSB Radio Black Matte | eBay

If you have a Mac download Cocoamodem cocoaModem

.. if you have a PC get a copy of JVComm32 JVComm32 FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program
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Old 27-04-2016, 02:19   #23
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Re: Offshore weather

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Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
You do not say where offshore is. I would agree and disagree with some of the postings depending on where you are going to sail. Chris Parker is not going to help a lot in the Pacific or Navtex may not help in the Carib.
it does make a bit of difference.
Good point, rfax.pdf weatherfax frequencies doc points towards wfaxes being available globally but I've never looked into the practical usefulness in different areas of the world. Even so, I'd still have an ssb reciever as a must have on a bluewater boat.

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Old 27-04-2016, 07:08   #24
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Re: Offshore weather

radiofax good coverage:

Atlantic North,
Atlantic Tropical
Pacific North,
Pacific South-West (Autralia E)
Indian East (Australia W)

decent:
South Africa

poor and non existent (in my times)
Atlantic South,
Pacific South,
Indian Central,

NOAA and AUS put out best signal. We have also received Deutsche in N Atlantic. RSA not relaible.

Hope this helps,
b.
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Old 29-04-2016, 19:00   #25
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Re: Offshore weather

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Not even close. A delorme inreach with a weather and wave forecast subscription from ocens spotcast is the cheapest, plus allows you to send text messages 24/7. And takes up a hell of a lot les
Not even close. There is absolutely no need to buy anything from OCENS because everything that they sell is repackaged public domain stuff.

The subscriptions that you mention add up to huge sums of money over a few years.

The SSB receiver and a cheap comp to receive weather fax can be had for almost nothing.

There are many cheap ways, but they probably are not the best
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Old 29-04-2016, 19:19   #26
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Re: Offshore weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
radiofax good coverage:

Atlantic North,
Atlantic Tropical
Pacific North,
Pacific South-West (Autralia E)
Indian East (Australia W)

decent:
South Africa

poor and non existent (in my times)
Atlantic South,
Pacific South,
Indian Central,

NOAA and AUS put out best signal. We have also received Deutsche in N Atlantic. RSA not relaible.

Hope this helps,
b.
Chile, very good
South Pacific - decent from Hawaii and NZ. The NZ charts are excellent.

Slight hole between the western limit of Chilean coverage and NZ coverage both in terms of the map and reception.

Predict Wind
========
I'd like to know what people see in Predict Wind. It's just packaged up public domain stuff, unless maybe you are in the US or Europe. It's download
formats are heavy.. I keep looking but I can't see any advantage to it over anything else.. What am I missing?

Original topic
=========
Best step up from an HF receiver and fax program in my opinion is either SSB or satellite phone and learn to use Saildocs properly. If you are ham licensed Saildocs via WL2K becomes completely free (not including the initial outlay).

A cheap weather satellite receiver or scanner and you can receive the NOAA satellites for free too. I like to play with that stuff anyway but once you learn some basics on interpreting the satellite images you can glean a lot of useful information from them; especially in high latitudes. I haven't got the hang of reading the images in the tropics yet and it could be that they are less useful.
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Old 29-04-2016, 19:21   #27
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Re: Offshore weather

OK guilty. I missed the ssb receiver part. As I said i was using the receiver as well to get Chris Parker's forecast. That said, I prefer the Ocens forecast that gives weather, wind, wave and swell forecast in six hour increments for a specific location, or spots along my route. $10 per month. Generally agrees with Chris wind speed and direction forecast, but gives me wave and swell forecast.

The delorme is my tracking tool and satellite communicator. Allows friends and family to know our location, plus text us when we are out of cell range.

So the detail weather and wave forecast for specific locations is available for free, without a phone or internet connection? I send a text via inreach, and it all comes back in about ten minutes.. I think it's worth it. $120 per year.
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Old 29-04-2016, 19:51   #28
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Re: Offshore weather

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So the detail weather and wave forecast for specific locations is available for free, without a phone or internet connection?
The information is freely available via Saildocs and other more convoluted sources. You don't need the internet but you do need to be able to send email or you could set up subscriptions and have a moving spot forecast sent to your device.
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Old 29-04-2016, 20:42   #29
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Re: Offshore weather

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The information is freely available via Saildocs and other more convoluted sources. You don't need the internet but you do need to be able to send email or you could set up subscriptions and have a moving spot forecast sent to your device.
I'll stick with the $10 per month. It takes me ten seconds to text a request for forecast for any lat/long in the world, and received usually 5-10 minutes later. Note that I am more interested in the weather and waves where I am going, than where I am now. And I am aware of some free services available for delorme, but they typically lack the wave and swell height, direction and period data I get from ocens.
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Old 29-04-2016, 23:27   #30
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Re: Offshore weather

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I'll stick with the $10 per month. It takes me ten seconds to text a request for forecast for any lat/long in the world, and received usually 5-10 minutes later. Note that I am more interested in the weather and waves where I am going, than where I am now. And I am aware of some free services available for delorme, but they typically lack the wave and swell height, direction and period data I get from ocens.
Each to their own. But it is worth pointing out that this data is simply not as good as the weather maps available for free over SSB... Because it is just output from the computer models with no human checking.

None of the models are any good at Hurricanes/cyclones and depending on the model over forecast (GFS) or under forecast the winds. The charts or the voice forecasts are from real forecasters and generally more reliable than the models, especially when you get offshore away from all the observing stations and buoys.

I use all the sources I can get my hands one and the fact is, that as many of the other respondents have pointed out, you can get many sources from your SSB - better than relying on one model ...hey?

The cheapest forecast you can get offshore is of course to buy a good barometer and calibrate it properly.
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