Originally Posted by DumnMad
For crossing the Tasman; the old hands who I listen to just say use the 7 day forecasts to help choose favorable weather patterns for the leaving date to give good sailing a few days and be ready for the crap that will most likely get you before you've finished. They liked ssb but I'm doubtful they regarded as an essential safety tool.
I've sailed across the Tasman 10 times now (not including the years on big ships), 3 times mid winter in smaller yachts (26,28 and 34 foot). Ive always listened to the forcasts on HF daily. Makes a nice little ritual, and a good routine for the evenings when reception
is often better.
I used to handplot the positions of the highs, lows and fronts. From the voice version of this type of thinghttp://www.bom.gov.au/vic/forecasts/sehighseas.shtml
recorded onto a tapedeck off the radio
, or written down very fast... Tie this in with the barometer, clouds, swell and wind
and you have a decent idea of whats around you. Often got me out of the worst of the crap, or at least it gave me a good idea of the amount of crap I was in for!
Life got much easier when I got a little laptop
and hooked my HF reciever up to it and got weather faxes. Now that was a marvel, saved all that tedious hand plotting and showed all the isobars and features.
We used to have to solder up a little demodulator to convert the signal into something the computer could understand (and load up an old DOS program off a floppy disk), but now a $5 cord and some free software
like JV comm does the trick. It even looks like a cheap
tablet can be used these days with a clever app that listens to the radio
instead of a laptop and a cord. Neat!
So this has to be the cheapest system when you are out of range of VHf
and cell phone
Ive been very impressed by GMNs grib service
over satphone, coupled with skyeye to directly view the satellite images
as they pass overhead you have an awesome idea whats happening even in remote parts
of the world. This has to be the simplest and most effective system I have used.
But the old weatherfaxes still work well, especially when they are coupled with the high seas voice forcast to get an idea of windspeeds.
I am interested in how these new text based satcoms like yellowbrick and stuff will develop in the future. They may become a very cost effective way to get good weather info, but for now its hard to beat the free stuff over the radio.