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Old 01-02-2014, 19:30   #1
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portable SSB

We are heading off into the Caribbean for a few years and our boat does not have an SSB. Short of the 4k permanent instal has anyone had success getting weather on a portable unit and what brand do you prefer? My goal is to use the unit to get weather reports when I cannot receive a cell/internet signal. Suggestion?
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Old 01-02-2014, 19:56   #2
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Re: portable SSB

I have a Kaito KA1103 Worldband Radio which you can buy on amazon for less than $80. You can listen to Chris Parker on 8104 and 8137 if I remember correctly. It is not the same has having a proper SSB installed but if you are patient you will be able to hear him most days.
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Old 01-02-2014, 22:57   #3
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Re: portable SSB

If you would like a portable radio of better quality, this is my choice.
>>> Sangean FM-RDS (RBDS)/MW/LW/SW PLL Synthesized Receiver, White ATS909X
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Old 01-02-2014, 23:09   #4
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Re: portable SSB

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Originally Posted by Dave852 View Post
I have a Kaito KA1103 Worldband Radio which you can buy on amazon for less than $80. You can listen to Chris Parker on 8104 and 8137 if I remember correctly. It is not the same has having a proper SSB installed but if you are patient you will be able to hear him most days.
+1 for that radio, build quality may be better with others but if you read up the ham reviews the selectability etc is very high. A cheap android/apple app will decode weatherfax for you.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:33   #5
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Re: portable SSB

I used a Sony SW 7600 for over 10 years and was very pleased with it. It died this spring. I asked the same question your are in a couple of places. Read lots of reviews and in the end bought another Sony SW 7600. I bought it from Amazon, about $130. It seems to be the one all the others are compared to. It picks up Chris Parker fine. We also have satellite weather on our boat, you can see a storm approaching in real time. As well wind speed and direction, wave height and on and on.

Bob
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Old 05-02-2014, 15:10   #6
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Re: portable SSB

We have an oldish NASA receiver. They are about USD 300 or there about. OK for voice and fax.

Today I would buy an Eton I think. Same price, better specs.

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Old 05-02-2014, 15:44   #7
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Re: portable SSB

Second the Sony SW7600, on my second one in 24 years. Think the first one rusted out after 15 years or so. Great little receiver. Have heard good things about Sangeans and I bought one of their portable am/fm jobs last year, took 6 AA batteries, no lock on the damn thing and it would start in my backpack. Very disappointed with the am reception. Bought a little Sony am/fm, only 2 AA and reception far better than the Sangean. I listen to US am radio at night from the Bahamas. I only use my Sony SW7600 for ssb reception although it does have good am reception, but I save it for the weather and nets and occasional SW broadcasts.
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Old 05-02-2014, 16:48   #8
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Re: portable SSB

We started with a Sony then moved to the Kaito.

The Sony is a better radio but it seemed like it impossible to store on a smallish boat without accidentally setting the alarm. The button is on the face of the radio so if you bump while putting it away you are going to be woken up at some ungodly hour.

I was ready to throw the damn thing overboard after being woken up in the middle of the night for the upteenth time but held my fire and sold it on eBay instead.

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Old 06-02-2014, 08:25   #9
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Re: portable SSB

Bite the bullet. Had a good friend loose his boat going aground off Honduras out of VHF range but within 100 miles many fellow boaters that would have gone to help him had he had an SSB. In area like the San Blas the SSB is used for nets and talk between boats.
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Old 06-02-2014, 15:02   #10
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Re: portable SSB

How does the Eton Satellite 750 compare to the Sangean or the Sony radio in terms of features and sensitivity?
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Old 06-02-2014, 16:12   #11
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Re: portable SSB

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Originally Posted by Frozen Chosen View Post
We are heading off into the Caribbean for a few years and our boat does not have an SSB. Short of the 4k permanent instal has anyone had success getting weather on a portable unit and what brand do you prefer? My goal is to use the unit to get weather reports when I cannot receive a cell/internet signal. Suggestion?
SSB doesn't have to cost $4k. You could get a refurbished Icom M710 for $630 delivered, buy a used auto tuner and Pactor II or III modem for a reasonable price and get into the full featured setup for less than $1500 or so.

For receive only, I'm playing with SDR using my laptop. I bought 2 USB SDRs (different models), 100Mhz up converter, 21 dB wideband preamp, 2 50' lengths of LMR400 and a discone antenna. After I build the Quadrifilar antenna, I should be able to pick up weatherfax, grib, direct satellite weather transmissions, SSB, you name it for about $200 total.
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Old 07-03-2014, 20:46   #12
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Re: portable SSB

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After I build the Quadrifilar antenna, I should be able to pick up weatherfax, grib, direct satellite weather transmissions, SSB, you name it for about $200 total.
Been down that road, you're on track mate, try a turnstile first instead of a qfh, almost the same results but much simpler and quicker.
Place the preamps at the antenna feed, and definitely get a preamp for HF, if you use a ham it up it will need one.
Good luck with RTL-SDRs, hope that more cruisers will stats using the system.
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Old 07-03-2014, 20:50   #13
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Re: portable SSB

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How does the Eton Satellite 750 compare to the Sangean or the Sony radio in terms of features and sensitivity?
Had all three, sold all three eventually. About the same performance.

A really good portable for SSB, and best-value-for-money in this market is the Grundig / Eton G3, 90 dollars on amazon.com
Will work for SSB, needless to say depending on antenna.
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Old 08-03-2014, 14:18   #14
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Re: portable SSB

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Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
SSB doesn't have to cost $4k. You could get a refurbished Icom M710 for $630 delivered, buy a used auto tuner and Pactor II or III modem for a reasonable price and get into the full featured setup for less than $1500 or so.

For receive only, I'm playing with SDR using my laptop. I bought 2 USB SDRs (different models), 100Mhz up converter, 21 dB wideband preamp, 2 50' lengths of LMR400 and a discone antenna. After I build the Quadrifilar antenna, I should be able to pick up weatherfax, grib, direct satellite weather transmissions, SSB, you name it for about $200 total.
I've seen Kenwood TS-50S models for even less. Aptitude counts here, however: if you are handy with electronics or have previous radio experience (even a CB base station), you can go with fewer features and an older model of SSB.
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