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Old 28-05-2005, 16:24   #1
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Join Date: May 2005
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Amateur Radio

Howdy everybody! I have recently gotten my HAM General license and I am looking for any operator in the St. Pete/ Clearwater/ Tampa area who is a HAM and uses their rig while cruising, or has used it in the past. I would appreciate some advice and help on getting a modem for e-mail via radio, and protocol practices on operating at sea. I am going to be doing some long distance cruising in the near future and would like to get comfortable at this before I leave.
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Old 04-06-2005, 09:35   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Currently based near Jacksonville FL; WHOOSH's homeport is St. Pete, FL USA
Boat: WHOOSH, Pearson 424 Ketch
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Irish, I wish I could pitch in face-to-face but perhaps you'd like to pose a few Q's to me via email. WHOOSH is homeported in St. Pete but we won't be back there until Fall. Right now, we're awaiting weather to cross Biscay enroute Spain & Portugal. We used Winlink since 1998, non-stop, and can highly recommend it. There's a learning curve and it will give you additional reasons to make sure your installation is solid...but once you get it set up, it is reliable and the 40+ stations around the world are staffed by super people. The weather catalogs are especially valuable and we consider them a safety asset and, for that reason, more important than Winlink's email capability.

Re: a 'modem' (TNC) your only real options are an SCS IIe or IIPro. Either way, you'll want to set up the TNC for fully automatic functioning (you don't touch the radio after turning it on; just use the laptop) as this is very easy offshore when you're half seasick and sleepy, not to mention tired. I have found a lot of sources for buying these TNCs but, for better and worse, SCS remains the only game in town (mostly because they are very, very good at what they do) and so you won't find any bargain prices unless you buy used. If you buy used, make sure you understand what it will take to upgrade the TNC to Pactor III for your call sign. This can make 'cheap' used TNCs look like a bargain when in fact they aren't.

I'd prefer to not offer my winlink address on public fora - Spam is a neverending problem for the Winlink folks - but you are welcome to contact me at my Yahoo address and I'll try to tackle any Q's you may have. Meantime, download Airmail (don't forget to get Getfax and Viewfax, as well) and begin to explore it. Look at the weather files (Window - Catalogs - open the Global folder) for some long-term motivation!

Sorry I'm not around the corner to help you get 'hands on' experience; that's always best with either SSB or computer stuff. We'll be back in the Fall...

Jack Tyler
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