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Old 10-04-2013, 22:38   #31
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Re: Are all SSB Receivers crap, or is it just mine?

I agree that HF is not a dead horse when one is far out to sea. Someone worried that there is no digital system. In fact there is PACTOR which is entirely digital. It provides email for sending and receiving weather and notices to family of exact location. Any short message (1-5 pages of text) is possible. It does require some effort and training to build and operate a workable system. But same is true for satellite phones. The satellite phones can be installed for less initial cost than an HF system but probably the overall cost for a 2-5 year cruise will find HF and Pactor a better deal. Plus the next owner should find value in the HF system if it works well. I bought an older boat with a really old HF Icom M810 radio. I have found that it works perfectly for weather fax, email and voice communications. All I really had to do was clean up some ground connections and repair the feed wire to the backstay. I would have to spend probably $5K to install such a high quality system today. I think it adds real value to the boat.

For me there is an added level of security knowing that no matter where we might go I can email our family and friends every day if needed. And there is no monthly bill or minutes used to worry about (there is an annual fee for Sailmail).
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Old 10-04-2013, 23:30   #32
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Old SSB receivers are crap, compared to SDR!!!

Actually, you're right. All SSB receivers are crap, COMPARED TO SDR or Software Defined Radio.

WEBSDR.ORG

If anyone is wondering what the most awesome way to receive SSB signals is now, you gotta check out the FUNcube PRO +. This SDR dongle costs $125 bucks and is a frigging miracle of modern electronics. Facilitated by the need to stamp out digital TV tuner chips by the millions. I am waiting for mine now. There is a huge backorder as this item is brand new. FUNcube Dongle | A radio that's out of this world!

The older models could only bring in the 2 meter band and UHF, but this new one covers 150 kHz to 1.9 Ghz! ( with a blind spot from 240 to 420 Mhz.)

I'm planning on using one in conjunction with my HAM radio, to visually scan the entire band for signals. This is what a HAM band looks like on a busy day via SDR. Each one of those bars is a transmission.



It can also be used to receive Satellite weather images straight off the BIRD! As seen here.

If you want to see what SDR is all about, visit WEBSDR.ORG and look at all the SDR's you can listen to online.

This one is my favorite, located in Atlanta. WebSDR de W4AX

It's a java site, so you need to use firefox and install the latest java plugins, but if you are into radio and have not visited this site yet, you're in for a real thrill. You can also use this site to test and tune up your own radio. Whenever I change my ground or antenna and want to know how I sound, I don't have to take somone's word for it that I'm 5 by 9, I can just listen to myself. I can listen on the various SDR's all over the world to see how far my signal is traveling. As you can tell, I'm really enthusiastic about SDR.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:54   #33
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Re: Are all SSB Receivers crap, or is it just mine?

Actually, while the "Funcube" type of Software Defined Radios are amazingly cool, (and I *want* one), an average marine or ham receiver or transceiver will have superior performance, at least under some conditions.

These SDRs use an untuned broadband front-end that feeds a high-speed analog to digital converter. This gives an ultimately flexible and inexpensive design, but the performance in the presence of strong adjacent and out-of-band signals leaves something to be desired. Strong interference is probably more of an issue on land than on your boat in the middle of the ocean, but it still could cause problems.

Of course no radio is perfect, and the Funcube may be a completely workable part of a WFAX reception package. I *will* be experimenting with one soon -- I just need to figure out how to order one from that website!
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:18   #34
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Future of SDR

SDR is nacent, a brand new technology and has a ways to go. No way that little dongle is going to receive as well as a real rig, but I think it points to the fact that the future of radio might be laptop based. In a few years, one might be able to plug their SDR into a linear amp and TX/DX that way. I think the Softrock SDR already has some TX capability. I've already noticed a few Net controllers are using remote SDR to share the burden of running the net on a single kilowatt station from the comfort of their homes. Internet assisted Ham net. Radio is evolving to stay relevant and that's a good thing.

Almost everyone has a laptop these days, so using that to drive wide-band radio TX/DX might a good use of resources.

If a sailor can receive Navtex, Weather fax, satellite images, participate in HAM/Marine Nets, and send email all through a laptop dongle, I'd call that a major advancement and will bring the price of participation way down. A great project for the open source world to pioneer on behalf of us cruisers.

Making one of these systems work will probably be about as complicated as using a Pactor modem, but with so many more capabilities.

I know it's not perfect yet, but it's something to look forward to. I suspect that within a year or 2 you're going to see a major player come out with a fully capable TX/DX Ham rig for the laptop.
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:24   #35
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Re: Future of SDR

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Originally Posted by Sierahotel View Post
SDR is nacent, a brand new technology and has a ways to go. No way that little dongle is going to receive as well as a real rig, but I think it points to the fact that the future of radio might be laptop based. In a few years, one might be able to plug their SDR into a linear amp and TX/DX that way. I think the Softrock SDR already has some TX capability. I've already noticed a few Net controllers are using remote SDR to share the burden of running the net on a single kilowatt station from the comfort of their homes. Internet assisted Ham net. Radio is evolving to stay relevant and that's a good thing.

Almost everyone has a laptop these days, so using that to drive wide-band radio TX/DX might a good use of resources.

If a sailor can receive Navtex, Weather fax, satellite images, participate in HAM/Marine Nets, and send email all through a laptop dongle, I'd call that a major advancement and will bring the price of participation way down. A great project for the open source world to pioneer on behalf of us cruisers.

Making one of these systems work will probably be about as complicated as using a Pactor modem, but with so many more capabilities.

I know it's not perfect yet, but it's something to look forward to. I suspect that within a year or 2 you're going to see a major player come out with a fully capable TX/DX Ham rig for the laptop.


Cheap dongle plugged into a raspberry pi, wfax @ 0.4A for us power misers Won't that be nice.
One day maybe, for now though the degen 1103 works fine for wfax, I just made up a patch lead to plug the backstay into a 1103 antenna input, 20m full of strong ham calls from all over Europe & Russia, 14070Mhz awash with psk31, great little radio, selectivity not too far behind the icom ic7000 though the quieter signals struggle.

But back to the Pi, anyone got one working to receive Wfax yet? I played a while ago without too much luck, shame JVcomm isn't ported to linux, it's my favorite.
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Old 11-04-2013, 22:03   #36
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DB PAD Cable to feed SSB Radio into Smartphone

I just made a blog post about my recent maker project. Feeding the audio from a cheap SSB receiver into my smartphone to decode navtex and weather fax. A dead simple maker project, or perhaps I can make one for you if you ask nice.

DB PAD Cable for Smartphone Mono Audio Input | sierahotel

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Old 11-04-2013, 22:41   #37
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Re: DB PAD Cable to feed SSB Radio into Smartphone

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Originally Posted by Sierahotel View Post
I just made a blog post about my recent maker project. Feeding the audio from a cheap SSB receiver into my smartphone to decode navtex and weather fax. A dead simple maker project, or perhaps I can make one for you if you ask nice.

DB PAD Cable for Smartphone Mono Audio Input | sierahotel
Sierahotel, thanks for sharing this patch cord and the link.

Will this work on iPhone and iPad too? I wonder if you can list the part list and the schematic diagram. I am not a radio head, but I can solder pretty good. TIA.
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Old 11-04-2013, 23:20   #38
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Re: Are all SSB Receivers crap, or is it just mine?

Actually Just found one on Amazon for an OK price.

Amazon.com: IK Multimedia AmpliTube iRig Adapter for iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad: Electronics

For iPad, I use a different kind. A usb sound card which plugs into an iPad Camera kit dongle. I think I got a soundblaster model for $25 bucks at a computer parts outlet and the camera kit I already had, which sells for another $25 I think. Problem there is that you've got a double dongle situation and it's kind of flakey.

But Guess What. I just tried the new DB pad cable as a line into the Ipad headphone jack, and it worked. So I can update my article to include Ipad. This is awesome because to buy the Apple store item to get a line in cost $100. The 2 dongle solution is $50.

The parts list for the DB pad, I should add that to the article.
1x 4 Pin/Ring Mini Stereo Phone Jack
1x 2 Pin/Ring Mini Stereo Phone Jack or 1/4" Phone jack. Up to you.
1x 2k Ohm Resistor
2x 500 Ohm Resistor
1 or 2 feet of 1 CM Heat shrink wrap

The phone jack cables can be recycled from old headphones just to add extra cheap thrills and bring the price down to zilch.

The only issue I noticed is that line level audio is coming in a little hot. 750 or 1000 ohm resistors may work better than the 500's for ipad.
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Old 12-04-2013, 00:02   #39
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Re: Are all SSB Receivers crap, or is it just mine?

If this will work,

Amazon.com: IK Multimedia AmpliTube iRig Adapter for iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad: Electronics

it seems to be easy enough for a layman.

Or from your suggestion, I found the sound Card here
Amazon.com: Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Amigo II USB Sound Card & Headset Adapter: Electronics

Amazon.com: Syba SD-CM-UAUD USB Stereo Audio Adapter, C-Media Chipset, RoHS: Computers & Accessories

Will this work for my setup. I have a Sangean 909x, ipad 3 and the camera kit for iPad. Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2013, 00:29   #40
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Re: Are all SSB Receivers crap, or is it just mine?

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Will this work for my setup. I have a Sangean 909x, ipad 3 and the camera kit for iPad. Thanks.
You won't need the camera kit dongle because the PAD cable plugs into the phone jack. I found the Camera kit + USB sound card option to be a little bit buggy because it's it'd double dongle and sometimes is not recognized. Any SSB capable radio that has a fine tune knob to bring the signal in at the right tone will work fine.
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Old 12-04-2013, 03:15   #41
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Re: DB PAD Cable to feed SSB Radio into Smartphone

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.............cheap SSB receiver into my smartphone to decode navtex and weather fax.
Ah, thank you!

Spurred me on to have another look for wfax software running on a the much liked nexus 7 I have, had to pay :gasp: but not much and it works well.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...hi.wefax&hl=en

Just downloaded this using the 1103 plugged into backstay antenna sitting on the chart table beside the nexus 7..

Click image for larger version

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Looks bit breezy out there..

Nexus doesn't have a mic input so screechy screechy while downloading but for close to zero power I can live with that, might be a way round it with bluetooth. So that is a good start to the day, no need to bother hard-wiring in a Rasp Pi which didn't seem to work very well anyway.

Happy Happy
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Old 13-04-2013, 23:46   #42
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Just placed my order for a Funcube SDR Pro +. They are available right now. But I was mistaken about the price. They are 124.00 not $124.
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Old 14-04-2013, 00:05   #43
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Re: DB PAD Cable to feed SSB Radio into Smartphone

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Sierahotel, thanks for sharing this patch cord and the link.

Will this work on iPhone and iPad too? I wonder if you can list the part list and the schematic diagram. I am not a radio head, but I can solder pretty good. TIA.
Thank you for your work figuring this out. I have weatherfax software for a laptop/yachtboy setup and had seen the android app but had reservations about the microphone limitation.

I tried some mics I had for pc's but none worked to cause the tablet to recognize. I'll check the ohms and review your info again tomorrow.

I'm not sure if the patch cord will work on my tablet. It only has a 1/8" female out for headphones. I can't find documentation stating the unit is set up for headsets since it's not a phone. (lenovo a2107f)
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Old 14-04-2013, 00:31   #44
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Re: Are all SSB Receivers crap, or is it just mine?

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Just placed my order for a Funcube SDR Pro +. They are available right now. But I was mistaken about the price. They are 124.00 not $124.
I also ordered one today. Should be interesting!
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Old 14-04-2013, 02:00   #45
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Re: Are all SSB Receivers crap, or is it just mine?

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I also ordered one today. Should be interesting!
Looks like fun

At the cheaper end these work as well, though no good for wfax as it only goes down to 50Mhz. Unless you get an upconverter.

rtl dongle | eBay

rtl-sdr
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