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Old 13-07-2010, 14:23   #46
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And since code isn't required for HAM tickets any more, a class may not be needed. One way I suggest people to get their tickets is to study sample test questions online (such as those from QRZ.COM QRZ Ham Radio Practice Tests, concentrating on the correct answer (not the distractors). There are also study guides at that site.

The questions used are provided by the FCC in a very large book, loosely grouped by topic. The FCC then says to the VEC's (the volunteer examiners, hams that administer the tests) to pick 2 from topic 1, 3 from topic 2, etc....The VEC's have an agenda: To get more hams. So, they tend to pick fairly simple questions, and rote memorization (at least through the General ticket) is adequate.

There are also a few good books available. Unless you're really into the theory stay away from the ARRL pubs, in my opinion (and I'm an Extra class, code days ham).
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Old 13-07-2010, 14:46   #47
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ka4wja

1) Reread. You're missing my point. We're talking about land based access vs at sea access. At sea access for internet is crude and expensive compared to in-port land based systems. I can't use a wifi antenna 60 miles at sea. Nor can i hook up a cheap sat dish that i might use on land and subscribe to my local provider. Services are costly.

4) Stand alone meaning a device that is designed specifically and only for WEFAX receiving. A radio is not. The upper end devices which do not need a chart display you mentioned are also costly.
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Old 13-07-2010, 14:48   #48
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Healer52. I didn't know all code requirements were dead. I thought it was still required for the upper licenses?

I'd like to go straight in to extra.
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Old 13-07-2010, 15:06   #49
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Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
d) Globalstar... Have a look around, and you'll see how unreliable / impractical this is for most users......although some DO use it, and DO love the cheap pricing..
Definitely...Keep your eyes on Global star. I would guess their reliability will soon take a turn for the better. I'm anxious to see what sort of baud rate comes with the new gen satellites..

MILPITAS, CA., 06 July 2010 - Globalstar, Inc. (NASDAQ:GSAT), <snip> today announced the opening of a 90-day launch window for the inaugural lift-off of six Globalstar second-generation satellites.

Dave
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Old 13-07-2010, 15:10   #50
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Yeah, its gonna be interesting. But once they get em up there they'll need to bring em up and test em ladeda...so its gonna be a year.
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Old 13-07-2010, 15:16   #51
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Healer52. I didn't know all code requirements were dead. I thought it was still required for the upper licenses?

I'd like to go straight in to extra.
code requirements are eliminated for all classes, extra included..

extra class is fairly useless, in my opinion. it opens a small portion of a few of the bands, and is really only worth getting if you truly are a ham hobbyist.

general is what you need.

as many have pointed out in other threads, if you've got an SSB on board, it just makes good sense to have it open to the ham frequencies and to have your license now that it's so easy.
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Old 13-07-2010, 15:19   #52
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Thats so strange to me that there is no code requirement! Doesn't seem right.
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Old 13-07-2010, 15:20   #53
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right or wrong, it's the truth

Amateur radio licensing in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

see "end of more code requirement" section
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Old 13-07-2010, 15:32   #54
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Salty,
Sorry about the confusion.....
We are in agreement.....and I DO see your point....

I was concerned that someone reading this (mention of "internet access") may misunderstand what we're discussing....

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey
The current state of remote telecommunications on a sailboat to access the internet particularly for email and downloading weather information is not necessarily leveraging the latest technology that you might find on land. The affordability of access is expensive when services and hardware are taken together, and access is slow and cumbersome. There is no affordable small dish solution such as HugesNet or Wild Blue, that is available on a small craft. Most small craft are using a combination of SSS/HAM radio, Satellite Phone, and Shortwave Radio to retrieve weather information.



Perhaps I shouldn't worry about that....but, since it (commercial sat comms) is my profession I just wanted to head-off anyone misunderstanding......


John
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Old 13-07-2010, 15:48   #55
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Lots of very good information, and some strong opinions in this thread. I'd like to contribute the following, with this disclaimer: I'm an Extra Class ham (active since 1967), a deepwater sailor (since 1956), and am currently in the business of helping cruisers with their communications and boat electrical and navigation systems needs. I also started the TransAtlantic MM Net for cruisers crossing the North Atlantic, and am currently a Net Controller for the WaterWay Net on 7268LSB beginning at 0745 Eastern.

For some, that disclaimer means that my views are either antiquated or tainted....biased in favor of the SSB solution. Well, maybe, but I carry a satphone aboard and have two computers capable of connecting to the Internet.

Here's my take. 1. Every well-found offshore sailing vessel should have, at a minimum, an HF radio capable of receiving and transmitting on the marine and the ham bands. Even if the radio is not used for transmitting.

2. A fully-blown SSB system can be expensive, especially if you want to use HF email. An 802 with an AT-140 modem, a SCS PTC-USB modem, suitable antenna and ground solutions, installation costs, etc. can easily run $5,000 or more.

3. IMHO, most coasting boats don't need HF email, though it is a convenience. This saves in two ways: (a) marine radios not well suited for digital communications are cheaper than those which are; and (b) the $1200 cost of the modem is eliminated. Together, these can result in your spending as much as $1,200 less for the modem and $1,300 less for the radio. Used tuners will save about $200 over new (manual tuners for hams will save another $200). Together, these differences account for almost $3,000 savings over the cost of a new 802 installation w/email.

4. A good used marine radio with HF email capability can be had for between $700 and $900 (Icom M-700Pro, M-710; Ray152, etc.). A marine HF radio without good email capability but with great receive and transmit audio can be had for between $450 and $700. Suitable models to be found on the used market include the Icom M600, M700, M800; the Kenwood TKM-707; the Yaesu System 600; and others.

As one poster said, finding a good used radio can be difficult. I'd be happy to help anyone wishing to find one, and currently have several here which could be suitable, depending on needs.

5. Re: antennas, there's no need to cut the backstay to install insulators; there are other, cheaper and better solutions which work equally well.

6. Re: RF ground systems, there's no need in most cases to install a ground plate. There are cheaper and better solutions in most every case.

Like Dave, K0MI, I would personally never leave port on an offshore voyage without an SSB. The kind of information we pass every day on the nets and the emergency situations in which SSB plays a crucial part are numerous and well documented. That some will prefer the satphone is evident, but for most the SSB will be a better day-in day-out solution for most communications needs.

Bill
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Old 13-07-2010, 16:04   #56
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ka4wja no problem. Sorry if it came off strong. Thanks for your contribution!!!
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Old 13-07-2010, 16:06   #57
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bill,

just curious why you carry a sat phone as well.

my take on a sat phone is that it's nice as a redundant system, but assuming the SSB is working, it's not useful unless you:

1. want to actually call just to say in touch with friends/family (and can afford the price of using the phone casually)
2. are working while cruising and really need consistent and uninterrupted email service at your fingertips.

otherwise, HF radio accomplishes all required tasks (gathering weather data, providing an email portal, providing a means of emergency communication) with no usage fee.

in terms of an emergency system, someone made the point to me once that even if you called for help on your sat phone, the coast guard would just get on their HF radios to try and hail ships in your area on your behalf. point being that it's unclear who you'd call in this hypothetical emergency that would really be able to do much for you...

is there a reason for the phone that i'm missing, or is one or more of the reasons i've listed worth the price to you?
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Old 13-07-2010, 16:07   #58
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btrayfors. Thanks for your notes. Yeah, it seems in the HAM world there was always a swap meet or hamfest to get used gear to hack with. With marine radio, finding that kind of rig is difficult. I'd love to find some old tube something or other and rig it into a boat with a soldered in hayes 9600 modem and download emails =)
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Old 13-07-2010, 16:35   #59
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kb79,

Good question. The satphone comes in handy for just what you -- and Evans -- said....for keeping in touch with family.

I often sail alone. Sometimes, it's nice to be able to sit in the cockpit on watch and call loved ones. The satphone does that very well. It's also useful for email @ 9600 baud....faster than Pactor III.

Basically, it's a belts and suspenders approach. I carry both ham and marine SSB's, Pactor modem for HF email, satphone for fast voice contacts thru the telephone service and, occasionally, for email.

Ask me to give something up and I'd get rid of: (1) the Pactor modem; (2) the satphone; and (3) the SSB....in that order :-)

Bill
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Old 13-07-2010, 16:38   #60
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btrayfors. Thanks for your notes. Yeah, it seems in the HAM world there was always a swap meet or hamfest to get used gear to hack with. With marine radio, finding that kind of rig is difficult. I'd love to find some old tube something or other and rig it into a boat with a soldered in hayes 9600 modem and download emails =)
Hah!

Well, the Hayes modem wouldn't do you much good. Finding a good used marine radio isn't all that difficult. As for old tube radios...I love 'em. Real radios glow in the dark! But, never really had the urge to fit my classic Collins KWM-2A on a boat. I'd have to carry a much larger battery bank :-)

Bill
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