Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 13-07-2010, 18:22   #61
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,753
Quote:
Originally Posted by kb79 View Post
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.
No . . . they will primarily put out an inmarsat message . . . required GMDSS equipment for commercial vessels over some size (300 tons?).

I might note that its pretty uncommon, but we carry a sat C on Hawk - nice free text weather twice a day, we use it to sent very short telex type messages (eg something like 'arrive bora bora' to family) and a good emergency communication system. It's nice equipment - real commercial build quailty.
__________________

__________________
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-07-2010, 19:00   #62
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Sat C (INMARSAT C) thread....

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I might note that its pretty uncommon, but we carry a sat C on Hawk - nice free text weather twice a day, we use it to sent very short telex type messages (eg something like 'arrive bora bora' to family) and a good emergency communication system. It's nice equipment - real commercial build quailty.
Those wishing more info on INMARSAT C (Sat C), have a look at these recent SSCA threads.....
SSCA Discussion Board • View topic - SatCom KISS approach
SSCA Discussion Board • View topic - INMARSAT C

And INMARSAT's website here....
Product support - Inmarsat C - Inmarsat


John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________

__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-07-2010, 20:49   #63
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montana
Posts: 391
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
Thats so strange to me that there is no code requirement! Doesn't seem right.
It's been that way for awhile now. Frankly, I think it's a good thing: If people want to use code they should have discrete bands and have to pass a special test. I suggest the first class radiotelegraphers test, 25wpm for 15 minutes, sent and received.....

IOW, I don't like code.
__________________
Healer52 / Lisa, Rick and Angel the Salty Dog
Currently on the hard, looking for a boat
Healer52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-07-2010, 20:53   #64
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montana
Posts: 391
Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
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
WA6CCA
Quality Marine grade SSB's can be had on Ebay for less than the cost of an anchor (which is more a condemnation of the cost of anchors these days....who are they trying to kid?).

At the very least, get a Ham HF, and modify it to go out of band. No, it's not strictly legal. It just might save your life. When it does, it IS legal.
__________________
Healer52 / Lisa, Rick and Angel the Salty Dog
Currently on the hard, looking for a boat
Healer52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-07-2010, 21:03   #65
cruiser

Join Date: May 2010
Location: SF Bay Area; Former Annapolis and MA Liveaboard.
Boat: Looking and saving for my next...mid-atlantic coast
Posts: 6,197
Thats ok, Healer52. I'm still going to learn morse code and get up to 20wpm CW, and when I am out there in bumF*ville, and the signal is weak, and all I can do to save myself is send morse code via a lucky moonbounce, I'll tap:

.... . .- .-.. . .-. ..... ..--- / .. ... / .- / -.. ..- -- -... / ... .. .-.. .-.. -.-- / -... ..- -. -. -.-- .-.-.-
__________________
SaltyMonkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-07-2010, 06:47   #66
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montana
Posts: 391
LOL, too bad nobody will be listening...
__________________
Healer52 / Lisa, Rick and Angel the Salty Dog
Currently on the hard, looking for a boat
Healer52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-07-2010, 16:32   #67
Registered User
 
Tia Bu's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: South Carolina
Boat: 40' Jeanneau
Posts: 454
I outfitted a cruising boat this past winter. Want to take it on a serious offshore passage next summer, so this summer I took a shakedown cruise from South Carolina to the Exumas and back.

I got an Amateur Extra Ham license. Bought and installed an older Ham rig and modified it for emergency use on marine SSB bands.

Bottom line, after my trip, I'm thinking of selling the whole rig on Ebay and using the money to buy a satellite phone for next summer. The HF radio and various nets were just not as reliable or useful on this cruise as my cell phone and the various schemes I had for accessing the Internet. Even in the Exumas or on passages out of VHF and cell phone range, I found myself spending my time and energy working my way to some sort of cell or Internet contact instead of fiddling with the HF radio. My gut feel is that HF for long range communication (including email) is sort of AOL-Instant-Messager era technology. Everything I read in this thread is reinforcing that gut feeling. The satellite phones are getting quite cost-competitive.

With apologies to the radio enthusiasts in the bunch, I had fun getting the Ham ticket and playing radio. But when I started needing to get the weather forecast or stay in touch with home in an actual cruising scenario, I turned to the more modern technology.

By the way, I used Open CPN on a laptop for navigation. Excellent experience. I think I'll get an AIS receiver to go with it before next summer. For Internet access in coastal waters and the Bahamas I used a Ubiquiti Pico Station and a Palm Treo running PDANet software. (I realize this thread is about offshore Internet access, and this information is not particularly relevant to the topic).
__________________
Tia Bu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-07-2010, 16:52   #68
cruiser

Join Date: May 2010
Location: SF Bay Area; Former Annapolis and MA Liveaboard.
Boat: Looking and saving for my next...mid-atlantic coast
Posts: 6,197
Tia Bu - thanks for your comment. I'm looking forward to the responses here as I am looking into getting my general sometime in the near future.

I still believe in having an SSB to speak with other cruisers and to download WEFAX - out here in the pacific and in more remote areas.
__________________
SaltyMonkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-07-2010, 17:52   #69
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chesapeake Region and Maine
Boat: 42' Bob Perry sloop
Posts: 4,038
Images: 4
Tia Bu...

Congratulations on perservering and getting your Amateur Extra Class license.

Without meaning to be critical of your experience or views in any way, your post suggests to me two things:

1. you didn't really give ham radio enough of a try, despite having the Extra Class license; and

2. you're really more comfortable with "more modern" forms of comms anyway.

Not sure what troubles you had on your summer cruise to the Exumas, but I would note that on the Waterway Net this summer...and in fact this whole year...we have multiple contacts with the Bahamas EVERY SINGLE DAY. Propagation varies, of course, but it's always possible to make contact with someone...that's the beauty of ham radio, with literally thousands of potential stations -- millions actually -- to talk to.

Re: getting weather, there are weather nets for the Bahamas every morning on the marine bands and the ham bands. And, there are safety and security nets. And traffic nets. And Offshore and High Seas weather broadcasts by the USCG and by WOM on regular schedules. For the most part, you won't find these on satphones.

I have HF radios (plural) aboard, as well as a satphone, WiFi and other Internet connectivity, Pactor email, etc, etc. Among these, day in and day out, I find the SSB to be by far the most useful.

Would urge you to join us on the Waterway Net mornings at 0745-0830 on 7268 kHz LSB. Also, to listen/join in on the Cruizheimers net beginning at 0830 on 8152 kHz USB. Together, you'll hear dozens of boats every morning checking in from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean.

In getting the Extra Class license you've come a long way. A bit more effort and experience should put you firmly in the camp of SSB believers :-))

73,

Bill
WA6CCA
__________________
btrayfors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-07-2010, 18:06   #70
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Offshore / Hi-Seas Communications....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
With apologies to the radio enthusiasts in the bunch, I had fun getting the Ham ticket and playing radio.
Tia Bu,
1) There are no apologies necessary here....at least not in my opinion (and I'm one of those "radio nuts"....)
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, based on their experiences and applications.....so, no worries here...

And, I DO welcome lots of various opinions, and experiences.....that's how wew all learn from each other.....no???


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
I outfitted a cruising boat this past winter. Want to take it on a serious offshore passage next summer, so this summer I took a shakedown cruise from South Carolina to the Exumas and back.

But when I started needing to get the weather forecast or stay in touch with home in an actual cruising scenario, I turned to the more modern technology.
2) Whatever set-up you choose, please allow me to offer a blunt piece of advice.....make sure you choose the set-up that works for YOU and YOUR application......
{And, please remember what we were originally discussing here.....Salty's original question was regarding
Quote:
high seas communication gear and services that I might need
and, that there is the big difference between sailing the US east coast and Bahamas, and sailing well offshore, on the hi-seas, across oceans, and in very remote areas....}


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
(I realize this thread is about offshore Internet access, and this information is not particularly relevant to the topic).
3) Actually this thread is titled: "Ham, $$B, Iridium ?"
And, there has been very little (if any) mention of internet access.....
(I actually drifted a bit, to specifically mention that we were not discussiong internet access....)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



4) This last part isn't addressed to anyone.....and I'm not exactly sure whether to post it here or not.....but, what the heck....

In the last couple of days, I've had 2 different people contact me asking where to get all this great weather info / forecasts, that I've been rambling on about.....and figured why not just post some of that info here.....(most of the direct links are for N. Atlantic, US East Coast, Bahamas, Med, Caribbean, and Gulf weather....but there is info here about global weather as well, just follow some links on some of the homepages...)

So, here are the places where you'll find the frequencies and times, of most all of those wonderful, "gold standard" forecasts.....


A) Almost all of the marine weather forecast data, modes, times, and frequencies can be found on the NWS/NOAA Marine Weather Homepage, and following all the links.....
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/home.htm

But I'll try to point you to the most useful pages.....(print out the freqs and time schedules, and keep them handy.....)


B) Here are some direct links.....(I'm only posting links of use to you for an Atlantic crossing, but be aware there ARE wefax weather charts transmitted worldwide, covering the entire globe....for FREE)

NWS/NOAA WeFax:
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/radiofax.htm
http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/marsh.shtml
http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/gulf.shtml

WeFax weather chart transmission schedules (Atlantic):
http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/fax/hfmarsh.txt
http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/fax/hfgulf.txt

Worldwide Marine WeFax Schedules (including UK and Canada):
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf
(this is where you'll find the broadcast schedules for GYA, Norwood England......which is the UK Met Office WeFax broadcasts...)


Offshore and Hi-Seas Weather, Voice Broadcasts:
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfvoice.htm

Examples of what is transmitted by Voice in these forecasts (simply click on an area of interest and read the forecast, which is what is transmitted by voice on the above freqs/times):
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/zone/wrdoffmz.htm
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/zone/hsmz.htm



Offshore and Hi-Seas Weather, Text Broadcast Schedules:
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfsitor.htm


ALL the above transmitted by the USCG, using 4000 watt transmitters (wefax) and 1000+ watt transmitters (voice and text).....
And, all are FREE....
And, none require a PACTOR modem at all, nor any subscription, nor registration / license, at
all!!!!
(Heck you do NOT even need anything more than a $100 portable receiver, which I have as emergency back-up.....and a laptop for viewing the weather charts on.....)

Also be aware that Coast Station WLO in Mobile (and KLB in Seattle) retransmits the NWS/NOAA Offshore and Hi-Seas Voice weather forecasts, multiple times each day (using their 1000 watt transmitters):
http://www.shipcom.com/
http://www.shipcom.com/frequencies.html


And, again all of this is FREE and requires no PACTOR modem, etc...


C) In addition to the recent Cruisers Forum threads I mentioned....
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ium-43509.html
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...y-43466-2.html

Please be sure to check out the SSCA Discussion boards and the SSCA in general....
http://forum.ssca.org/phpBB3/
http://www.ssca.org/


D) Please understand that there is nothing wrong with a PACTOR modem, nor sailmail, winlink, etc......it's just that some have budgets to consider, and knowing what is available without big $$$ spent is important....



And, please do not hesitate to ask more questions.....
The most intelligent people in the world are the ones that ask questions and realize that they don't know everything!!




Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-07-2010, 18:19   #71
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Are we showing our age???

Okay, Bill, sorry to be such a pain......but....

Nowadays, It's WLO.... in Mobile, AL
Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
And Offshore and High Seas weather broadcasts by the USCG and by WOM on regular schedules.
But, I do remember WOM and WOO......those were the days

Back in the 70's / 80's they were very busy stations.....and I surprised many by making a few calls from the eastern Med via WOM, rather than spending hours searching for the "telephone office" and then waiting for quite a while for an "overseas" line.....

And, when back at home (as teenagers), my buddies and I got a tour of the WOM transmit site, in Ft. Lauderdale....and met a couple of the ops.....what a cool set-up.....
(As I recall the receive site was in west Miami/Dade County, away from "city noise".....)
I always wondered where all that great old equipment ended up???


John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-07-2010, 18:46   #72
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chesapeake Region and Maine
Boat: 42' Bob Perry sloop
Posts: 4,038
Images: 4
Absolutely right, John. WLO, not WOM. Yeah...the good old days! I used to make and receive calls thru WAH in St. Thomas, too. Wonder if they're still operating on HF?

Bill
__________________
btrayfors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-07-2010, 07:27   #73
Registered User
 
Tia Bu's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: South Carolina
Boat: 40' Jeanneau
Posts: 454
Playing with HF radios is fun. My learning curve is still quite steep, and I know I could get a LOT better at it. But trying to catch the weather on the various radio nets is like trying to catch the evening news at 6:30 PM. If you happen to be doing something else when the appointed time comes, you miss the lead story. On top of that, some days you can hear the person who's reading the weather, and some days, because of propagation, you can't.

So, I found myself gravitating towards the Internet. Most days I could grab a snippet of connection time and get the latest from the Bahamas Meteorology Office and/or NOAA- in writing. I could then digest it at my leisure.

That's what makes me think a satellite phone for offshore work would probably be more useful.

Also, for what it's worth, very often on this cruise, after some scratchy, sketchy attempt at a VHF radio communication, I would find myself just dialing the other party on the cell phone. And I've heard the same thing often on the HF nets. When they can't hear whoever's calling, they try to get a cell phone number from them :-) HF is fun to play with, but I still think the technology has evolved in the satphones' favor. The new Inmarsat phone that has just come out is almost as cheap as a used, old Ham rig and a manual antenna tuner. That's pretty attractive.
__________________
Tia Bu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-07-2010, 08:28   #74
Registered User
 
Auspicious's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Chesapeake Bay
Boat: HR 40
Posts: 1,793
Send a message via Skype™ to Auspicious
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
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..
Globalstar is definitely on the way back (critical phrase being "on the way"). Their architecture is better than Iridium in that all the processing is on the ground; the satellites are bent pipes that pump everything in-band back to Earth. That does mean that to get a useful signal you need to be able to connect to a satellite that simultaneously has you and a ground station in its footprint. The upside is that they can be more agile in rolling out upgrades. Unfortunately, they have not yet recovered from the reality of revenue well below initial projections. If the DOD award to Iridium in the mid 90s had gone the other way things would be quite different today. We'll see how things work out as they get their constellation up to strength. I'm rooting for them but I personally won't spend my money with them until they have a year of on-spec performance with a fully populated constellation. On deliveries Globalstar phones have simply been too frustrating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
Bottom line, after my trip, I'm thinking of selling the whole rig on Ebay and using the money to buy a satellite phone for next summer. The HF radio and various nets were just not as reliable or useful on this cruise as my cell phone and the various schemes I had for accessing the Internet. Even in the Exumas or on passages out of VHF and cell phone range, I found myself spending my time and energy working my way to some sort of cell or Internet contact instead of fiddling with the HF radio.
Very interesting. My personal experience on deliveries and my own boat is quite different. Perhaps you aren't taking advantage of the capabilities you already have.

Like you, I often find making the nets is a challenge particularly when short-handed. With enough people on board my duties are often weather, navigation, cooking, and "first-call" but with only two (often on my own boat) having anything happen at a set time can be a challenge.

Voice weather forecasts from USCG and WLO are frequent enough that I can usually catch those. I use a Bose noise-canceling headset with the long extension to listen in the cockpit when a wx forecast is broadcast during my watch - that works well.

My primary weather input is from wefax and Navtex. In both cases, you can use JVCOMM (free) software on a laptop with a wire between your radio headphone jack and laptop mic input to get synoptic charts and text forecasts. If you do have a Pactor modem and use Airmail you can set up a schedule file that automatically tunes the radio to the correct frequency at the correct time for each transmission. That is truly sweet. Accordingly, sometime in the morning each day I sit down and go over the charts received since the last review, and compare the forecasts. I don't even have to wait to download anything since it has all been collected for me.

I have yet to find any other way less demanding of my time than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
With apologies to the radio enthusiasts in the bunch, I had fun getting the Ham ticket and playing radio. But when I started needing to get the weather forecast or stay in touch with home in an actual cruising scenario, I turned to the more modern technology.
You certainly can turn to whatever technology works best for you. Although I have been licensed a long time (longer than I've been sailing - respectively 35 and 32 years) and am indubitably a radio enthusiast at sea on the boat the radio is an appliance and better work. If it doesn't pull its weight it goes over the side, just like the microwave did.

With regard to staying in touch, I have had better luck with ShipCom (who operate WLO and KLB) ship-to-shore than satellite phones. ShipCom recently reduced their ship-to-shore rates to $0.99US / minute.

That side, near shore cell phones are definitely the way to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Okay, Bill, sorry to be such a pain......but....

Nowadays, It's WLO.... in Mobile, AL
See ShipCom.com. The operate WLO in Mobile AL and KLB (and another station) in Seattle WA. One of the first things they do when you contact them is to ask where you are and steer their (huge) antenna array toward you. They may also recommend a different frequency for better propagation when appropriate. I'm impressed with their service.

73 es sail fast, dave KO4MI
S/V Auspicious WDC9882
__________________
S/V Auspicious
AuspiciousWorks
Beware cut and paste sailors
Auspicious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-07-2010, 09:38   #75
cruiser

Join Date: May 2010
Location: SF Bay Area; Former Annapolis and MA Liveaboard.
Boat: Looking and saving for my next...mid-atlantic coast
Posts: 6,197
ka4wja and others:

Does anyone have a good internet reference for a listing of ALL global frequency band usage for HAM and SSB. This would include utility as well as HAM nets? Having a difficult time locating a master index.

Any advice appreciated.
__________________

__________________
SaltyMonkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
iridium

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Which Iridium Phone ? Moondance38 Marine Electronics 2 10-07-2010 23:03
Iridium SIM Card conachair Atlantic & the Caribbean 5 16-04-2010 06:12
iridium sms bobsadler Marine Electronics 1 20-04-2009 10:19
Iridium questions CodeZero Marine Electronics 7 12-03-2009 19:36
Iridium Gisle Marine Electronics 7 28-04-2003 21:43



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 17:40.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.