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Old 12-06-2015, 04:21   #1
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Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Is it possible (technically and legally) to make a sea to shore communication between SSB and ham equipments?

A family member of us, a ham operator in his distant past, is playing with the idea of buying a ham radio and installing an antenna at his home with the the goal to be able to stay in touch with us while we are on the water. Is this feasible? Are there any shared frequencies? Taking into account that we have an icom 802 on board, what radio should he get? And what antenna length would give him the best chances of reaching us?



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Old 12-06-2015, 04:45   #2
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5nomads View Post
Is it possible (technically and legally) to make a sea to shore communication between SSB and ham equipments?

A family member of us, a ham operator in his distant past, is playing with the idea of buying a ham radio and installing an antenna at his home with the the goal to be able to stay in touch with us while we are on the water. Is this feasible? Are there any shared frequencies? Taking into account that we have an icom 802 on board, what radio should he get? And what antenna length would give him the best chances of reaching us?p
The real experts, that is Bill Trayfors and KA4WJA and some others, will be here shortly I'm sure to give you an exhaustive answer to the question.

For what it's worth, I'll give you my less expert and shorter answer, largely based on what those guys have taught me over the years:

1. The M802 is all you need for HF ham and marine SSB comms. You must have a license to use the ham bands.

2. The frequency bands are completely separate and do not overlap, but the M802 can handle them all, and is actually a really good ham HF transceiver, even if it lacks many controls regular ham transceivers have.

3. You can stay in touch with people on shore by using a radio email service like WinLink (on ham bands and free, but no business may be discussed) or Sailmail (on marine bands and for money). You will probably want a PACTOR modem for this to go with your M802, for best results, which is fairly pricey. You can't send massive amounts of data or large attachments, but plain text emails work just fine.

4. If you want to talk by voice to someone at home who has a HF ham transceiver, this should work fine too provided you both have decent antennas and installation. But only on the ham bands, and you will need a ham license as well.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 12-06-2015, 05:39   #3
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Leaving aside all the bits and bobs...

The shoreside party could renew his ham ticket and then both can stay in contact on the ham frequencies... if the seafaring side also has a ham ticket.... and both have radios thet can work the ham bands.

Marine? Lots of fuss and bother getting a licence to operate a marine band station from ashore.

Simple option... sailmail.
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Old 12-06-2015, 05:53   #4
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Thanks for these answers.

So if I understood correctly, communicating with a ham on land using the 802 is technically possible but to do that legally I will have to obtain a ham licence (I do not have a ham licence but only a long range radio operator).
We already have a pactor modem but the idea of talking on the radio with family ashore is very appealing.


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Old 12-06-2015, 06:02   #5
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

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Originally Posted by 5nomads View Post
Thanks for these answers.

So if I understood correctly, communicating with a ham on land using the 802 is technically possible but to do that legally I will have to obtain a ham licence (I do not have a ham licence but only a long range radio operator).
We already have a pactor modem but the idea of talking on the radio with family ashore is very appealing.


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Correct.. but if you do both have ham tickets there is no reason you can't speak directly most days... more to it than just the radios of course...propagation, shoreside antennas etc...
I , from Casa Pingo north of Melbourne , speak before breakfast most days with assorted chums from Queensland to Tasmania to New Zealand.
When afloat I do much the same...
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Old 12-06-2015, 06:04   #6
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5nomads View Post
Thanks for these answers.

So if I understood correctly, communicating with a ham on land using the 802 is technically possible but to do that legally I will have to obtain a ham licence (I do not have a ham licence but only a long range radio operator).
We already have a pactor modem but the idea of talking on the radio with family ashore is very appealing.


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You did understand correctly. And what you propose to do is one of the core functions of ham radio. Go for it.

Ham license is fairly easy now since they did away with the Morse Code requirement. Keep in mind however that you will need an Extra class license -- a General is not enough -- for reciprocity in CEPT countries. For Mexico and Canada you don't need this because there is separate reciprocity, but in Europe it's essential.
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Old 12-06-2015, 07:12   #7
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

5nomads,
Dockhead and El Ping have given you the main gist of things....and yes, talking with folks back home (or anywhere in the world) while you are out at sea (and/or in remote areas) is one of the great functions of "ham radio"...

So, should both of you do a few evenings of studying, and both obtain your ham radio licenses, you should be all set to communicate as often as you wish.....for free...
And as long as you follow the radio communications rules of the country your licensed in AND those of the country's waters you're sailing in, you're good-to-go....and in some countries/areas (such as the US, etc.) you can even have your family member connect you thru to others via his telephone line (known as a "phone-patch" in ham radio vernacular), so you could speak to just about anyone you desired to...(BUT, you cannot conduct business via ham radio, nor use it for financial gain, etc....commercial / maritime mobile services are there for those purposes!!)



But, maybe I could give you some more details and ask you some questions???


--- First off, WHAT country are form???
WHERE are you / WHERE are you planning on sailing/cruising???

--- Secondly, WHERE is your "family member"?? (how far away will be from him??)

--- Third, what "restrictions" does your family member have on antennas / equipment?? (how much space/room does he have for antennas, and what is his budget??)

--- Fourth, what times-of-the-day, would you and family member have available / desire???

Without knowing the answers to the above, it is impossible to be precise on what antennas, what equipment, etc., nor what frequencies / bands, to recommend to you...



{BTW, I came across this thread by accident....as I just saw it on the home page.... it probably should be moved to the Marine Electronics forum??}


See some direct answers here, in red...
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5nomads View Post
Is it possible (technically and legally) to make a sea to shore communication between SSB and ham equipments?

A family member of us, a ham operator in his distant past, is playing with the idea of buying a ham radio and installing an antenna at his home with the the goal to be able to stay in touch with us while we are on the water.

Is this feasible?
Yes, assuming you BOTH obtain your ham radio licenses....you can use the ham radio bands/frequencies to communicate world-wide...


Are there any shared frequencies?
No, there are NO shared frequencies.....but the M-802 does work on the ham radio bands/freqs, so as long as you (and your family member) have your ham license, you're good-to-go!!


Taking into account that we have an icom 802 on board, what radio should he get?
There are dozens of choices / options for him....
Anything from a few hundred dollars, up to thousands and thousands of dollars for a radio....at all depends on his budget, operating expertise, etc...
But, understand that it is the ANTENNA and OPERATOR SKILL, that makes up >90% of the success....NOT the radio!!


And what antenna length would give him the best chances of reaching us?
This is actually my area of expertise....antenna design...(as well as radiowave propagation)
And, the answer is:
It all depends on the answers to the questions above!!
(---First off, WHAT country are form???
WHERE are you / WHERE are you planning on sailing/cruising???

--- Secondly, WHERE is your "family member"?? (how far away will be from him??)

--- Third, what "restrictions" does your family member have on antennas / equipment?? (how much space/room does he have for antennas, and what is his budget??)

--- Fourth, what times-of-the-day, would you and family member have available / desire???)

The answer could be a simple loop of wire, in a big square (or any shape approximating a square, triangle, etc.), about 30' on a side, strung up about 30' high....costing << $100 USD......or could be as expensive and complex as a 60' tall galv steel tower with large, rotatable, directional antennas, costing a few thousand dollars.....or anywhere in between!!

But, in general, he is going to want to use horizontally-polarized antennas.....and on the higher frequencies (>10mhz) directional, gain antennas, for distances from 500 - 5000 miles (or more), most hours of the day/evening.....and on the lower freqs (3.5mhz - 10mhz), simple wire antennas can be effective for ranges out a few hundred miles in the daytime, and a few thousand miles at night...
BUT...
But, all of this is depends on the answers to the questions above!!!
Please get back with us, with the answers to the above questions, and we can be more specific...



And, have a look at these videos, which may help you with some M-802 functions/features, as well as HF communications in general...

M-802 Instruction Videos
(video #3, shows some "ham radio" functions)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr

Maritime HF Communications
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y

HF-DSC Communications
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX

Offshore Weather
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY



Fair winds...

John
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Old 12-06-2015, 07:46   #8
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Hi
As a VE Ham radio operator, I can advice you that you need to have at least a General license to talk on the HF (If you are far from your friend station on shore). General is the more advance level than the entry level in Ham.
In order to use all the spectrum available on Ham you need Extra license. Some times some frequencies are noisy and does not allow to make comfortable conversation.
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Old 12-06-2015, 07:52   #9
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Hello to all...

FYI, although a US "Extra Class License" is needed for full reciprocal authority in other countries, and I always advise sailing hams of US-citizenship and/or on US-flagged vessels, to obtain their Extra Class License....I don't think our US licenses apply to him, since 5nomads mentioned a Long Range Certificate
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5nomads View Post
(I do not have a ham licence but only a long range radio operator).
It seems likely that he is NOT a US citizen, NOR sailing a US-Flagged vessel....so all references to "general", "extra", etc. is probably moot, and possibly misleading...


Until we hear back from him, we will not know...


John
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:42   #10
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

I believe it should be mentioned that, in an emergency, any possible contact should be used. Further, duplex operation between hams and marine SSB operators might be possible, if the frequencies were known in advance,. Duplex operation occurs when the two transmitters, operate on different frequencies. Of course the receivers have to be tuned to the appropriate frequencies. Have I got it right?
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:05   #11
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Old Swampy,
Although I bit of a thread drift...You do have things right, in that it is technically possible to run duplex between a ham freq and a maritime freq (which would be considered more of a "cross-band", or most accurately "multi-service cross-band" operation...)
But, unfortunately this would only be legal for emergency communications (when any mode of communicating is authorized)....and in an emergency, the last thing I'd advise would be to complicate the means of communications....



Bottom line here, if you need to communicate (TALK) with stations/people on-shore from your boat (when offshore at sea, and/or in remote locations, away from any terrestrial phone system), whether occasionally or regularly, over distances of 100's to 1000's of miles, rain or shine, night or day....
These are your options:

1) HF Maritime Communications, with a licensed maritime shore station...
2) HF Maritime Communications, with a licensed maritime shore station (known as a "public coast station")....and patched-thru to anyone via the PSTN (telephone system)

{either of these first 2, will allow for 24/7 comms, for both business and personal use, as well as for emergencies..}


3) HF ham radio communications with any other licensed ham radio station/operator....
4) HF ham radio communications with any other licensed ham radio station/operator...and patched-thru to anyone via the PSTN (telephone system)....assuming your country and the country's waters you are sailing in, and the other station's country allows this "3rd-party traffic"...

{both of these other 2, prohibit any business communication, and use for any financial benefit...and are only for personal communications....}


5) Voice satellite phone.....such as Iridium...
6) VoIP satellite system....such as a Iridium Pilot or INMARSAT FB, etc....

{both of these last 2, are VERY expensive....}



I hope this helps clarify things a bit...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:37   #12
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

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5) Voice satellite phone.....such as Iridium...

{VERY expensive....}
Although the iridium phones can be quite pricey, they don't have to be. And they offer a very simple method to make a phone call...using a phone.

Iridiums sell new for $1000-$2000. Here is a refurb for much less:
Iridium 9505a Satellite Phone Essentials Package USED

And the iridium GO looks very good, and is under $1000 new:
Iridium GO!

Air time runs about $1/minute. Considering it works anywhere in the world and at sea, I think its a bargain.

I used an iridium phone on an atlantic crossing. It was excellent for staying in touch with family. I had trained the wife to give me weather forecasts using passageweather.com. It really helped. And since it was a "phone" it was pretty easy to use. To save airtime, I sent SMS to multiple recipients, and we received SMS as well. The benefit of this was mostly due to the time difference between our locations.

HAM and SSB are cool and techy, and offer other benefits as well. But if you just want to talk, I enjoyed using the iridium. Waiting in line for customs in Los Palmas Gran Canaria, just about every skipper was holding an iridium phone.
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Old 12-06-2015, 11:32   #13
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Seems like using another SSB as the shore station would be the easiest solution?

Is that legal?
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Old 12-06-2015, 11:40   #14
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Only if you have a private coast station license. These are VERY hard to get, and are mostly for those who have a maritime interest...safety, weather, ship repair, etc.

However, communications through the "marine operator" would be fine. At present in the U.S. there's only one such operator: Shipcom.
http://www.shipcom.com/

Shipcom operates public coast stations in Alabama (WLO) and in the Pacific Northwest (KLB), and have very good coverage of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They can place a regular telephone call for you. They also provide WX broadcasts and ship call lists on a fixed time schedule, working on several different marine frequencies.

Bill
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Old 12-06-2015, 11:58   #15
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Re: Using SSB Radio to Talk to a Shore Ham Operator

Incidentally, the question pool for the General Class ham licenses changes next month, so if anyone is looking at study guides, make sure to get the NEW one that will cover the new test.
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