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Old 05-02-2014, 06:51   #1
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Weather Frequencies

Hi,

I've found the Chris Parker Info and am wondering how up to date and accurate the frequencies and on-air times are?

I have an SSB Reciever (Grundig S450 DLX), I bought the big one, because of some reviews I read as well as the External Antenna option. I don't have an external antenna, and will not be investing more money until I can validate the value of having this as a weather option.

For the past couple of years I have sailed down from the Chesapeake, to the Keys and again back to the Bahamas this year doing my own weather. I'd like to add a "second opinion" to my weather forecasting efforts, so Chris Parker seems to be it. As with my previous sentiment, I am again not going to just jump right in and invest in the $195 annual subscription until I get a sampling of the value, including things like reception, weather reporting intervals, accuracy, etc... Simply doing the email or wifi thing just wont work for me.

Can anyone out there elaborate on the frequencies and the times of day Chris is on the air? I have been trying for two months to get Chris on this NEW Grundig SSB receiver to no avail.

Thanks,

Ralph
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:07   #2
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Re: Weather Freqs

Are you in a marina? Or near other metallic infrastructure ?

Apart from the USCG wX broadcast, I've noticed that it's almost impossible to receive anything on HF in a marina.

Whole thing is a mystery to me.
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Old 05-03-2014, 12:05   #3
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Re: Weather Freqs

At an Anchorage in Georgetown harbor, Exumas. It doesn't seem to matter where I am... out in an anchorage, in a secluded marina without services or population, or even in Miami... I believe the radio is just junk

Quote:
Originally Posted by neelie View Post
Are you in a marina? Or near other metallic infrastructure ?

Apart from the USCG wX broadcast, I've noticed that it's almost impossible to receive anything on HF in a marina.

Whole thing is a mystery to me.
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Old 05-03-2014, 14:26   #4
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Re: Weather Freqs

Have you tried 8764, 6501, 13089 at 0330Z (2230EST)? It's the USCG transmitter. I can get it while sitting in a marina in Fort Lauderdale.

Otherwise try 10000 or 15000 - it's the time signal.

If your'e not receiving any of those - then your receiver may not be working as advertised.

As an aside, I just subscribed to Chris Parker - the twice daily emails are excellent and very informative and good for decision making and wind warnings. I think it's well worth the money.

But I still can't hear him on HF.... Pretty sure it's my location.
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Old 05-03-2014, 19:17   #5
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Re: Weather Freqs

Ralph,
1) I have never heard of any sailors using that receiver....
And, I think you may have bought the wrong radio...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasata View Post
I have an SSB Reciever (Grundig S450 DLX), I bought the big one, because of some reviews I read
As I don't think that radio receives SSB (Single Side Band)....as it has no BFO...and according to the weird Grundig specs, would require an "external adapter" (a rather peculiar and complicated way of doing this, btw...)

It is spec'd as a AM/FM/SW receiver....and for the $70 - $80, looks to be a decent one, but nowhere do I see a BFO or "SSB" switch, etc...so I think the guy who recommended that radio to you was not aware of your application...
Grundig S450DLX Radio Receiver, Grundig S450

Amazon.com : Grundig S450DLX Deluxe AM/FM/Shortwave Radio - Black (NGS450DLB) : Shortwave And All Hazard Radios : Electronics

Grudig 450 DLX Field Radio Product Reviews


ALL maritime voice communications use SSB (and all maritime Weather Fax and text transmissions, also require an SSB receiver)....and 99% of all ham radio HF communications is either SSB or CW (morse code), and also require a BFO / SSB mode (or CW mode, for morse communications)

A Sangean 909, or Sony SW-7600, or their current/newer versions are both well made and useful Shortwave receivers that DO have an SSB mode (or BFO)...and both have been used by many sailors/cruisers for years now, with no major troubles....

Please see this thread, where the details are laid out pretty well...
Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

SSB Receivers






2) I hope you don't mind a blunt assessment here....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasata View Post
I don't have an external antenna, and will not be investing more money until I can validate the value of having this as a weather option.
Not having an external antenna is big mistake!!
But, the fact is that it won't cost you much money, as ANY scrap piece of wire will do....any 25' - 35' length of wire run up a flag halyard, and plugged into the radio's ext ant jack, will work MUCH MUCH better than the internal / whip antenna!!!
You don't have to "buy" an external antenna...
Please do yourself a favor and build one...






3) Most often the problems associated with HF radio (SSB) reception on-board, are caused by interference (noise) from so much of the other stuff on-board....
(although most boats do have too much of a problem, and even those that do usually find spending < $25 and an hour or two of their time, fixes the problems....)
Some things that some have found to be causing interference (called RFI) are:
battery chargers, inverters, wall wart power supplies, refrigeration units, charge controllers, etc...

So, even with a good $150 receiver (capable of SSB reception) and a cheap/free external antenna, you may find some things on-board to cause some interference...





4) As for your specific questions about what frequencies to use....you must have a radio that receives SSB....and then you can get excellent signals from the USCG and WLO...where you'll find MUCH better weather data and forecasts than Chris Parker (and a much stronger signal as well...)

See these pages for the specific times and freqs...
USCG HF Voice

HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels





5) And, for a great deal of info on weather info/forecasts when at sea....have a look here....
SSCA Forum &bull; View topic - Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts







I hope this helps....

Fair winds.

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 05-03-2014, 19:57   #6
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Re: Weather Freqs

I just bought a Kaito KA1103 as a backup on the basis of good reviews on a ham site. Around $70, and seems to work ok.

I had an antique (20 year old) Sony ICF-SW7600 ... Half the time, I wasn't real sure it was actually working. (20 PCB years equals 200 human years! ) so can't really blame the unit.

Anyhow, for the OP, from Chris Parker's web site...

WINTER: Effective during US Standard Time (November into March):
8137 USB 7:00am AST / 6:00am EST, 1100 UTC
4045 USB 7:30am AST / 6:30am EST, 1130 UTC
8104 USB 8:30am AST / 7:30am EST, 1230 UTC
12350 USB 9:30am AST / 8:30am EST, 1330 UTC
6221 USB 10am AST / 9am EST, 1400 UTC
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Old 26-07-2014, 05:43   #7
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Re: Weather Freqs

I just yesterday received a new Sony ICF-sW7600GR. I tried for a couple hours to find something useful on SW or SSB yesterday, but the only things I could hear was when I punched in the numbers for the local FM disc jockey. Received that okay.

I bought the World Radio TV Handbook with the Sony, but so far I haven't figured out what all that stuff is. So I got on the internet and found a listing of Caribbean Weather net channels this morning. I figured out I am an hour behind AST, and I tried the listed frequencies at 06:30, 07:00, and 08:00 AST etc. I tried to find Chris Parker, and I tried to tune in to the Coconut Telegraph net. But So far, I have yet to hear a human voice on SW or SSB. same static, which I can run up and down in freq with the USB/LSB switch and fine tuning pot.

After reading this thread, I tried imputting 10000 and 15000 to see if I got some kind of time signal, but all I heard was the same static.
I've read the brief manual, and messed around with all the buttons and switches and their descriptions all make perfect sense to me. yet....so far nothing a five dollar transistor radio wouldn't have done.

So far, I've been using the telescoping antenna and have not strung out the wire one. I'm on a bluff sixty feet above the Caicos Bank in a house surrounded by glass sliders and no nearby buildings. Shouldn't I pick up something?

I must be doing something wrong. These freqs are in kilohertz, right?
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Old 26-07-2014, 10:27   #8
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Re: Weather Freqs

Now I KNOW I'm doing something wrong, or leaving something out. I looked up the USCG HF Voice listings, and saw that they're 4316, 8502, and 12788. I saw that there was an Offshore Forecast scheduled at 15:30Z, which is four hours ahead of us here in Eastern Time, so just before 11:30 local I ran the long wire antenna out and clipped it to the Sony's telescoping antenna, and tried tuning in all three of those freqs at 11:30. Nada. Not a peep. Tried USB/LSB switch and tuning.

What am I doing wrong?
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Old 26-07-2014, 10:30   #9
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Re: Weather Freqs

Double check you times, they can be confusing. sometimes the source does not go on Daylight savings etc... just a thought...
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Old 26-07-2014, 16:44   #10
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Re: Weather Freqs

Thanks, I did exactly that and hoping it was that simple. The schedule I have here says that the USCG from NMG (New Orleans) transmitted offshore weather at 21:30 Zulu. Which would be four hours ahead of here ,making it my local east coast time of 17:30. So I tried again today at 16:30, 17:30, and 18:30 local. This should have bracketed any mistakes I made in the time zones an hour in each direction.

I tried the new Sangean SW antenna, too. Stretched it out and plugged it in. Tried all three listed voice HF freqs of 4316, 8502, and 12788 with no luck. Tried moving USB/LSB switch, running through the little trim wheel end to end at each.

If those freqs are right and the times right, I can only conclude that I can't pick up SSB weather with this radio here. Only other thing I can think of is that I stretched the antenna out horizontally. I can try it vertically, but I would have expected at least some kind of reception to at least let me know I have the radio set up right. I have no issues picking up FM radio stations in several languages. I must be still missing some vital piece of knowledge, otherwise.

Or Sony is a crap radio, but that has never been my experience.
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Old 26-07-2014, 17:56   #11
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Re: Weather Freqs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasata View Post
Hi,

I've found the Chris Parker Info and am wondering how up to date and accurate the frequencies and on-air times are?

I have an SSB Reciever (Grundig S450 DLX), I bought the big one, because of some reviews I read as well as the External Antenna option. I don't have an external antenna, and will not be investing more money until I can validate the value of having this as a weather option.

For the past couple of years I have sailed down from the Chesapeake, to the Keys and again back to the Bahamas this year doing my own weather. I'd like to add a "second opinion" to my weather forecasting efforts, so Chris Parker seems to be it. As with my previous sentiment, I am again not going to just jump right in and invest in the $195 annual subscription until I get a sampling of the value, including things like reception, weather reporting intervals, accuracy, etc... Simply doing the email or wifi thing just wont work for me.

Can anyone out there elaborate on the frequencies and the times of day Chris is on the air? I have been trying for two months to get Chris on this NEW Grundig SSB receiver to no avail.

Thanks,

Ralph
Ralph,

1) If you just have a receiver - there is no need to subscribe to Chris - he's happy for anyone to listen in for free.

2) If you have Transceiver then you can ask questions about weather and area specifics after you have subscribed.

3) If you subscribe, Chris sends an email every day detailing the weather as he sees it for the next 3 to 4 days. And if you have internet access 24/7 you can join in the webcast which occurs simultaneously with his SSB broadcasts.

As for me, I have found his service and advice invaluable - he has made many an awful passage less unbearable by giving me good timings. So the $195 is the best $195 I have spent in boating in a long long time.
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Old 26-07-2014, 19:54   #12
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Re: Weather Frequencies

This is the first I've heard of Chris Parker... Looks like he provides an A+ service.

Does anyone provide a similar service for the west coast?


John Konrad
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Old 26-07-2014, 19:58   #13
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Re: Weather Frequencies

you do realize your're responding to a post that's almost three months old....
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Old 26-07-2014, 20:11   #14
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Re: Weather Freqs

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Ralph,
1) I have never heard of any sailors using that receiver....
And, I think you may have bought the wrong radio...
As I don't think that radio receives SSB (Single Side Band)....as it has no BFO...and according to the weird Grundig specs, would require an "external adapter" (a rather peculiar and complicated way of doing this, btw...)

It is spec'd as a AM/FM/SW receiver....and for the $70 - $80, looks to be a decent one, but nowhere do I see a BFO or "SSB" switch, etc...so I think the guy who recommended that radio to you was not aware of your application...
Grundig S450DLX Radio Receiver, Grundig S450

Amazon.com : Grundig S450DLX Deluxe AM/FM/Shortwave Radio - Black (NGS450DLB) : Shortwave And All Hazard Radios : Electronics

Grudig 450 DLX Field Radio Product Reviews


ALL maritime voice communications use SSB (and all maritime Weather Fax and text transmissions, also require an SSB receiver)....and 99% of all ham radio HF communications is either SSB or CW (morse code), and also require a BFO / SSB mode (or CW mode, for morse communications)

A Sangean 909, or Sony SW-7600, or their current/newer versions are both well made and useful Shortwave receivers that DO have an SSB mode (or BFO)...and both have been used by many sailors/cruisers for years now, with no major troubles....

Please see this thread, where the details are laid out pretty well...
Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

SSB Receivers






2) I hope you don't mind a blunt assessment here....
Not having an external antenna is big mistake!!
But, the fact is that it won't cost you much money, as ANY scrap piece of wire will do....any 25' - 35' length of wire run up a flag halyard, and plugged into the radio's ext ant jack, will work MUCH MUCH better than the internal / whip antenna!!!
You don't have to "buy" an external antenna...
Please do yourself a favor and build one...






3) Most often the problems associated with HF radio (SSB) reception on-board, are caused by interference (noise) from so much of the other stuff on-board....
(although most boats do have too much of a problem, and even those that do usually find spending < $25 and an hour or two of their time, fixes the problems....)
Some things that some have found to be causing interference (called RFI) are:
battery chargers, inverters, wall wart power supplies, refrigeration units, charge controllers, etc...

So, even with a good $150 receiver (capable of SSB reception) and a cheap/free external antenna, you may find some things on-board to cause some interference...





4) As for your specific questions about what frequencies to use....you must have a radio that receives SSB....and then you can get excellent signals from the USCG and WLO...where you'll find MUCH better weather data and forecasts than Chris Parker (and a much stronger signal as well...)

See these pages for the specific times and freqs...
USCG HF Voice

HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels





5) And, for a great deal of info on weather info/forecasts when at sea....have a look here....
SSCA Forum &bull; View topic - Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts







I hope this helps....

Fair winds.

John
s/v Annie Laurie



Once again, another well researched, amazingly helpful post!!


To add a little extra, I'd like to suggest the following receivers, in order of preference.

1. Eton E1. Considered the best, can be found on Ebay in the $250-900 range. Outstanding sensitivity, selectivity selectable bandwiths and SSB tuning. I have mine programmed with all of the maritime SSB nets plus all of the NOAW Wx transmitter frequencies.

2. Tecsun PL-880. Smaller, lighter, much more battery efficient radio, but very close in features, audio quality and sensitivity to the venerable E1. About $170-180.

Both have connections for external antennas, which make a huge difference. I've had good luck with a piece of 16 ga speaker wire and an alligator clip hooked to the whip antenna.
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Old 27-07-2014, 00:50   #15
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Re: Weather Freqs

Canibul,
1) I actually have both some fairly good answers/help for you, AND some videos you can watch on-line that will show you a LOT...(both see and hear)

But, in the past you have not seemed to actually take my words as written and/or have not followed the links provided....
(this thread is an example...as the answers to most of your questions and probable solutions to your troubles, ARE in some of the above, earlier posts, and the links provided in them...)

So, I'm going to try one last time....if you read all below (and the earlier posts), and watch the videos....you should be listening to the US NWS/NOAA Offshore weather forecasts in no time!!
(if not....it's probably a US Gov't conspiracy against sailors who don't have an MMSI #..... Sorry, I couldn't resist... )


[Please note that the 3 main reasons that most that are new to HF radio have difficulty receiving / using it are:
a) Lack of understanding of what signals they are supposed to hear and what they are not supposed to hear (the difference between natural static and inferring noise....and the differences between signals on various frequencies and times-of-day)..

b) Significant interfering noises that reduce / eliminate your ability to hear the desired signals...

c) Lack of knowledge of radiowave propagation, and how-to choose the proper frequency/channel for the prescribed communications path and time-of-day...

Please understand that these 3 things apply to almost everyone that is new to HF radio....and if you take the time (about 20 - 30 minutes) to learn about the above, you will significantly improve your HF radio effectiveness!!!

And, I'm assuming that you are tuning the radio correctly and actually fine-tuning as needed???]



2) Get the antenna (or even just you and the radio, with the antenna) outside, and away from other electronic devices...
FYI, any piece of wire (any wire) 15' - 30' long will work as an antenna for you....and getting that antenna up and away from sources of noise / RFI (Radio Frequency Interference), is very important!!
Throw a piece of wire in a palm tree (or even just have it sloping from a fence post / tree trunk, etc. down to your radio....horizontal, vertical, or sloping...it will make little difference until you get a signal to move the antenna around with, to see which position is best, for THAT frequency at THAT specific time...), as far away from your house and other offending electronics, and plug it into your radio.....it'll take you all of 30 seconds....


(the list of RFI offending devices is endless....but just to name a few....Plasma TV's, Wi-Fi routers, sat TV rec, computers, cell phone chargers, all sorts of small plug-in "wall wart" power supplies, refrigerators, etc. etc. etc...)
See videos #9 (man-made RFI) and #5 (atmospheric noise), for easy-to-understand, real-world examples of what noises you should be hearing (atmospheric noises / static) and what you should NOT be hearing (RFI)....



3)
---- Use the USCG Voice weather broadcasts out of NMN, in Virginia (not NMG, from New Orleans)....
USCG HF Voice

Specifically for the detailed Offshore Waters Forecasts:
Daytime, try 13089khz at 1530z and 2130z (that's 11:30am AST/EDT and 5:30pm AST/EDT) ....if you're an early riser, you can try 8764khz and 6501khz, at 0930z (5:30am AST/EDT)....

Nighttime (lots of static crashes on the lower frequencies this time-of-year, down here....so be aware of that), try 8764khz and 6501khz, at 0330z (11:30pm AST/EDT)

[See videos #4 and #6, for a LIVE real-world, broadcast of Offshore Weather Forecasts on various freqs / stations...both the USCG's NMN and Shipcom's WLO...]

---- And, also have a listen for WLO broadcasts (weather 4 - 6 times a day...and traffic lists at the top of each hour)
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels
ShipCom LLC :: Marine HF Radiotelephone and HF Single SideBand Email

Daytime, you'll find their "16mhz" (17362khz) and "12mhz" (13110khz) to be best....(but also check 8788 early in the morning and/or evening)
Check their station identification and traffic lists at the top of each hour...
{For weather....at 1200z, try 13110 and 8788....at 1800z, try 17362 and 13110...and at 0000z, try 13110 and 8788....}

Nighttime, you'll find their "12mhz" (13110khz) to work into early evening, and then "8mhz" (8788khz) and "6mhz" (6519khz) as night moves on...
Again check at the top of each hour for their ID and traffic lists...
{For weather....at 0000z, check 13110 and 8788, and 6519...at 0600z, check 8788, 6519, and maybe even 4369...}


{You should be tuning into the USCG Voice broadcasts from NMN, in Virginia (NOT NMG, in New Orleans)....the reason is three-fold....
a) NMG's transmitters are primarily used for their Wefax transmissions, and their voice transmissions are secondary and are many times preempted (this is mentioned on their website, etc...)
b) NMN's signal will typically provide you a better signal in the N. Atlantic (you're in Provo, right???)
c) NMN also has 6mhz available for nighttime use...and 13.089mhz (13089khz) being ever so slightly higher than 12788, can also be helpful for daytime use....(and if desiring the more general "hi-seas" forecast, NMN also uses 17314khz for that....which covers the whole N. Atlantic very well) }




4) All the above info (save, any reference to videos) is available in earlier posts and links....
But, now here is some new info.....some that should make things easier!!

a) For what these stations, and weather forecasts, actually sound like, on their various frequencies, have a look/listen at these videos (particularly vide #4)!!
(including info/specifics about how-to choose the proper channel/frequency, for the specific time-of-day, communications path, etc..)


Video #4, will show you the USCG Voice weather broadcasts, how they sound different on different frequencies and how-to choose which frequency to use...





b) For info on (and examples of) noise, please have a look at videos #9 (man-made RFI) and #5 (atmospheric noise and various radio signals, and some shoreside noise), for easy-to-understand, real-world examples of what noises you should be hearing (atmospheric noises / static) and what you should NOT be hearing (RFI)....

Video #9...(man-made RFI)




Video #5...(atmospheric noise and various radio signals, and some shoreside noise)






6) I think all the above will help you a lot....
If not, please advise, and give more details, etc.....and I'll try to help more...

And, I'm assuming that you are tuning the radio correctly and actually fine-tuning as needed???


7) A few minor specific comments/advice..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
I bought the World Radio TV Handbook with the Sony, but so far I haven't figured out what all that stuff is.
No need to worry about most of that....most will not be of any help, and much is probably out-of-date...
Sorry, but if you were located somewhere that made "returns" easy/cheap, I'd recommend that you return it....



So I got on the internet and found a listing of Caribbean Weather net channels this morning. I figured out I am an hour behind AST, and I tried the listed frequencies at 06:30, 07:00, and 08:00 AST etc. I tried to find Chris Parker, and I tried to tune in to the Coconut Telegraph net. But So far, I have yet to hear a human voice on SW or SSB. same static, which I can run up and down in freq with the USB/LSB switch and fine tuning pot.
This is typically a combination of:
#1 reason....
--- Significant interfering noises that reduce / eliminate your ability to hear the desired signals...

#2 reason....
--- The fact that all cruisers and "cruiser's nets" are using only 100 - 150 watts, with many of them having inferior/compromised antenna systems....
And, Chris Parker, also being limited to 150 watts, being inland (Lakeland, FL), and without hi-gain antennas....
(as opposed to the USCG's 4000 watt transmitters w/ antennas covering the oceans....and WLO's 1000 - 5000 watt transmitters w/ multiple, steerable antennas covering the oceans...)

#3 and #4 reasons....
-Lack of knowledge of radiowave propagation, and how-to choose the proper frequency/channel for the prescribed communications path and time-of-day...
-Lack of understanding of what signals they are supposed to hear and what they are not supposed to hear (the difference between natural static and inferring noise)..


Other reasons may be inaccurate frequency and/or time info...



After reading this thread, I tried imputting 10000 and 15000 to see if I got some kind of time signal, but all I heard was the same static.
Daytime, I'd advise 15000 or 20000.....
But, you are much better off trying NMN (USCG) and WLO, and following the info/advise above regarding antenna, noise, frequency choice, time-of-day, etc...



I've read the brief manual, and messed around with all the buttons and switches and their descriptions all make perfect sense to me. yet....so far nothing a five dollar transistor radio wouldn't have done.
So far, I've been using the telescoping antenna and have not strung out the wire one. I'm on a bluff sixty feet above the Caicos Bank in a house surrounded by glass sliders and no nearby buildings. Shouldn't I pick up something?
Yes, you should pick up something....
But, as you can see above, there are many possible reasons why you are not...


I must be doing something wrong.
Please read ALL of the details above, watch the videos, and follow the advice....and you should be listening to weather a few minutes after you finish reading/watching!!


These freqs are in kilohertz, right?
Yes, they are in kHz (kilohertz)....
But, FYI.... 13089khz = 13.089mhz....it's just where you place the decimal point....in your case, to make things easier, use whatever terminology the radio uses...


Again, I do hope this helps....since I've now spent almost two hours composing/typing this!!!


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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