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Old 17-06-2021, 08:47   #1
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Ham 2M useful Maritimes and Newfoundland?

Hello:

This one is for any ham operators ...

I will be sailing the Maritimes and Newfoundland the next few years. I was wondering how often both cell phones and marine VHF will not reach anyone, but ham 2M might be able to hit a repeater. I also have a marine HF rig on board. Is installing a 2M rig useful as a 4th level of communications backup, or is what I have about as good as it gets?

Regards,

Jonathan
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Old 17-06-2021, 08:59   #2
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Re: Ham 2M useful Maritimes and Newfoundland?

VHF coverage is surprisingly good. Remember there are a LOT of commercial fishermen who rely upon VHF.

Cell is spotty. We have Verizon with a Canada/Medico plan and that crosses borders pretty well. Data is limited to something like 500MB/day.

We also have a cell BDA, Wilson/WeBoost. Run an antenna up the mast and it can make a big difference. It may be a bit trickier to get necessary separation in FG boat. We are steel and use the “apartment” model.

For a while my Wife had work requirements for a cell connection. No doubt it was a PITA. But we made it work all down the St Lawrence and across to the Rock. So cell is do able, if you have specific needs and can plan for it.

Yet there are areas where none of this will work, like the South coast fjords. So we also have an Iridium sat phone. But this is rare.
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Old 17-06-2021, 09:05   #3
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Re: Ham 2M useful Maritimes and Newfoundland?

I'm K4TKL. I have a HF radio in my boat, but really prefer two tools for backup communication, a SpotX satellite text messenger and a Inmarsat sat phone. At your latitude, I think I would go with Iridium for the sat phone, since it uses a swarm of polar satellites while the Inmarsat system is based on geo-stable above the equator satellites. The SpotX costs $12 a month, sends text, and has lots of bells and whistles including international SAR and tracking, while the sat phone costs $37 a month and is voice only.
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Old 17-06-2021, 09:28   #4
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Re: Ham 2M useful Maritimes and Newfoundland?

I'll echo Hpeer's observations. VHF is surprisingly good around Newfoundland. So is basic cell coverage; at least it is with the Canadian carrier I use: Rogers (not trying to sell them or anything). We rarely lost all coverage anywhere down the St. Lawrence or around the northern parts of Newfoundland.

It's not always strong coverage. Often just one divot. But enough to send email.
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Old 18-06-2021, 06:18   #5
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Re: Ham 2M useful Maritimes and Newfoundland?

Thanks guys. Sounds like 2M won't add much, so will keep those boat bucks for other purposes.
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Old 20-06-2021, 07:49   #6
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Re: Ham 2M useful Maritimes and Newfoundland?

I am real sure you can find a list of repeaters online but in that area I imagine the list will be short.
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Old 20-06-2021, 09:29   #7
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Re: Ham 2M useful Maritimes and Newfoundland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulter View Post
Hello:

This one is for any ham operators ...

I will be sailing the Maritimes and Newfoundland the next few years. I was wondering how often both cell phones and marine VHF will not reach anyone, but ham 2M might be able to hit a repeater. I also have a marine HF rig on board. Is installing a 2M rig useful as a 4th level of communications backup, or is what I have about as good as it gets?

Regards,

Jonathan
I was very impressed with the Canadian Marine VHF communications held well on our voyage from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland via St. Pierre and Miquelon Islands. Also was very impressed with its communications quality and professional manner their radio ops where. Was surprised to some of the fjords that we where in that we could still be heard.
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Old 20-06-2021, 11:14   #8
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Re: Ham 2M useful Maritimes and Newfoundland?

I would add that the 2m repeater installed base is in decline. There are four reasons for this:


1) Most of the practical day-to-day utility of 2m repeaters was lost when cell phones became common and affordable. This is now increasingly true in remote areas also due to the popularity of InReach and similar servies.



2) USA/Canada and most nations with similar values and technological/economic capabilities now have a level of preparedness for disaster communications such that there is no longer an emergency communications mission for 2m


3) It is generally no longer possible to obtain free access to suitable tower sites



4) Due to declining interest in VHF in business and public safety (among many other reasons) it is no longer possible to purchase an inexpensive VHF repeater nor to build a VHF repeater inexpensively from parts.


While there are some large, well funded, wide area machines still actively supported in major population centers I am seeing many smaller local machines turn into "paper repeaters" especially in remote areas (A "paper repeater" being a repeater that exists on paper but that does not actually operate).
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