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Old 25-01-2021, 10:34   #46
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

I used a simple end fed long wire....
I rigged a pvc pole on my stern pulpit about 8' high, and ran a 1/8" plastic covered s.s. wire from the top of the pvc pipe up the top of the mast....connected it with a cheap insulator you can get a Home Depot..I had a tuner at the base of the pvc pole..the whole thing probably didn't cast me $50..tuner excluded....worked like a charm...I had a cheap laptop computer wired to the SSB to download weather fax..but found little value in the weather faxes....and relied mostly on broadcasted weather...
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Old 25-01-2021, 11:37   #47
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

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Originally Posted by MrChris View Post
I am aged and electronically ignorant. After some research in this confusing subject I am heading toward SSB for weather faxes, and I also think at this point that I need an antennae which I may achieve by utilising the second backstay I am installing anyway (double duty for single outlay)
I can not afford all the things I might ideally need and anyway I intend to keep blue water stretches to the minimum but still need cheapest solution to weather info. I do not necessarily need to send except in emergency.
I would be most grateful for advice in regard to the simplest cheapest solution and recommended instruments?
I would like to respond appropriately but from your post I don't really have a good idea WHERE you are proposing to sail, size boat, and what your total communications capabilities are at present. It sounds like you are basically coastal with occasionally an overnight of bluewater, maybe.

If you are talking British Columbia or Alaska I would say you don't need SSB as weather is available via VHF or sometimes cell phone in places.

My boat came with an old SEA 225 HF/SSB radio installed but no modem. I drove to the manufacturer (located in Mountlake Terrace, WA) one day with all the components and for a reasonable fee had the unit put back into service condition but I still had to correct a number of improper installation items on the boat to get it working properly. My testing/practice locally was not full of much promise but during the roundtrip to Hawaii it worked very well retrieving NOAA weather forecasts and transmitting daily position reports to the Pacific Seafarers Net (14.300 Mhz). I also had an inReach and Skymate communicator. What will be your backup?

Practicing with the equipment cannot be overemphasized BEFORE you go offshore as well as learning weather chart interpretation.

While total independence is ideal having reliable communications to a land base of operations can be of immense value when you most need it, be it for weather or whatever.

With many boaters switching to satellite you may be able to pickup a fully functional SSB setup for a very reasonable price.

Good Luck.

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Old 25-01-2021, 11:39   #48
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

A good antenna is the most important component of the system. Yes, you can try hoisting a wire on a mooring, but that will quickly become a drag at sea, when you actually need it. And the performance will be a disappointment. I would go for the backstay option and include an antenna tuner . There are inexpensive ones meant for receivers only. The difference between a tuned and untuned antenna can be remarkable.

Think about where and how you will mount the radio and iPad, or whatever you will use to decode the fax signal. You don’t want them flying around the cabin when it gets rough. Or getting wet! I use heavy duty Velcro to ‘mount’ my components securely and conveniently.

It can take hours to receive a whole set of faxes, so you also need to think about wiring them up to power. You don’t want to be messing with AA batteries. Turning the screen brightness way down will help save power.

Experiment with it a lot before you set out. It’s not hard to get good faxes but there are some tricks to learn before you go. Have fun! Some of my own testing on this blog post:

The Unlikely Boat Builder: Another Look At Weather Faxes

Note that the main difference in the two setups is the antennas: a random wire vs a tuned backstay. There’s no comparison, as you will see.
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Old 25-01-2021, 12:50   #49
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

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Originally Posted by KsKayaker View Post
If you can pick up a radio in Wichita KS, I will make you an incredible deal. I just don't want to mess with shipping. ICOM 710 RT with matching ICOM antenna tuner. $400. Pay when you pick it up. I have bench tested with long wire antenna for receiving and dummy load for checking transmission. Used SWR meter and frequency counter. To get internet, you will need to add a modem. I do not have a modem. Suggest you do much homework before making a purchase. If you get a HAM license, you can get free internet, but then you need a HAM rig, not a marine rig. Both have benefits and disadvantages. Marine vs HAM: there is no legal cross over. Different rigs, frequencies, and licenses.


Internet?

Iím assuming your mixing up internet and email.
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Old 25-01-2021, 13:14   #50
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

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Originally Posted by Triumph View Post
What about using an InReach and getting weather info from a pro (Chris Parker) or the folks back home?. Could you also have a portable SSB radio like the Grundig Yachtboy 400PE and receive weather faxes via the Black Cat App that prints them on your tablet?
Yes, Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE can do it:

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Old 25-01-2021, 14:04   #51
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

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I am heading toward SSB....
I would be most grateful for advice in regard to the simplest cheapest solution and recommended instruments?
Unless you already own your SSB rig, check out the Iridium GO. A SSB rig is hugely expensive compared to Iridium GO and that's not even counting the antenna, coax, automatic tuner, grounding plate and power consumption. You can carry the GO in your pocket, the rig takes up a sizable chunk of real estate in comparison.
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Old 26-01-2021, 02:57   #52
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by KsKayaker View Post
If you can pick up a radio in Wichita KS, I will make you an incredible deal. I just don't want to mess with shipping. ICOM 710 RT with matching ICOM antenna tuner. $400. Pay when you pick it up. I have bench tested with long wire antenna for receiving and dummy load for checking transmission. Used SWR meter and frequency counter. To get internet, you will need to add a modem. I do not have a modem. Suggest you do much homework before making a purchase. If you get a HAM license, you can get free internet, but then you need a HAM rig, not a marine rig. Both have benefits and disadvantages. Marine vs HAM: there is no legal cross over. Different rigs, frequencies, and licenses.
Actually, that is not exactly 100% correct. Keeping in mind that you are responsible for the spectral quality of your signals, you can use ANY radio including one you build yourself on the Ham bands, that is capable of transmitting and receiving on the frequency in question. There are radios that are type accepted for Marine use that are perfectly capable of tx/rx on Amateur frequencies without any modifications that would void type acceptance. Most noteworty is the Icom M802 and the new M803. Also the M700 Pro. Keep in mind that I am not talking about vessels that are required to carry Marine HF/MF SSB equipment, but only vessels voluntarily carrying it such as yachts. Those three radios are quite practical to use as HAM transceivers but are sold as Marine transceivers. They are perfectly legal to use for either service. Any other Marine SSB that can operate on Amateur frequencies can legally be used in that manner.

There are HAM transceivers that with a very simple modification, typically clipping a diode, are capable of operating on Marine frequencies but are not type accepted for Marine use. This is NOT legal. Two completely different situations.

Different frequencies and different licenses, yes. Different radios, not necessarily.
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Old 26-01-2021, 12:28   #53
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
I third or fourth the recommendations above for the Tecsun 880.... not the cheapest solution but certainly the best solution for portable SSB/Wefax reception.
It comes with a handy 'longwire' if you want to set it up ashore while getting the hang of it.

The 660/680 and the new 330 don't have 'line out' which the 880 does. 'Line out' lets you listen while you record - and don't have the quality of 'fine tuning' control that you need for fax frequencies which are typically 1.9 below the listed frequency.

A photo of my 880 receiving a 'test pattern' from Charleville/WMC below...

Fax frequencies and schedules can be found here...
https://www.weather.gov/media/marine/rfax.pdf

Last but not Least... Gough Lui from Sydney NSW did an interesting series on wefax a few years back..... work your way down the burrow from here.. https://goughlui.com/2019/03/07/radi...al-centre-cma/
=========================================


Hi El Pinguino
what is that white cable connecting your radio to PC
the connector to the laptop seems wider? than what I know?
thanks
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Old 26-01-2021, 13:03   #54
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by davil View Post
=========================================


Hi El Pinguino
what is that white cable connecting your radio to PC
the connector to the laptop seems wider? than what I know?
thanks
Hola Davil,
White cable is a simple male to male..... computer is a Macbook Pro which only has sound out jack... no sound in...
Solution is one of these that lets sound in via a USB port.
https://www.kogan.com/au/buy/rad-pa2...=Ad+group+%231
The one in my pic is a Sabrent but plenty around...

Someone else up above mentioned the fuss and bother of using AAs....
Another plus with the 880 is that it uses a lithium 18650 battery. Radio can be recharged via USB....runs for a very long time between charges.
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Old 26-01-2021, 15:26   #55
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Hola Davil,
White cable is a simple male to male..... computer is a Macbook Pro which only has sound out jack... no sound in...
Solution is one of these that lets sound in via a USB port.
https://www.kogan.com/au/buy/rad-pa2...=Ad+group+%231
The one in my pic is a Sabrent but plenty around...

Someone else up above mentioned the fuss and bother of using AAs....
Another plus with the 880 is that it uses a lithium 18650 battery. Radio can be recharged via USB....runs for a very long time between charges.
===============================================
Carajo
thank you El Pinguino,not sure you are Spanish speaking despite El Pinguino but in case I wrote a bonus word we use in Buenos Aires.
In my now longer lasting senior moments forgot last year bought an adapter to insert in the USB for the same purpose and since this past year been in the box,now since getting my shots hope to be back cruising this year(may be? just attached the gizmo pic will try as soon as get the radio battery charged,is a PL-880 I purchased last year after reading one of your posts that are very helpful.
take care and thank you again
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Old 28-01-2021, 09:22   #56
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

found this list for the east coast


East Coast Cruising Nets


East Coast Cruising Nets



anybody has a weatherfax list of stations and schedules?
thanks
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Old 28-01-2021, 09:43   #57
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

just found this
not sure is up to date?


http://f6cte.free.fr/rfax.pdf
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Old 28-01-2021, 09:55   #58
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by davil View Post
just found this
not sure is up to date?


http://f6cte.free.fr/rfax.pdf
Obtain the up-to-date worldwide radiofax schedule here:
https://www.weather.gov/media/marine/rfax.pdf

Here is a rfax user's guide:
https://ocean.weather.gov/UsersGuide/UGprint.php
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Old 28-01-2021, 10:01   #59
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

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Originally Posted by sv_pelagia View Post
Obtain the up-to-date worldwide radiofax schedule here:
https://www.weather.gov/media/marine/rfax.pdf

Here is a rfax user's guide:
https://ocean.weather.gov/UsersGuide/UGprint.php

==============================================
thank you very much
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