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Old 16-01-2021, 07:29   #1
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Cheapest SSB setup

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?
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:32   #2
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Why?

Read up on the Iridium GO. There are a few well written articles in practical Sailor that discuss getting weather. With a little practice it is very Luddite-friendly
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:34   #3
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

If money were no object....
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Why?

Read up on the Iridium GO. There are a few well written articles in practical Sailor that discuss getting weather. With a little practice it is very Luddite-friendly
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:46   #4
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

OpenCPN on a notebook with the weather fax plugin and a relatively cheap (about 160Ä) TECSUN radio gives you weatherfax RECEPTION via SSB. Do a Google custom search in the forum for weatherfax plugin.
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:47   #5
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Here's your cheap answer...
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Old 16-01-2021, 08:14   #6
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Thank you, this is in line with what I have been searching toward. The Tecsun 660 seems to be suitable??
Is there significant advantage in a long external antenna? Again from my wandering through the info - is an 8 metre in my planned additional backstay the way to go?
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OpenCPN on a notebook with the weather fax plugin and a relatively cheap (about 160Ä) TECSUN radio gives you weatherfax RECEPTION via SSB. Do a Google custom search in the forum for weatherfax plugin.
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Old 16-01-2021, 08:46   #7
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Hi, I'd try without the external antenna first. You can add that later. Maybe someone else can comment more specific on that.

If you go to the thread Seamanship/ OpenCPN/Weatherfax and post a specific question I'm pretty sure you get an answer.

In post #1263 of that thread I describe which works best for me as procedure.

The Tecsun PL-880 is my pick, it works well with the procedure described.

The advantage of SSB is that apart from the initial moderate equipment cost the service is free any you can receive in general even if there is no cell coverage.

Surely out on the open ocean, but it helps also if you are anchored in a cove without cell or vhf reception. Sometimes high cliffs on shore can prevent this.

The only maybe by some perceived "disadvantage" is you need to be able to understand the weatherchart.

Gribs are maybe more convenient because one can "step" through them, but one is reliant on someone else's interpretation of the data then.
Still gribs require a working data connection to receive them. Which, for some of us is to costly.
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Old 16-01-2021, 09:09   #8
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Hi. Excellent advice that even I can understand!
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Hi, I'd try without the external antenna first. You can add that later. Maybe someone else can comment more specific on that.

If you go to the thread Seamanship/ OpenCPN/Weatherfax and post a specific question I'm pretty sure you get an answer.

In post #1263 of that thread I describe which works best for me as procedure.

The Tecsun PL-880 is my pick, it works well with the procedure described.

The advantage of SSB is that apart from the initial moderate equipment cost the service is free any you can receive in general even if there is no cell coverage.

Surely out on the open ocean, but it helps also if you are anchored in a cove without cell or vhf reception. Sometimes high cliffs on shore can prevent this.

The only maybe by some perceived "disadvantage" is you need to be able to understand the weatherchart.

Gribs are maybe more convenient because one can "step" through them, but one is reliant on someone else's interpretation of the data then.
Still gribs require a working data connection to receive them. Which, for some of us is to costly.
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Old 16-01-2021, 09:22   #9
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Your welcome. If you find an answer by someone on the external antenna, let us know.
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Old 16-01-2021, 09:33   #10
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

If you want to go cheaper and easy a Tecsun PL-365 might have the right frequencies. It's the same quality as its bigger brother for only $50-$60.
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Old 16-01-2021, 09:37   #11
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

True, but as far I know it has no line out & timer.
I'd look for a used 880....

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If you want to go cheaper and easy a Tecsun PL-365 might have the right frequencies. It's the same quality as its bigger brother for only $50-$60.
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Old 16-01-2021, 10:04   #12
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

For the antenna aspect, you don't need to install a backstay antenna. You can make a wire rope antenna and hoist it from your stern to top of mast. There are some discussion about wire rope antennas on this forum.

Generally speaking, any piece of wire will collect the energy from transmitted signals. But, longer antennas that are higher are more efficient in receiving lower frequency signals (HF) which basically means you are able to pick up weaker signals. (There's a lot of magic in antenna length and modeling, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion.)

If all you need is weather fax and budget is a concern...then a low cost short-wave radio is your best answer.

There are 2 types of weather charts. Synoptic and prognostic. Synoptic charts are a snapshot in time of collected data over a large area that is analyzed and prepared by a meteorologist and then relies on your ability to decipher the information displayed to plot a course. Prognostic charts use that data to generate computer models to predict weather patterns. There are different computer models, some are national standards, some are proprietary.
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Old 16-01-2021, 10:04   #13
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Redhead - If you don't need any more than VHF and weather faxes along with whatever other entertainment can be found on the short wave radio then this is perfect.

The only question I would have is whether this plus your VHF are sufficient for your comms aboard. They certainly can be. However, for us, we wanted to be able to at least receive email, including weather routing, when we were offshore and in remote locations without cell coverage during our six month cruise. We ended up going with the Iridium Go.

Just a thought.

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Old 16-01-2021, 10:06   #14
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Hi, I generally go the cheapest option but buy the best or new within that, a new 880 is still very economical.
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True, but as far I know it has no line out & timer.
I'd look for a used 880....
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Old 16-01-2021, 10:11   #15
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Re: Cheapest SSB setup

Hi, I would likely do the same but for the cost and anyway i do not need anything except to get weather fax. There are some advantages in being antisocial.
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Redhead - If you don't need any more than VHF and weather faxes along with whatever other entertainment can be found on the short wave radio then this is perfect.

The only question I would have is whether this plus your VHF are sufficient for your comms aboard. They certainly can be. However, for us, we wanted to be able to at least receive email, including weather routing, when we were offshore and in remote locations without cell coverage during our six month cruise. We ended up going with the Iridium Go.

Just a thought.

Harry
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