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Old 24-01-2014, 08:01   #61
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Re: Herb Hilenberg : any follow-up ?

Just imagine getting tossed around with yet another big low tracking off Halifax and at the same time you are trying to "tune" in your SSB with lousy propagation happening. Not much fun trying to get a peek at the forecast.

With Iridium, XGATE, and Saildocs you can specify exactly what GRIB you want (area location, spatial and temporal resolution) and get it when you want it. Total time invested, 5 to 10 minutes.

I recommend a chart table installation with a external antenna for the Iridium. They sell nice add-on kits for this.

Trust me, it's a no brainer decision. We had both options.

Wrt to the 970 mbar low, we got a good heads up with the great forecasting and were able to do a nice sidestep of the bad stuff. Unfortunately, a 42 footer three days behind was a little too far west and north. They ended up hove to for 12 hours.

All said, at one time we were over 1000 miles off of our original planned course. What is the plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.
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Old 24-01-2014, 14:27   #62
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Re: Herb Hilenberg : any follow-up ?

Hello to all,
1) Before I contribute to thread drift, I'd like to let you all know that Herb is enjoying his retirement very well, including lots of travel, etc.!!
(I try to keep in touch with him regularly....but I've missed a couple months due to my own family complications...)

2) Now onto some HF radio comments....

---- As many of you know, I'm a "radio nut"...

---- And, I know that "Lake Superior" had a truly rough experience when trying to use Herb's Net a few years ago...which contrasts completely opposite of my experiences over the past 40 years of HF radio use on-board....
We've discussed this many times, and there's no need to rehash things again, as we seem to have simply (and respectfully) agreed-to-disagree about the usefulness/viability of HF comms on-board....

----- I like XGate and love Iridium....and a fixed-mount Iridium system (w/ ext. antenna) is a fine set-up....
---- But, I also like HF comms.....and it does work....

3) But, what might actually be useful here is to compare/contrast what type of HF communications system is more reliable, and/or at least to understand that there are various HF comm systems, and some work better than well as understand the difference a well-designed "chart table installation with a external antenna for the Iridium", versus the typically marketed "handheld sat phone"!!!

a) First off, understand that there is a VERY BIG difference in the communications ability between Herb's 150 watt transmitter, with a 35' home-built antenna, located hundred's of miles inland near Toronto, CA....versus the USCG's 4000 watt transmitters, with VERY LARGE, high gain antennas, in various locations overlooking the oceans (Boston; Chesapeake, VA; New Orleans; Miami; Pt. Reyes, CA; Honolulu; Guam; Kodiak, AK...) as well as the HF voice, text and wefax transmitters of UK, Germany, Canada, SA, Australia, NZ, Japan, China, S. Korea, Chile, Peru, etc. etc.

b) Secondly, understand that if you design/install your communication system properly, you should have no issues/troubles "tuning" anything in at all....if one channel is noisy/unusable, it should just be one click or twist of a knob to get to a clear, strong signal on another channel....
This is just like equipping with a fixed-mount sat phone and a external antenna, and having the connections and software set-up and tested....

c) Understand that many times, stations can be "too close" for contact on a particular frequency, and you must adjust accordingly...

d) Understand that high-latitude HF comms is much more susceptible to deep fading and sometimes loss of signals from un-forecasted geomagnetic activity....and changing frequencies accordingly is needed more often when above 45* - 50* than when communicating at lower latitudes....(and the N. Atlantic is worse than the Pacific, due to the proximity of the magnetic North Pole....)

e) If deciding that voice comms is not to your liking, and/or that you desire reading "text" rather than listening, you're in luck...
PACTOR, especially PACTOR-III and PACTOR-IV, provide excellent, 100% error free HF communications!!!

I could go on and on....but the gist is this:
IF you learn about this stuff before you shove off, and do not simply rely on the "guy that sold it to 'ya" to tell a few things, you'll find HF comms to actually be a worthwhile endeavor....

4) I don't think it prudent to drift Ludo's thread too much further....
And again, not wanting to get into a debate here...just wanted to share some of my experience and thoughts....(if needed, we can certainly agree-to-disagree)....

And, BTW, if you desire some more details on HF weather sources, etc. please have a look here at these two recent threads....

Fair winds..

s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 24-01-2014, 18:19   #63
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Re: Herb Hilenberg : any follow-up ?

How did we go from Herb to how to on HF radio? Chuck
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

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