Originally Posted by s/v Jedi
@Dockhead: the reason I don't put a HAM antenna at the masthead is because I don't think the mobile versions are high quality enough for it and the fixed install versions will rust.
So that is why I would use it on the 2nd best position which is the upper spreaders in your case, or my mizzen masthead. The shorter cable also helps on 70cm.
About usefulness of the VHF/UHF bands: even here in Panama
I can open both 2m and 70cm repeaters (voice) and a 2m digipeater and also get a phone-patch at no cost because like everywhere, HAMs are very welcoming. Like I wrote before, I don't even use my marine VHF anymore because it annoys me compared to the Kenwood 710.
Now, if you get a couple of Kenwood HT's with that instead of marine VHF (and open them up for everything), you get so many bonuses that I don't remember how I could do without them. Those HT's can even become digipeaters with the push of a button. Think like this: I walk away from the boat into some jungle and have an APRS link with the boat. At some point I get out of range... so I put the HT in digipeater mode, hang it in a tree so that it is in range with the boat again, grab a second HT and continue for a full HT-to-HT range extra. And see waypoints to both the left behind HT and the boat. Fun to do just because you can, it is!
OK, thanks, that makes sense.
I am not looking for any improvement in my VHF performance -- it's already excellent, and I use my VHF little enough anyway. It's forbidden to use it for casual conversation. That's what ham radio is for. I can reach the Coast Guard from 30 - 40 miles off, and always get excellent signal reports. In case of need, DSC
has even more range. So I think a good antenna and good quality (but not oversized) coax will be fine there.
The ham antenna will go on the first, not third spreader, because that's where the first conduit exits inside the mast
. I don't want any cables
loose inside the mast so I will put nothing on the second or third spreaders. I guess I'll share it with AIS
as Nick does. I can't find the particular Diamond Nick uses so I'm plowing through other variants -- there is a bewildering variety of them.
As to transceivers -- I have been reading about D-Star and it seems to be deeply flawed. That's too bad, as surely digital voice modes and TDMA are the way to go and the future of all kinds of radio phone communications
. We are living in the steam-punk era, using analogue AM-modulated voice where noise
has equal rights with the actual signal. In my reading I have discovered that the military have been using TDMA digital voice modes over HF for a long time already, probably decades. I wonder when this technology will filter down to us?
6 meters mobile maritime is forbidden in Europe
, so I could theoretically buy a Kenwood transceiver like Nick's to cover the 2 meter and 70 cm bands. It looks like there is lots of fun to be had on those bands (in port only, obviously). Then use my M802 for HF, although it is pretty crude for ham work
with fixed filters etc. I would lack 6 meters (the "magic band") but can't use it on board anyway.
Or I could buy something like the Kenwood TS2000 which covers all the bands from HF to 70cm (you can even buy a board for 23cm). This is a regular full sized transceiver, but you can buy a remote head
for it! Wow, that should be just fantastic for use on board. Pricey, though.
I haven't been much intrigued by APRS yet although maybe I'm just not getting something. For regular position polling I use the DSC
function for this, which works very well. If I want to know where the dinghy
is, or where my crew is, and I'm on board, a couple of key presses suffice. A great advantage of DSC position polling is that nearly every boat is equipped for it, so if you show your pals how to set it up (oddly, almost no one knows how to use it, in my experience), you can poll
position not only of your own users, but of other boats as well. For recording your own tracks, any plotter does this.