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Old 21-01-2020, 21:24   #31
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Leviathon33,
Welcome aboard the Marine Electronics forum!
Sorry there has been so many well-meaning but un-helpful (?) postings here...
But, perhaps I can give you some direct, honest, answers.....that should help! (and also give you more info than you'd probably ever thought of... )

FYI, most of this is going to dry factual info....not really "recommendations", but rather the facts of what works, how it is done by most, etc....(I will try to add some of my recommendations/opinions at the end, but without knowing your exact application nor budget, it's tough to be precise...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan33 View Post
In the spring I'm sailing from the Northeast to Puerto Rico via Bermuda and the Bahamas. My question is concerning an on-board SSB radio. There are many in the $1,000+ range and then there are 'crystal-less' radios in the $150 range. I'm interested in weatherfax downloads and communicating with boats in the area in which I'm entering.
What's your recommendation?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan33 View Post
Thanks. I have InReach and think it’ll do for outbound communication.
Weather fax is what I don’t have.
1) First off, congrats on planning an offshore passage and especially your desire to access WeFax charts (the "gold standard" of offshore weather info)....and having the presence to understand that these charts are drawn by experienced maritime meteorologists, and in this case also include the significant weather systems that will be effecting a passage from NE US to Bahamas, PR, Caribbean, in the springtime (North American continental weather)!!!

And, understanding that "GRIB" files / charts (and most other internet derived offshore weather info, that are generally received by low-data-rate comms on-board), are the raw computer model data..(and that those GRIB's etc., also don't include these fronts that can have such drastic effect on your weather, etc..)

[one minor semantic correction....except for those few folks that access wefax charts via saildocs/sailmail, for the rest of us WeFax charts are technically not "downloaded" but simply received and decoded/viewed either with simple free software (on a computer/tablet/smartphone screen) or on a dedicated WeFax receiver/printer on paper.....]


2) As Ping and a couple others have mentioned, you can use a simple HF receiver (such as a "shortwave radio", that has a BFO....allowing single-side-band reception, and hence reception of HF WeFax transmissions)

While a simple $100 - $150 radio WILL work (I and others have done this), the simple fact that HF radio reception of most of these medium power signals isn't as easy-peasy as tuning in Radio Havana, VOA, etc....

And, as such, whether using these simple radios (at ~ $150 cost) for HF WeFax broadcasts and/or HF Voice Offshore/Hi-Seas weather broadcasts....or you were desiring to install a full-fledged MF/HF-DSC-SSB-Radiotelephone system (at ~ $2400 - $3000 cost), it is your understanding of HF radiowave propagation AND on-board RFI, Radio Frequency Interference (and to a lesser extent your antenna system), it is THESE things that will determine your success in this!!

For emphasis here, allow me to repeat this...
It is your understanding of HF radiowave propagation AND on-board RFI, Radio Frequency Interference (and to a lesser extent your antenna system), that will determine your success in this!!

Please know that yes, you could just buy a radio....clip a wire from it's small antenna to one of your shrouds/stays (backstay?), tune in to a station's signal (such as NMF and NMG) and get lucky, and enjoy some nice weather charts....BUT...
But, to be honest that's unlikely....

No, you don't need to have > 45 years experience with this (as I do)....absolutely not!!
But, watching a half-dozen or so videos (probably spending an hour or so)....and doing some reading here (probably another hour, at most), will give you a substantial boost in your success!
[FYI, I LOVE books and find them to be some of the best ways to learn/research things....but with the internet and this particular subject at hand, you have a great resource right here! Have a look at some videos and read some "stickies", and you'll know just about all you could ever need about this....and ask questions here for additional info/clarifications...and, btw, a "technicians class" license study-guide is of no use / no help to you at all!!! And, can I politely say that while Marti's "id-i-yachts" guide has some info that was good to some, it will be a waste of time and money for you here...]



3) For details on HF-WeFax reception, LIVE real-world reception of HF WeFax charts on a real offshore cruising boat (at a dock), and dissertation about offshore weather sources and methods, please have a look at the videos in this Youtube Playlist.

Offshore Weather
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY

Watch these videos in order and try to stick with it....yes, you may find them boring (I do try to make 'em fun, but heck it's technical learning so it might seem like work rather than fun....but I tried), and remember they are FREE and nobody is going to try to sell you anything....oh, and fyi, it;s just my radios, my fingers, and my narration....no script, no director, no laboratory simulations, just LIVE as it happens in the real world...

Even if some of the info might seem like it's not on-point of your questions, please trust me....it is!!
Once you grasp it all, you'll see what I mean...even if it's not exclusively about WeFax, it is about Offshore Weather, WeFax, and HF comms, etc...which is really the crux of your query here...



4) For info on HF receiving on-board, there is plenty of info in the stickies right at the top of the Marine Electronics page....

Both the references that are direct on-point about using small, inexpensive, portable HF receivers....and those that are about RFI....and those about full-fledged MF/HF-DSC-SSB-Radiotelephones....
I know, I know....there is a LOT there....look for info about HF Receive Only and SSB Receivers, etc....

Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...tc-133496.html


HF-SSB Radio, Proper Installation Tips/Techniques, etc.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...tc-198305.html




5) Leviathon33, your comment/query about communicating with other boats...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan33 View Post
In the spring I'm sailing from the Northeast to Puerto Rico via Bermuda and the Bahamas. My question is concerning an on-board SSB radio.................
I'm interested in weatherfax downloads and communicating with boats in the area in which I'm entering.
What's your recommendation?
Makes me clarify that in order to actually communicate with other "boats" (and/or ships at sea, and/or shore stations worldwide and/or in USA), when beyond normal VHF radio range (more than 20 miles from you), you'd need an HF transceiver, not just a simple ~ $150 receiver....
And, certainly you need to remember that the InReach is also of no use here at all....

Further, while you can pick up a older model (non-DSC), used...but in good condition for less than $1000 all-in, plus antenna, etc......if you're planning on offshore passages and/or cruising remote locales (especially if sailing short-handed), I'd recommend planning on budgeting about $2500 all-in...plus antenna, etc.

Yep, that's a BIG jump from a simple $150 receiver all the way to a $3000 system!! And, again you could look at alternatives, but without knowing your exact application and budget constraints, that's my best initial advice / recommendation...

Now, if you want some easy-to-grasp details on HF comms on-board, please have a look at these videos....

Maritime HF Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y


HF-DSC Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX


Icom M-802 Instruction Videos
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr





Offshore Weather
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY


And, of course those stickies referenced above....



6) Finally, as I mentioned above....not knowing your exact plans / application, nor budget, puts us at a disadvantage in giving you more specific answers...and you certainly do not need any of this....no WeFax, no InReach, no HF receiver, no MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radio, nope....none of those are needed for this passage (nor for most passages), but some of them are nice to have!

And, using your own words here...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan33 View Post
In the spring I'm sailing from the Northeast to Puerto Rico via Bermuda and the Bahamas. My question is concerning an on-board SSB radio. There are many in the $1,000+ range and then there are 'crystal-less' radios in the $150 range. I'm interested in weatherfax downloads and communicating with boats in the area in which I'm entering.
What's your recommendation?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan33 View Post
Thanks. I have InReach and think it’ll do for outbound communication.
Weather fax is what I don’t have.
I'd like to give my "recommendations"/opinions here...
If you have the budget ($1000 to $3000 or so), and the room on-board....forget the InReach and equip with an M-802 / AT-140 (you can find 'em used for ~ $1000 to $1500, all-in) or a new M-803 (or new M-802, if you can find one)....
You'll get all the weather info/forecasts you'd ever need, all the ship-to-ship comms you'd ever need (as well as ship-shore comms), have a full-fledged MF/HF-DSC-SSB-Radiotelephone that is also a full-fledged HF ham radio!! (and will give you many, many advantages that you may not even think of today....)

(and, don't worry about energy consumption.....most find they use the radio for only an hour or two each day that 95% receiving at 2amps per hour...)

Please give us some more info (budget, room on-board, your long-term goals, your current application and your application in coming year or two, etc.), and we can help more....but, that's all for tonight!


I hope this helps you out?
But, please watch those videos and come back with questions....and we can help more....{fyi, I will be away for Feb....so ask quickly, LOL.... }

Fair winds...

John


P.S. There are more threads here that you'll find helpful...
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ea-103555.html

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...rd-212861.html

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...gs-130640.html

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ds-146617.html

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...on-169164.html
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Old 22-01-2020, 02:38   #32
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Re: Single Side Band Info

For a SSB radio the backstay need insulators, the earth makes up half the aerial, so metal boats have the best signal, so attach the earth to as much metal as you can. Use copper foil to connect the tuner to the aerial where the wire enters the boat. Never touch the aerial when transmiitting it will burn your hand.
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Old 22-01-2020, 15:49   #33
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Please don't cut your backstay. That is so old school. It will be cheaper to add (if you don't already have one) a spare halyard so you can run an Alternate Backstay Antenna. On top of that, you can use the same material that you backstay is made of, or use insulated lifeline. 1/8" should work just fine. Smaller if you want.

The advantage of an Alternate Backstay antenna is it can be changed any time. If you are having issues on you favorite frequency due to high SWR, either lengthen or shorten your antenna. There are no costly insulator to buy and no expensive rigger to hire to do the work.

Seriously, do molest your backstay.
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Old 23-01-2020, 09:26   #34
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Re: Single Side Band Info

I will disagree with that with some caveats. I started out that way when I first started trying the radio aboard, but as soon as I got an SGC tuner and permanent mount for the radio I got the proper insulators installed.
This gear can be considered safety gear and I was not interested in a temporary wire that was prone to breakage or getting tangled in something when I needed it most. As an installer we would never have risked doing that for a customer. We did make a few "loops" with only bottom insulators and the tuner driving the backstay and base of the mast. That was our cheap option, the rigger could do it onsite and no one had to climb or take the backstay to a shop.
YMMV and you certainly can hoist an antenna and see how it works for you.
We also used a few 23 foot whips on sailboats. That was not IMHO optimal, but it works and if you have rod rigging the insulator job is $$$$$$.
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Old 23-01-2020, 16:20   #35
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Re: Single Side Band Info

I'm hoping that Leviathon33 returns and has a look at the posting above.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ml#post3060270

And, maybe we'll get a clarification of his budget and exact application?

But, since it seems like budget is tight?? I understand Brian's recommend...

Now, usually I'd be taking the same approach as Coqunia notes....and to be clear, I still might make that recommendation here for Leviathon33...but...

But, Brian is pointing out a legitimate alternative (that is much cheaper than backstay insulators and probably rigger's labor), and if made from SS wire and properly secured this can last a long time....
Whether it interferes with sail, toping lift, etc....or other rigging interferes with its performance is pretty boat specific, so we all here in cyberspace cannot know that...


And, finally....while I know that many still have that old recommendation to avoid 1/2-wave lengths, in addition to never finding this to be a problem in > 45 years (assisted in my first HF marine SSB in early 1970's as an adolescent), fact is the other rigging, wet sails, etc., will all effect your antenna's resonance....so, the perceived advantage of being able to "change the length" of your antenna isn't really that big of an advantage...



Fair winds.

John
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Old 24-01-2020, 15:33   #36
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Thanks everybody. I found my solution!
All the best,
Leviathan 33
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Old 24-01-2020, 15:58   #37
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan33 View Post
In the spring I'm sailing from the Northeast to Puerto Rico via Bermuda and the Bahamas. My question is concerning an on-board SSB radio. There are many in the $1,000+ range and then there are 'crystal-less' radios in the $150 range. I'm interested in weatherfax downloads and communicating with boats in the area in which I'm entering.
What's your recommendation?

My counsel to you is that if you don’t own an SSB, don’t buy one. An Iridum Go will perform them same functions and more, for less money. The Go is also relatively easy to use.

Just finished an article on this, feel free to PM
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Old 25-01-2020, 09:33   #38
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
My counsel to you is that if you donít own an SSB, donít buy one. An Iridum Go will perform them same functions and more, for less money. The Go is also relatively easy to use.

Just finished an article on this, feel free to PM
SOME of the same functions. YMMV about how much you care to talk to other sailors, but you aren't going to be calling them on the phone.
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Old 25-01-2020, 12:37   #39
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coquina View Post
SOME of the same functions. YMMV about how much you care to talk to other sailors, but you aren't going to be calling them on the phone.


Yes if that is your intent. But then again, as folks start to move from SSB send/receive ... ... Also one still has VHF.

On a delivery, or on a passage, I want good weather forecasts on demand
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Old 25-01-2020, 15:53   #40
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
It is a different level of service Iridium vs. SSB. If your primary method of communication is infrequent emails, then both Iridium and SSB will do very well, costs will be the same over 2-3 years but then SSB will start getting cheaper as its running costs are very low....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
My counsel to you is that if you donít own an SSB, donít buy one. An Iridum Go will perform them same functions and more, for less money. The Go is also relatively easy to use.

Just finished an article on this, feel free to PM
Care do elaborate? and do you disagree with the above post from Pizzazz?
Thanks
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Old 25-01-2020, 16:03   #41
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Iridium = star network
SSB = mesh network

Major difference! Iridium has its advantages, as does SSB. The astute sailor will have both on board, or an equivalent of both.
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Old 26-01-2020, 07:38   #42
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVTatia View Post
Care do elaborate? and do you disagree with the above post from Pizzazz?
Thanks
The cost of use has two components; first purchase, and then monthly operating expense. The monthly comes down to how many offshore passages you make.

It comes down to an individual choice. You as the person in charge evaluate the various options and make a decision.

As a delivery guy, I will spend some of my profit to get the best weather info I can, on demand.
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Old 26-01-2020, 09:10   #43
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
The cost of use has two components; first purchase, and then monthly operating expense. The monthly comes down to how many offshore passages you make.

It comes down to an individual choice. You as the person in charge evaluate the various options and make a decision.

As a delivery guy, I will spend some of my profit to get the best weather info I can, on demand.
Hey Snore, you mentioned that Iridiun can offer more for less.... I was expecting a summary/cost comparison on the two components...

I am evaluating the cost/benefits, and this is part of it, getting info from the people using them.
Like I mentioned above, my initial costs for the SSB including tuner, modem, antena and ground is about $1.8K. I'll have to pay for the yearly costs of Saildocs, Sailmail, etc. of about $250.

I can't see how Iridiun and all its associated apps can cost less over 5 years. This is for weather only not SMS or anything else.

I understand that cost is one part of the equation, but perhaps the deciding factor if you are retired and on a fixed income. Convinience and easy of use is very important for many people, but it comes with a price.

As a delivery skipper, your case is totally different.
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Old 26-01-2020, 10:36   #44
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Re: Single Side Band Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVTatia View Post
Hey Snore, you mentioned that Iridiun can offer more for less.... I was expecting a summary/cost comparison on the two components...



I am evaluating the cost/benefits, and this is part of it, getting info from the people using them.

Like I mentioned above, my initial costs for the SSB including tuner, modem, antena and ground is about $1.8K. I'll have to pay for the yearly costs of Saildocs, Sailmail, etc. of about $250.



I can't see how Iridiun and all its associated apps can cost less over 5 years. This is for weather only not SMS or anything else.



I understand that cost is one part of the equation, but perhaps the deciding factor if you are retired and on a fixed income. Convinience and easy of use is very important for many people, but it comes with a price.



As a delivery skipper, your case is totally different.


I have an article pending with Practical Sailor- I donít think I can legally share the ď27 8x10 pictures with the circles and arrows on the back of eachĒ that appear in the article.

Cheapest way to get data aboard- Iridium Go connected to a tablet, using an email to an auto-responder that sends a GRIB. Be it as a delivery guy or for my customer who own basic to $1m yachts ó- that is not the best value
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Old 26-01-2020, 10:59   #45
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Single Side Band Info

It is not so hard to get the numbers.

SSB costs $2,000+ to install, another $1,000 for the Pactor modem that you need for Sailmail and the $250 annual subscription. If you are a ham, then you use Winlink and you can save $1,250 from above. You can use the SSB for weather, voice to other boats, sms like conversations and email. After the first few months you will use it 95% for email. There is also an emergency calling aspect to having an SSB but a satellite phone is just as good for recreational sailboats. Letís not discuss the DSC topic again.

Satellite devices cost $300 (sms only) for the Inreach and $800 for Iridium Go (voice, email, sms). Unlimited monthly plans start at $49 for the Inreach and $120 for the Go. For a little bit more you can have plans that you can switch on and off depending on your cruising schedule.

You do the math. As mentioned before sending messages from your phone to anyone in the world from the middle of the ocean is priceless. It is not even worth the time to compare. For email, both solutions work medium well, Iridium is slightly more energy efficient.

If you want to talk to other boaters SSB is free. If you want to talk to other hams around the world, SSB is cool. If you want to exchange radar data with a boat tha is 100 miles ahead of you in real time, then SSB is the way to go (satellite has too much latency). I canít think of a need for the other one unless you are in the navy.

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