Originally Posted by stiffwind
Ya know...If I could understand some to the communications language and references that you guys are throwing back and forth, I would probably have known enough about the subject to not have asked the question!
I take it that XM weather subscription with receiver, like the Garmin GDL 30a, will give me current weather in all coastal cruising situations ( as one responder could access weather with that system to Bahamas). And if I want to leave coastal cruising grounds for Bermuda or the BVI, that I should be equipped with SSB and fax reception equip. Is that the conventional wisdom out there? Is that the current state of art for offshore cruisers?
I guess you'd have to define coastal cruising and would have to have some sort of propagation (coverage) map of your data coverage for your area. Some areas between cities along the coast may be very limited with regards to data coverage.
I don't speak of this lightly. I've been an EE (degreed engineer) for some 25 years now, and spent the last 15 designing and tweaking propagation performance with one of the largest PCS carriers. I was senior engineer and had eight engineers under me in my last position before I retired and went on to another career in our own business. In that time I have been responsible for many multimillion dollar budgets for site aquisition, build out, and performance. Make a mistake once (at 1.5 million average per site) and you are forgiven. Make one twice and your career is over. I have also been a Ham operator for 20 years, and hold both a General Class Ham ticket and an FCC General Radiotelephone (commercial) licence. I have also designed and helped build a lot of microwave shots to remote locations. I know of what I speak with regards to cellular/PCS coverage. I have also worked extensively with both real-life and computer models of radio propagation for most all bands in the spectrum, and have an expert understanding of how propagation works in many given configurations.
You might use your phone/data as a backup close to shore, and if you can get a data connection, good, use it. If you are going to venture more than around 5 miles have an alternate method of obtaining weather information. Sailors all over the world use SSB/we-fax and SSB voice for obtaining weather information. There is good reason that they do and have for many years - weather is critical and SSB/we-fax works.