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Old 08-23-2012
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Re: SSB vs sat phone for weather reports

The restricted permit is the only one you need for an SSB radio aboard a boat if using only the marine frequencies. Radios like ICOMs and FURUNOs can transmit on all frequencies. If you want to use the HAM frequencies, you need a HAM license but if you're going to use only marine frequencies, the restricted license is all you need for VHF and SSB. I have only the restricted which is good for Sailmail but not for using Winlink, which requires a HAM license. One consideration in using an SSB is that they use a LOT of power. On an energy budget, you have to plan your use carefully. It's really not good for a lot of chit-chat unless you have a large charging system. They'll run your house batteries down pretty quickly. I turn mine (ICOM 700) on only to get Wfax at predetermined times and to quickly send/fetch Sailmail if I'm using Sailmail. If going offshore, it's really the least expensive way to maintain contact.

I installed copper through the bilge and connected to deck fittings to form a ground plane but would probably use one of the small units they selling now if doing it again. I also used a twin lead antenna which just slides up the backstay and eliminates the need for insulators. It works well.
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Last edited by smurphny; 08-23-2012 at 06:19 AM. Reason: more info
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