Re: SSB vs sat phone for weather reports
I have both here, but always use the SSB for weather reception reports, when in receive mode the radio only takes a small amount of power, if you press the PTT key and start to talk, it use's a lot more. However you should only use the amount of power needed to make the contact and more often than not, its a lot less than the 100watts the radio is putting out, so turn the Transmit power down and your power consumption also goes down. Simples (but yes you will use more power than on just receive).
As for the tablet idea, well most radios do have DATA ports and CAT ports on them now and back home my radio shack is nearly all controlled by my PCs, so an actual interface between them is not hard to do, getting the correct APP and interfacing so they communicate to each other will be a little more tricky.
I had thought on similar lines to the tablet idea, but its easier to have the output from the SSB radio decoded by the ships computer/netbook using various software, save it as a picture file and simply transfer that file to the tablet and then you have it on the ships main computer and on a tablet if you choose.
Thats what I do, easier way and it works fine and with the SSB radio on receive when I need a weather chart, uses very little power, and yes I do hold all the certificates needed, but there real easy to take the classes and pass the exams, biggest problem is just your nerves haha.