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post #19 of Old 08-23-2012
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Re: SSB vs sat phone for weather reports

Originally Posted by kosta.k View Post
I totally agree with Sea Hunter. I am currently in the process of outfitting my boat as well. SSB Transceivers are pretty cool if you want to actively participate in the "net". However, I find the system (Radio, Pactor Modem, etc) very expensive (USD 4,000+) in relation to the benefits and complex to install. You also need a license and a call sign, which is not related to the radio but to yourself. Here is what I will do on my boat to get the best of both worlds. I am going to buy a SSB Receiver (listen-in only), which you can get for USD 200 (+/-). This enables me to download grib files for free and listen to the net. I don't need a license for this. As a second device I will buy an Isatphone Pro (satellite phone), with pre-paid minutes. Cost? USD 700 or less excl. the minutes. I will use this for receiving and sending emails as well as a back-up for receiving grib-files when offshore. Total cost approx. 1- 1,500 USD. If anyone is interested in more information. The guys over at Lunatronic helped me a lot with the whole subject. It's a German company and the initiator is actually cruising in South America right now with his family. Apparently he is also the one who delivers such solutions to you directly on the boat and only leaves if the whole system works. BTW. I am not related to this company. Good luck. kosta
This is a reasonable approach as long as your are a US Coastal Sailor. However, if you are going to other countries and or out in blue water, this is not a good plan. The Sat phone sales people get paid for ever as you buy minutes so they push them as the answer. If you are a serious sailor the best safety tool is HF SSB. I say that as it is a one to many device. It is also important for cruisers to invest in a Marine Radio with DSC calling. If you get into trouble at sea, DSC will hail for help almost around the world. Most importantly it will go over the horizon to commercial ships up to 150 miles away. Commercial ships are mandated to carry DSC equipment. They may be the closest and could actually help.
Look on my web site under the communications and Icom IC M802 tabs. I post a lot of free stuff about the benifits of HF radio and have links to other sites. As a side note, with a KISS ground and Gam backstay antenna, installation is much easier than in the past.
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