I understand that the equipment needed is determined by how far offshore you may be sailing. However, I am trying to determine how to install the weather receiving capability in phases that make sense (by being able to expand or update) as my sailing goes from coastal to offshore. I am aware of the offshore standard of using a SSB radio and modem to receive weather fax or voice reports...but that is a $3-5,000 investment, right?
Currently, and for the next year or so, I will be coastal cruising in the 60 to 20 mile offshore range...mostly within 20. The Garmin GDL 30a XM weather/radio receiver/antenna package at about $300-400 will apparently provide decent weather information within 20 miles. But if that is installed now, will it simply have to be swapped out for another entire system to obtain unlimited access to weather as I start to venture across oceans?
Any thoughts on the best plan to build a state of art weather receiving capability?
I have some friends that use the Sirus weather and it will actually work almost to the end of Mexico. I am not sure how far north it works. For most of us it is very challenging to come up with all the funds you need to go cruising.
I have worked with communications equipment for many years and have been cruising for the past five years in Mexico. If you plan to go cruising someday, you should look hard at a stepped approach to HF SSB rather than buying a temporary fix.
If weather is the only thing you need right now, but you want to make sure you do not waste funds, you could just buy the radio and use it in receive only for now. Weather fax can be obtained using the audio out jack.
When you are ready to start transmit on the radio, add the appropriate antenna, ground and antenna tuner.
At the point you actually go cruising and need email etc. add the modem.
So you costs would be, ~$1850; tuner plus proper antenna and ground ~$800 ; Modem ~$1200.
It may cost you slightly more buying the pieces as many of the packages are competitively priced, but it will spread the cash flow for you and you will end up with a good system for cruising.
If you need more information, send me an email. There is a link for my email on my site plus a lot of downloadable information that may give you some more ideas.
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