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  #1  
Old 01-29-2004
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Weather Fax Software

I have just purchases a Sony SW receiver (ICF-SW7600GR) with the intention of downloading weather fax information to a laptop.
Can anyone suggest good software which I could use to download weather fax data - preferable shareware?

Also,what sort of hardware connectors are required?
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Old 01-29-2004
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Weather Fax Software

If you''re running a Macintosh all you need is a simple ''patch'' connection wire from the sound output of the HF radio to the sound input of the Mac. Best Mac software (shareware) is http://www.blackcatsystems.com/software/multimodemodes.html ... can recive WeFAX, RTTY Baudot, SITOR*, Morse, etc. $39.00 or $89.00 enhanced version if you''re a HAM. Can also direct download images from satelites with homebuilt quadrafiliar helix antenna (http://www.pilotitd.net/qha.htm). Can also decode NAVTEX on the "SITOR-B" function if your HF can tune to 518kHz (longwave). The RTTY function is good if you cruise Canadian (Maritimes) waters as the Canadian Armed forces broadcast text weather info for RTTY download.

PC/Windoze community also now offer similar easy set-ups as the Mac. Avoid those obsolete WinDoze systems/software that require a (clunky) standalone demodulator/soundcard between the HF radio and the laptop.

In either of the above platforms, the most important item is a good external antenna. Get/build a gooooood antenna - a good cheap temporary boat antenna is a simple wire ''dipole'' raised by a halyard or a length of insulated wire cut to SSB length and run along the backstay - lots of antenna info on the www.hffax.de site. The KEY to good reception is the ANTENNA.

BEST website for WeFAX info = http://www.hffax.de/ just follow the links. All you''ll ever need to know on WeFax is on this ***incredible*** WeFax site!

Best sailor''s text for on-board weather forecasting is "Mariner''s Weather Handbook" Steve & Linda Dashew, IBSN 09658029-2-5 / Lib. of Cong. Card No. 98-093808, Pub.: Beowulf, Inc.

Hope this gets you started. Happy Dx''ing ;-)
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Old 01-29-2004
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Weather Fax Software

In the last few years I have used several MSDos & Windows based software systems for downloading weatherfaxes. The first entries required modulators of one sort of another but the new generation of programs work just as well and better using the laptop soundcard.

For my money, the hands down winner of the new crop of multi-purpose programs which include: FAX, RTTY / SYNOP / NAVTEX and SSTV features for Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT 4.0 and XP is JVCOMM, written by Eberhard Backeshoff. You can download it free at: http://jvcomm.de/index_e.html

The only difference between the demo copy and the full blown copy is the word DEMO which appears from time to time on your output screen and printouts.

After you use it short while you will no doubt come to the same conclusion that I did as to its worth, and send the author his well deserved fee of $60 or so, the exact amount escapes me as it was a couple of years ago and the cost is tied to the Euro dollar. Besides we are fortunate to have these exceptional freeware authors and they deserve our support or they will disappear into never never land.

Once you pay the fee, Eberhard will email you a character key which entered into the appropriate field will turn on the whole shebang and also eliminate the word ''demo'' from the display. BTW, let me add the disclaimer that I have no financial or commercial ties to this program or its author in any way. I am just a very happy camper using it on most of my more recent Atlantic passages.

I am not familiar with the Sony radio you mentioned but it will need a clarifier or real tight tuning ability so that you can tune off the published frequency by 1.9 Khz. Dont know why they don''t publish it that way but whatever frequency you see in print in Reeds Almanac or other publications is actually 1.9 Khz higher than what you will have to tune to get a crisp fax.

Another suggestion if I might. Set yourself up at home so that you can get the system working no brainer like before you ever take it to the boat. Fortunately your reception will be much improved when out to sea over what you will . I have a little Radio Shack portable made by Sangean that I use at home to tune in the Halifax, Nova Scotia station almost every week just for the fun of it so that it is always second nature on the boat where I use a larger and more powerful SEA-325 SSB Transceiver.

Capt. Bruce Gregory
http://boatskipper.com
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Old 02-02-2004
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Weather Fax Software

Thanks for your suggestions they are most helpful.

Cheers,
Phil
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