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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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Old 04-21-2011
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WeatherFax, how to get weather in the middle of the ocean,...Cheap??

I have heard about weatherfax systems, but I have never seen one. The google searches I've done show a receiver hooked to a computer with some decidedly howbrewed conections. Are there affordable commercial units off the shelf?
How about Sat weather. Other than buying a sat phone subscription again is there something cheap, and boat ready I.E. a chartplotter?
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Old 04-22-2011
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All you really need is a SSB or Ham *Receiver* that enables USB (upper side band), a laptop, etc.' computer loaded with decoding software, a patch cord from the sound output of the radio to the sound input of the computer ---- download WeFAx from 'world'.
good source for WeFAx ..... History ....the *mother* of all WeFAx websites ..... covers ALL operating systems and software available.
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Old 04-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
All you really need is a SSB or Ham *Receiver* that enables USB (upper side band), a laptop
That's about it. I have an old Satellit 800 (yea, that is how they spelled it) that is connected to my laptop. I use a connector that plugs into the headphone output of the radio to the mic input of the laptop. You have to watch your levels, but it works great and it is cheap.

I have two software packages that I use. One is SeaTTY, which is really easy, but you have to pay $45 to own it and it isn't the best at decoding (clear fax), and the other is MultiPSK. It is more complex, free and produces the best and clearest fax.
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Old 04-23-2011
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We use Sirius weather on our Chartplotter when we're within a few hundred miles of the coast (not sure what the exact coverage is i.e. how far out in the ocean you can go and at what degree before you lose signal)... and our Iridium satphone when we can't get the Sirius signal (to download GRIBs and other weather info).
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Old 04-23-2011
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And there is navtex on longwave/mid wave ssb. I have used a PK-232 TNC to either minicom or Hyper term. Dedicated navtex receivers spit out continuous hard copy of these ascii broadcasts.

Pactor email (ssb) a request within Airmail (software) for weather maps/sat pics via ssb, and receive them later via pactor email. (Sailmail or Ham bands) One can use the internet to request/retrieve these files sans radio using Airmail when wifi is available. NOAA's ftp site have these pics/forecasts. SCS pactor modems are not cheap. Airmail is free. Sailmail service is affordable. Ham Freqs are restricted to Hams of sufficient privilege.

As mentioned earlier, Radio fax direct to software via soundcard.

WWV at 10.000 Mhz, or 5.000 Mhz, or 2.500 Mhz, broadcasts GPS outages, and Weather Once per hour.

There is talk of land based radio fax weather broadcasts going away as being redundant as these files are also available via NOAA satellites. Have not yet tried to down load from satellite. One would need sat pass predictive software, and a schedule of broadcasts to grab those radio fax files pertinent to ones location.

Sat phone internet.

Probably other ways I have not discovered. I like navtex and radio faxes. These are receive only modes, so they would not be as battery intensive as pactor email jpeg attachments.

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Old 04-23-2011
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WeatherFax

Icom makes a black box. The old unit # is PCR 1000. There are newer units available. $200
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Old 04-26-2011
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This Weatherfax popped up on Craigslist in R.I. today $400

Weatherfax
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You want to get out REALLY cheap? Buy a netbook, go into Ebay and pick up a radio capable of SSB (and that has an audio out, earphone out...), download the frequency list and download faxes.
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