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Old 01-04-2012
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Browsing the internet with HAM

has anyone succesfully connected with a 72 or other internet connection with a ham radio during an ocean crossing? if so please share info..
heres a video i found describing how one man set his up, i was thinking we could get a landlubber to broadcast a connection for our ocean crosses. comments?

Surf Web on DStar Ham Radio - YouTube
Even on my best day against nature, its a draw.
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Old 01-04-2012
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I'm not terribly familiar with D-Star, I can tell you the 1.2Ghz setup that guy is using might be enough to get you out of the marina. HF does not have enough bandwidth for the piles and piles of data on the internet. Fax weather data, slow email, and PSK31 are pretty good long range as they all use the lower frequencies. Anything in the VHF (or UHF as in the example) is just not viable over distance with out HUGE antenna arrays, big amplifiers and what some consider luck and others consider skill. It can be done, just not easy, or cheap, or in a small space.
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Old 01-05-2012
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To elaborate, what you linked to only works for line-of-sight transmissions. In other words, absolutely no further out than your marine VHF would be able to communicate. At these ranges, you can use a good antenna and one of the wifi amplifiers to accomplish pretty much the same thing, without the need for the ham license.

Once you get out to sea, you have to use HF or satellite communications to connect to the internet. HF does not provide the bandwidth for web surfing. Not even close. There are satellite solutions that provide enough bandwidth for web surfing, but the initial hardware cost is well into the tens of thousands of dollars range, and the monthly subscription fees will be in the thousands as well.

Bottom line: There is no current technology that will allow you to surf the web from the middle of the ocean, which does not cost so much that only cruise lines and the ultra-rich can even think about affording it.
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Old 01-05-2012
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DenverdOn is correct. Allowable HF bandwidth for data communications on the ham bands currently doesn't even permit the use of the new Pactor 4 protocol, which is about twice as fast as Pactor 3. Pactor 3 speeds are a maximum of about 9600 baud....not nearly fast enough for web surfing....though fine for email with modest attachments.

You can use P4 on the commercial marine bands, and at least two shore stations are currently experimenting with it. Still, that's only about 19,200 baud under great conditions....too slow for surfing.

Short answer (unless you're a millionare): Forget It!

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