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  #1  
Old 04-22-2013
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Weather Fax

The Womboat has/had a Furono weather fax as per link below (408) which was fried during our recent lightning strike.

I'm still trying to work out its replacement.

First up, who of you have a Weather Fax and if so what type ?

Rather than a WF with built in printer would not the second option (Fax-30) which interfaces with a separate computer and any printout is by plain paper printer be preferable in this day and age ?

Any thoughts and/or advice would be must appreciated.


Products:Weather Fax | Marine Equipment For Recreational Boats | Business Fields & Product List | FURUNO's Product Site

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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Weather Fax

I must admit, I'm kinda surprised Weather Fax services are still available - but having said that, given that you have a perfectly good (?) laptop sitting on the chart table, I'd have thought the Fax-30 would be the go.

The traditional printing variety does take up a lot of otherwise useful space - and that looks like a good little unit.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Weather Fax

Hi Mr C.

My knowledge of this area is scant to say the least but it would appear that WeatherFAX is something of a misnomer. In fact (and I stand ready to be corrected) I think that they are today nothing more than a device that receives graphic information through either a Satellite phone or HF radio. The Oz BOM offer weather maps by HF as do I believe the privately run weather services.

It seems to me that a cruising sailboat might need to access a weather map once maybe twice a day while a hard copy would not necessarily be required.

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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Weather Fax

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
It seems to me that a cruising sailboat might need to access a weather map once maybe twice a day while a hard copy would not necessarily be required.
Quite true, Mr B - although I did think most sailors downloaded GRIB files to their laptops in this the 21st century..

In buying something like this I'd be wondering how much longer the Weatherfax service would be available. To this, I simply do not know - but here's something that might help:

Where to get Weather Forecasts
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Last edited by Classic30; 04-23-2013 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Weather Fax

We have a pactor modem and small tablet computer to download grib files off the SSB. It always gives me a serious headache. Perhaps it's because I don't do it very often, perhaps it's because its like starting a fire by rubbing two sticks together! Unnecessarily complicated for the 21st century.

Because we are mostly coastal, I get virtually all my weather via 3G cell service over the iPad. Not sure if that is available where you are, but the iPad apps are ridiculously simple to use and very robust with data. I use both Weather Track (for more traditional grib type data) and SailFlow for finer coastal wind info. I believe they are both worldwide. I also access our US Weather Buoy data in an app and can access every internet based weather website. I even have a weather radar app, which comes in handy for thunderstorms in the summer here.

One would think that an app could be written and a cable made to connect an iPad to a Pactor and have a simple app that took it from there.
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Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Weather Fax

I'm also unsure as to the state of the art when it comes to this stuff. Again as with Minne because most of our sailing is coastal we are rarely out of cell phone range but it is for those times when we will be out of contact that I'm thinking SSB downloading of weather info is still relevent.

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Re: Weather Fax

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
I'm also unsure as to the state of the art when it comes to this stuff. Again as with Minne because most of our sailing is coastal we are rarely out of cell phone range but it is for those times when we will be out of contact that I'm thinking SSB downloading of weather info is still relevent.
Andrew, most people I've asked connect a Pactor modem to their laptop and subscribe to an email service (Sailmail, etc.) downloading GRIB files from there - but if you aren't likely to be doing lengthy out-of-range cruises, perhaps the Fax-30 gadget (giving you the ability to receive what you want for free) is most likely the best option for the Womboat.

Methinks it simply comes down to cost & complexity. Subscription-based services give you weather data, email and more - but maybe that isn't what you want? How do the $$ play out??
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Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Weather Fax

Warning: I am a weather geek. Lee Chesneau, Frank Bohlen, and Frank Singleton are friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
First up, who of you have a Weather Fax and if so what type ?
Weather fax is my primary source of weather information. On Auspicious I have an Icom M802 SSB, Pactor PTC-IIpro, and Airmail/Viewfax on my boat computer. On delivery I use a Kaito KA-1103 shortwave radio and JVCOMM32 on my laptop; assuming you have a laptop the latter set up is around $200US.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
Hi Mr C.

My knowledge of this area is scant to say the least but it would appear that WeatherFAX is something of a misnomer. In fact (and I stand ready to be corrected) I think that they are today nothing more than a device that receives graphic information through either a Satellite phone or HF radio.
Correct as far as it goes. You can get weather fax graphics or gribs over e-mail using either a satellite phone or HF radio. E-mail is fundamentally a one-to-one communications mechanism, so if you and five other boats near you want the same information it is sent six times. Consider what happens with tens or hundreds of boats in a region. Very poor efficiency and not good neighborliness.

Weather fax on the other hand is a one-to-many transmission, just like broadcast radio. One transmission that everyone receives in parallel.

The obvious question is what one gives up by using weather fax. The easy answer is: NOTHING. In fact you are better served even if you care not a wit for your neighbors. Weather fax transmits products based on a number of computer models considered by a meteorologist who adds value based on his or her expertise. Gribs come directly from a computer model (usually GFS) untouched by human hands. *Warning - geeky stuff* The GFS model in particular assumes a continuous second derivative over the barometric pressure surface. *end geeky stuff* What that means is that sharp changes in pressure like fronts don't show up on gribs. Now some met offices are working on ways to show weather features like fronts in gribs it isn't either reliable or generally available yet.

So you can use the tried and true weather fax products that show the best available forecast or choose gribs for a more expensive, less efficient, and less effective product.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley18 View Post
Quite true, Mr B - although I did think most sailors downloaded GRIB files to their laptops in this the 21st century..

In buying something like this I'd be wondering how much longer the Weatherfax service would be available. To this, I simply do not know - but here's something that might help:
At least in the US when the US Coast Guard floated the idea of terminating weather fax services there was an uproar from the commercial vessels and the recreational cruising community. Everyone was surprised at how many consumers there continue to be.
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Last edited by SVAuspicious; 04-24-2013 at 08:02 AM. Reason: fixed arithmetic
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Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Weather Fax

C ... I don't think it is free. i believe you still need to subscribe to the service.
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Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Weather Fax

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
C ... I don't think it is free. i believe you still need to subscribe to the service.
Looks to me like the BOM fax service (Charleville or Willuna) is free..

VMC: Southwards from 10N, 70E - 150W
Frequency kHz Broadcast (UTC)
2628 (0900-1900)
5100 (0000-2400)
11030 (0000-2400)
13920 (0000-2400)
20469 (1900-0900)

www.bom.gov.au / marine / radio-sat / vmc-technical-guide.shtml

From what SVA says, it sounds like Weatherfax is still the way to go. Good to know.
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Last edited by Classic30; 04-23-2013 at 09:00 PM. Reason: Can't insert a proper link - the forum software automatically scrambles it!!
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