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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-03-2002
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HF receiver + laptop + software = weather maps?

Two questions: can a Grundig Yachtboy 400 be used to download weather maps to a laptop? Where would you get the hardware necessary to make the computer (and software) recognize/convert the signal? AND (I lied - 3 questions) could you get a 12V DC to whatever volt DC(9?) converter (cigarette lighter style) the Yachtboy could use through it''s AC converter port?
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Old 01-03-2002
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HF receiver + laptop + software = weather maps?

A qualified yes.
HF SSB receiver + laptop + demodulator + sound card + software = WeFAX
If Macintosh: HF SSB receiver + $39.00 shareware software + simple audio connection = WeFAX

1. the radio must have "true" single side band SSB mode (either upper or lower sideband). 2. the radio should have PLL (phase lock loop) to keep the radio from drfting off channel 3. BFO (beat frequency oscilator) for precise tuning.

If you have a Macintosh computer all you need is a simple single wire audio patch cable (make it yourself) from the radio''s external speaker jack to the sound input jack on a Macintosh.... other than that all you need is the software. For Macs, the best software is a shareware program called "Multimode" (about $39.00) . Multimode can also decode: morse code -CW, telemetry -RTTY, can do direct weather satelite download and other very sophisticated high frequency radio downloads: Sitor, Packet, ASCAR, SSTV, Hellscreiber, etc.

With a Windoze type PC you will need a the SSB (USB/LSB) radio, a special demodulator, a sound card, and the software.... There is a lot of software for the PC but its somewhat expensive for the demodulator and software.

Although the yachtboy type of HF SW receivers have their own rod type antennas, its always best to use the tunable boat''s external SSB antenna, or alternatively at least to raise a simple temporary dipole wire antenna when receiving. All this may sound complicated but in practice is very simple and easy in actual practice.
With such a set up not only can you download WeFAX broadcasts from MANY countries when in range (my favorites on the US east coast are Halifax WeFAX and the USNavy WeFAX station in Boston, sometimes the UK Bracknell station, but I also decode/convert telemetry broadcasts (Canadian Forces Weather Radio) when in the western Atlantic high latitudes, Navtex broadcast popular in the european high latitudes, plus direct statelite weather pictures from various countries weather satelites when using a special helical satelite antenna (build yourself). Plus you can decode morse code signals on the marine frquencies still sent to ships, etc. ...... plus you can get somewhat unbiased AM-HF news reporting from BBC, and other world sources etc. !!!!

I''m not exactly familiar with the Grundig Yachtboy; but currently the Radio Shack Mod. DX-398 looks very interesting for the adjustability that you really need (I wonder who makes it for Radio Shack?). Radio requirements: High Frequency PLL/BFO with (true) single side band (LSB/USB) capability.

If the radio operates on 9vdc all you need is a step down transformer to run from 12vdc.

If you need other questions answered, email me directly and I''ll try to steer you to the right source. One of the best ''local'' sources you could probably find for ''hands-on'' kicking the tires, etc. would be a local HAM radio shop that is nearby where you live. If you have a Macintosh computer all you need is a wire connection, the radio, and $39.00 for the ''elegant'' shareware @ http://www.blackcatsystems.com/software/multimode.html

hope this helps.
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Old 01-07-2002
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HF receiver + laptop + software = weather maps?

try wxsat (search for wxsat) for freeware - no frills and it does the job for weatherfax and satellite imaging. If you have an extension speaker out jack on your receiver it will plug directly into the microphone connection on your laptop to the soundcard. This is a $3 solution to the demodulator problem.

I have no problems downloading weatherfax with this arrangement. Also, there are enough hams out there that can answer any tech questions you have. Try qrz.com.

Jack Northrup
KB1GOJ
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