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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-11-2007
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SSB suggestions - Please

I am getting ready for a yearlong trip that will first take us up the Maine Coast and then hopefully to the Bahamas. I am trying to control costs and am trying not to be penny wise and pound foolish. Ten year old Sony ICF-2010 SSB radios are going for $300+ on e-bay and the Sitex nav fax 200 shortwave are also in the same range. Does anyone have any input regarding the GRUNDIG YachtBoy YB400PE - They are being sold with warranty for $89.95. Is this radio viable for getting weather reports and the info. needed to safely cruise the Bahamas. I will be cruising with my three small children and I don't want to be buying a disfunctional radio. Thanks for your suggestions.
Andy
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Old 06-12-2007
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Sony IFC 2010 ... trust Sony to discontinue a winner ... read Eton E1 is just as good ... time will tell.

Played with the Grundig YB ... wasn't impressed but that was in the store.

Check Passport to World Band Radio for recommendations, pro & con, specs, etc ... find a copy at your local B&N or Borders.

Might want one with built in cassette recorder or jack for a recording device ... could come in real handy for those difficult to decipher reports.

e-bay? Well sometime ya find a pony in that pile o' ...

Bought Radio Shack DX-398 8 years ago ... gets a lot of use and it still functions flawlessly ... same radio as Sangean 909 available from C. Crane Co. Don't shoot, just an opinion. My other ssb is an ICOM M802.

Whatever ya buy, use it a lot before ya go ...

Best wishes.
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Old 06-12-2007
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Here's a great comparison chart of most of the good ones on the market.
Portable Shortwave Comparison Chart

I owned a YB400 and it was OK but not great. I HAVE heard great things about the Sangean ATS909. Bob gives good advice (for a change!(G)), about using a lot before you leave. Getting your external antenna rigged right is half the battle. Check chris parkers frequencies on caribwx.com as he gives good morning reports for the Bahamas.

In most of the Bahamas...your VHF will be all you need as there are morning radio nets on in both the Abacos and Exumas. You will only need the SSB for weather if you head way down island past Georgetown.
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[QUOTE=camaraderie] Bob gives good advice (for a change!(G)), about using a lot before you leave.

Yeah, kinda creepy ain't it!
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I gather that you're only looking for a radio receiver, not a full-fledged SSB radio that allows ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications.

In any event, this is one area where it DOES NOT pay to go for the least expensive unit. While the Grundig 400PE unit is inexpensive, it's a discontinued model and the $89.95 units are not new but "reconditioned." The price may attractive, but I'd have reservations basing my and my family's lives on reconditioned equipment when going offshore.

Obviously neither the Grundig or the Sony pull in the weather fax signals. But if you are considering the Sony ICF-2010 and you don't need the weather fax feature, then you should definitely check out the rave reviews this radio gets at eHam.net (the online ham radio geek site):

SONY ICF-2010 Product Reviews

However, if you want to get up-to-date weather info in graphical display format, the Si-tex is the way to go plus it connects into your 12VDC house battery system (no need for a pile of "AA" batteries which get quite expensive in the Islands) - but the Si-tex doesn't have the FM / AM bands for the entertainment side.

Your communications and information systems should be the absolute best you can reasonably afford, since they are your only conduit for accessing essential information (as well as providing entertainment).


good luck in your sailing adventure!
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Old 06-12-2007
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You can receive NOAA weather fax using just a standard SW SSB receiver and the appropriate fax software for your laptop. Just plug in a jumper cable from the headphone out jack on the radio to the audio line in on your laptop. The software uses the DSP functionality of your sound card to implement a virtual weatherfax receiver...

But if your going to put your family's welfare in your hands, wouldn't you rather buy a full fledged marine SSB transceiver in case you need help when you're beyond the range of VHF?
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Andy,

If you're just looking for a cheap SSB receiver that will do the trick, check out the Kaito models on eBay. They've received very good reviews, and are a lot of radio for the money ($70-80).

HOWEVER, in your place I'd think seriously about installing a radio with both receive and transmit capability. SSB transceivers are very useful in the islands, and when cruising anywhere in the world. And, they don't have to be all that expensive. Check out this thread on SSB radio installations for relatively little money: SSCA Discussion Board :: View topic - SERIOUS HAM SSB SETUP ON THE CHEAP

Even if you don't plan to get a ham license or to transmit, just having that capability will be a good thing. And, most modern ham rigs have excellent general coverage receivers, fully capable of bringing in weather forecasts, wefax, and monitoring both ham and marine SSB nets.

Bill
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I live in Maine and have been up and down the coast a few times to Florida and the Bahamas. I'm also have a ham general license and have an SSB on board that I use here and there.

The cruising you're doing is mostly coastal (like I've done). An SSB could be fun but what are you really trying to accomplish by having it? What need of yours do you see it filling? It is very probable that your needs could be served by another less expensive means that will end up giving you more capabilities.
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Sony ICF-2010 SSB receiver - Where to look for weather in New England

Well Gentlemen -
Thank you for your input - I just bought a Sony ICF-2010 from e-bay - I agree that it is not worth buying a lesser model. However Truth be told I know nothing about using shortwave. I plan on cruising the Maine coast for the first 10 weeks of our trip so I thought I would practice then.
I have not been able to find info on the web for new england weather broadcasts on the SSB. Also for weather fax I was planning on using a Globalstar Sat phone with OCENSmail weather fax download. I would greatly appreciate the advice on where to dial for practice on using the Sony ICF-2010.
Thanks
Andy
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Old 06-13-2007
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I have the Kaito ka1103, it works....
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