Receiving weather reports 150 miles offshore
Usually I do coastal cruising in the Gulf but I need to relocate my boat to the Chesapeake. If weather allows it I intend to jump from Stuart Florida directly to Beaufort,NC, a 480 mile leg riding the Gulf stream. No SSB on board and VHF nor cell phone would work while I will be about 150 miles off the coast.
What would be a good recommendation for a receiver to get reliable weather information without breaking the bank. I will install SSB eventually but don't want to go through the expense and time right now.
Thanks for any input.
You can get weather on a less expensive short-wave radio that receives SSB broadcasts. Or you can get a Navtex receiver.
For that trip, I recommend you do one of the following:
1. (Cheapest) - buy a decent, low-cost portable receiver which will receive SSB signals. The DEGEN brand models run less than $100 and have received very favorable reports. They're everywhere...check out eBay listings.
2. (Smartest?) - buy a used marine or ham transceiver for under $500, and install it so that you can receive well.
Notice that I did NOT include buying a good SSB receiver. That's because for the same money you can get a TRANSCEIVER which can later serve your transmitting needs as well as receiving. All modern transceivers have excellent receivers built-in. NO need for a separate SSB receiver, IMHO.
For a receiving antenna, you can just use a length of insulated wire, hoisted with a spare halyard.
Later, when you add an automatic tuner (about a $400-500 expenditure), you can set up for transmitting as well. For the 'alternate backstay antenna' just use a length of insulated 3/16" s/s lifeline about 40' long and put small loops in each end. Hoist one end with a spare halyard. Tie the lower end off to the pushpit on either side of the boat, using a couple feet of 3/8" or 1/2" poly line. Then, run a length of GTO-15 insulated wire from the lower end of the antenna belowdecks to the tuner antenna lug. Locate the tuner underdecks as close to the bottom of the antenna as you reasonably can.
By the way, RF grounds in IP's are pretty easy. The ones I've seen and done all have a s/s rub rail all around. All you need do is link them together electrically (usually there are 4-5 pieces overall), and use them for an RF ground or counterpoise. They work like gangbusters.
Just run a ground strap from the antenna tuner ground lug to the rub rail, using a bolt which passes thru the rail, thru the hull, and attaches to the groundstrap inside the hull. Then, run a ground strap from the antenna tuner's ground lug to the nearest bronze thru-hull which is not otherwise connected to the boat's bonding system.
Pretty easy installation. If you have time, and $$$ for the tuner before your trip, you could have an excellent SSB installation.
For WX, listen to USCG broadcasts several times a day on published 4, 6, 8, 12 mHz frequencies. These are also re-broadcast by WLO in New Orleans, and several ham nets (e.g., the WaterWay Net on 7268 LSB every morning at 0745EDT and the MM net on 14300 USB periodically during the day).
2nd the NAVTEX reccomendation
I have been using Furuno NAVTEX for years. For the type of sail that you describe, it will work very well, very reliably, at an affordable price (<$300). The NAVTEX spec is 250-nm offshore, but 450-nm is very common reception.
A down loadable pdf of the product brochure is on the following URL:
NAVTEX RECEIVER NX-300 | Navtex | Communication | Marine Equipment | Products | -Furuno Electric Co., Ltd.
Get an AIS receiver, ID ships passing within VHF range and ask them nicely for weather info.
This is actually a marginal idea at best and I would myself take btrayfors' sound advice, but I'm just throwing this in there as a possibility.
Thank you all for your valuable info. I have thought about getting an AIS transponder to see and to be seen and I have a little GRUNDIG Yachtboy. I am not sure about the NavTex, it says it will transmit warnings. I am after the regular marine weather forecast. A nice 20 kt+ wind will not create a warning but would be nasty riding the Gulf stream while the Wind comes from the North!
Special thanks to Bill (btrayfors) this was a primer on SSB on Island Packets. This is really appreciated and comes very handy during this economic times. I assume, I don't need the ground (rub rail) for receiving just the hoisted wire antenna ... This will be my way to go. Thanks again!
Correct, you don't need the rub rail for receiving.
While the Yachtboy could conceivably do the job for you, I've found that any transceiver built in the past 20 years or so has a much better receiver and is far easier to use.
If you do decide to go the used transceiver route, let me know (PM me) and I may be able to help.
Just a thought....... Is XM/Sirius and option here? A friend has it for his chartplotter and overlays the weather right on the chartplotter.
XM/Sirius is only good if you're sticking around North America... Their coverage in the rest of the world is non-existent for the most part.
NAVTEX Wx Prediction
Here is a NAVTEX Weather report.
FZNT25 KNHC 110217
NAVTEX MARINE FORECAST
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1130 PM EDT FRI APR 10 2009
...PLEASE REFER TO THE COASTAL WATERS FORECAST AVAILABLE
THROUGH NOAA WEATHER RADIO AND OTHER MEANS FOR A MORE DETAILED
FORECAST WITHIN 60 NAUTICAL MILES OF THE COASTLINE...
SYNOPSIS FOR THE SW N ATLC INCLUDING THE BAHAMAS
.SYNOPSIS...A RIDGE FROM BERMUDA TO CENTRAL FLORIDA WILL SHIFT
S TO ALONG 25N SAT. A COLD FRONT WILL MOVE OFF THE GEORGIA
COAST SAT AND EXTEND FROM BERMUDA TO THE FLORIDA STRAITS LATE
SUN THEN MOVE E OF THE AREA MON. HIGH PRES WILL BUILD OVER THE
AREA BEHIND THE FRONT THEN SHIFT E IN ADVANCE OF ANOTHER COLD
FRONT WHICH MOVING INTO THE NW WATERS TUE REACHING FROM
BERMUDA TO THE FLORIDA STRAITS LATE WED NIGHT.
SW N ATLANTIC S OF 31N W OF 65W INCLUDING BAHAMAS
.TONIGHT...N OF 27N W OF 75W S TO SW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 4
TO 7 FT. N OF 27N E OF 75W E TO SE WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 3 TO
5 FT. S OF 27N E TO SE WINDS 15 KT. SEAS 3 TO 4 FT EXCEPT 1 TO
2 FT W OF THE BAHAMAS.
.SAT AND SAT NIGHT...N OF 27N S TO SW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT
SHIFTING TO N 15 KT BEHIND FRONT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT BUILDING 4 TO
7 FT N OF FRONT. FROM 24N TO 27N SE TO S WINDS 10 KT. SEAS 2
TO 4 FT. S OF 24N E WINDS 15 KT. SEAS 4 TO 5 FT E OF BAHAMAS
AND 2 TO 3 FT W OF BAHAMAS. SCATTERED SHOWERS ISOLATED TSTMS
NEAR FRONT. .SUN AND SUN NIGHT...N OF FRONT NE WINDS 15 TO 20
KT. SEAS 4 TO 7 FT. N OF 25N E OF FRONT SW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT.
SEAS 4 FT. ELSEWHERE VARIABLE WINDS 10 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT.
.MON...N OF 27N W OF 75W E TO SE WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7
FT. N OF 27N E OF 75W NE TO E WINDS 15 TO 20 KT BECOMING E TO
SE 10 TO 15 KT MON NIGHT. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT IN N SWELL. S OF 27N
NE TO E WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT IN E SWELL EXCEPT 2
FT W OF BAHAMAS.
.TUE AND WED...N OF 27N W OF 70W S TO SW WINDS 20 TO 25 KT
SHIFTING TO W TO NW 20 TO 25 KT BEHIND FRONT. SEAS 6 TO 9 FT. N
OF 27N E OF 70W SE TO S WINDS 15 TO 20 KT INCREASING TO 20 TO
25 KT JUST AHEAD OF FRONT. SEAS 4 TO 7 FT IN N SWELL. S OF 27N
E TO SE WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT IN E SWELL EXCEPT 2
FT W OF BAHAMAS. SCATTERED SHOWERS ISOLATED TSTMS NEAR FRONT.
SYNOPSIS FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO
.SYNOPSIS...A COLD FRONT OVER THE NW COASTAL WATERS WILL STALL
FROM THE FLORIDA BIG BEND TO NE MEXICO SAT THEN DRIFT BACK N AS
A WARM FRONT SAT NIGHT AND SUN. A SECOND COLD FRONT WILL MOVE
OFF THE TEXAS COAST MON AND EXTEND FROM THE FLORIDA BIG BEND TO
SW BAY OF CAMPECHE TUE...THEN STALL OVER THE SE GULF LATE TUE
NIGHT WITH THE REMNANTS MOVING N ON WED IN ADVANCE OF THE NEXT
COLD FRONT EXPECTED THU.
MIDDLE GULF BETWEEN 85W AND 90W
.TONIGHT...N OF 26N S TO SW WINDS 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT IN S
SWELL. S OF 26N SE WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.
.SAT...N OF 26N SW WINDS 10 KT SHIFTING TO NE BEHIND FRONT.
SEAS 2 TO 4 FT. S OF 26N SE TO S WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 3 TO
5 FT. SCATTERED SHOWERS ISOLATED TSTMS ALONG FRONT.
.SAT NIGHT...N OF 27N NE TO E WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4
FT. S OF 27N SE WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT. SCATTERED
SHOWERS N OF 27N.
.SUN AND SUN NIGHT...SE TO S WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 4 TO 7 FT.
.MON...S TO SW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT SHIFTING TO NW BEHIND FRONT
LATE. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT. SCATTERED TSTMS ALONG FRONT.
.TUE...NW OF FRONT NE TO NE WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT.
SE OF FRONT S WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.
.WED...E TO SE WINDS 1 TO 15 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT.
E GULF BETWEEN 81W AND 85W
.TONIGHT THROUGH SAT NIGHT...N OF 26N SW TO W WINDS 10 KT. SEAS
3 TO 5 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT SAT NIGHT. S OF 26N SE TO S WINDS
10 KT BECOMING VARIABLE 5 KT LATE SAT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT
SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 2 FT SAT NIGHT. SCATTERED SHOWERS N PART.
.SUN AND SUN NIGHT...NE TO E WINDS 5 TO 10 KT BECOMING E TO SE
10 TO 15 KT SUN NIGHT. SEAS 2 FT BUILDING TO 4 FT LATE.
.MON...SE TO S WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.TUE AND WED...SW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT SHIFTING TO NW BEHIND
FRONT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT. SCATTERED SHOWERS ISOLATED TSTMS ALONG
SYNOPSIS FOR CARIBBEAN SEA AND TROPICAL N ATLC FROM 07N TO 22N
BETWEEN 55W AND 65W
.SYNOPSIS...THE ATLC RIDGE N OF THE AREA WILL SHIFT S ACROSS
THE SOUTHERN BAHAMAS SAT THEN SHIFT E SUN RELAXING THE TRADES
ACROSS THE TROPICS.
NW CARIBBEAN N OF 15N W OF 75W
.TONIGHT THROUGH WED...W OF 83W E TO SE WINDS 15 TO 20 KT
EXCEPT OCCASIONALLY 20 TO 25 KT OVER THE SW GULF OF HONDURAS.
SEAS 4 TO 6 FT EXCEPT 5 TO 8 FT SW PART. N OF 18N E OF 83W NE
TO E WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT. S OF 18N E OF 83W NE
TO E WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 4 TO 7 FT WITH E SWELL.
It is not a warning - it is a NOAA weather forecast. If it is interesting to you here is a URL that will provide a lot more about NAVYEX Wx. NAVTEX Product Listing
Also there is a lot more on NAVTEX than Wx. Before you spend money to solve the problem you describe in your initial post, be sure to thoroughly research NAVTEX.
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