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  #21  
Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

Like I said - ELECTRICITY is not a necessity, let alone any kind of radio.
Long range radio comms can be a tremendously helpful tool and also an entertaining hobby. One night I spent some of my off-watch talking to a cruiser in Central America headed north while we were headed south going past Solomon's Isand MD. I heard all kinds of fun stories about Costa Rica and he got some local info about the Bay for his future arrival. I was also the only one to pick up a Mayday call from Nicaragua from a terrified Grand Banks skipper. Eventually some more local stations were found and the skipper was told "the weather is always like this so deal with it" more or less

The negative side:
Like any tool, you can misuse a radio. You can shoot a goose and eat dinner or shoot your foot and not eat dinner. Not the shotgun's fault SSB/Ham *can* promote the much discussed "group think" where you surrender your brains to the hive mind and/or go places you would not go otherwise because help is always available or at least you think it is.
Fun radio call to listen in on:
2182 KHz some years ago
XYZ: Mayday Mayday this is XYZ
CG: XYZ, what is the nature of your distress?
XYZ: We are at Lat/Lon and the seas are very rough and the winds are very high. It is very uncomfortable here. Can you tell us where to go for better weather?
CG: You are near the eye of hurricane X. Heavy seas and high wind speeds are common in hurricanes What exactly is your distress?
XYZ: It is very uncomfortable here.
CG: Understood you are not comfortable. What is your distress?
XYZ: Can you come out and get my wife?
CG: We do not provide that kind of service.

(At this point I am imagining someone going "well we tried, throw her off" )
davidpm, aeventyr60 and Delezynski like this.
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  #22  
Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

Threads like this always make me chuckle. Especially where some one is against having something.

Makes me think back to when I was in aerospace. The saying that was always used was, “ If Lindbergh didn't have it, we don't need it”. Of course, this was mostly talking about getting home.

I guess the sailing equivalent in threads tend to go something like, If Columbus didn't have it, we should not have it”???

BUT, people don't remember, Columbus had a crew!

Greg
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  #23  
Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

That's what I love about Sailnet. Not only are there some highly knowledgeble people on here, but everyone is happy to share their opinion. Thanks for the input so far, this has been highly informative, and I'm looking forward to more responses.
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  #24  
Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

I've watched these questions around SSB/Ham vs Sat. phone play out about a dozen times now both here and on other cruising forums. Good points are made on all sides of the question, but as with so many choices around sailing and cruising, it seems to come down to personal preference.

My decision is to wait and see what makes sense for me and my wife. We are preparing to leave on our indefinite cruise this summer, so are in the midst of upgrading and initialling new systems. Most decisions are easy, but this one eludes me, so I've just decided to wait and see how our communications needs evolve. I think time will tell which, if any, long range communications tools we actually need.
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  #25  
Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
I've watched these questions around SSB/Ham vs Sat. phone play out about a dozen times now both here and on other cruising forums. Good points are made on all sides of the question, but as with so many choices around sailing and cruising, it seems to come down to personal preference.

My decision is to wait and see what makes sense for me and my wife. We are preparing to leave on our indefinite cruise this summer, so are in the midst of upgrading and initialling new systems. Most decisions are easy, but this one eludes me, so I've just decided to wait and see how our communications needs evolve. I think time will tell which, if any, long range communications tools we actually need.
Mike,

GOOD LUCK on what ever decision you make. And have a GREAT time!!!!

For us, the actual cruising was BETTER than we dreamed it would be.
Where are you heading?

Greg
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  #26  
Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delezynski View Post
GOOD LUCK on what ever decision you make. And have a GREAT time!!!!

For us, the actual cruising was BETTER than we dreamed it would be.
Where are you heading?
Thanks Greg, what you say about cruising is about the only thing everyone seems to agree on; that it was/is even better than they expected.

We're leaving from Lake Superior this summer. We plan to spend three or four months cruising around the Great Lakes, and will stop in Lake Ontario for next winter. We're then planning to carry on down the St. Lawrence and hopefully spend a year or so exploring the Maritimes and hopefully Newfoundland. After that we'll head south to the Bahamas and then who knows. The PNW draws, but really, we have no plans. We'll be out there until the money runs out, or we stop enjoying it.

I just looked at your site. Lots of great ideas, and stories (including some incredible sadness ... my deepest condolences). Thanks for sharing.
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  #27  
Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
We're leaving from Lake Superior this summer. We plan to spend three or four months cruising around the Great Lakes, and will stop in Lake Ontario for next winter. We're then planning to carry on down the St. Lawrence and hopefully spend a year or so exploring the Maritimes and hopefully Newfoundland. After that we'll head south to the Bahamas and then who knows. The PNW draws, but really, we have no plans. We'll be out there until the money runs out, or we stop enjoying it.
Mike,

Sounds like a GREAT plan! That's the way to make it very successful, take your time and ENJOY at YOUR pace. Also, with that general direction you have plenty of time for YOU to decide on the equipment you want/need aboard.

Greg
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  #28  
Old 01-03-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coquina View Post
2182 KHz some years ago
To ensure everyone knows, the USCG has suspended monitoring of 2182 kHz. HF monitoring continues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
My decision is to wait and see what makes sense for me and my wife.
Perfect. Get out and see what you really need and works for other people around you.
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  #29  
Old 01-03-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

I cruised for 3 decades and many pacific crossings before buying a ham radio. No you don't need one , but they are fun to have, when they work . I wouldn't give up any cruising for lack of one.
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Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Ham Radio a Necessity?

Ham is nice to have if you've got a marine SSB radio that can use the ham bands.

Free winlink is nice. There are some useful ham nets like those on 14300.

More important though if you get your ham ticket you will learn his the radio actually works. It's a daunting device, and it's not so intuitive to get things like propagation a and what frequencies to use. You learn about that stuff with the ham license in a way you won't get by just poking at the marine SSB side.
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