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  #21  
Old 12-11-2006
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Bluewater-
For ham radio, contact www.arrl.org they are the national organization for the hobby and can put you in touch with local and online resources. Or google "Gordon West" he's been the man behind many of the courses that put sailors on ham radio, often running classes and exams at boat shows as a follow-up to home study courses. And he's been doing it "forever".
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  #22  
Old 12-11-2006
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HelloS...what is the current status of the morse code requirement. I heard it was going to be dropped but when is that scheduled to happen? I don't intend to use code but would like to participate in the ham chats but until the code is dropped i'm gonna stick with SSB only.
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  #23  
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Cam, the FCC issued a request for comment on the issue and the time period for responses to that ended over a year ago IIRC. There's no reason that the FCC couldn't have issued a revised regulation long before now, except for the fact that ham radio pays them nothing so they spend no resources on it.

The FCC *did* just make significant changes to the ham radio rules ("Part 97") based on other matters that were publicly commented on about 1-1/2 to 2 years BEFORE the morse code issue, which leads me to believe that the remaining batch of changes won't be touched for another two years, i.e. 2008 or 2009.

Which is really inexcusable, considering that there were onyl two reasons for the CW requirement: An international ITU agreement (which dropped it in 2003) and the military draft preparedness criteria. And since the DoD no longer wants CW operators...that means this action should have been taken in 2003 or 2004 at the latest.

They're either overworked underpaid civil servants...or malingerers who aren't doing their jobs. Either way, don't expect that CW requirement to change next year.
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  #24  
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Ok these are the books/guides I have ordered:

Tricks of the Trades - Van Sant

On and Off the Beaten Path: The central and Southern Bahamas Guide: From South Fla. to T & C - Pavlidis

The Turks and Caicos Guide - Pavlidis

A Cruising Guide to Puerto Rico: Including the Spanish Virgin Islands - Pavlidis

The Leeward Islands Cruising Guide - Pavlidis

The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South - Van Sant

Anything I am missing as far as those are concerned? I'll get on Bluewater Books and Order the charts tomarrow. I gave the whole ssb vs globalstar a thought and I might just go with the globalstar for now and put cash aside for the ssb for a later date.
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  #25  
Old 12-11-2006
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Blue...I assume you intend to bypass the Abacos and go via Bimini. If not...then the Dodge Guide to Abacos should be on your list. I also prefer the Doyle guide to the Leewards to the Pavlidas because the waypoints match up on the CYC charts and it is more comprehensive from a commercial standpoint (i.e. where to get pizza or new zincs!).
Since you are going with globalstar....suggest you get in touch with Chris Parker now and explain that you will be using him and ask him what you need to get with the Globalstar. He uses it for all of his own weather downloads and is an expert on the system. Say hi from Camaraderie when you chat with him! BTW... you might want to get a little SSB RECEIVE only radio to listen in on some of the nets along the way. We used a Grundig Yachtboy 400 for a while but were not really happy with it. Have heard this is a good one:
http://www.radiolabs.com/products/re...hp#ats909specs
Maybe HelloSailor knows of a better model.
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No idea, Cam. I've heard the Sangeans are good, the Grundigs, but I haven't spent any time comparing them. One option is to buy an older used ham radio (from a dealer with a warranty, easy enough to find) and have someone set it up so that it can be used as an emergency transmitter--but also as a plain wide coverage receiver to pick up the nets. It will way outperform any portable you can hold in your hand. That's prefectly legal, and if you unplug the mic and stow it, accidents can't happen either.
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HS...Good thought...I guess if you found one of those you could just rig a whip antenna and have no need for either a tuner or a ground plane. Might be worth checking around on!
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  #28  
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Sounds like that might work better. Where would I start looking for on here in SC? Cam I'll get that other book today and look up the charts at Bluewater books. I know I need the Q flag and probably flags for stops on the way down. Working on finding the right liferaft, RIB, Davits and Eprib. What else do I need to think about.
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  #29  
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Blue...
Flags: Get your Q and Bahamas here and pick up the rest as you need them (and cheaper!) along the way. Every island has someone selling them for 10-15 bucks.
Used Radio:
http://www.arrl.org/RadiosOnline/ads...ansceivers+(HF)
Keep an eye on the above for listings, Check E-bay, call around to ICOM installers to see if they have removed/refurbished units for sale.

Other stuff: We've been treating this as a reasonably short, one way trip down island to Dominica so I don't think you need to go crazy with battery systems/inverters/fancy stuff etc. as you would for an extended cruise.
The one thing I would emphasize about the trip once you have the above prep done is that it is TO WINDWARD for much of the way into larger seas and heavier average winds than we see here on the east coast. You will be motoring much of the way using your mainsail for steadying. Critical to your happiness and success will be:
1. Having an engine that is in tip top running condition. Transmission too!
2. Having all reasonable spares to repair that engine...not just belts and hoses and filters.
3. Having clean fuel tanks that will not clog you up when you hit rough weather.
4. Putting clean fuel into the engine along the way. (BAJA FILTER or similar)

There is little in the way of service and nothing in the way of parts available once you get to the southern bahamas and until Puerto Rico. Generally other cruisers or a local guy can help you out with repairs if you can't do something yourself, but they can't help you at sea if the engine fails and they can't help you in port if the needed part isn't in your kit.
The good news is that there are no IED's along the way to worry about! ....and you will see some beautiful places and meet some great people along the way!
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  #30  
Old 12-12-2006
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Cam I really am greatful for all the information you have supplied me with. I will keep several rounds cold for you when I get up and running. I will also have drinks for all sailnet buddies who visit.

This whole adventure is a leap of faith. I am a bit nervous and excited about it. That is ok though it will keep me thinking, keep my edge and keep me safe. Hell I have been married for 10 years so how bad could it be?

No rockets, No IEDs, no mortars and sand and water together.......can't wait to hang the hammock.

Any recommendations on davits?
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