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reid5009 10-28-2002 07:57 PM

I have my general HAM radio license. I haven''t been using it much, so I can''t remember exactly what the title is. How many of you liveaboards or cruisers out there use a HAM or SSB for voice or email communication? Are any of you in the Gulf of Mexico along the Texas coast? I plan to liveaboard in the next few years and am looking into brushing up my HAM skills and getting a better, more powerful radio if it looks like I would benefit while sailing in the Gulf, Florida Keys, and the Bahamas.

WHOOSH 10-30-2002 12:19 PM


You might look into the Waterway Radio & Cruising Club, which meets daily all year at 7.268 LSB beginning at 0745 eastern. If you choose to join (not needed to use the Net or meet the great people) for a small fee, you will receive newsletters and a directory of boat-owning/cruising hams who are a huge talent pool and who sponsor a variety of events & services. These members live all along the Gulf and East Coasts of the U.S. and their email & phone #s are in the directory. A brief scan will probably produce neighbors who''ve been doing what you''re thinking of. For more info, visit

The best choice for cruising seems to be a rig that can handle Marine SSB and Ham bands, as somewhat unique services and Nets are handled in both frequency domains. I would encourage you NOT to offload your older, less powerful rig automatically, as power isn''t as important in a good SSB installation as the antenna & all-around excellent wiring. But having said that, Winlink (the Ham email system, but also oh-so much more) is the best non-commercial offshore email system available today and is totally free to hams, provided your radio is capable of handling the traffic and you''ve purchased a TNC for about $500 that allows analaog radio signals to be used digitally by a laptop.

Jack N3FYP

reid5009 10-30-2002 06:28 PM

Thank you for your reply. All I have is a handheld ham radio right now that really does not transmit very far. As a senior in college I don''t have the extra money to get a more powerful radio at this time. I have been searching online and actually found the site already that you had mentioned. I am trying to find out more about SSB and Marine bands. I am just trying to do all the research I can do now for when I move aboard and live aboard hopefully soon I will be that much more prepaired. Thanks again for your help. By the way, do you liveaboard or cruise extensively?
-Reid KD5HIV

WHOOSH 11-01-2002 04:22 PM

Reid, if you''re ''looking'' right now, spend a little time talking to the different AES stores. Good folks, factory certified service, they carry all the right gear, and they used to (as of a few years ago) accept used Ham gear in exchange for folks upgrading to larger units. They''d bench test the used stuff and offer it for sale; better than a ham fest since there''s a short warranty period and it''s been checked out. When someone''s giving up an Icom 50 e.g., they are turning over a great, compact, simple but effective ''first SSB'' for your eventual boat. See and good luck!

Yes, we ''normally'' live aboard and are inbetween Caribbean and European cruises at the moment...while the boat is torn apart and getting moreso every day.

Jack N3FYP
WHOOSH, lying St. Pete Beach, FL

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