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  #1  
Old 02-21-2012
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Long Range Radio Communication

My boat is rigged with VHF, Marine SSB, and Ham Radio (have general class license).

I want wife to be able to communicate when far off shore, but do not want to use sat phone due to cost. Are there any options? Does not look to be legal in any way to have a fixed VHF or Marine SSB to be used from your house. The only option I see is to get my wife to get a ham license ( I have a ham rig at my house) so that she can legally operate and talk with me on the boat.

Is this the only option?
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Old 02-21-2012
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ShipCom (nee AT&T high seas radio) provides ship to shore radio service at about .99/minute. Setting up an account is free. Works great.

You can also call the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14300 (ham) and hope that someone on frequency with good propagation to you has a phone patch.
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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
ShipCom (nee AT&T high seas radio) provides ship to shore radio service at about .99/minute. Setting up an account is free. Works great.

You can also call the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14300 (ham) and hope that someone on frequency with good propagation to you has a phone patch.
Those are options, but what I wanted is for her to be able to just use a radio so that we can set up a sked to have routine communication. Would rather not pay .99/min or need to rely on someone to run a phone patch. Wife obtaining General Class license is only way I can see to do this. Would be nice if Marine SSB could be used, but what I read, that would not be legal.
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Getting a marine radio shore station license is hard. Unlikely to happen.

Your wife getting a license would be cheapest and most flexible. Finding a local ham club and recruiting someone your wife could visit to talk to you over their radio (or the ham coming to your house) would work also.
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If you don't need to hear a voice, you can use Sailmail or Winlink with your Ham license. All I have is an SSB with a Pactor modem and use Sailmail which seems to work quite well. The price of satellite comm is way out of my sailing budget range so I make-do with the HF radio which serves to get weatherfax maps as well.
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If you don't need to hear a voice, you can use Sailmail or Winlink with your Ham license. All I have is an SSB with a Pactor modem and use Sailmail which seems to work quite well. The price of satellite comm is way out of my sailing budget range so I make-do with the HF radio which serves to get weatherfax maps as well.
I do have a pactor modem (came with the SSB) but do not currently have it hooked up. That could be an option, but then I need to use a computer on the boat- not somthing I really want to do. Plus I would miss the sound of her lovely voice when I am out on the lonely sea!
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Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
I do have a pactor modem (came with the SSB) but do not currently have it hooked up. That could be an option, but then I need to use a computer on the boat- not somthing I really want to do. Plus I would miss the sound of her lovely voice when I am out on the lonely sea!
It surely would be nice to be able to talk to people when out of cell phone range. The main benefit I see in having the SSB is to download weatherfax maps right to the computer. That's something I do on a set schedule every day but does require a computer. I picked up a refurbed Panasonic Toughbook for the boat. It's a power hungry bugger so I have to really watch the use time with the SSB (which is also a power hog) but it does survive well in a salt water environment, being "splashproof". It also has a "sunlight viewable" screen. I use it with C-Maps/Sailcruiser as well, mounted right up under the dodger. Don't know what I ever did before all this electronic stuff.
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Casey, do you have friends in a marina that is near your wife? If she does not want to get her HAM lic. then maybe she can visit your friend's boat with an SSB and use that?

If she doesn't want to leave the comfort of your own house, then a HAM lic. is the way to go.

In Canada, we need our ROC(M) to use the Maritime SSB, so in either case she'd need a lic.
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I do know of someone who set up an SSB at home during a Transpac race. Completely illegal, but they figured that no one would notice for a couple of weeks if they didn't abuse it.
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Casey, do you have friends in a marina that is near your wife? If she does not want to get her HAM lic. then maybe she can visit your friend's boat with an SSB and use that?

If she doesn't want to leave the comfort of your own house, then a HAM lic. is the way to go.

In Canada, we need our ROC(M) to use the Maritime SSB, so in either case she'd need a lic.
That could be an option, but the long run maybe I will try to get her to obtain the general class Ham license. Having the rig at home would be a lot more convenient.

Here in US we also need a Marine SSB license. But it is just a matter of paying the fee and filling out some forms (operator license and boat license required for the radio). No test requred, so it is very easy to obtain. Ham radio requires a practical knowledge test and a little more difficult to obtain.

Last edited by casey1999; 02-21-2012 at 05:11 PM.
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