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post #31 of 38 Old 03-19-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Weatherfax audio file for testing

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
My big hunk of copper wire carried on delivery is the end of a spool I bought in the mid-70s from Lafayette Radio Electronics. It was sold as "antenna wire."

Any 12 gauge (+/-) wire will work. Insulated is probably better for our application.
I assume this is a single strand electrical copper wire we can get from HD. 12 G 50 ft is still pretty heavy and stiff for traveling.

Sangean makes a relatively compact antenna, not sure how that compared. ?? But the reviews look good on amazon.


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post #32 of 38 Old 03-19-2013
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Re: Weatherfax audio file for testing

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They already have it. We have XM weather download into our aircraft. It's about $60 per month. Marine version available too, but also has a subscription and hardware cost. I believe late model chartplotters are designed to overlay the input.
My little Garmin 376C came with a satellite antenna and has access to XM Weather. The cost to subscribe to the service is ridiculous.

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post #33 of 38 Old 03-19-2013
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Re: Weatherfax audio file for testing

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My little Garmin 376C came with a satellite antenna and has access to XM Weather. The cost to subscribe to the service is ridiculous.
I think, if you bundle it with radio, it gets a little better, but I hate paying for radio too.

It makes more sense in the aircraft, as we're covering more distance in 15 minutes than we literally sail in an entire day. Getting specific terminal weather that's further away than we can receive a radio signal has been an outstanding safety upgrade. Used to have to dial into ground based verbal reports. Now I just look on a screen and see all the weather at every station along my entire flight path.


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post #34 of 38 Old 03-19-2013
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Re: Weatherfax audio file for testing

With the antenna connected, I can get free generic text weather but nothing else.

Auspicious, I wonder what the problem was with the installations that did not work well. I have had no problems. When I installed the SSB, bought the parts from Dockside Radio. They are a great resource of information about what you need to make an SSB work. My radio is an ICOM 700pro/ICOM tuner. which seem to work well with this antenna. My primary reason for choosing this type antenna was to get rid of all those failure points at insulators in the backstay when I replaced it.

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post #35 of 38 Old 03-19-2013
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Re: Weatherfax audio file for testing

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
My little Garmin 376C came with a satellite antenna and has access to XM Weather. The cost to subscribe to the service is ridiculous.
XM weather is Grib based, is it not? That means no fronts, although NWS is working hard on that. In the meantime missing fronts is a problem.

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Auspicious, I wonder what the problem was with the installations that did not work well. I have had no problems. When I installed the SSB, bought the parts from Dockside Radio. They are a great resource of information about what you need to make an SSB work. My radio is an ICOM 700pro/ICOM tuner. which seem to work well with this antenna. My primary reason for choosing this type antenna was to get rid of all those failure points at insulators in the backstay when I replaced it.
This is about the GAM antenna, right? My issue is that it works fine on some boats and not at all on others. I'm glad it works for you. I wouldn't put money on it working on another Alberg 35 based on my experience with it.

I like direct fed antennas like insulated backstays, alternate backstay antennas like the Rope Antenna, and other rig-based elements. I like them because I want my customers to be assured that what they leave with will work and continue to work. I can't make that commitment with a GAM antenna.

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post #36 of 38 Old 03-20-2013
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Re: Weatherfax audio file for testing

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
XM weather is Grib based, is it not? That means no fronts, although NWS is working hard on that. In the meantime missing fronts is a problem.
I don't use the marine version, so I'm not sure about Grib. The aviation version does not show fronts, but it does show composite radar. Combined with onboard radar, its an incredible tool. The satellite images can be as much as 6 or 7 minutes delayed when a lot is going on (ie a lot of data to download). Near meaningless in a sailboat, I suppose.

When coastal cruising, within a few miles of shore, we now use the NOAA weather radar app and the Intellicast weather app on the iPad/iPhone. Free.


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post #37 of 38 Old 03-20-2013
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Re: Weatherfax audio file for testing

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
XM weather is Grib based, is it not? That means no fronts, although NWS is working hard on that. In the meantime missing fronts is a problem.



This is about the GAM antenna, right? My issue is that it works fine on some boats and not at all on others. I'm glad it works for you. I wouldn't put money on it working on another Alberg 35 based on my experience with it.

I like direct fed antennas like insulated backstays, alternate backstay antennas like the Rope Antenna, and other rig-based elements. I like them because I want my customers to be assured that what they leave with will work and continue to work. I can't make that commitment with a GAM antenna.
It is the GAM antenna. Maybe I'll hoist up the old insulated backstay and see if there's any difference. If I can get even better Wfax images, maybe the insulators go back in. Thanks for that info. The XM images are very nice, as noted by Minnewaska. They do not look like grib images. I think their minimum service that would be appropriate for sailing is about $30/mo. If it was more reasonable I would subscribe in a minute because the real-time satellite images would be VERY useful. One other note is that it does not seem to be worldwide but only US and Can. Even with a good Wfax image, it is still delayed data.

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Last edited by smurphny; 03-20-2013 at 07:46 AM.
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post #38 of 38 Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Weatherfax audio file for testing

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I don't use the marine version, so I'm not sure about Grib. The aviation version does not show fronts, but it does show composite radar. Combined with onboard radar, its an incredible tool. The satellite images can be as much as 6 or 7 minutes delayed when a lot is going on (ie a lot of data to download).
I did some research and was unable to find any clear information about the data sources for XM Weather. Lots of speculation but nothing definitive.

Adding to the speculation I suspect XM weather is GFS-based grib data with local processing to display all the arrows and colors.

That means no fronts as we have already noted and I *care* about fronts.

What do you get from imagery? I don't get much except a hint of where there might be a front and a SWAG at whether I'll get rained on.

Since we have expanded from the original question to weather tools in general may I strongly recommend my friend Lee Chesneau's classes in becoming self-sufficient in weather forecasting and routing? See Self-Reliance Weather Courses for Recreational Sailors and Racers Lee Chesneau's Marine Weather . The three day course is worth every bit of energy you can put into it.

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