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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner
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Thread: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-17-2013 12:21 PM
windward54
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
Also I believe that fixing a GAM whilst on a voyage would not be too different from repairing any backstay antenna if corrosion set in at any point. The feed line is after all just normal co-ax, or at least I thought it was). I guess you didn't want to mess with the original construction of the GAM but if I did cut-n-splice to get it working at sea, I'm sure that GAM would be able to put my mods right if/when they got it for repair.
It's not as easy as it sounds. My feed line wicked moisture all the way into the plastic housing for the twin leads. I tried to fix the feed line, but there was no way short of cutting into the plastic housing for the twin leads. Do that, and the antenna gets exposed to moisture as well unless you have a way to seal it shut.

With the backstay antenna, I can change out a GTO-15 lead in about half an hour, and most of that time is just getting to the tuner.
07-17-2013 08:38 AM
SVAuspicious
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
AFAIK the 802 is expressly a marine band radio and only the presets are available. They can be opened to all frequencies but it obviously takes know-how.
Very little know-how. *grin* Turn off the radio. Simultaneously press and hold three buttons: 2 - Mode - TX. Holding those buttons down, turn on the power. Release the buttons. You're done.

Now you can program any frequency into any memory (RTFM). In addition, if you press the RX button a triangle will light up on the display. In that mode you can enter any frequency directly on the keypad (press enter). Further the left knob will highlight a number in the frequency and the right knob will act as a VFO for that place.

The nice thing about this mod (aside from it's simplicity) is that with no physical changes to the radio performance on the marine bands is completely unchanged so there are no issues with potentially effecting signal performance in-band.
07-17-2013 05:52 AM
ScottUK
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

Quote:
Easy as
Andre you are turning into a true Kiwi.
07-17-2013 04:29 AM
Omatako
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Been playing with a 802 ICOM. Had ham with me and the " idioyachts book. Neither of us could figure out how to tune to frequencies other than the presets
He wanted to go to simplex and duplex ham frequencies. I just wanted to listen to weather not get faxes. The ICOM is hard to figure out and reception lousy close to land.
AFAIK the 802 is expressly a marine band radio and only the presets are available. They can be opened to all frequencies but it obviously takes know-how.
07-17-2013 03:34 AM
SVAuspicious
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

I'm not impressed with Marti Brown's books.

The 802 is an easy to operate and effective radio. What does proximity to land have to do with anything? Certainly in marinas with lots of interference and sources of multipath any HF radio will deteriorate, but be close to shore isn't a factor.

If you elaborate on your experience and installation we can surely help.
07-16-2013 11:06 PM
outbound
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

Been playing with a 802 ICOM. Had ham with me and the " idioyachts book. Neither of us could figure out how to tune to frequencies other than the presets
He wanted to go to simplex and duplex ham frequencies. I just wanted to listen to weather not get faxes. The ICOM is hard to figure out and reception lousy close to land.
07-16-2013 09:33 PM
Omatako
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by windward54 View Post
A dipole antenna is a center-fed wire, usually with two legs of equal length and the legs extend out in opposite directions. Usually the length of the dipole is cut to match 1/2 wavelength, so there would be a 1/4 wavelength on each leg.

Being away from the dock and out in the ocean, there is no way to repair the Gam. It goes up and down easily, but one can't replace the feed line without cutting into the casing. When moisture got into my feed line somehow, the entire feed line carbonize. The only way to repair the antenna was to ship it back to the manufacturer. I will give the Gam people credit for their customer service. The antenna was repaired and returned quickly, but it still took about a month. So when you are away from the dock on an extended cruise, hard to get repairs done as you canít ship the antenna back.

I still have my Gam and keep it for a spare. It really does work very well and I have suggested the Gam to people that were going to be coastal cruising where if there were to be a problem, they could ship the antenna back. The antenna really is a good product.
Thanks for the explanation. I always thought that a dipole was an antenna with two legs (which the GAM has) that are not necessarily spread out in opposite directions. I note that GAM themselves call it a "split-wire" antenna.

Also I believe that fixing a GAM whilst on a voyage would not be too different from repairing any backstay antenna if corrosion set in at any point. The feed line is after all just normal co-ax, or at least I thought it was). I guess you didn't want to mess with the original construction of the GAM but if I did cut-n-splice to get it working at sea, I'm sure that GAM would be able to put my mods right if/when they got it for repair.

Good to know they still offer good support.

Thanks
07-16-2013 06:12 PM
kellysails
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

Do you currently use Globalstar? Do you know someone who does?

I have followed Globalstar for the last few years. They always seem to be in a race to get satellites up to fill in their coverage gaps. Their pricing is incredibly cheap compared to the other sat vendors. Almost to good to be true. Then they have this calculator to use to time the start your calls during time of best coverage. It makes me really skeptical.

If Globalstar really does have a quality solution it would be tough to argue against them, damn cheap. I need to make this same decision in two years time prior to being the Caribbean. We will need quality voice comms back to the states.

I would need some good referrals before I would take a leap with Globalstar.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
I know many, including Btrayfors, recommend against, "cutting a perfectly good backstay." There are a few options around that, but I will stay out of that conversation as he is the expert. He has always been open to help me so you might consider dropping him a PM or asking him to join this conversation.

I agree that they best option is both. However, you may find many of the cruisers nets are run on vhf every morning, not HF. I listen to the one in Marathon everyday on CH 68 for example. And you don't have to have a HF for C Parker.

Marine Weather Center - Bahamas & Caribbean Marine Weather Services

Globalstar, Inc. :: Worldwide Satellite Voice and Data Products and Services for Customers Around the Globe

I still say if choosing one, in today's age and given your intended cruising area, Sat Phone. But you have to make that decision.


Brian
07-16-2013 11:42 AM
windward54
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

A dipole antenna is a center-fed wire, usually with two legs of equal length and the legs extend out in opposite directions. Usually the length of the dipole is cut to match 1/2 wavelength, so there would be a 1/4 wavelength on each leg.

Being away from the dock and out in the ocean, there is no way to repair the Gam. It goes up and down easily, but one can't replace the feed line without cutting into the casing. When moisture got into my feed line somehow, the entire feed line carbonize. The only way to repair the antenna was to ship it back to the manufacturer. I will give the Gam people credit for their customer service. The antenna was repaired and returned quickly, but it still took about a month. So when you are away from the dock on an extended cruise, hard to get repairs done as you can’t ship the antenna back.

I still have my Gam and keep it for a spare. It really does work very well and I have suggested the Gam to people that were going to be coastal cruising where if there were to be a problem, they could ship the antenna back. The antenna really is a good product.
07-16-2013 04:34 AM
Omatako
Re: ssb v.satphone ?who's the winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by windward54 View Post
The Gam is still available and it works well. It's not a dipole, but rather just a long wire antenna that works just like a traditional backstay antenna. But it does work well. I do caution people though that there is no way to service anything on the antenna. Ours wicked up moisture on the feed line somehow. I had to send the whole antenna back to the manufacturer for repair. Not bad if you're on the coast smewhere, but tough to do away from the dock.
OK I'm ready to learn. What is a dipole antenna? I thought the GAM was - I'm seemingly wrong.

And how does being on the coast help or alternately how does being away from the dock make it difficult to "service" the GAM antenna? Getting mine up and down is a cinch no matter where I am.

Not arguing, just curious.
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