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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics > Cost effective options for receiving weather reports while sailing
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Thread: Cost effective options for receiving weather reports while sailing Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-14-2012 12:26 AM
rackham the red
Re: Cost effective options for receiving weather reports while sailing

Thank you. Great help
09-14-2012 12:20 AM
jackdale
Re: Cost effective options for receiving weather reports while sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by rackham the red View Post
Hi,
where do you find the channels that the faxes are transmitted on and how do you get the service.
I bought a SSB refurbished SEA 222 and an LDG-Z auto antenna tuner for off shore to supplement my SAT phone

Sorry for the basic questions. I am uninformed and unskilled in electronics.
R
Gulf of Mexico
New Orleans Radiofax Schedule with Links
09-13-2012 11:36 PM
rackham the red
Re: Cost effective options for receiving weather reports while sailing

Hi,
where do you find the channels that the faxes are transmitted on and how do you get the service.
I bought a SSB refurbished SEA 222 and an LDG-Z auto antenna tuner for off shore to supplement my SAT phone

Sorry for the basic questions. I am uninformed and unskilled in electronics.
R
08-23-2012 08:45 PM
aeventyr60
Re: Cost effective options for receiving weather reports while sailing

What about getting a dedicated NAVTEX receiver? NASA brand is fairly inexpensive.
08-23-2012 03:42 PM
Sunnyside_Oriental
Re: Cost effective options for receiving weather reports while sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by stiffwind View Post
I understand that the equipment needed is determined by how far offshore you may be sailing. However, I am trying to determine how to install the weather receiving capability in phases that make sense (by being able to expand or update) as my sailing goes from coastal to offshore. I am aware of the offshore standard of using a SSB radio and modem to receive weather fax or voice reports...but that is a $3-5,000 investment, right?

Currently, and for the next year or so, I will be coastal cruising in the 60 to 20 mile offshore range...mostly within 20. The Garmin GDL 30a XM weather/radio receiver/antenna package at about $300-400 will apparently provide decent weather information within 20 miles. But if that is installed now, will it simply have to be swapped out for another entire system to obtain unlimited access to weather as I start to venture across oceans?

Any thoughts on the best plan to build a state of art weather receiving capability?

I have some friends that use the Sirus weather and it will actually work almost to the end of Mexico. I am not sure how far north it works. For most of us it is very challenging to come up with all the funds you need to go cruising.

I have worked with communications equipment for many years and have been cruising for the past five years in Mexico. If you plan to go cruising someday, you should look hard at a stepped approach to HF SSB rather than buying a temporary fix.

If weather is the only thing you need right now, but you want to make sure you do not waste funds, you could just buy the radio and use it in receive only for now. Weather fax can be obtained using the audio out jack.

When you are ready to start transmit on the radio, add the appropriate antenna, ground and antenna tuner.

At the point you actually go cruising and need email etc. add the modem.

So you costs would be, ~$1850; tuner plus proper antenna and ground ~$800 ; Modem ~$1200.

It may cost you slightly more buying the pieces as many of the packages are competitively priced, but it will spread the cash flow for you and you will end up with a good system for cruising.

If you need more information, send me an email. There is a link for my email on my site plus a lot of downloadable information that may give you some more ideas.
Terry
Made Simple for Cruisers
06-27-2011 03:57 PM
donradclife There's weather forecasts, and there's real-time weather. When I am in cell range on the east coast, I use the Nexrad weather radar info available on the internet to track T-storm cells. Its very handy to know how strong the cell is and its speed and direction.

When I'm out of cell phone range, I use both grib files downloaded over the SSB from Winlink and the wfax forecasts. I think the grib files are far more detailed, longer range, and generally better the wfax, but gribs seem to consistently underpredict the true wind by 5 knots or more.

With a satphone with data link, you can download both the grib and wfax files--the wfax pictures are much faster and clearer than those over the SSB, but also much more expensive.

Within 60 miles of the US shore, you can usually get the VHF weather, which is at least as good as gribs or wfax.
06-15-2011 01:35 PM
tomperanteau
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingmum View Post
Thanks for posting this.
Electronics/Radio set up is greek to me. Slow to get it. So I appreciate it when things are spelled out plainly.
That said, I'm heading to Bahamas in October, and budget only allows Receiver. With this Sony, or the one Auspicious mentioned, whose link I had trouble with, do I need or would additional antennae be useful ? I also wonder what is needed and is possible to receive weather faxes with the receiver only and a Macbook or an iinexpensive but work horse printer.
I crewed for a couple winters on vessel with full SSB and often the reception was terrible... listened to NOAA and CHris Parker dutifully every day - gave me a headache. THere was 2 week period where everyone was getting it wrong and relied on the barometer solely with great success. However, I would like to know what big winter fronts are forming in US West and North for long term forecasts.
Thanks for the assistance.
Vasco is right. What I have also done is connect the antenna input to the standing rigging. A simple wire with clips at the ends would do it. Although not a tuned antenna, this would help a lot. Don't forget to disconnect it when there is lightening around.

I use SeaTTY software on the laptop, but it's PC only. There is Mac software out there that can take the audio through your mic input. You'll also need a male to male cable to plug the output of your receiver to the input of your computer. That will feed the audio into the computer. You can listen to the radio tuning through the Mac speakers.

The only other thing to consider is the audio level you are feeding into the computer. I won't go into the technicalities of the differences in impedance and voltage/wattage. It suffices to say keep the volume low and watch whatever on-screen display that shows you the audio level. It's easy to do and you can't really break anything unless you turn the volume way up and plug it into the computer. That might damage the mic input on the computer.
06-15-2011 11:08 AM
Vasco
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingmum View Post
That said, I'm heading to Bahamas in October, and budget only allows Receiver. With this Sony, or the one Auspicious mentioned, whose link I had trouble with, do I need or would additional antennae be useful ?

I use the small Sony in the Bahamas. Chris Parker booms in with only the little telescopic antenna. Reception is as good as any SSB rig. The Sony comes with a long wire antenna but I've never had to use it.
06-15-2011 10:01 AM
sailingmum
SSB Receiver Only.. what's next ? Limited budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomperanteau View Post
Yep. Sony (still) makes good products from what I can tell.
Thanks for posting this.
Electronics/Radio set up is greek to me. Slow to get it. So I appreciate it when things are spelled out plainly.
That said, I'm heading to Bahamas in October, and budget only allows Receiver. With this Sony, or the one Auspicious mentioned, whose link I had trouble with, do I need or would additional antennae be useful ? I also wonder what is needed and is possible to receive weather faxes with the receiver only and a Macbook or an iinexpensive but work horse printer.
I crewed for a couple winters on vessel with full SSB and often the reception was terrible... listened to NOAA and CHris Parker dutifully every day - gave me a headache. THere was 2 week period where everyone was getting it wrong and relied on the barometer solely with great success. However, I would like to know what big winter fronts are forming in US West and North for long term forecasts.
Thanks for the assistance.
06-14-2011 01:23 PM
Stu Jackson Sounds like you're agreeing to agree. Very nice helpful topic.
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