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post #1 of 15 Old 03-16-2019 Thread Starter
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advice on getting weather fax

I have SSB, pactor, laptop and used winlink a bit but never brought down weather faxes. Wondering if anyone can point me to a primer or can provide some advice of tools and uses.


Also, I've seen indications that coastal explorer can overlay downloaded weather fax files but can't find any instructions. help on that would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-16-2019
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Re: advice on getting weather fax

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Originally Posted by dadio917 View Post
I have SSB, pactor, laptop and used winlink a bit but never brought down weather faxes. Wondering if anyone can point me to a primer or can provide some advice of tools and uses.


Also, I've seen indications that coastal explorer can overlay downloaded weather fax files but can't find any instructions. help on that would be appreciated.
thanks
Confused..you say you’ve “used Winlink but never brought down weather faxes”.. Are you saying you’ve never went to the ‘Catalogue’ subsection of either Winlink Express or Airmail and clicked on the various fax locations of interest..?

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post #3 of 15 Old 03-17-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: advice on getting weather fax

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Confused..you say you’ve “used Winlink but never brought down weather faxes”.. Are you saying you’ve never went to the ‘Catalogue’ subsection of either Winlink Express or Airmail and clicked on the various fax locations of interest..?
well...yes. I've sent a few emails just to see if it worked. Haven't really needed it as we've been coastal. going offshore in a few months so getting around to it. Won't get back the boat for a week or so, so can't play with it, just research.

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post #4 of 15 Old 03-17-2019
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Re: advice on getting weather fax

There are the Winlink’s FAQ’s and the individual (Winlink Express and/or Airmail) program’s ‘Help’ sections to answer most questions.. And if you have loaded their programs onto your home based internet connected computer then use their ‘Telnet’ capability to become more familiar with each programs capability.. Most of Winlink is self intuitive and becoming more familiar is by playing with their features and reading the their self help guides..
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Re: advice on getting weather fax

My advice (only slight facetious) is to just buy an Iridium Go, with Predict Wind, and connect it to a laptop. I think unlimited data packages are ~$140/mo and include a couple of hours of talk time to stay in touch (or call in emergency). Small cruising budget item. Substantially easier and more functional.

I'm still surprised that no one has created an app and cable to connect an iPad to a Pactor that just figures the rest out. SSB/Pactor tech is good basic stuff (I have one too), but stupidly complicated by today's standards.
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-17-2019
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Re: advice on getting weather fax

I think you can download weather faxes with a shortwave receiver plugged directly into a USB sound card. No pactor modem needed - all done in software. No license either.

WINMOR is the magic term.

(don't do this myself, at least in theory here in the Med people actually still use Navtex!)

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post #7 of 15 Old 03-17-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: advice on getting weather fax

Yea, don't have a Go but do have an Inreach. still...I own the ssb/pactor and ham license so want to figure that out.

set up winlink express to telnet but keep getting no CMS server found. winlink acting likes it's not on internet but have verified the laptop is. oh well...will keep poking around.

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post #8 of 15 Old 03-17-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: advice on getting weather fax

success! loaded winlink it on another computer and it connects in telnet. successfully downloaded gribs and successfully loaded into coastal explorer which is kind of cool. downside is file size in telnet limited to 180k which limits area size a bit.

so...guessing my problem is stale load winlink load old boat laptop. Will reload and see if that solves the problem. Laptop getting old in the tooth so maybe time for an upgrade.

we're pretty well covered. With SSB will radio into pacific seafarers net every day and get occasional weather faxes. have the inreach on iridium so can be tracked, exchange texts and get weather, and SOS function. Paper charts, simrad and charts that repeat on our IOS devices, and coastal explorer on a laptop. Ais transponder which is also backup gps to coastal explorer. last but not least the good 'ol eprb. Just a few more devices than Captain Bligh had.

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post #9 of 15 Old 03-17-2019
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Re: advice on getting weather fax

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Originally Posted by dadio917 View Post
success! loaded winlink it on another computer and it connects in telnet. successfully downloaded gribs and successfully loaded into coastal explorer which is kind of cool. downside is file size in telnet limited to 180k which limits area size a bit.
could you please describe your setup in more detail? I’m considering getting an SSB radio primarily for weather. Thank you.

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post #10 of 15 Old 03-17-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: advice on getting weather fax

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could you please describe your setup in more detail? I’m considering getting an SSB radio primarily for weather. Thank you.
sure...Icom 802 SSB connected to a PactorII modem which has USB out to the laptop. Laptop is running winlink express which is free and coastal explorer which is worth every penny.

this setup is ~15 years old so definitely not the latest and is based on decades old technology. If I was starting out from scratch I'd probably spend my first dollars on the satellite route like the iridium Go connected to a laptop, phone or tablet. Much better connectivity and ease of use. I hear more and more people saying SSBs are just obsolete due to sat phones. But I'm glad to have it.

An alternative to sat phone is what we have...an Inreach from Garmen which is also a satellite device. It's not as capable as a Go but still pretty cool. it allows for short 160char messages, does automatic position logging to the web site, SOS, and will download weather forecasts for 1$ per forecast. It connects to our ipads via Bluetooth. On our next passage I'm going to ask someone to check passageweather.com once every couple of days and send me their expectation for our coming weather. ntw, I find passage weather.com an excellent weather site.
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