Gotta plug a great app I've been playing with. BlackCat Systems recently released an app that can be used with a HF radio to receive weather faxes. It's dead simple to use: tune the radio in to the appropriate station, sit it next to your radio (or use a suitable cable to connect them) and it'll detect the start & end tones & automatically save each image as you receive it.
My radio is a Kaito 1103 which was about $100. The app is a steal at $2.99 (their Mac software to receive weatherfax has more capability but it's $90). A cable so you don't have to listen to the radio is about $40 (haven't tested that yet). I'm running the thin external wire antenna to a window and keeping the radio away from other electronics but I haven't done much to optimize the setup.
Yesterday I was getting clear images from Boston, New Orleans and Pt Reyes CA. I'm near Toronto so those are about 1000km, 2000km, and 4000km away (620, 1240, and 2480 miles).
I tried it on my iPhone too. The reception wasn't quite as clear but it's quite possible that there's dirt & flour stuck in the microphone.
I'm not related to the developers in anyway, just really enthusiastic about the app. The only drawbacks so far are:
- If you miss the start tone the image might be shifted left or right and there's no way in the app to fix it
- Some images are transmitted rotated by 90 degrees. When you try to view them after transmission the iPad or iPhone interface keeps rotating the wrong way. The fix is to flick on the screen rotation lock for the device while you're viewing those images.
- Due to the microphone location, I had to take the case off of the iPad. Using a cable instead of the microphone should make this a non-issue.
As much as I've love an SSB, this is so much cheaper and easier.
Here's a photo of my setup (the microphone is around the edge of the iPad near the camera, which is the black dot near the radio):
The schedule button just displays the NOAA schedule from http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/rfax.pdf
There's a little button to update it in the app if NOAA ever updates it but you don't need internet access to view it.
There's no fancy scheduling functionality like with a dedicated weatherfax machine.