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SSB - would you bother??!!


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I am refitting a yatch at present and am wondering whether to keep the SSB which means I need to keep the aerial when I rerig my backstay. How may people are actually using their SSB these days?  Satellite is taking over and getting cheaper, so ...would you keep the SSB, and if so, WHY?

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No, I’d go sat phone 

Know a few that do however, they say that radio nets and cheap emails are worth it.

I find it’s easier to use wifi or a local sim at destination or satellite email if it’s important 

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Radio nets was 1 thing I wondered about. I have no experience, but have heard that there are not really that many anymore that are regularly used. E mail and gribs I think are cheaper with ssb (I have a pactor) but I think I would end up carrying some sort of sat device even if I kept the SSB, so am still going to need some sort of sat subscription. I do like the idea of being able to chat with people rather than text/email, but would VHF will do for the local stuff anyway?

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18 minutes ago, cornr said:

Radio nets was 1 thing I wondered about. I have no experience, but have heard that there are not really that many anymore that are regularly used. E mail and gribs I think are cheaper with ssb (I have a pactor) but I think I would end up carrying some sort of sat device even if I kept the SSB, so am still going to need some sort of sat subscription. I do like the idea of being able to chat with people rather than text/email, but would VHF will do for the local stuff anyway?

This question was raised quite recently so suggest you search for the previous discussion

Seeing as you have both the SSB and Pactor, I would suggest spending the $'s for the insulators. Iridium Go is great, but not the be all and end all. In the 2019 ICNZ Rally I think the failure rate of Go's was around 20%. I am not sure about the comments re Sat comms becoming cheaper, purchase price and monthly sub have not changed over the last few years. 

You can get much more effective use of SSB by getting a HAM licence, and I would expect if your SSB (an ICOM?) runs a PACTOR it can be "opened up" to HAM frequencies.

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Interesting - that is a significant failure rate! 

Its a furuno - I would need to get a licence, but that's an interesting thought - I will have a look. Thanks.

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1 hour ago, Black Panther said:

Failure rate as in ceased to function? Need more data  I've used one and consider it it more than sufficient. 

All i really want is the ability to send a text once a day to my wife.

failure rates as in software going crazy, refusing to turn on and the stupid little charging pin coming away from the motherboard. As I said they are good but not perfect

If you just want to send a message home then one of the satellite messengers eg In Reach would be more than sufficient

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I've got both the IridiumGo and SSB on Lady Nada and I'm glad I have both for offshore sailing. The iridium is the primary means of contact and weather but the SSB is a nice backup. I don't know if I would spend the money on a new radio however if you have one, worth keeping. 

I've found a regular radio check-in with Maritime NZ when on passage to be a nice confirmation someone official knows what we are doing and where we are. Its also useful to know/talk to other yachties on passage to know what the conditions are near them. I have the a weatherfax app on my phone that can plug in and decode a weather fax as a backup to losing predictwind via the iridium. 

Gulf Harbour radio is a real asset to NZ/islands sailing and SSB is the only practical way to be involved in it. If you haven't listened to them before, you can listen to a broadcast via youtube there: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcu-iy7lVF8YiRfXCIBQ28w/about

Also nice to hear the Radio NZ news is isolated places. https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/listen 

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For full time cruising I'd keep the SSB. Informal cruiser scheds used to pop up all over the show, particularly where other support was scarce like the Red Sea. There were even two boats playing chess during our Atlantic crossing. With the newer Pactors, Sailmail was pretty good as well.

That RNZ link brings back memories, I listened to AB's vs Lions in 2005 between the Galapagos and Tahiti.

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you would not buy one now, but my yacht came with one of these

IMG_7160.thumb.jpg.8f52223764c1dad850857e08c773fb59.jpg

still works and even with Predictwind I find it handy to down load some of the available maps to get "the big picture"

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We had the slightly newer Furuno Fax30 which displayed the Weather Fax's straight onto the Furuno Chartplotter, but it died last year and I'm not spending $$$ to get it going again. It was pretty useful to know what was driving overall weather systems that Predict Wind gave the very detailed, but smaller forecast for.  

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Just removed a kenwood ssb, don’t use it at all , I’m only a local coastal cruiser, thing weighed a lot and being mounted in the switch panel, made removing the switch panel a bit of a chore, also want to change the back stay to dyneema soon,

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A standard laptop with free software can convert HF weather fax signals. It works quite well and can be set to run automatically , downloading each fax as a file.

But..l still have a imarsat phone. I used a txt weather service to get extra weather details. It was cheap but imarsat costs are very high. Talk costs for calls in , run at $10 minute so you need to tell people to text you only ( free or 50c) 

I would go iridium if l had a choice now. 

Starlink ( Elon Musk) will go mobile at the end of this year , and it promises to be much cheaper and faster per data amount than anything else currently available by satellite. It will need a stabilisation system on a moving yacht..

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5 hours ago, idlerboat said:

Starlink ( Elon Musk) will go mobile at the end of this year , and it promises to be much cheaper and faster per data amount than anything else currently available by satellite. It will need a stabilisation system on a moving yacht..

Starlink looks alot like Global Star, with Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. Needs alot more satellites than Iridium for coverage so it is natural they will be located over high density population areas for best revenue. So I would be doubtful there will be much coverage for the South Pacific for quite some time

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1 hour ago, marinheiro said:

Starlink looks alot like Global Star, with Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. Needs alot more satellites than Iridium for coverage so it is natural they will be located over high density population areas for best revenue. So I would be doubtful there will be much coverage for the South Pacific for quite some time

It's an orbit plane.

The Satellites aren't located over a population they are located on a plane that loosely cuts through either side of the North and south poles.

Each satellite circles earth once every (approximately) 100minutes.  Currently each orbit plane has 22 satellites and there are 72 planes.

Starlink already has 'global coverage'. You can see a satellite at all times from anywhere on earth (except the poles). The only reason that it isn't truly global yet is because the satellites cannot always see an neighbouring satellite or a base station, so the satellite you can see, might not have a connection to the Internet. 

Starlink have announced that they will have global coverage by September 2021.  However they are referring to Global coverage where people live, so there will remain patches of ocean where you won't get coverage until they finish the mesh and the satellites can then bounce through a neighbouring satellite. This is expected late 2022.

You can see the Starlink constellation here. Clicking on a satellite will show you it's orbit plane and the other satellites in that plane. 

Iridium are in a geosyncronous orbit, this also means that they are above the equator and thus are always in exactly the same place relative to the earth's surface.

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Talking to a friend today who wrote for sailing magazines in the day. When Rainbow 11 won in Germany phone calls were expensive so they had a code. They would call at an appointed time. No one would answer, but one ring for 1st, 2 rings for 2nd and so on.

I'm in opua now and have what's app calls free with Angela and daughter in Whangaparaoa, daughter in Cambridge UK, sister in Arizona and brother in Sydney. Times have changed.

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