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Thread: Sat phone & SSB

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Albany, CA
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    Default Sat phone & SSB

    I understand that SSB has been an integral part of the SHTP in the past. If the majority of the boats (60%+) will have SSB, I probably will install one as well. On the other hand if more boats are moving to Sat phones, it would be interesting to discuss a daily call in to a conference number where there can be a roll call and share information.

    To me adding SSB is bringing in another hobby into the race. It's not straight forward, it's expensive and complex to have it installed correctly.

    It would be interesting to learn what folks want to do for this race.

    Dirk "TIJD" - First 30JK

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    49

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    I will have both on board. The phone gets expensive for fetching weather, so it is a backup or for serious emergencies. The phone minutes expire, so you can end up burning them in the end.

    The checkin becomes a big highlight of the day especially on the way back where things are slower and weather more variable.

    A Ham license can be useful to get more/free airtime and for talking to the Pacific Seafarers Net. There are some pretty good cram and test sessions put on in San Francisco. You can get an Expert rating in a weekend.

    Installation is not really that complicated, though there are a fair number of wires running hither and fro.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Albany, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakmang View Post
    I will have both on board. The phone gets expensive for fetching weather, so it is a backup or for serious emergencies. The phone minutes expire, so you can end up burning them in the end.

    The checkin becomes a big highlight of the day especially on the way back where things are slower and weather more variable.

    A Ham license can be useful to get more/free airtime and for talking to the Pacific Seafarers Net. There are some pretty good cram and test sessions put on in San Francisco. You can get an Expert rating in a weekend.

    Installation is not really that complicated, though there are a fair number of wires running hither and fro.
    Thanks for your input. If one does not invest in SSB, a monthly Sat phone cost for one month is not expensive. $199 for 250 minutes talk and "unlimited" data.
    I understand that if you already have SSB installed, satellite communication becomes an extra cost.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    49

    Default

    That sounds like a better deal than I was able to find a couple years ago. Perhaps you could PM me the company.

    Thanks,
    -jak

  5. #5
    pogen's Avatar
    pogen is offline Sailing canoe "Kūʻaupaʻa"
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    Nov 2008
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    Default

    I've rented a satphone twice (PacCup, LongPac) and found my usage of minutes was a lot less than I thought it would be. Daily usage was getting some GRIBS and text weather every day, maybe a few text emails every day, and sending text and a few photos (already converted to smaller size) to my blog, such as it was. Almost no voice calls though.

    Overall, MUCH cheaper than a new SSB setup, especially if you go the full-boat with pactor modem, etc. to get weather fax and GRIBs.

    Also, if you have to ditch, you can take the satphone with you onto the life raft and call the USCG to tell them what happened. This is what XL did when they were sunk by a whale on the return delivery for PacCup 2006.

    As an exercise, take the installation cost of a new SSB (console, antenna tuner, antenna, modem) and divide by the number of minutes you will be actually talking on a 15 day race.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    235

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    You will enjoy the race much more if you can participate in the SSB chat sessions after the twice daily check-ins. I'\'m sure a lot of others will agree.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Irvine, CA
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    I bought a NIB Icom 700 pro for a $1000 on eBay. As well as a AT140 tuner $400, GAM antenna $450. I used copper foil attached to 3 thru hulls ( Gordon Wests recommendation) for the grounding and that was by far the most work, but not very expensive. Works perfect.
    Cheers, Mike
    Watermark PS31

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    2,980

    Default

    I installed copper strapping to keel bolts and the engine (don't have bronze through-hulls) ten years ago and it worked well. After awhile it corroded and started making a mess in the bilge so I stripped it out and replaced it with this:

    http://www.kiss-ssb.com/

    This works at least as well as the copper strapping and is way easier and neater to have in the boat. Before Pacific Cup I anchored off of Pt. Richmond and talked to VALIS up in the San Juans on several channels. It also worked fine for all the Pac Cup check-in's.

    Besides, it seems like an appropriate post for Valentine's Day!
    Last edited by BobJ; 02-14-2016 at 09:07 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Santa Barbara Sometimes
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    I installed copper strapping ... and it worked well. After awhile it corroded and started making a mess in the bilge so I stripped it out and replaced it with this:

    http://www.kiss-ssb.com/

    This works at least as well as the copper strapping and is way easier and neater to have in the boat.
    Same experience on Frolic. The KISS that works.

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