Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 25

Thread: March 14 Communications Seminar

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    68

    Default

    I have rented a SatPhone for the last three PacCups. Two months rental with 120 minutes prepaid (that I have never used more then 60 minutes of). Cost about $600 first time and just $520 for the last race (total). www.SatellitePhoneStore.com
    Each race the rental cost drops a wee bit and Iridium phone keeps getting better (smaller, quicker and less frequent charging). I have no real use for a SatPhone other then the race and return trip. Really just there for an emergency so I won't be guessing if the 406 is doing its thing - being able to personally tell the Coast Guard should the boat sink from under me "send someone my way for a pick-up, I am in a liferaft!". Did come in handy when we hit a whale that tweaked the rudder - which led to a few calls to the Keehi Marina on Oahu to understand the "just in case" options if I needed to pull the rudder before the delivery home. Let me sleep better the next several days knowing what was possible. Luckily the rudder turned out to be an easy fix. The SatPhone was a hit with the delivery crew too - when we had lots of prepaid minutes left to burn - calling home after a bit of swimming in the middle of the high.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Santa Cruz
    Posts
    19

    Default Cool Safety Communicator

    I just purchased an inReach 2 way satellite communticator. There are 2 models, one that will pair with an Android phone and one that will pair with a handheld GPS navigator (PN-60) from DeLorme (the same company that makes the inREach). The inReach has to have a 1 year contract for activation and there are 3 levels: emergency (you can hit the SOS button), intermediate usage (this is the one I chose, it costs 250 for the year and comes with 40 text messages of 160 characters or less and unlimited refreshes to your position).The high usage plan was around $450 and doubled the texts.

    The system uses the Irridium sats so it is worldwide coverage. I am going to let my friends track my progress and hopefully use this as a backup for checkins if the sat phone craps out. Checkout their website!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Paul

    I'm am sorry I will not be able to make it- agenda sounds very comprehensive. Would it be possible to get your presentation in a PDF file?

    John Lubimir
    Quest 30

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Hi John,

    Here's a link to a pdf with my slides and notes: http://www.sailvalis.com/presentatio...ons%202012.pdf

    I'm pretty sure that we're not going to want to spend much time covering the "how to install an SSB" stuff, but I included it in case someone might find it useful. I'm also pretty sure that there will be some good discussions at the seminar that will cover issues that I've not even thought of. I hope we can take notes and capture the good stuff!

    Best,
    Paul

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,027

    Default

    A few tips/reminders I gleaned from Paul's excellent talk:

    Test your SSB on multiple frequencies. I'm guilty of quick, limited tests on one or two freq's

    (From Mike) - Get an SWR meter to test your signal. I didn't realize they were only $50-$60.

    Charge batteries before it's time for the SSB check-in - you'll have a better signal.

    SSB draws power even when off (I didn't know this) - wire it through a breaker so it can be OFF

    Use your VHF to check for RFI from other electronics - turn the squelch all the way up then listen for changes in the "hiss" when you turn the AIS on (for example)

    There are benefits to leaving the satphone ON (it doesn't draw much)

    A few things I'll add:

    Yes, if you haven't played with an SSB the talk was a bit overwhelming. Not to worry - it's because we're all into this stuff. Before I was, I innocently bought an SSB for the 2006 SHTP, installed it, screwed around with it a bit and got it working. And I'm an accountant . . .

    Being able to talk with the other skippers out there (as a group) is WORTH IT. Besides, there are always the sailing boards or E-Bay after the race is over. You can sell a Monitor Windvane or an SSB in about four nanoseconds on the Cruisers Forum.

    Your SSB can play cruel games with your autopilot when you transmit. I ran my autopilot wires up the starboard side of the boat and my SSB wires up the port side. It's a small boat and I wanted as much separation as possible. Also, I installed one of these T-4-500's at the tuner end of the cable to the SSB: http://www.radioworks.com/ct-4.html I had no problems with RFI messing up the autopilot.

    Have a cover made for your cockpit engine panel. If it gets too wet you may not be able to start your engine to charge batteries. I had mine made at TAP Plastics. Hand steering for, like, a week really suks.

    Related to this, when running your engine to charge your batteries, it needs to be running above idle speed (I run mine at 1,800-2,000 RPM).

    Anyone else?

    Thanks again Paul!
    Last edited by BobJ; 03-18-2012 at 10:40 PM.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Capitola,CA
    Posts
    2,136

    Default

    BobJ brings up two important things: Running AP wires aft on opposite side of cockpit for max separation. And a waterproof cover for the cockpit engine panel, something few boat builders seem to consider.

    In the "what if" department, in the event of dismasting with the SSb antenna overboard or non-functional, I have had success clamping the antenna backstay feed to the wire lifelines and tuning that up. It wasn't the most powerful sig, but did get out.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Santa Rosa
    Posts
    575

    Default

    About emergency antennas. Most modern auto tuners will work with a length of random wire. Matter of fact in the 2010 PacCup that's what we used for the primary antenna. A 30' length of #16 insulated stranded wire I bought at a junk yard for $2. I ran it from the tuner (in the bow of a Wyliecat) to the mast head using a length of WM's cheap nylon line (the hanked stuff) as a halyard. We carried several more lengths of similar wire as back up in case we either lost the mast or the first piece.

    Our idea was to raise it and lower the antenna as needed, but decided to just leave it up all the way. Worked just fine and a friend heard us for 5 days in SF using a cheap Sony receiver. That was the short distance frequency. I think Paul can attest that our signal was strong out on the ocean.

    The lifelines should work in an emergency, but a random 25 - 30' length of insulated stranded wire strung around or perhaps held up by whatever (boom? whisker pole? mast stub? NOT YOU!) should work, too, perhaps even better; you might get more vertical radiation.

    You want to stay away from the wire when transmitting, but you want to really stay away from the lifelines and stanchions and gates and anything else connected to whatever you're using in as an emergency antenna. Rf burns rather than shocks and is dangerous. If you decide to use lifelines as the emergency antenna, remember that you often have electrical devices mounted on the pushpit or other active parts that the lifelines are connected to. You might cook something or allow RF to enter the cabin area via a wire, creating another dangerous situation.

    Ground Plane. At the same junk yard I purchased 20' of 12" wide copper sheeting - they sell it by the pound at current copper prices. Ran it from the keel bolts (used 3 bronze clamps from Handy Man) to the tuner, laying the copper along the bottom of the hull and folding it down into a "V" at the tuner. In addition to the keelbolts, that made for about another 15+ square feet of counter poise, most of it below the waterline. The whole thing cost about $50. Again, worked just fine.

    Pat Broderick - "NANCY"
    Last edited by Wylieguy; 03-20-2012 at 07:19 AM.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Paul, what was the isolator you put on the antenna to keep a signal from bouncing along the outside the wire back to the tuner? It was about a foot long and you said it was part of your standard install. Where can I get it?

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pink Boat View Post
    Paul, what was the isolator you put on the antenna to keep a signal from bouncing along the outside the wire back to the tuner? It was about a foot long and you said it was part of your standard install. Where can I get it?
    I recall that we discussed this, but I don't actually use one on VALIS. Here is a link to one that is recommended by the SailMail people: http://www.radioworks.com/ct-4.html (their 500-Watt unit should be fine in a marine SSB application, and it is the least expensive of the bunch). [I see that BobJ has provided this same link.]

    In my opinion you probably don't need it, but it certainly won't hurt. In some ground-loop cases it might help a lot in reducing EMI issues such as interference to your autopilot, etc.
    Last edited by Paul Elliott; 05-13-2012 at 11:34 PM.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    105

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
    I recall that we discussed this, but I don't actually use one on VALIS. Here is a link to one that is recommended by the SailMail people: http://www.radioworks.com/ct-4.html (their 500-Watt unit should be fine in a marine SSB application, and it is the least expensive of the bunch). [I see that BobJ has provided this same link.]

    In my opinion you probably don't need it, but it certainly won't hurt. In some ground-loop cases it might help a lot in reducing EMI issues such as interference to your autopilot, etc.
    I had a fair bit of problems with the autopilot interfering with the SSB. Most people seem to have the opposite problem, but I kept getting interference every time the AP motor actuated. It was workable with voice transmissions, but since I'm now doing email through the SSB, I added one of these T-4-500s to try to reduce the interference, along with a handful of ferrites. I'll let you know in a couple weeks if it did the trick.

Similar Threads

  1. Sail a Small Boat day March 3rd
    By Mitch in forum Singlehanded Sailing Society
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-05-2012, 12:38 PM
  2. Offshore safety talk March 3
    By Critter in forum Shorthanded Sailing
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-02-2011, 10:14 AM
  3. communications
    By pfschmidt in forum Older races
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-09-2010, 01:12 PM
  4. SHTP 2010 Roll Call, Communications Plan posted
    By Oceanslogic in forum Older races
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 06-15-2010, 09:59 PM
  5. LongPac Communications Plan
    By Sparky in forum Older races
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-05-2009, 02:50 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •