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Old 01-13-2016, 12:21 PM   #1
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Crew,

For those of you who have ocean travel experience what is your choice for obtaining current and forecasted weather and ocean conditions as well as communications when out of cellphone range?

I might be crewing for a friend moving his 65' Hatteras from LA to Puerto Vallarta in a few weeks. I've already configured my cell for coverage in Mexico but I'm not willing to rely on that and the VHF is line of sight therefore distance limited.

Thanks for your ideas.
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Old 01-13-2016, 12:33 PM   #2
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Crew,

For those of you who have ocean travel experience what is your choice for obtaining current and forecasted weather and ocean conditions as well as communications when out of cellphone range?

I might be crewing for a friend moving his 65' Hatteras from LA to Puerto Vallarta in a few weeks. I've already configured my cell for coverage in Mexico but I'm not willing to rely on that and the VHF is line of sight therefore distance limited.

Thanks for your ideas.
Although it is not practical for a temp install, we use KVH Vsat service.

We get crystal clear phone and 2mbps of internet speed.
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:38 PM   #3
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We use an HF radio with a Pactor modem for weather and emails. The initial cost and installation is not for a one time trip though. If you want to stay in touch, a Sat phone maybe your only option, which you can rent.
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:52 PM   #4
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Crew,

For those of you who have ocean travel experience what is your choice for obtaining current and forecasted weather and ocean conditions as well as communications when out of cellphone range?

I might be crewing for a friend moving his 65' Hatteras from LA to Puerto Vallarta in a few weeks. I've already configured my cell for coverage in Mexico but I'm not willing to rely on that and the VHF is line of sight therefore distance limited.

Thanks for your ideas.
I used several sources. The one I really like is Sailmail via HF Pactor. You send an email formatted with document requests, like gribs and forecast discussion, and check back to download them. I also have a sat phone that interfaces with the Sailmail software for when the bands aren't cooperating. Their software compression saves lots of satellite time. It's $250 a year.

If you're a ham, you can do the same thing via Winlink, but I found the commercial service more reliable/available. There's also the Pacific Seafarer's net on 20m. They read the weather, and someone is usually available to QSY and give you more specific info.

What I found myself using most were the Weatherfax broadcasts. Just leave the machine receiving and grab the set. So great to see the big picture. The grib files always seemed wrong, but the big picture predictions from NOAA were good. Plus, they have a page on cyclonic activity, which gives you a big head start when the TS or hurricane starts spinning up.
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:08 PM   #5
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VSAT or portable SAT phone with data connection. Look at Ocens weather software and Clear Point.

Also look at using a weather router like Commanders.
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:09 PM   #6
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Price is right and you can get the wx info you need.
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:16 PM   #7
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Delorme InReach.
Price is right and you can get the wx info you need.
Richard: What weather are you receiving with your Delorme?

Edit: the reason I ask is I'm sending parts of weather forecasts to a friend now who has a Delorme. What a PIA! You're only allowed 160 characters per message. Does Delorme offer weather?
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Old 01-13-2016, 10:57 PM   #8
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Thanks to those who have responded! We have obtained a sat phone and are now exploring the best options to obtain Wx.
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Old 01-14-2016, 01:11 AM   #9
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Thanks to those who have responded! We have obtained a sat phone and are now exploring the best options to obtain Wx.
I did that trip in november, I was never out of cell coverage for more than one day. Depending on how fast you get to the cape weather forcasting is pretty easy and consistant..I usually activate my sat phone for these trips by I was happy I saved the $ and just used the cell.
Have a great trip
Hollywood
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Old 01-14-2016, 01:45 AM   #10
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Thanks to those who have responded! We have obtained a sat phone and are now exploring the best options to obtain Wx.
Check out saildocs.com. An easy way to snag weather forecast pages via email.

I'm not sure about your plan, but the prepaid minutes blocks I've bought all come with free inbound SMS texts. Iridium has a website to text gateway, so my wife and kid (and occasionally a friend) can drop me quick notes while I'm out, without much effort.

Also, beware of having anyone direct dial your sat phone from a mobile phone. AT&T charges over $10 a minute to the mobile caller for calling a sat phone. That's why Iridium has the 800 transfer number for inbound calls.
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Old 01-14-2016, 02:59 AM   #11
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I did that trip in november, I was never out of cell coverage for more than one day. Depending on how fast you get to the cape weather forcasting is pretty easy and consistant..I usually activate my sat phone for these trips by I was happy I saved the $ and just used the cell.
Have a great trip
Hollywood
Good info Hollywood. Thanks for the pirep! How far offshore did you run and do you have any other words of wisdom?
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Old 01-14-2016, 04:45 AM   #12
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Also, beware of having anyone direct dial your sat phone from a mobile phone. AT&T charges over $10 a minute to the mobile caller for calling a sat phone. That's why Iridium has the 800 transfer number for inbound calls.
To get around the Iridium transfer charges by some other carriers (including other sat phones), there is a way called Two Stage Dialing that lets you call 1-480-768-2500 and then you enter the iridium subscriber phone # and then it connects you to the sat phone user. If they don't answer, it lets you leave numeric and voice messages.

The new Iridium 9575 Extreme is far better than the 9505 or even 9555. It has a built in GPS and can be used to send I'm OK location messages and SOS help messages. It is also better water proofed and has a much more reliable power / charger connector.

If you go the prepaid route, any left over minutes can be preserved by adding a few more minutes to the plan. Ask your sales people the expiration time on prepaid minutes. Some last as long as a year, but others expire in a month.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:24 AM   #13
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Most of the all band portable radios are frequency stable enough to take down FAX .

There are computer programs that will paint the download on a PC screen , no need for a aper fax machine any more.

In the old days 1970 the use if a Ham radio was required to get the frequency stability , but not today.

Great fun to see the conditions elsewhere in the world!!

Worldwide Marine Radiofacsimile Broadcast Schedules

www.nws.noaa.gov/.../...


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Jul 16, 2015 - National Weather Service marine products including radiofax, such as frequency and scheduling information as well as links to products. A.



NWS Radiofax - National Weather Service - NOAA

www.nws.noaa.gov/.../...




National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


May 4, 2015 - Worldwide Marine Radiofacsimile Broadcast Schedules (PDF) ... as HF FAX, radiofacsimile or weatherfax, is a means of broadcasting graphic ...
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:40 AM   #14
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VSAT or portable SAT phone with data connection. Look at Ocens weather software and Clear Point...
We have friends that are using Ocens now and like it.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:45 AM   #15
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Most of the all band portable radios are frequency stable enough to take down FAX .

There are computer programs that will paint the download on a PC screen , no need for a aper fax machine any more...
If you have a good shortwave or SSB receiver and a laptop w/ a sound card, you can down load weather maps via JVComm. The demo is free and works well.

JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program
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Old 01-14-2016, 12:01 PM   #16
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To get around the Iridium transfer charges by some other carriers (including other sat phones), there is a way called Two Stage Dialing that lets you call 1-480-768-2500 and then you enter the iridium subscriber phone # and then it connects you to the sat phone user. If they don't answer, it lets you leave numeric and voice messages.

The new Iridium 9575 Extreme is far better than the 9505 or even 9555. It has a built in GPS and can be used to send I'm OK location messages and SOS help messages. It is also better water proofed and has a much more reliable power / charger connector.

If you go the prepaid route, any left over minutes can be preserved by adding a few more minutes to the plan. Ask your sales people the expiration time on prepaid minutes. Some last as long as a year, but others expire in a month.
That's it.

Also, if you use the transfer number the airtime is billed against the satphone minutes. If you direct dial it's billed to the caller, and doesn't burn up your minutes.

My wife has the transfer number, but I gave the direct dial number to work. If it's important enough for them to call, they can pay for it.

Also make sure you check that minutes bought can be extended. Iridium has cheaper blocks of prepaid that cannot be extended by purchasing additional minutes. I found myself wondering why one block of 500 was so much cheaper than another, and that's why.
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Old 01-14-2016, 12:20 PM   #17
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Good info Hollywood. Thanks for the pirep! How far offshore did you run and do you have any other words of wisdom?

I pretty much do a rhumb line course down Baja.. giving the capes a couple mile pass. Did the last trip Ensenada to Bahia Santa Maria, Santa Maria to San Jose Del Cabo. You get less than 30 N.M offshore at the max. Typically the swell/wind is less closer inshore... but at times not so. It is a great trip.. not too much traffic, plenty of sea life, great fishing, not too long etc. On one of my first trips down over 20 years ago the Admiral and I did mostly day hops.. never again as we got too tired from the crappy sleep in the rolly anchorages that are sketchy at best. Better to do big jumps between the great anchorages and enjoy the overnight trips.
Have a fun time.
HOLLYWOOD
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Old 01-15-2016, 07:00 AM   #18
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Weather Fax is free ,24/7/365 no charges from Unkle Sammy
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