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Old 09-14-2019, 07:33 PM   #1
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Shortwave Radio

Does anyone us a shortwave radio while cruising? Are these still a viable means of communications.
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Old 09-14-2019, 07:45 PM   #2
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We were bring a previous boat down the west coast and one of the guys crewing for me was a ham radio operator. He brought a radio and antenna and installed it on the boat. He did make a few contacts during the trip but it really wasnít that reliable and it was spotty getting contact. Now maybe it was the temporary installation or maybe just no one on the air to talk to, but it wasnít that practical in my opinion. Although he is a very experienced ham operator so I assume he knew what he was doing. We looked at a 44 Gulfstar that the PO had made the forward head into a radio shack. The boat looked like a porcupine with all the antennas on it. He pretty much destroyed the resale value because nobody wanted a radio shack instead of the 2nd head.
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Old 09-14-2019, 07:48 PM   #3
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If you mean AM radios, they've been illegal for about 40+ years when SSB replaced them. People that need long range radios usually use SSB or Ham radios. Although most have a satellite phone and hope they don't need a long range radio. For line of sight, most use a marine VHF and small local boats sometimes use CB.
If you're coastal cruising, the USCG can receive and talk to you on VHF much further than line of sight.
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Old 09-14-2019, 07:56 PM   #4
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I have no idea what type of ham radio it was since I donít know much about ham stuff. He wanted to give it a try and I think he was pretty disappointed with the results but really I didnít pay much attention to it.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budds Outlet View Post
Does anyone us a shortwave radio while cruising? Are these still a viable means of communications.
When we sailed from California down the coast to Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica the ham nets were indispensible. That was in 2012-2017. The technology is still as good as before, of course, but running organized nets takes netops and it is harder and harder to find such volunteers.

There is an iCom 718 SSB on our 'new' trawler but we will replace it with our trusty icom 802 as soon as that gets high enough on the 'chores list'.

There is nothing as reassuring as getting an on-site weather report from someone 100 miles from you to compare with the GRIBs you may have downloaded via satphone.

If you are lucky enough to be in an area covered by folks like Chris Parker you will also benefit greatly even if you don't pay for weather-routing services.



-Sven
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