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Old 03-22-2018, 06:15 AM   #1
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To SSB or Not to SSB . . .

. . . that is the question. Our boat came with an older ICOM M800 from the early 90s. The PO said it worked but I’ve never tried to power it up and disconnected some of the cabling during rewiring projects.

What are the practical uses for one of these in an era of ubiquitous cell towers? Is it still valuable to have one in the Bahamas? I have limited real estate at the lower helm and don’t need to carry something I’ll never use. On the other hand I’d hate to jettison something I might have a use for.
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Old 03-22-2018, 06:22 AM   #2
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In the US or Canada very little use. Once you go to the Caribbean the SSB is used every day for the weather and the cruiser nets.

Also if you are in a marina you likely will not get reception. It is also difficult for power boats to get reception underway as the SSB is sensitive to any electrical interference including in my case my inverter.
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Old 03-22-2018, 07:32 AM   #3
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I agree with Marty, unless offshore a good ways or out of the country, not much use. I use mine a lot, glad to have it, but probably will let it collect dust upon returning.
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Old 03-22-2018, 07:40 AM   #4
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One of the first things I did after I bought the boat was remove the SSB. In the 30 year previous life of the boat I doubt that it was used twice. It looked pristine as it took up valuable space under the dash and contributed to the mess of writing below the panel. Also, it was mounted on the door to the cabinet below and made access to the space a PIA.
It eventually sold at boaters resale for $300 after sitting for a year.
In the two years since I have never thought “oh, I wish I had my SSB”.
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Old 03-22-2018, 07:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bay Pelican View Post
In the US or Canada very little use. Once you go to the Caribbean the SSB is used every day for the weather and the cruiser nets.

Also if you are in a marina you likely will not get reception. It is also difficult for power boats to get reception underway as the SSB is sensitive to any electrical interference including in my case my inverter.
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I agree with Marty, unless offshore a good ways or out of the country, not much use. I use mine a lot, glad to have it, but probably will let it collect dust upon returning.
What they said. In the Bahamas, we listen to weather every morning and use it for crossing back and forth on the Gulf Stream. For the Bahamas you could probably get similar information on-line but your not hearing the specific question/answers with local knowledge that could affect your cruising area.

https://mwxc.com/marine_weather_services.php
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:06 AM   #6
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I found, when I had mine, that to initiate a phone call from the Bahamas I was too close but I could use Washington. I haven’t had one on my last two boats but if I was going on cross ocean trips like Homo I would have one on board.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:07 AM   #7
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I should add that sat phones may be a better option.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:13 AM   #8
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I would like to have receive only. If I need emergency help, sat phone or epirb/plb. Also I think the antenna requirements for good transmit are picky picky but not so much for receive only. On other boats that had HF's, I entertained my self on long passages just listening.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:18 AM   #9
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Ski. I have a portable sw radio to listen in to weather, it much cheaper than a SSB.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:46 AM   #10
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Ebay for the ICOM SSB
Portable Shortwave radio receiver with SSB/BFO for listening if you want. Make sure it has DIGITAL tuning!!! Search "receiver SSB" on ebay. Grundig Yachtboy is a good example.
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Old 03-22-2018, 12:17 PM   #11
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An SSB radio is quite stable , so a cheap program and you can print weather fax on your computer.
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Old 03-22-2018, 12:22 PM   #12
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I use jvcomm, it is a free download for basic version. Works great with older SSB that can’t support modem
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Old 03-22-2018, 12:25 PM   #13
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An SSB radio is quite stable , so a cheap program and you can print weather fax on your computer.
We use the free demo version of JVComm.

JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX Programm -+-

Here’s NOAA’s world wide fax schedule to go with it.

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/rfax.pdf
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Old 03-22-2018, 01:27 PM   #14
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With a Pactor modem, you can also send and receive emails, either free (if you have a Ham license, but then no commercial content) or through SailMail for a few hundred $$ per year. As with SSB voice, not something you are likely to use unless offshore or out of the country.
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Old 03-29-2018, 06:14 AM   #15
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Forgot or circle back and thank y’all. I’m keeping the SSB—at least for now—but will relocate it to a spot that’s less in the way of control and nav functions at the helm.
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Old 03-30-2018, 06:54 AM   #16
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"Here’s NOAA’s world wide fax schedule to go with it.
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/rfax.pdf"

Always fun to observe the wave heights in the North Atlantic , while wintering in a place thats warm and snug and flat!
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