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Old 07-21-2021, 07:50 PM   #1
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SSB radios - used anymore?

Now that Iíve bought my Sea Piper I have lots of time to think. Waiting on s trailer to be built so itís there, Iím here!

I have a couple things to catch up on. I was a sailboat cruiser, 20 years ago. Things have changed and I now have a trawler, so some catching up to do.

I have a god Icom SSB and am wondering if there is any value in installing it? Now that we donít have Herb for weather I question if it would even get used? I suppose for emergency communications it might. I doubt Iíll be off shore much, so I question itís value, particularly stateside.

Iíll probably have many other questions, but Iíll stop with this one for now.
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Old 07-21-2021, 08:41 PM   #2
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We used our 802 daily to speak with our weather router, get girbs via the pacnor and the 500mb when on passage.
We used it to get low baud weather when cruising and for emails.
Also used it for social chatting with friends and for the various cruiser nets.
Found we saved a lot of money using the SSB instead of the satphone whenever we could. Found the cruiser nets fun and helpful.
Never became a Ham but using the 802 has a minimal learning curve and don’t understand why people think it’s difficult.
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Old 07-22-2021, 04:38 AM   #3
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I can't say if you'll use/need one,with your new style of cruising .but now's the time to get the builder to install an antenna counterpoise into the boat ,perhaps in the cabin rooftop or somewhere similar. It'll make the tuner installation much easier .cleaner & less expensive if that was already done for you.
Back in the day, Hatteras yachts used to incorporate ,as standard equipment, a bronze screen into the layup of the flybridge floor with a 1/4" bronze grounding stud exposed somewhere under the bridge for the counterpoise connection. It made a SSB install a breeze!
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:21 AM   #4
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If you enjoy observing weather , nothing like being in a good anchorage and watching the winter north sea wind and wave action while sipping a cool one.


There is very little expense to hook the SSB to your computer , you can even get local weather and 500Cps will still trigger a SOS on many ships.
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomerang View Post
I can't say if you'll use/need one,with your new style of cruising .but now's the time to get the builder to install an antenna counterpoise into the boat ,perhaps in the cabin rooftop or somewhere similar. It'll make the tuner installation much easier .cleaner & less expensive if that was already done for you
That was going to be my next question - this is an existing boat, almost new but just slightly used. In my previous sailboat I glassed bronze screen wire under the cockpit sole, worked great. Iím guessing Iíll need to do the same.

I suppose further discussion on this should be on the electronics section of the site. But I donít see a down side since I already have the tuner and radio.
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Old 07-22-2021, 09:51 AM   #6
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That was going to be my next question - this is an existing boat, almost new but just slightly used. In my previous sailboat I glassed bronze screen wire under the cockpit sole, worked great. Iím guessing Iíll need to do the same.

I suppose further discussion on this should be on the electronics section of the site. But I donít see a down side since I already have the tuner and radio.
Oh, my mistake. I read your original post & thought you meant the hull was on a trailer and you were waiting on the boat to be completed.
I guess your choices are limited now. Lay a screen in the bilge or try something like a KISS counterpoise. If we decide to move forward with a ssb or ham on our boat, I'll probably give the KISS ground plane a try. Tuned wire lengths & snake oil all stuffed in a piece of garden hose!
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:54 AM   #7
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On a previous boat we used copper foil strip. It was basically the shape of a roll of 2" blue tape (not adhesive though). We ran it through the bilges. I think we might have coated it lightly with Lanocote but don't remember for sure. The SSB seemed to transmit and receive well (used it for voice and e-mail).
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Old 07-25-2021, 09:48 AM   #8
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Congrats on the SeaPiper! I agree with one of the posters here that SSB would be VERY useful... Sailmail and/or Winlink (if you get your amateur radio license) would save you money over satellite. Also, SSB could prove useful in an emergency or just chatting on one of the MANY maritime HF nets...

By the way, you dont need a counterpoise for an HF antenna installation. An end fed antenna works fairly well and should be easily accomplished on your trawler, even for the lower bands. I use one at home with great success!

I personally would have BOTH satellite and SSB...
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Old 07-25-2021, 10:58 AM   #9
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Are you planning to go out of cellular and VHF range regularly? If so, yes install it. If not the real estate could be better used for something else IMHO. A Ham would have already installed it
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Old 07-25-2021, 11:28 AM   #10
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Are you planning to go out of cellular and VHF range regularly? If so, yes install it. If not the real estate could be better used for something else IMHO. A Ham would have already installed it


Personally, I wouldnít bother with SSB. A sat phone, especially and Iridium Go, is more versatile. Unless you enjoy the chats on the ham nets, you wonít miss the SSB.
During my offshore sailing days I had SSB only, or SSB and sat phone. Now, on a trawler where we might be days offshore rather than weeks, I have only a sat phone and am glad to be done with the SSB. On good propagation days I might get clear commo, but on bad days it would take hours of fiddling and tuning to download an email. So here is how we do it:
Email: I get my mail directly from my gmail account via an app on my phone or iPad
Weather products: I can download virtually any NOAA product via another app on my iPad.
Predict Wind: direct tie in to Iridium. GRIBs, routing, etc
Voice commo: calls to any phone anywhere in the world, not just another SSB station.
Safety and emergency coms: No I canít broadcast via SSB to ships at sea. But how often are trawlers out of VHF/ DSC radio range of at least one ship? And by the way, what has your experience been with getting ships to respond? I would rather call the USCG region responsible for the area I am in. Talk to them via my cell phone.
Ditch bag: the Irdium Go gets to come along. SSB not.
Wilderness hike on a remote island; the iridium go is in my backpack
Chats: no, the iridium phone canít do that. For me, no real interest. Up to you. The chat nets arenít nearly as prevalent as they were 10-15 years ago.
If you get Practical Sailor, read John Nealeís comments about his latest refit. Mahina spends most of her time offshore teaching. And once he moved to a sat phone he no longer used, or found a need for the SSB.
Money does matter. If I had a full up SSB rig on board, I would keep it. But starting from scratch it would be a long time before the air time adds up to the cost of a full 802/Pactor set up.
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Old 07-25-2021, 05:00 PM   #11
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We have no need,following the interesting comments.
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