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Thread: SSB vs. Ham

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  1. #1

    Default SSB vs. Ham


    I was wondering if anyone could help me. In a nutshell I want to sail across the pond next year, but do not have the money for a SSB transceiver. I do have GPS (x2), VHF (x2) EPIRB (x1) and 2 mobiles (I know ...not much use)

    As far as I can see it my options are:-

    1/ Buy a SSB receiver and get the weather nets etc.

    2/ Go with what I have got

    3/ Buy a ham radio set and fit it.

    Does any one have any advice for me?

    Looking forward to hearing from you


  2. #2

    Default Post deleted by danfoley

  3. #3

    Default Re: SSB vs. Ham


    Thanks a lot for taking both the time and trouble to reply, I have hoisted your comments on board and am looking forward to putting them into practice

    Thanks again


  4. #4
    SimonJ is offline Registered User
    Location : Returned to Caribbean for the winter, back to uk for the 'summer'
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Default Re: SSB vs. Ham

    Agree with advice given so far having just returned from caribbean/USA in Sadler34 after 26 months away. Used Target receive only SSB for first 18 months. Made sure we knew freqs to listen on for nets etc before leaving Canaries. good to listen even if unable to reply. Mobiles a nightmare in Caribbean as each island has independent system. US system years behind Europe so there we used a prepay mobile, but beware coverage by any given company incomplete.
    Advise use of pocketmail device (see their website of similar name) for emails - for this you "only" need a working public phone. Not so easy or cheap but invariably possible and best option. Internet cafes expensive and rely on same, sometimes poor, but always expensive lines.

    Eventually acquired ICOM 706 - a miniature 100w Ham radio but, "opened up" for SSB. Used locally rigged aerial and 50ft copper strip in bilge (tagged to keel etc) as earth and got amazing results. Very cheap (compared to full blown huge SSB bought in UK) and effective if obtained from US (can advise Florida mail supplier/shop if you contact me). You can only use ham freqs in dire emergency and frankly, using ham is a bit like trainspotting (sorry). Only rarely did we come across a licensed SSB operator - i f you have a VHF licence/experience (unnecessary for US persons) it is easy as modern sets are so good. You will want to keep in touch with your many new friends - email or ssb is preferred!

    Hope this helps. Have a great trip. You will not be disappointed! Simon


  5. #5
    colin_jones's Avatar
    colin_jones is offline Registered User
    Location : Lyme Regis, Dorset
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    Default Re: SSB vs. Ham

    There is a very lively bunch of licensed radio amateurs on the UK Maritime Mobile Net, controlled by G4FRN, every morning at 0800gmt and again at 1800 on 14.303 Mhz The net is especially active from boats in The Med in Summer. There you will meet plenty of properly licensed operators.

    Whilst there are a few 'pirates' who steal somebody else's call sign because they are themselves too indolent to take the RAE exam, I can say from personal contact that most of the 14.303 crowd are genuine callsign holders. I have met many of them on their boats.

    There is nothing to stop you listening and getting the wx forecasts etc on this and on any ham net. The NASA Target is a bit broadband tuned, whyich makes 'spot-on' tuning when there are adjacent stations a bit fiddly, but iit s perfectly adequate for receiving this and for wx fax. The ICOM 706 is a super little rig ( I have one on the boat) but costs about 5 times as much as the Target and really needs a much more sophisticated antenna. You can have the CPU decoupled to activate the marine ssb spectrum, but this immediately invalidates the warranty.

    If you want to transmit on any ssb (ham radio is actually ssb on a different frequncy band) you need to splash out on a proper aerial and an automatic tuning unit. About 300 would cover it.

    Many radio hams, who studied for many hours to pass the exam and travelled to take the morse test after more hours of study, are rightly resentful of 'pirates and will not just ignore you if you transmit on their alloted fequencies, but will actually 'shop' you to the authorities. You can hardly blame them.

    If you are caught pirating, there is a hefty fine and confiscation of all equipment. In some contries the authorities will also impound the vehicle being used for mobile transmission. A yacht might be construed as a mobile.

    Colin Jones (G4HHU)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    Default Re: SSB vs. Ham


    Thank you for a very interesting post. I'm planning to go long term cruising in a few years. I'd like to have the ability to transmit to the established marine nets, especially across the Atlantic, but I'm a little confused on which licence I need to do this - RAE (lots of study) or the LR (4 day course I think)?

    Do you have any advice on which one is relevant? If the RAE then how do I go about getting it and how long will it normally take?




  7. #7
    Gunfleet is offline Registered User
    Location : Hull - to my surprise
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Default Re: SSB vs. Ham

    Is it true you can have a problem with customs importing an 'opened up' Ham rig to the UK? I'd like to get a radio that covers both marine and Ham (am embarked on the ham route) for my boat. I really don't want two sets on the off chance I'd want to use the marine SSB in an emergency.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2001

    Default Re: SSB vs. Ham

    John sent you a PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: SSB vs. Ham

    ham radio sets usually have a circuit in them which prevents them transmitting at frequencies outside the licensed ham radio bands, though they will receive across the full designed frequency range. open banding one is usually no more than a simple snip - a vasectomy for radios!. most uk second hand retail outlets seem prepared to do it on sets they sell, and since you might well need tech advice on setting up the set, i suggest you buy in the ukrather than the us

    what you will need are a transceiver, and aerial tuning unit, and the insulators to install in your backstay to form an aerail. mind you, if i were installing mine again, i would simply hoist an aerial on a haliard when i wanted to use it, rather than increase the risk of backstay failure. some people will say "what about an emergency". I would rather place my faith in a decent epirb since hf propagation is not always reliable.

    most of the radio nets that will be of use to you are ham nets, and you wont get a response on these without a callsign. however, the license now is much easier - the once feared morse is a doddle at 5wpm, and is a surprisingly interesting thing once you get into it.

  10. #10
    bryantee is offline Registered User
    Location : lefkas Greece (Summer)Cochin india(Winter)
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Default Re: SSB vs. Ham

    have a look at good info here,suggested by someone on other board,


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