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Jester Azores Challenge 2020

Pye_End

Well-known member
Joined
5 Feb 2006
Messages
4,284
Location
N Kent Coast
Hmm. That's a nice little receiver. Not quite sure if the P or W version would be appropriate EDIT - it's the W version. P doesn't have the direct output.
Linking to a tablet rather than a laptop would be preferred, I think. Though maybe a little netbook might work.

Your comment about the "right message" presumably differentiates between the quality of the forecast document, and that of the weather it predicts :) ?
I have in the past got fabulous weatherfax results using Sony SSB (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-ICFSW7600G-ICF-SW7600GR-World-Radio/dp/B00006IS4X) and using HF Weather Fax app on android tablet - just by using speaker and microphone rather than a line in.
 

lampshuk

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2013
Messages
413
Location
Solent
Interesting - looks like a compact and low-cost solution. Over what distance did you receive weatherfax?
 

Pye_End

Well-known member
Joined
5 Feb 2006
Messages
4,284
Location
N Kent Coast
Interesting - looks like a compact and low-cost solution. Over what distance did you receive weatherfax?
I have played with hard wired into PC systems before at home, but actually found this app comes up with a cleaner, more reliable image

Sadly range at sea was untested. I had it for JAC2016, with an additional wire to string up the mast to test range. However, in the end, constant beating left me with little energy to play with things like that. I received information from home on one or two large systems around via InReach, which was enough at the time to stay safe.

Otherwise, the 'John Apps approach' I think is a good one for this sort of trip. Telling yourself wind direction will improve eventually is better for morale than finding out it won't! Getting info from home on 'big ones', if about, is probably as good as any in a small boat.

Since then I have installed a NASA Navtex (bluetooth) with their new antenna, and found it excellent. Set up in the shed it was picking up stations from a very long way away. It is so much easier for a box to keep trundling away, and then to log in to it when convenient than to set up a radio plus pc/tablet at specific times. If only they did a similar system for weatherfax - tablet displays are so useful and compact for this kind of thing.
 

sarabande

Well-known member
Joined
6 May 2005
Messages
34,071
Location
up on the moors.
Pye, can you link to the new Navtex antenna pls ?

I used my stubby Navtex antenna as a handhold during the summer, and need to replace it.


Ta.
 

ScallywagII

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2012
Messages
76
Location
Southampton
Over what distance did you receive weatherfax?
I have good results with Northwood weatherfax out to 40W in 2014. It stopped then as the transmaissions ceased for a time. Northwood is not part of GMDSS and can be discontinued at any time. It resumed after a few months, so was probably due to a technical issue. After that I used the US service from Boston, also the German service, which is part of GMDSS so should be more reliable and has higher power transmitters.
HF-Fax_20180521_0722 - Copy.JPG
The above image is from my outbound Jester 18, using the NASA connected to a netbook with JVComm. It shows a ridge of high pressure from the Azores stretching NE. East of the ridge for outbound, west for vesssels returning to the UK.
HF-Fax_20180520_0722 - Copy.jpg
The next image has distortion due to the netbook power supply being used to prevent it crashing. I unplugged it for the bits of the chart that were relevant for my needs. Distortion can also come from other appliances, charge regulators etc, but it is easy enough to find these by trial and switch off or filter the culprits. Reception on any radio device can be affected by weather conditions, but so is every other aspect of sailing. Every service has alternative frequencies and it pays to try each to find which gives best results. This will change through the day as the signal reflects from layers in the ionosphere, but what was best at 0700 today will probably be so tomorrow.

JVComm will also decode Navtex, though I have had no success with that, possibly because my elderly program uses a component of Windows that was on earlier operating systems. Navtex is primarily a service for coastal passages, so I would not expect it to give adequate coverage for an Azores trip. The range is deliberately limited to prevent corruption from distant stations, though in ideal conditions more distant reception might be possible. I have not used Navtex much, so am happy to be contradicted.
 

lampshuk

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2013
Messages
413
Location
Solent
Very impressive.
I just acquired a Chinese SW scanner and the Black Cat app. Not immediately successful, though. I have the frequencies (eg for Bracknell, which ought to be more than strong enough) but haven;t picked out the right signal yet.
 

Yellow Ballad

Well-known member
Joined
10 Oct 2013
Messages
1,248
Location
Shropshire - Sundance, Bristol Channel
Very impressive.
I just acquired a Chinese SW scanner and the Black Cat app. Not immediately successful, though. I have the frequencies (eg for Bracknell, which ought to be more than strong enough) but haven;t picked out the right signal yet.
I can't get anything at my home, my work is a little more open and had better luck but not great, I should have a drive up the Shropshire hills and give it a go but never got round tto it. I imagine surroundings make a big difference.
 

lampshuk

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2013
Messages
413
Location
Solent
Yes, but Bracknell to Winchester isn't much distance to cover.
I actually work in Bracknell, and will be there tomorrow. That has to work, right?
 

JohnDL

New member
Joined
1 Oct 2017
Messages
97
Interesting thread. Does anyone use a satphone + email to download GRIB files / get weather data? Is sat phone still prohibitively expensive?
I use an IridiumGo + Predictwind subscription it is not cheap but is integrated, works well and gives ECMF, GFS, proprietary forecasts, GMDSS text forecasts etc. on PC, iPad, iPhone or Android. Hardware including external Antenna kit was c $1k. Get multiple sim cards @ c $10 etc and only activate for the season or the long trip avoiding $250? reconnection charge at the expense of a changing phone number and some set up. The tariff I use gives unlimited SMS msgs, email, forecast downloads, 90 minutes phone time to terrestrial networks, Satellite tracking etc.

John
Sancerre
 
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