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Old 04-01-2008, 12:01 AM   #1
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I'm currently in Ft Lauderdale on a very nice 68ft van Dam ketch (draws 8' 6") about to set out on a round trip to Antigua.

I have already had a chat with Jeanne about routing and our plan is to head out thru the Providence Channels before making a turn southward to lay Turks and Caicos or other points south

We have SSB on board and will have latest forecasts from internet sources before departure but my question now is what is going to be the best source of information "on the hoof".

Any wise words on this or, indeed, our proposed routing, ports of refuge etc would be much appreciated

Thanks for your help; see ya!
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:12 AM   #2
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If the boat has an HF radio, you should be able to get weather regularly. Here's some frequencies - you should listen to these before you leave to program in what is working now and how well you can get it. http://hometown.aol.com/hehilgen/frequencies.html

Does the boat have Weatherfax? Or a computer with WEFAX receiving capabilities?

More HF frequencies to check: http://www.ominous-valve.com/hurricne.txt

Herb on Southbound II might still be giving weather every day. @ 2000 UTC (start listening for checkins @ 1940 UTC) on 12359.0 I figured that Herb had finally retired, but friends say that they think he's still going strong! Google Herb Hilgenberg - the man is wonderful.
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:18 AM   #3
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We have SSB on board and will have latest forecasts from internet sources before departure but my question now is what is going to be the best source of information "on the hoof".



Without knowing if there will be a Ham on board :-

Here are some frequencies that give out WX at various times of the day - some may not be of use because of skip.

Frequencies (US Watch Times AST & EDT Watch Times UTC

4045 kHz 06:30 - 07:00 AST & EDT 1030 - 1100 UTC

8137 kHz 07:00 - 08:00 AST & EDT 1100 - 1200 UTC

4045 kHz 08:00 - 08:30 AST & EDT 1200 - 1230 UTC

8104 kHz 08:30 - 09:00 AST & EDT 1230 - 1300 UTC

12350 kHz 09:00 - 09:20 AST & EDT 1300 - 1320 UTC

16525 kHz 09:20 - 09:30 AST & EDT 1320 - 1330 UTC

6221 kHz 09:30 - 09:45 AST & EDT 1330 - 1345 UTC

Also :-

0700 Caribbean Weather 8137 USB SSB

0730 Caribbean Weather 7241 LSB Ham

0800 Coconut Telegraph 4060 USB SSB

0815 Safety and Security 8104 USB SSB

0830 Cruiseheimers 8152 USB SSB

0830 Caribbean Weather 8104 USB SSB

1600 Herb Weather 12359 USB SSB

1630 George Weather 7086 LSB Ham

Richard
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for this information - it's all enought to blow my mind but I'm getting there.

We have PC on board which has WeatherFax 6.24 loaded but I'm unable to determine if the SSB radio is connected amongst a real jungle of satellite and other stuff that has just been taken out without a great deal of thought for those that follow ....! Plan was to replace it but (ex) supplier didn't seem to understand our drop-dead dates ....

My understanding is that Weatherfax would enable us to receive electronic faxes relevant to particular areas broadcast at fixed times from various groundstations. How do I find out who supplies whatever information is available for the route planned and when? What sort of info is actually available? Is it all pictures or is there text? How suitable is it for the consciously incompetent among us? ..... etc etc ?

I know, I know or ... more pertinently, I don't know, I really don't know!

Any and all help much appreciated - please keep it coming

See ya!
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:40 AM   #5
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Peter ,

Really cannot help regarding your boats WX Fax capabilities not knowing the connectivity issues.

If you were able to receive WX fax then this link would be the one to receive the relevant charts from : WX Fax Link

Richard

PS if the radio is working, then the times and freqs I gave earlier - should provide all the weather info that you will need.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:17 AM   #6
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Have a safe trip!
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:31 AM   #7
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Enjoy!

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Old 04-01-2008, 06:37 PM   #8
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Peter,

If your setup is like mine, there should be a modem, like the Pactor IIe or another model Pactor, connected to the SSB, and then to the laptop. My pactor has a serial interface, so I had to buy a serial to USB adaptor in order to connect it to the laptop.

Then you need software. I don't know the WeatherFax 6.24. It may work fine with the Pactor. I use the Airmail client, which can be downloaded free Airmail. You can also download for free the Getfax and Viewfax software that lets you download and view weatherfaxes from NOAA. NOAA's New Orleans office broadcasts WX faxes for the Caribbean.

I agree that Herb and Chris Parker are good sources for the tropical Atlantic. If you decide to check in with HErb, be prepared to stick with him and follow his advice, or he can get really crabby.

For Caribbean weather, I like to listen to Eric Mackie on 3855 kHz LSB beginning at 1030 UTC. NOAA broadcast schedules and products can be found at NOAA WX Fax - Tropical Atl. The NOAA products are both text and weather charts of various sorts. You should decide exactly what you want to see while ashore, because it is a pain to download them and they take a long time.

Regarding your route, I'd advise making any easting that you can, motor-sailing some if you must, until you get to 64 W latitude, then bear off for Antigua. If you get into the tradewinds too far west, you'll have a very uncomfortable upwind trip.

Fair winds,

Hud

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Owen View Post
Thanks for this information - it's all enought to blow my mind but I'm getting there.

We have PC on board which has WeatherFax 6.24 loaded but I'm unable to determine if the SSB radio is connected amongst a real jungle of satellite and other stuff that has just been taken out without a great deal of thought for those that follow ....! Plan was to replace it but (ex) supplier didn't seem to understand our drop-dead dates ....

My understanding is that Weatherfax would enable us to receive electronic faxes relevant to particular areas broadcast at fixed times from various groundstations. How do I find out who supplies whatever information is available for the route planned and when? What sort of info is actually available? Is it all pictures or is there text? How suitable is it for the consciously incompetent among us? ..... etc etc ?

I know, I know or ... more pertinently, I don't know, I really don't know!

Any and all help much appreciated - please keep it coming

See ya!
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:41 PM   #9
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Many thanks for all the most useful information and guidance - unfortunately, Sod's Law has now been invoked and the SSB has developed a bloody signal fault which we just won't be able to address never mind fix before our planned departure tomorrow.

We have, however, now got seven day forecasts for a number of points along our route from Buoy Weather and a new handheld satellite phone which is supposed to be being delivered this PM to be charged up this evening - at worst then we have some way of communicating with others ashore for information or in an emergency.

Thanks again for all your help; it's now locked away in the memory bank and Im hoping to be able to find it when next I need it!

Thanks again; see ya!
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Owen View Post
Sod's Law has now been invoked and the SSB has developed a bloody signal fault which we just won't be able to address never mind fix before our planned departure tomorrow.

We have, however, now got seven day forecasts for a number of points along our route from Buoy Weather and a new handheld satellite phone which is supposed to be being delivered this PM to be charged up this evening - at worst then we have some way of communicating with others ashore for information or in an emergency.
Peter,

Reading between the lines (maybe the wrong thing to do) BUT from the bits and pieces of information provided so far, gives an impression that this 68ft Ketch is not necessarily happy or ready to go, Its systems not all functioning and thoroughly tested, components missing - last minute satellite phone yet to be delivered. I presume there is a functioning VHF ? There must be a compelling reason to take off in such a hurry ???

Anyway Peter, I wish you Bon Voyage and an uneventful trip .

Richard
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