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Old 03-31-2006, 09:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Default HAM License and Use for Email


We plan to sail from Cape Town to the Caribbean and are looking for ways to stay in contact. Does sending email via HAM radio work well? If so, any recommendations on where to get this license while we are still on land (northeast coast, USA).

Many thanks!


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Old 06-26-2006, 01:50 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2006
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I've used Ham radio and Winlink for email on the last 2 winter trips south. In both cases it worked well most of the time. My rig is an Icom 706, SCS PTC-II Pactor modem, insulated backstay for antenna, and 50-feet of copper foil bonded to the hull as a counterpoise.

Pactor III is a noteworth improvement to Pactor II (not just for the speed increase but also for the improved error correction)

I had no problem talking with both Texas and England from the BVI.


s/v Galena

Westsail 32 #511


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Old 06-26-2006, 05:38 PM   #3
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Posts: 2,098

Here's a web site for a start: http://www.eham.net/

It's not simply a matter of applying for a license. You need to pass a test or two (including Morse Code). Various bookstores sell the kit for learning Morse and the radio requirements for the test. I believe that you would need a General Class or higher to take advantage of HAM, so that's more than one test.

Another option is SSB radio email. Do a Google search on "SSB Email" for options. An SSB radio license is simple, you need to go to the FCC page, and can apply on line. This is NOT the same as a HAM license.

the third option is simply to have email only when in port, which is a lot cheaper and simpler - you can find internet cafes everywhere.

Fair winds,

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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Old 11-24-2006, 08:04 AM   #4
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Posts: 159

As JeanneP mentioned...many cruisers are using sailmail, requiring only a marine ssb license (just apply for it...no testing). Pretty good service, eliminates the testing if you are not a ham and also allows you to do business, something you aren't supposed to do on ham frequencies.
A`ohe `ulu e loa`a i ka pokole o ka lou.

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.
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