Re: SSB use in practice

ianjenkins1946 <>


 I suspect that your experience is shared by many  long term cruisers. It certainly reflects our own. The one part of the world where we did find SSB useful was in South America where there were a couple of good nets allowing about a dozen yachts to communicate  at a  fixed time each day. Most would be coming south along the Argentinian coast and a couple, like us, were sailing south along the Chilean coast. Very few yachts sail down there and facilities are few and far between, so a bit of company every day was very welcome. Some great friendships started over the airwaves.
  In the past ten years in the Med we have only fired up the SSB to make sure it still works.

 Ian and Judy, Pen Azen, SM 302, Kilada, Greece

From: <> on behalf of Bill Kinney <cruisingconsulting@...>
Sent: 16 February 2023 23:49
To: <>
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] SSB use in practice
You will get lots of different answers from people with very different perspectives.  Certainly 25 years ago, if you wanted ANY communications beyond the horizon you choice was SSB or nothing.  No people have lots of options.

We had an SSB on board when we bought this boat, and on my last boat.  On our current boat I tested it a few times to be sure I could receive weatherfaxes.  Then never used it.  We now get all our weather info, email, etc, from our Iridium.  The SSB has been decommissioned. Using it efficiently is too complex to be done "very occasionally."

Being basically anti-social we never had any the slightest interest in "nets", so that wasn't ever anything of value to us. Even VHF local nets we have never really have any use for. Since I struggle to see the point even of things like Facebook most days, we are clearly the wrong people to ask about any community aspects of radio comms.

As far as DSC goes, other than the odd emergency alert, I have never, ever, received or transmitted a DSC call on HF or VHF. Even those emergency DSC calls on VHF, every single one I have heard has turned out to be a false alarm. As far as I can tell, DSC is a solution in desperate search for a problem.  In any place I have sailed, you will get far more attention from more people, faster and more efficiently with a "MAYDAY" call on CH16 than you will ever get from a DSC Emergency Call,  which on most boats just sends people running around trying to figure out how to make that noise they never heard before stop!

My understanding is that the normal versions of Starlink do not work far offshore (>~500 miles) unless you are paying the (very!) big bucks for the maritime subscription.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Great Inagua, Bahamas

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