Group: Forum Members
Juanona 's original message stated they have the ability to get GRIB files via SSB. Presumably this means a Pactor controller to link with either the HAM WinLink or not-for-profit SailMail Association services.
A Pactor controller can also decode NAVTEX and display it on the linked PC/Notebook.
In addition to the NAVTEX and GRIB charts, A Pactor controller/SSB radio combination will also give access to METAREA forecasts and lots of local coastal forecasts via either SailMail or Winlink; for no additional charge or download time/quantity cost.
There is a fundamental difference in the way satellite based email/data systems and HF/SSB radio email services (SailMail and Winlink) are funded and therefore the driving motivation on the service providers.
For example, the not-for-profit SailMail Association (for non-HAMs) has a fixed annual memberhship fee of US$250 per annum for 12 minutes connection time per day, averaged over 10 days. To maximise membership without increasing membership costs (ie: establish and operate more base stations), the system needs to operate efficiently and reliably, so SailMail can have as many connections per day as possible without spending to install more base stations. There is a fundamental economic pressure to be efficient, quick and not drop connections that would require the same message - or part of the same message - to be resent multiple times.
Satellite based systems are the exact opposite. The operators benefit financially when the service is slow and/or has numerous dropped connections which require the same data to be send multiple times. Increasing connection time and data traffic equals more money for the operators via the monthly user account fees or service contract renewal.
Satellite comms for voice and/or data seems to have an attractive off-the-shelf solution for a small entry cost, but there is a substantial, long term, connection-time cost, with endless monthly bills. And it lacks the essential feature of HF/SSB radio coms - simultaneously broadcast requests, information or advice to any other yachts with a similar radio without needing to know their phone number.
HF/SSB radio email may have a higher entry cost than a simple satphone - radio, Pactor controller etc - but then voice communication with other yachts and coast stations is FOC. GRIB files, METAREA forecasts, local coastal forecasts, NAVTEX etc are also no additional cost, for the information or for the data transfer. With membership of the not-for-profit SailMail Association, the US$250 per annum membership fee for SailMail is less than 1 x US$ a day; an impossible figure to achieve transferring the same weather data, emails etc via satellite.