Saturday, March 30, 2013

SSB receivers.

A fellow Whitby owner asked a question about SSB receivers. While my ultimate choice for long distance cruising communications is an Icom M802, I have to accept that this is a $2K+ investment which may be overkill for the US East Coast and the Bahamas. 

My short term solution, and one that I had on my last boat, is a Sitex Nav-Fax 200 SSB receiver. (Search around as prices vary a lot). 
This worked very well for listening to Chris Parker and his predecessor David Jones. I also used it to download weather faxes onto a laptop with varying degrees of success. An interesting development is the availability of iPad apps to download weather faxes from the SSB receiver. I have not used this yet but it looks promising; 


Rhys said...

It really depends what you want to do. If you want SailMail and the option to participate in cruiser nets, you can get used or less feature-stuffed gear. A Kenwood T-50S can be had for $100. I would think you'd want a new antenna tuner and Pactor and cabling and DynaPlate, but you'd still be hard pressed to break a grand.

The main difference is ease of use and, to a lesser extent, some of the qualities of the receiver circuits. Throw up a decent antenna, however, and this isn't going to be an issue on the East Coast/Bahamas.

Lots of user reviews here:

The ICOM 710 is another older rig that can be found for less than you'd think.

The Incredible Hull said...

Hi Rhys

I don't disagree with anything you said in this post, thanks for the info. I got the Sitex for $200 on ebay.


Rhys said...

That's what I call "a good start". That unit looks sturdy. I have a old Realistic DX-100 I bought at a swap meet that I'll probably bring with us as a backup, just because it seems pretty sensitive with enough antenna screwed to it, even if it screams "I was made when Nixon wasn't a crook yet!"

Something like the Sitex is good to have for the reasons you've stated or for when voice propagation on your preferred frequencies isn't possible or is degraded. I've noticed that people can receive weather faxes of sufficient resolution under conditions that don't favour much else.