SMSA ICW Seminar: Topic 3-Communications
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Ask six cruisers about anchors – get six different answers – same applies here.
For high-seas we used: SSB w/Proctor III, INMARSAT “C”, Weatherfax, two laptops – this is unneeded on the ICW.
You need VHF, Cell phone, computer w/Skype, horn, also TowBoatUS (for deeper drafts), wifi directional antenna, buoyweather’s helpful, and maybe a sat-phone and a Customs sticker.
Ch16 for calling, 70 DSC only, 13 for commercial and bridges, except SC & FL ch 9, 9 is not for calling here, anchor ready (currents), Fred’s bridge closing, gauges on side, horn 1 long 1 short may work. Boats with current have right of way. By-the way, 1horn- pass to starboard, 2 blasts to port, 5 short emergency.
A command mic in the cockpit is desirable – at least a handheld.
In Abacos: BASRA ch16/22a, 68 cruisers net & calling, 6 taxis. TowBoatUS is supposedly available. WiFi is iffy, purchase the multi location service.
Emergency ch16: Mayday x3 life threatening, Pan/Pan broken leg, Security container in channel.
Verizon was good the whole way on ICW. Some services will connect to your computer and put you on-line
Your cell will not work offshore or in the Bahamas. BAT (BATELCO) uses GSM only. AT&T/Cingular or T-Mobile w/signup, roaming @ $1.50/min, or w/SIM card & unlocked @ $.33 + sign-up & plan.
We use ours for navigation w/Nobeltec (best detail).
Most marinas have WiFi, few for free, most want you to sign up for some service. Here’s where a directional antenna comes in – we use a Belkin. Others – tennis ball can type accurate.
Skype: A must have! Free download at www.skype.com . Free phone to other computers in the US, $.02/min to all phones worldwide. Other pluses, text. Need speakers and mic, or headphones w/mic.
www.Buoyweather.com : Free for 30 days, $10/mo, $70/yr. Great offshore, not good on Bay.
Chris Parker: www.caribwx.com . Contact by email or phone/Skype. Many options, usually accurate.
$25. Must call while entering. Service varies by port.
Norm Dawley loaned us his Globalstar. Battery great, connection via fly-bys so so, Chris Parker – Great sail to Canaveral via Green Turtle.
Globalstar: $500? phone, $40/mo – various plans.
Iridium (Motorola): $1000-1,500 phone, rent $80/wk or 240/mo, text free, $1-1.5/min.
SkyMate: $1000-2000 for unit + activation & $20-70/mo. Cell tower or low orbit. Email, no voice. Checks bilge, etc.
Herb Hilgenberg, South Bound II, SSB 12359.0, 20:00 GMT. Ocean passages only. Other Ham Operators. Open your SSB to all.
Req. for Morse may be dropped for ham license.
Cruising Guide to the Abacos;
Dozier’s Waterway Guide;
Skipper Bob Anchorages & Marinas.
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