Tuesday, June 18

Chapter 1: Introduction from Gordon West

Welcome to the world of long distance communications with marine single sideband (SSB) radio. Hundreds of voice and data e-mail channels in the MF and HF frequency spectrum have been allocated to mariners for long-range, ship-to-ship, and ship-to-shore communications. Marine single sideband, voice, “party line” communications can never be replaced by ship satellite “private” communications! The advantage of marine SSB is the ability to have a multiparty conversation for the exchange of information. Satellite communications is like a telephone call – you can only talk to a specific person at a specific time. You cannot talk to a group of individuals. An SSB gives mariners the ability to share information with one another about weather, ports of call, cruising conditions etc. Marine SSB is more like an internet chat group than a phone call.

The marine single sideband service and frequencies have been around for years. However, only recently have we seen the introduction of low-cost, no-crystal, marine SSB equipment that can offer marine radio, ham radio, and marine e-mail capabilities in one neat, 12-volt DC package. ICOM, a leader in marine, commercial, and amateur radio equipment, presents the overview of the marine single sideband service, an easy-to-understand review of equipment, and suggested installation of the radio and antenna and ground systems.

If you are like most mariners, you are probably not all that interested in what makes SSB radio work on the inside. However, one thing is for sure, when you pick up the mic or prepare to send a computer e-mail message, you want the very best signal on the band, and you want to connect with the station you are calling, on the first try!

In this book we’ll show you how, in a non-technical, easy-to-understand language. We will also give you some proven installation techniques that will help you to install the equipment on your boat if you are handy with tools. But, keep in mind that your marine electronics dealer is an expert in this field. They have the experience to complete a proper installation of your equipment. If you don’t feel you have the necessary skills, your dealer is the best person you can find to insure proper installation and top performance from your marine SSB radio.

This handbook is also a ready reference for the hundreds of voice and data (e-mail) channels available in the maritime service, as well as channels and frequencies for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore in both the marine service and the amateur radio service. We’ll even show you how to tune in weather facsimile and NAVTEX.

All frequencies listed have been updated in early 1997, with no anticipated changes for the next few years.

Ready to communicate throughout the world on your marine SSB transceiver? Do you want to pick up that microphone and immediately make a quick phone call home? Want to send a FAX or e-mail? Ready to receive weather information over your lap-top computer? If so, then read on—ICOM presents the very best in marine single sideband and we will give you a fun and easy-to-understand look at long-range radio.