August 10, 2017 – SSCA announces new licensee supporting the daily “KPK” SSB net

CSSN News
CSSN NEWS

August 10, 2017 – SSCA announces new licensee supporting the daily “KPK” SSB net

The Seven Seas Cruising Association has welcomed James T. West III (Jim) to its High Frequency Radio Service, widely known as KPK. Jim is a former full-time liveaboard cruiser and now lives in Ellijay, Georgia. Jim is an avid amateur radio operator, call sign WA4YBC, who regularly volunteers his time on both the Waterway Radio & Cruising Club (Waterwayradio.net) and the Maritime Mobile Service Net (mmsn.org) .

Jim was recently granted Coastal Service License call sign KJM by the FCC, authorizing him to transmit on maritime SSB frequencies from his home high in the Georgia mountains.
Jim joins the ranks of Chris Parker, call sign WCY; Dick Giddings, call sign KNC; and Glenn Tuttle; SSCA’s HF Station KPK, all authorized to communicate with boats via SSB radio from land based stations. All of these stations are committed to assisting cruisers in any type of emergency situation. CSSN is proud to partner with the SSCA to bring this valuable service to the cruising community.

SSCA’s HF Radio Service operates 7 days a week on SSB frequency 8104 KHz at 1215 hrs UTC or 0815 hrs AST.

The purpose of this service is to:
1. Pass emergency & priority traffic, as well as traffic related to safety and security.
2. Provide current news updates of interest to cruisers from such sources as the Caribbean Safety & Security Net, Noonsite, The Salty Southeast Cruisers Net, Caribbean Compass, Bahamas Chatter and others.
3. And to provide any vessels needing assistance with land based resources.

“KPK” can assist with radio checks, float plans, telephone contact with family & friends, boat to boat relays, access to medical or mechanical professionals, marinas, Internet searches, or any other assistance that may be provided.
Through the partnership with the Caribbean Safety & Security Net, any report of a safety & security nature occurring in the Caribbean made to KPK is provided to the CSSN. Likewise, any recent incident posted on the CSSN website will be announced during this broadcast. Although KPK is a service provided by the SSCA, all vessels are welcome and encouraged to participate in this daily service net.

Tune in (8104 at 0815 AST) and support this valuable resource, relays are always welcome!

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E-mail splatter

A few of the many boats using radio e-mail are creating a problem, which affects not only other boaters but also all users of the HF radio spectrum: governments, military forces, and many other groups in the countries that we visit. We can easily fix this problem, and we should fix it before someone else does it for us.

The problem is radio splatter. On an SSB radio it sounds a lot like a Pactor e-mail signal, but it can be heard on all frequencies up and down the HF spectrum. Most of us have heard this in crowded harbors. It is so common that HF nets ask boaters to refrain from using e-mail during net operations. This helps the nets but does nothing for other HF users.

Splatter is NOT inherent in radio e-mail. Most boats using radio e-mail do not create splatter. Some e-mail shore stations operate multiple radios simultaneously in the same room with no splatter. The cause of splatter is over-driving the radio by setting the modem drive level too high or using the radio’s speech processor during e-mail transmissions. Splatter can occur with other modulation types as well, but e-mail splatter is particularly annoying and easy to recognize.

If you use radio e-mail, you can do two simple things to prevent splatter:
–         Set the modem drive level so that the radio produces no more than half its rated power during e-mail transmissions
–         Always turn off your speech processor before using e-mail.

Half of the rated power is ample for e-mail, which requires much less power than voice.  For instance, setting the drive for 25 watts out during e-mail, which is one-sixth of the normal (150 watts) rated power for marine SSBs, will rarely cause a failure to connect to a shore station at any time of the day or night. The Airmail software provides a simple on-screen setting for drive level. If you need help setting the drive level, ask another e-mail user or a radio ham. This setting does not affect the radio’s power output using voice.

If you use radio e-mail, you have an obligation to the other users who share the HF radio spectrum to prevent splatter. You also have a legal obligation. Your ship’s radio station license only authorizes you to transmit on the marine channels. Splatter occurs outside the marine bands, and it can easily be traced from the call signs embedded in e-mail transmissions. Fixing the splatter takes much less time than responding to a citation.

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