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Thread: VHF Wx Southwest PWS

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    Default VHF Wx Southwest PWS

    I noted Bullelkklr mention not getting the continuous weather broadcasts in the sound in his Which Antenna thread in the Boat Mod forum and rather than highjack that thread, thought I'd start a new one here in a more appropriate forum. Anyway, it's been quite a while since I've been up in the Sound and had the occasion to try to access the continuous weather broadcasts until just the other day when I brought my boat around from Seward to Whittier. I lost reception down by Port Bainbridge and didn't start picking it up again until around Eshamy. I seem to remember getting pretty good reception all over the southwestern Sound after the spill or is my memory going like the rest of my aging body? I think Exxon put a bunch of repeaters around to expand VHF coverage but did those repeaters get removed? Prior to the spill, the Coast Guard used to broadcast weather on a regular schedule but I didn't hear any announcements from them on weather updates either. I also remember hearing calls in to the Coast Guard for weather updates from other boaters, so wondered if they are still providing that service. Crossing back over from Whittier side to Seward after spending some time in the southwest Sound is when I'd like to get a good update, particularly buoy 76 data. What are you guys doing to get current weather before making the crossing? Hailing any vessel out there for a report?

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    The problem you and possibly Bullelkkir were having is the weather frequency in Whittier is 162.475, Point Pigot is 162.45, Potato Point is 162.425, Cape Hichibrook 162.25 you need to switch frequency when you move between areas.

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    I tried all 10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish Witch View Post
    I tried all 10

    You may have a radio or antenna problem. Have the radio and antenna tested by a radio shop that can test the receiver sensitive. Instead of taking it to a marine store that can't put on a PL259.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    The problem you and possibly Bullelkkir were having is the weather frequency in Whittier is 162.475, Point Pigot is 162.45, Potato Point is 162.425, Cape Hichibrook 162.25 you need to switch frequency when you move between areas.
    I always try all 10 channels.

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    OK, I found this on VHF continuous broadcast coverage for PWS and Kodiak regions

    http://www.arh.noaa.gov/uscgnws2.php

    The area I mentioned above (southwest PWS) is clearly not covered by either the Rugged Island HLS or the Naked Island HLS so leaves a big hole, which is what I'm interested in finding out how to get updates after being out there for a few days out of range of those sites. I won't get Rugged Island until I'm out in it, which is what I'm trying to avoid. And it looks like the Coast Guard ceased their regular weather broadcasts I remembered getting in 2004.

    Bullelkklr - you should find the coverage maps on the link of interest for what you should be getting

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    I just updated my InReach last month and the new update includes a Weather Button. I have not tried it yet, but could be useful if you are in an area without reception. You can get weather for your location or at another waypoint or coordinate. Cost is $1 for the Marine Weather.

    http://www.inreachdelorme.com/produc...ch-weather.php

    Love the InReach.

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    Default VHF Wx Southwest PWS

    I can't get good wx broadcasts in the Sound either. When I had AT&T the cell coverage was very good and allowed me to pull down forecasts via broadband. Hate my GCI coverage now. I think it is crazy to have this big area that is commonly accessed to not have a wx repeater. I thought Coast Guard gave a daily forecast on VHF 22 after an announcement on VHF 16. But I haven't caught it in a while


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    Quote Originally Posted by bkbaker View Post
    I can't get good wx broadcasts in the Sound either.
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    Instead of wondering if you have marine weather coverage go to the web site and find the transmitter that covers the area. If you are in the white area the minimum signal strength is 18dBuv.

    You do not need a 6 db gain antenna or any special brand of antenna even a 10 foot length of wire should work.

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/Maps/PHP/AK-sc.php

    A good working vhf marine radio can hear a 1dBuv signal and that with a 0 gain antenna to give you a idea of just how strong the 18uv is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    Instead of wondering if you have marine weather coverage go to the web site and find the transmitter that covers the area. If you are in the white area the minimum signal strength is 18dBuv.

    You do not need a 6 db gain antenna or any special brand of antenna even a 10 foot length of wire should work.

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/Maps/PHP/AK-sc.php

    A good working vhf marine radio can hear a 1dBuv signal and that with a 0 gain antenna to give you a idea of just how strong the 18uv is.
    I can receive wx broadcasts on my VHF. Just not in the south west PWS. Around old Chenega village I lose it.


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    Looking at the map Chenega is not in an area that gets a strong signal. That does not mean you will not hear the marine weather. Even though VHF is said to be line-of-site you can still pick up a signal because VHF can knife edge over a mountain or bounce off the face of a mountain that is seen by the transmitter and receiver.

    If it's impaired you receive the weather channel, get a VHF beam antenna and turn it horizontal and point it at the mountains tops to see if you will pick up the weather. Why horizontal and not vertical? When the signal bounced off or around a mountain it can change polarity.

    You just got a big dose of worthless information only a antenna nerd would enjoyed reading. LOL

    MacGyver

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    Quote Originally Posted by BQuad View Post
    I just updated my InReach last month and the new update includes a Weather Button. I have not tried it yet, but could be useful if you are in an area without reception. You can get weather for your location or at another waypoint or coordinate. Cost is $1 for the Marine Weather.

    http://www.inreachdelorme.com/produc...ch-weather.php

    Love the InReach.
    My son just got the boat around from Whittier (the reason I posted this in the first place) and said the Inreach weather just told him it was raining - duh! Nothing about sea state or wind conditions. I called the Coast Guard and they use the same high line sites as the continuous weather broadcasts so there's a good size hole where we get nothing, except contact with other boats in the area, or satellite coms. InReach is a good alternative for texting but check it out ahead of time. I couldn't respond with a text on my home computer as planned so check out your functionality before you really need it. I was attempting to give my son a significantly changed forecast calling for small craft advisory instead of diminishing wind for Cape Cleare to Gore Pt., his last update, and couldn't. Glad he got through before the wind kicked up!

    MacGyver - take a look at your map or the ones I posted and see that the area we're talking about has NO coverage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish Witch View Post
    MacGyver - take a look at your map or the ones I posted and see that the area we're talking about has NO coverage.
    I did and I also read the notes.
    •The coverage maps are shown in a single color format, which relates to an estimated signal level. ◦White: Signal level of greater than 18dBuV: Reliable coverage


    Coverage Map Notes

    The coverage statistics and maps are calculated using a computer model and station data assuming ideal conditions. Coverage may be 5 to 10 percent below the computer predicted coverage for the following reasons: •The computer model is sensitive to antenna performance. Antenna performance is a function of local conditions, causing signals to be stronger signal level in some directions than others.
    •Placement of NWR antennas is dictated by the tower owner, which may result in a less than ideal set up.
    •The antenna may be affected by nearby structures or bodies of water.
    •In some special instances, the antenna may have been intentionally adjusted to be "directional" and provide better coverage to a specific area to the detriment of other areas.
    •Because of variations in local site conditions, the performance of an individual transmitter and antenna may be less than predicted or expected.
    •Seasonal environmental conditions, such as icing or heavy rain, affect performance of a transmitter station and its various components, particularly those subject to continuous weather exposure.

    •The coverage maps are shown in a single color format, which relates to an estimated signal level. ◦White: Signal level of greater than 18dBuV: Reliable coverage

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    I Iove the knowledge Macgyver. I'm an idiot and always need more info. But I'll still tell u that my marine VHF/antenna performs better than expected in all areas except the WX reports in the SW areas of PWS.


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    Quote Originally Posted by bkbaker View Post
    But I'll still tell u that my marine VHF/antenna performs better than expected in all areas except the WX reports in the SW areas of PWS.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    If your in a white area and on the right frequency you should be able to hear the weather. When your having the problem can other boats near you hear the weather? If so have them turn up the volume so you will know there not messing with you. You may have a problem that you do not know about.

    Could something on the boat be generating noise that is covering up a weak signal or do you have the squelch turn up to high?

    Try this, turn everything off, all the lights, electronics, engine, heater, windshield wipers and bilge pumps, etc. Except the radio, turn the squelch all the way down and the volume up, go to a weather channel that is not in the area. Turn everything on do you hear more noise?
    If it's a lot of noise, that may be the reason you are not hearing the weather when the signal is weak.

    When AT&T and GCI went to digital they both lost a lot of coverage. I could not find where AT&T has anything in the lower end of PWS.

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    When I am in SW PWS or anywhere that has pour WX reception I has someone text me the weather on my InReach.
    Jay
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    Quote Originally Posted by breausaw View Post
    When I am in SW PWS or anywhere that has pour WX reception I has someone text me the weather on my InReach.
    You're not paying attention. You need to fix your radio and tune in to Potato Point. LOL!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish Witch View Post
    You're not paying attention. You need to fix your radio and tune in to Potato Point. LOL!
    Truth be told I usually have the area forecast texted to me on the InReach morning and evening otherwise you just get the Central PWS on WX. I don't care how good your VHF radio reception is there are bays and coves in PWS where WX reception is pretty much nonexistent.
    Jay
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish Witch View Post
    My son just got the boat around from Whittier (the reason I posted this in the first place) and said the Inreach weather just told him it was raining - duh! Nothing about sea state or wind conditions.
    Like I said I haven't tried it yet, but you do need to go into the options and specifically choose marine weather if you want the marine forecast. Like you said, texting someone with internet to give you the report from the InReach is a good alternative.

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    There must be another option to input a different location for the marine forecast for you to get it while in some of the south western coves in the sound. My son tried to get the marine forecast but it told him he was too far inland based on his current position so it gave him the inland weather instead. Inreach is a great option but gotta learn all the tricks to using it effectively!

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