We still get questions about living aboard. The answer is we love it, we prefer it, and we are staying on our boat. "What is different?", we are asked. Nothing really, except we can slip the lines and sail around the world. There is one difference we have observed however. Don't live on a boat if you hate that "lived in" look. Living on a 50' boat uses every square centimetre of space to the fullest. You are faced with more maintenance and cleaning than you might otherwise have in a house. Other than that and the electronics for navigation and communication, life is similar.
Now for Christmas and the one piece that is all bout the reason for the season:
2013 installed a new ICOM M802 SSB radio complete with SCS Pactor Modem. This included a GANS split lead antenna and a KISS ground plane.
Try as I might, the operation of the radio was very poor.
Fast forward to 2017 and finally we decided to get some advice from ICOM. They recommended a person (e-mail us for the contact info). He recommends replacing the split lead antenna with a real isolated backstay, and then once that was done, give him a call.
Paul from Ocean Rigging Up the Mast
Removing the Backstay
Adding the Isolators After Cutting the Stays
After the stay was done, I called my ICOM contact again and we set a time to do the grounding.
Installing 100' of Continuous 3" Copper Foil
the Hull with 3M 4200
So now we have the radio and grounding done (it took 2 weeks to do the foil). Reception improved dramatically. Now to get the whole system running:
Installing Airmail and Configuring
We tried RMS Express, but it was so complicated and the documentation so difficult, we abandoned that and went with Airmail for HAM use through Winlink.org
After 3 weeks of playing with this to no avail and the participation of tow very knowledgeable people, we find that the simple inclusion of one item of information was the piece that stymied everything!!!
We set up the radio and Airmail configuration. It is under the Setup Wizard under Tools in the menu. If you leave it there you will NEVER CONNECT.
Now the little piece of info: go to TOOLS>OPTIONS... There you will see a window for your call sign and below the PASSWORD. Without this password, nothing works. This password is the one you use for your Winlink account access when you enter that online. When we entered that, it connected right away and we were no sending e-mail via pactor modem.
Once we had this operational, we requested a GRIB file and downloaded it (keep the area you are requesting small and in the vicinity of your boat - no rests for the entire Pacific Basin - or you will regret it!!!). Weather faxes work well, and of course we can send e-mail.
We were out of the water for 3 weeks completing the watermakers install. We had a bad discovery that we did not have an epoxy barrier coat so we sanded the bottom and applied 3 coats of epoxy. Then 2 coats of anti-fouling paint. Big (and expensive) job.
This has been a very busy couple of months, so forgive us not making any posts during that time. Most of the free time in January was spent in a course to get my Amateur Radio License. That has been accomplished and I have passed the exam for Basic with Honours. I will post the official call sign for our nation as soon s we receive it from Industry Canada.
The weather map is not good at the moment. The winds off the Strait of Juan da Fuca is in the 50 to 60 knot range. The same speeds are showing up in the lower area of the Strait of Georgia. BC Ferries have cancelled all sailings in the southern portion of the Strait until further notice. Flights at YVR are delayed or cancelled because they can only use the cross wind runway (Runway 12/30). We very rarely see this runway in use, but the winds are such that it is the only runway open at the moment.