Sunday, March 13, 2016

More Bits and Pieces

March 13, 2016

We are in the process of installing an SSB (single sideband marine HF radio) which we bought at the Miami boat show.  It is important for longer range communication than the VHF radio is capable of and can be useful for keeping in touch with other cruisers, sending email as well as accessing weather information.  

There is a back story.  Two years ago when it became clear that we were going to go cruising, we decided that an SSB would be an important part of our communications equipment.  Naive as I was, I thought I would need a Ham radio license to operate it so I took a class and obtained my technician's license.  Not exactly my strength, but I managed. Ironically it turned out that I didn't need it to operate the Marine SSB which is a more restrictive radio.  But, it turns out that if we want to use the free email capability, I actually need to get the general license, the next level up. I am not thrilled, but have become resigned to a summer of study.

Jim has checked out the wiring behind the navigation station and is still trying to figure out where the physical components could be placed.  
Looking at the wiring behind the "nav" station
The antenna (one of them) can be attached to our current back stay and through a system of telescoping be run up 33 feet.  The challenge was that something (turned out to be a U bolt used as a cable fastener) was attached to the back stay at about 20 feet and would preclude running the antenna up all the way.  This required (allowed?) Jim to make another run up the mast.  He tied a line to himself which I then used to pull him away from the mast and over to the back stay.  Maybe a 6 foot distance but it required a neighbor to help me pull him over until he could use his legs to hold himself in position, attach a safety line and work on the stay.  He successfully removed the U bolt. Unfortunately I did not get a picture. It was quite the sight.  Installing the actual antenna and all of the SSB components will  have to wait until we are in Marathon or even somewhere in the Bahamas.

We carry 100 gallons of diesel fuel and 215 gallons of water in onboard tanks.  That seems like a lot, but we are still taking extra of both since we are hoping to be in remote anchorages for extended periods of time.  The challenge was where to store them. After pacing the deck and playing "musical jugs" we finally decided to attach them on the port side of the bow. That required attaching a board to the stanchions to which the jugs could be tied.  Aesthetics required that the board be stained or painted. (!) Jim opted for paint.  However, aesthetics seem rather irrelevant because the jugs themselves have either discolored in the sun or were deliberately camouflaged and are really quite ugly.  However, we bought them from a fellow cruiser for a song so can't complain. 

Diesel jugs on the bow
 We are also taking an extra 5 gallon jug of gasoline for the dingy outboard.  That stores easily on the aft deck with the two 7 gallon jugs of water.

We have done our last minute shopping trips both for spare parts and provisions. There are a few items left to remove from the boat and store in our truck.  The truck itself will be taken to storage tomorrow. So, we are as ready as we will ever be!! Now it is just a matter of dealing with whatever comes our way.

Going to miss this view in the mornings from the back of our deck!

1 comment:

  1. Are you going to pass by Fort Meyers Beach on your way south? We'd love to see you or are you heading straight down?