i am looking for help in choosing an ssb device and how to get weather off shore
We have an Icom ssb radio on board and we are very happy with it. We can pick up different stations that give weather info or we can talk to many other boats cruising in the same area so we can keep each other informed.
We also installed a pactor (III) and together with the ssb we can receive excellent weather updates. First of all, you can receive normal emails, and second, you can receive weather faxes. Just look at the schedule for when they transmit and you can receive them without any difficulties.
Also, you can ask for grib files, these will give you the wind and wave direction + barometer pressure etc. for your area. You can ask them automatically, or every time you need one.
You can find information on pactors (and tons more) and the (free downloadable) software on www.winlink.org
If you have a HAM license, this is all free. If you don't, you have to pay (I believe) US$250 per year to be able to use it.
We have used it for 8 years now and are really pleased with it!
Cheers, Irene & Duncan, SV MOOSE