Thursday, February 2, 2012

Post from our radio

One of the options that Blogger offers is the ability to post an entry via email. We will use this while en route to the Marquesas to provide passage updates including our position. The posts will be brief and text only because we will be sending them via a HAM radio link, which provides speeds similar to late 1980s dial-up modems.

There are dozens of HAM radio operators around the world who provide the gateway from radio sets to the Internet that makes this possible. To connect, we find a HAM station that is fairly near us (we are currently using stations in California and Texas, for example). Each station can respond on a number of frequencies and the one we choose is dependent on how well radio waves propagate at the time of day that you are communicating as well as the distance to the station from your boat. Sometimes it is just not possible to connect at all. We have had luck with daytime transmissions and usually try to connect early in the morning and just before sunset. We also use this service to send and receive short text emails to a special radio email address and to download weather forecasts and raw weather data (GRIB files that show wind speeds and surface pressures).

Ladybug is currently anchored in San Gabriel bay on Espiritu Santo island north of La Paz. We went on a lovely long hike yesterday to Bonanza beach and back via the valley behind a lagoon. Saw one goat and many frigate birds who nest in the lagoon. The baby frigate birds are now mostly adolescent and harder to tell from their parents. We had to move the boat away from the nesting site later that night because the birds decided our boat needed re-painting. The new fridge is working well and drawing only about 12 amp hours per 24 hours in the cool Baja winter airs, so we had cold beers on our return the the hike - woo hoo! (After 3 years cruising here with no fridge this is a real treat.)

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