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SSB / HF Radio   Applications in Modern Sailing Vessels

This article covers all of the basics of SSB/HF Radio and provides a wealth of general information regarding SSB operation, installation, and materials selection. It provides the reader with a good understanding of how to get the most out of SSB/HF communications.  (9 pages, 386k in Adobe Reader PDF format).

RF Interference

A detailed description of how to identify and cure radio frequency interference problems in SSB / HF radio installations, particularly focused on HF data modems like the SCS PTC-II. (3 pages, 108k in Adobe Reader PDF format).

Marine Grounding Systems

A six page article from West Marine's West Advisors covering DC, AC, Lightning, and RF grounds.  Bonding and electrolytic corrosion due to "hot" marinas and zincs and protection from galvanic corrosion are discussed.   A good reference to find out why your VHF radio and other grounded equipment may be making your boat vulnerable to electrolysis. 

SCS Modem to Radio installation diagrams with pin connections for specific radios

PTC to Icom 706 microphone jack

PTC to Icom 706 transceiver

PTC to Icom 710 GMDSS version

PTC to Icom 710/700pro

PTC to Icom 710 RT

PTC to Icom 735

PTC to JRC NRD-545

PTC to Kenwood 440s

PTC to Kenwood 570d

PTC to SEA 322

PTC to SGC SG-2000

Kenwood Corp. FTP site  

        Detailed technical information and manuals for many (if not all) Kenwood products.

SCS Modem Products link to the SCS web site. 

SSB Offshore Communications  This is an excellent discussion of SSB Marine Radio and its usage.  This will take you to the Cruising Club of America web site.

Waterway Radio Cruising Club (WRCC) Net Guide  Everything you would want to know about weather, neat sites for free radio and navigation software and general communications in the HAM community.  This is a  must read.  Maybe the best source of computer and radio information for marine cruisers anywhere!  (506K in Adobe Reader PDF format, use your "BACK" button to return to this page).  Waterway Radio Cruising Club website.

Software that you will want to try!

(HAM Radio Users)

AirMail is a Windows Pactor email program, for sending and receiving messages via the WinLink ham radio digital mailbox (MBO) system.  This is a great program for mobile emailers.  See SailMail notes below for a must read Pactor Primer Guide


(Marine SSB Users)

SailMail is a Windows-95 Pactor mail program, for sending and receiving messages via the marine SSB radio.  The SailMail Association is a non-profit association of yacht owners that operates and maintains a network of FCC licensed, two-way, private coast stations in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service.  SailMail and AirMail are essentially the same program but with different frequencies "built-in" to distinguish between HAM and marine SSB users.  Be sure to read the SailMail Primer.  This is a must read for all SailMail and AirMail users.

Minor cost for membership and service.

(by Roel Davids, PA0NC)

Roel Davids wrote a small windows based update utility for the PTC-II and PTC-IIe.  It is very easy to use. There is no need to fiddle around with IRQ´s and base addresses.  Updating of the wrong firmware ( updating a PTC-IIe with a PTC-II firmware) is almost impossible.  

Alpha Home Page
Alpha is a windows based program for the PTC-II series.

  • Support for PACTOR, AMTOR, RTTY PSK31, CW, Audio and simultaneous Packet Radio operation

  • Split screen operation

  • Quick help with "fly over help"

  • Text output in different colors (Rx, Tx, Mon, PR port1, PR port2,...)

  • Play WAV files an various events (PACTOR connect, AMTOR connect, PR connect, ...)

  • Auto-CQ with timer

  • Comfortable editor for macro texts

  • Preview of macro expansions (without activating your transmitter)

  • Monitoring funtion for DX clusters (only when PR modules installed)

  • Most funtions available on short cuts

  • Comfortable "phone book"

  • Configuration manager

  • Built in text editor

  • Saving of Rx data

  • Firmware update with PTC type detection

Homepage and program available in German only!

Free for amateur use!

Mscan Home Page

Mscan and Mscan Meteo
(For HAM Radio Users)

by Mike Versteeg, PA3GPY
CombiTech, PO Box 8041, NL-4330EA Middelburg, Netherlands
Phone +31 118 601665, Fax 601104, E-mail

Mscan v3.11 is a completely new program to receive and transmit SSTV. The program uses all the latest features that are introduced in Windows 95, and can be called really multitasking!  Run multiple programs while monitoring your favorite SSTV channel. Scale the Incoming Video window to any size you want, from a small thumbnail in the corner of your screen to full screen!

Mscan Meteo Fax v2.0 is a completely new program to receive high quality weather fax images. Mscan Meteo receives and stores images in extreme high resolution so that even the smallest detail will be visible. Images can be viewed full size, detailed, manipulated and printed on any printer.

Mscan Meteo Text Receiving navigational warnings and weather forecasts can be a life saver on board. Mscan Meteo Text enables you to receive these messages which are transmitted in NAVTEX and RTTY modes. Extensive, yet easy to use, filter settings allow you to only monitor those messages that are of importance to you. Mscan Meteo Text has the same look and feel as Mscan Meteo Fax and comes with online help including audio samples.

Mscan Meteo Pro combines all features of Mscan Meteo's Fax and Text editions. Use Mscan Meteo Pro onboard to have every vital piece of information at hand: the latest weather charts, navigational warnings and meteo forecasts. Plus Mscan Meteo Pro has a bonus called Memo: a handy notepad to keep all your notes like frequencies and time schedules with your favorite program.

(For HAM and Marine SSB Users)

JVComm32 is a multipurpose program for the reception of HF-FAX weather charts, weather images from low earth orbiting satellites (e.g. NOAA), and geostationary weather satellites such as METEOSAT. Furthermore, JVComm32 can be used for the reception and transmission of amateur-radio SSTV (Slow Scan TeleVision). In SSTV mode, JVComm32 receives and transmits all the modern popular free run modes including the new high resolution "Pasokon" modes P3, P5 and P7.

(by Roel Davids, PA0NC)

A simple pactor program for HAM users.

  • Double window screen for transmit and receive

  • Changeable colors and fonts.

  • Receiving and transmitting diskfiles.

  • ScrollBack buffer and afterwards Reading and Saving of the buffer.

  • Help window with all commands.

  • Statusline with status of the controller and the LINK.

  • Installation of new parameters with help screen or text editor.

  • Connect a station with a keystroke or from a list on the disk.

  • Calling CQ with 1 key.

  • All Modes Available for the PTC-II.

  • And many other features!


For HAM Radio Users 
by Walter Dallmeier, DL4RCK

RCKRtty is a comprehensive program for logging and administration of RTTY, PSK31, Pactor, Amtor and CW-QSO's with simultaneous control of transceiver and real-time operation with Packet-Radio. RCKRtty supports "normally QSO-operation" and a "full Contest operation", with maximum data security.  It runs on any IBM PC or compatible with Windows 95/98 and Windows NT.

XPWin Home Page

For HAM Radio Users
(by KF7XP)

  • Multiple connects in separate sizeable windows

  • ANSI Color capable in separate windows (one per port or stream)

  • Graphic Capable (with user definable viewer)

  • Extensive Insertion and Typeover Macros (the most in the game)

  • One Key Brag Text Line and Files

  • Voice or CW (user Selectable) Callsign announcements

  • User definable wave files for various program controls

  • DX Cluster Monitor with Voice or CW Annoucements

  • HF Transceiver Support

  • Binary File Transfer Capability

  • Callsign Database Support

  • Internal Logbook

CRISTAL is an automatic e-mailer software, for sending text messages and attached PC formated files (with all their DOS/WINDOWS attributes like a carbon copy) by radio HF-SSB. CRISTAL was conceived for government use, NGOs, International commerce, forestry, mining and oil works etc. in countries where wired means of communication are poor or non-existant. CRISTAL is available from: GES, Generale Electronic Services 205, rue de L´industrie F-77176 Savigny-Le-Temple, France - Phone: +33(1)64417888, FAX: +33(1)60632485, Website is under construction

FFB Home Page
For HAM Radio Users

FBB is a bulletin board software for amateur packet-radio. This software has been developed to be compiled on different architectures including MsDos (DosFBB), Windows 16 (WinFBB-16), Windows 32 (WinFBB-32) and Linux on PC hardware (LinFBB).



PTC-II Update utility for Linux!

This is a small utility to perform PTC-II updates with Linux.

Kptc - the PTC for penguins ;-)

Kptc is a comfortable user interface for the PTC using Linux and KDE2.


PACTOR Email Services Providers:  SCS, WinLink SailMail, MarineNet, CruiseEmail, Airmail2000, WLO Radio