Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Introducing SSB Minder

Hi everyone,
As mentioned previously, I have been working on a device to help us get the most from our Icom HF/SSB transceiver.  The device is intended to make the Icom "our alarm clock" rather than our having to remember when to turn it on.  It will help us maintain regular DSC Watches.  Like so many cruisers we don't have the power resources to maintain a 24/7 watch.  It will help ensure we don't miss skeds, nets, weather forecasts or the daily news.

We now have a prototype system up and running on Zen Again.  We no longer have to remember when to turn on the SSB!  A small thing but very helpful indeed.  Knowing we're keeping the best DSC Watch we reasonably can is good too.  We're using the SSB more and using less power with the help of SSB Minder.

If you like the concept of SSB Minder and would like to trial a prototype system please email me at vk6hsr (yes, it's a gmail.com address).  All comments on the concept are very welcome.  SSB Minder is in development and is not yet commerically available.  Here's a draft Product Overview...

SSB Minder Product Overview


SSB Minder maximises productive use of your SSB while minimising power consumption.  SSB Minder wakes your SSB on-time and on-frequency for all SSB watches, nets and broadcasts of interest to you.  Your SSB becomes your alarm clock.

  • Small hardware "black box" running field-upgradable software
  • Automatically controls an Icom IC-M801E or IC-M802 transceiver
  • Applies scheduled power control and frequency/mode control to the transceiver
  • The user-defined schedule supports practically all normal radio activities, including:
    • Regular watches (voice or DSC) and skeds/nets
    • Tuning in to facsimile, weather and shortwave broadcasts
    • Passes through third-party software commands
  • Maximises use of the transceiver while minimising power consumption
  • Receives data from the vessel's NMEA0183 network for accurate timing
  • Exchanges data with the vessel's laptop computer to load your schedule

What You Buy

When SSB Minder is released you will receive a small hardware "black box" containing a low-power computer running custom, field-upgradable software.  You also receive a software app to run on your Windows or Mac OS X laptop.  The software app is needed only to manage your SSB Minder schedule.

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