Boating Magazine Article Septemer 1998 By Ken Englert
"Born-Again SSB" Single-sideband radio: A dinosaur survives. Reprinted with express permission.
Not long ago, single-sideband radio was considered the ultimate in high—tech. But these days, amid a growing variety of satellite-fed onboard equipment, single-sideband seems destined to join bags-of-rags on sticks in that vast sea of forgotten marine gear But guess what? The old SSB is getting a high—tech transplant. How come? One reason is that the SSB radio has been quietly shrinking in size and cost, but increasing in performance and reliability.
When you do the math, the cost of SSB equipment and installation is significantly less than most satellite phone systems. For example, the following three SSB radios fall within a $2,000 to $3,000 price spread, including thc all—important automatic antenna coupler or tuner.
ICOM’s IC-M710 encompasses a user—programmable alphanumeric display as well as rotary channel selection. The sparse front panel controls of Kenwood’s TKM-707 disguises the complexity of this star long-range performer. SEA’s new SEA235 SSB model is a digital radiotelephone that enhances its transmitter by means of a special digital signal processing system (DSP).
DSP is revolutionizing radio communications by implanting advanced digital computer technology into the heart of ordinary radios. A factor that limited SSI3 radio in the past has been electrical and atmospheric noise, which can drown out a voice signal in a sea of hash. DSP analyzes your radio’s received signal, distinguishes what is a true radio signal, such as someone’s voice, and what is interference, and brushes away the offending noise allowing only the voice you want to hear to pass through your radio’s speaker. I first became aware of DSP in a marine radio application during a demonstration of SGC’s SGC2000 Power Talk marine sideband. The comparison with digital signal processing and without it was simply amazing and made me an instant convert. There is no question in my mind that DSP can make a dramatic difference between clear communications and static.
SGC not only created the first practical and affordable SSB radio with DSP for mariners, but took this advanced signal-processing technique and designed it into a small case as a separate digital signal processing accessory that can be connected to almost any radio. This handy radio accessory can help ferret out and discard interfering radio noise and deliver dear understandable radio messages to your ears. This product is called Power Clear ($395) and is truly a remarkable and valuable radio add—on.
Do you want your radio to work more like your cell phone or home telephone? AT&T has the answer with their High Seas Direct SSB radio modem. With a slight modification to most marine SSB radios, the High Seas Direct modem adds an umbilically connected black box and handset to your radio. Although this SSI3 radio enhancement cannot make your radio talk any Luther than it already does, you can direct—dial any number in the world by means of the handset’s telephone-like keypad. Those on shore can call a special 800 number and "page" you via an audible and indicating light alarm. Even if you are not aboard, you will know that you had a call and who to call back. AT&T’s High Seas Direct also has a scramble mode you can activate to encrypt your voice.
And the cosmos is contributing to the success of SSB. Our part of the universe is undergoing a phenomenon known as a sun spot cycle (gigantic, violent eruptions on the surface of our sun) that will electronically alter the ionosphere of our planet. This change in the charged particles of the atmosphere means that long—distance radio communications will be the best it has ever been. Since marine SSB radio operates in those frequency bands, clear, reliable communications over hundreds and thousands of miles will be routine for even the most basic equipment.
Advances in technology and sun spot cycles have combined to ensure that the single—sideband radio will continue to serve boaters for many years to come.
SGC Inc., Tel:
425-746-6310 Fax: 425-746-6384
Email: email@example.comSGC reserves the right to change specifications, release dates and price without notice.