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Marine Monitoring Forum - This is the place to discuss monitoring marine communications

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Old 08-24-2016, 6:02 PM
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Default Single Side Band

Do boats/ships still use SSB? If so, can I pick it up on a scanner? I'm located along the New Jersey Coast.

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John
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Old 08-24-2016, 6:38 PM
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Yes they do use SSB, but only on their HF frequencies (they also use CW or Morse Code on HF as well, but rarely). Chances are that you won't be able to pick them up for two reasons. 1) The typical scanner will not pick up SSB signals. 2) The typical scanner will not cover the HF frequencies used by the marine traffic.

One place to find the HF frequencies is here (for a complete list you need to read through the regulations since they list frequencies by mode and function, not a complete list) --> eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations

Be aware that the HF use is generally for ships that are far from land and the VHF frequencies (that most scanners will receive) are used when close to land.
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Old 08-24-2016, 7:29 PM
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While there are still official SSB RadioTelephone assignments, they're used far less than modes used by satellites, cell phones and so on. The amount of this traffic is just about gone, except for the rare use when a linkup isn't available.

However, FAX weather charts and weather broadcasts utilizing a mode known as SITOR-B are still very much available on HF. As N5IMS correctly points out, this is not a realm for scanners, but it is for HF radios and Software Defined Radios, or SDRs, which are really all the rage these days.

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Old 08-24-2016, 7:44 PM
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Thank you for the info. Another question, Upper Side Band the same as SSB?
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Old 08-24-2016, 7:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcityfire View Post
Thank you for the info. Another question, Upper Side Band the same as SSB?
SSB encompasses USB (Upper Sideband) and LSB (Lower Sideband). A good Receiver that is designed for real SSB reception will allow the selection of either USB or LSB, others that use a different technique to receive the signals may just have one button for SSB and a separate one (BFO) for tuning.
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Old 08-24-2016, 9:19 PM
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Ok, thanks for the info, I appreciate it,
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Old 08-24-2016, 10:21 PM
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What you want is a shortwave radio with SSB. A lot cheaper than a scanner. You can get pretty good ones for around $100. Do a search on the Tecsun PL-660. It does general short wave as well as USB/LSB.

You hear a lot more Amateur radio, long range aircraft going overseas, etc than marine traffic, but it is there too.

No scanner receives 2-25 Mz where this traffic all happens.

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Old 08-25-2016, 11:50 AM
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Thank, I'll check it out. The only reason I ask is because I watch Deadliest Catch and I thought the were using SSB (and I would hear the coast guard give maritime reports and say to go channel 22A or USB some channel. I figured living at the coast I could hear some of the fishing fleet and other ships.
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Old 08-25-2016, 12:13 PM
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It's more likely you will hear more on the VHF marine channels (that reference to 22A is a dead giveaway) than on HF, assuming you're close enough to hear them. A better antenna will be a big help here. The antennas that come with handhelds or some base models aren't really worth spit on frequencies in this range.

Our database has a list of the standard US maritime channels (yes, the Canadian version is just slightly different) here...

Maritime Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

You will notice that there are a few reserved digital frequencies - these are for what is known as AIS.

AIS - The RadioReference Wiki

This provides you with a plot of where ships are in a given area, depending on which station(s) you are receiving. Not to go too far afield here, but a modified scanner or SDR is used in applications like this.

I doubt that the HF maritime channels have changed much over the years; here's a decent listing of them...

http://www.ominous-valve.com/itufqs.txt

As you can see, there are a huge number of frequencies.

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