September 25, 2004

We're on board and testing our Radio Email

Hi Everyone!

Mary and I are busily preparing to leave next Thursday the 30th.

Gosh, there's so much to do and so many things to store and still some last minute testing and debugging.

This email post is being sent via ham radio email from a volunteer service "winlink" - see for more information. This and "Sailmail" ( will be our usual means of email when at sea and away from cities with wireless hotspots.

This is also how we send the position reports that you can see on the map on our website.

These emails go out from our onboard computer, to a special "radio modem" - which then modulates the signal on our High Frequency Single Side Band Marine Radio and communicates via radio with a number of fixed radio stations (usually in volunteer's homes) who have a similar setup that includes an Internet connection. When we're far away from land, we have a feature built in to our email program that helps us chose the right radio frequency based on the time of day, our location (from our GPS) and the location of the land station we're trying to reach. This helps us get everything right so we can bounce our radio signal off the Ionosphere to reach the other station.

If you're used to a normal Internet connection, this is "PAINFULLY" slow.... it only runs a net speed of around 2400 bits per second. Just enough for text only email with no attachments.

Fortunately, the servers that we use strip off attachments, so no 25 Meg PowerPoint presentations like I used to email around Cisco ;-}

If you want to contact us, go to our website contact us link: we've encoded our email address so we don't get spammed!

We'll continue to send out updates as we begin our trip... The next should be around the time we leave on Thursday or Friday.

Regards to all!
Bill and Mary

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