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    Recording Weather Forecasts for Later Review

    By Jack Webb | November 23, 2014

    This past week I finally installed my SSB (Single Sideband) radio, an ICOM IC-M802. I'm still playing around with the antenna grounding and various other aspects of the system to maximize reception and transmission. While checking out its performance this morning, I tuned in Chris Parker's weather report for the Bahamas (http://www.caribwx.com). I wasn't really expecting very good reception with the boat still in the Marina surrounded by other tall masts, but I was getting pretty good reception.

    While listening to the report it occurred to me that it would be worthwhile to record the broadcast for later playback and analysis. Most people that I know simply purchase a small portable tape recorder for this purpose. But using this method, the results are often less than ideal. Obviously, the best reproduction could be obtained by recording directly from the Radio. So I ran an audio cable (AUX cable) from the radio's speaker jack to the MacBook 's microphone input jack rather than plugging the remote speaker into the radio. I then ran another AUX cable from the phone jack on the MacBook to the AUX input on my boat's stereo System. This would allow me to listen to the broadcast through the main stereo system.

    In order to record the broadcast, I used the "QuickTime Player" application that is part of the Macintosh OS-X operating system. (No doubt there are alternate applications for doing this on the PC.) Once the broadcast was completed, I simply saved the recording for later review, using the date as part of the filename, such as "Chris_Parker_20141123.m4v".

    NOTE: By default, the volume is set to zero on QuickTime Player when you start a recording. So, you need to turn it up in order to hear the report while recording. If you do this, you can begin listening to the report ahead of time and just start the recording at the appropriate time. Don't forget to save the recording to your disk when you finish recording.

    An "AUXcable" (also called a "dubbing cable" is simply a audio cable with a male plug on both ends. (The most common use for this is to plug an iPad or iPod into the auxiliary jack of a stereo system.) The output jack of your radio is most likely "mono", while the microphone input is "stereo", but a standard stereo-stereo cable will work fine. I use this setup any time I play music or movies on my MacBook, so the sound comes through the stereo speakers. If you have one AUX cable, use it between the radio's sound jack and the computer's microphone jack. Then you can either plug the SSB's external speaker into the computer's earphone jack or use the computer's internal speakers to listen to the broadcast while recording.

    This allowed me to record Chris's broadcast on the Mac while I listen to it through the speakers on my boat's stereo, rather than the extern all speaker that came with the ICOM. The main reason for doing this was to provide me with a flawless recording of the broadcast for later playback in iTunes and/or QuickTime.

    I've attached a small segment of the broadcast for your review. This was a live recording taken from my M804 Single Sideband radio and recorded on the MacBook during transmission. Considering that I am still playing with the antenna setup, that I am 30 miles inland, and that I am surrounded by masts and trees, I'm pretty pleased with the reception.

    Use this link only if the above QuickTime Player doesn't work for you.

    Topics: Cruising General |

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