[pskmail] Sailing trip across Atlantic with PSKmail

  • From: Robert Krasowski <rkrasowski@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: pskmail <pskmail@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2012 16:04:39 -0800 (PST)

Hello everyone. 
When I am writing these  words my friends is docking in Le Marin  Martinique. 
Trip is over. They left Canary's Island  on 1/5/2012 and reach the destination 
today 1/23/2012. As a primary mode of communicating we use Ham radio. Backup 
Iridium sat phone was on board but we did not use it even once. We use PSKmail 
for emailing and to get weather information. we used PSK APRS for tracking.

Here is equipment that they used:
Icom 7200
Antenna tuner : Icom AH4.
Antenna : Isolated Wire - 33ft from top of the mast to stern. 
Computer : Refurbished Dell D512
OS : Ubuntu 11.10 (with GNOME classic).
PSKmail client : jPSKmail 1.5

All equipment worked well, but I am disappointed with the quality of voice from 
Icom 7200. there is some issue with microphone. They have strong signal but 
sometimes I could not understand what they were saying. Sound is without high 
tones and muffed.

There is a steep learning curve with PSKmail. So the advice is to PRACTICE 
before you go. On top of that people who will use it MUST understand the 
limitation of the system. It is SLOW ! We have twice email with 1.5Mb picture 
being send to us. 

Over the period of 18 days we exchanged close to 60 emails, total volume of 
about 800kB. 
Over 200 beacon were received by stations from Europe and Americas.

Few problems and majority of this I understand is fixed with new 1.5.4 version. 

What I would change to improve it:
1/ E-Mail that is sent from PSKmail station must have info telling not to do 
replay and not to send large files. Also would be nice to use Plain Text not a  
Rich Text. 

2/ Sometimes it takes long time to receive or send email so doing that exchange 
on "calling frequency" where we have few servers monitoring is not a good idea. 
From what I understand QSY and summon is for that. I need to read , understand  
and implement it into my server.

Overall I think that trip was a success and clearly showed that PSKmail is a 
great alternative to other way of exchanging emails while sailing. 
Thank to all who work so hard to developed this project. 

Best regards 

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