Ask SAIL: Short on Shortwave Weather

While in the Bahamas, I tried, with no success, to pick up weather using the SSB function on my portable Grundig YB400 radio. Can this little radio effectively hear SSB bands like weather, ham radio, or international shortwave?
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Q: While in the Bahamas, I tried, with no success, to pick up weather using the SSB function on my portable Grundig YB400 radio. Can this little radio effectively hear SSB bands like weather, ham radio, or international shortwave?

Steve Crane, Bahamas

GORDON WEST REPLIES 

For good shortwave reception aboard, you first need to turn off radio frequency noisemakers, including fluorescent lights, fans and pumps, and refrigeration. (With a reminder note to turn the fridge back on!) Best shortwave reception with a portable Grundig and telescopic whip antenna is achieved near the bow (away from helm electronics). For your area, enter the following U.S. Coast Guard voice weather broadcast frequencies: 4426.0 kHz, 6501.0 kHz, 8764.0 kHz, 13089.0 kHz or 17314.0 kHz. You can also log on to navcen.uscg.gov to find the several stations on your coast to tune into, as well as their voice weather broadcast times. The U.S. Coast Guard broadcasts on SSB are so strong, you can take your pick of the best frequency for reception. For ham radios, eavesdrop on the weather reports at 14.300 MHz. In the Bahamas, you can also try 7.268 MHz in the morning. Both ham and marine signals must be tuned in with your receiver in the “SSB” mode. That little receiver can also tune in worldwide shortwave broadcasts in the “AM” mode. Finally, there are still a handful of English language shortwave broadcasts, located on the radio dial around 9.5 MHz, 11.8 MHz, and 13.760 MHz.

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