The first thing to do is to put SSB in the search box and go back to
early messages when this was discussed in some detail. There is no
best SSB only the most expensive one!!! I Emailed ICOM UK years ago
and the technician told me that there is really no advantage to SSB
versus Ham sets aprt from the fact that a marine radio licence is
easier to get whilst the ham licence requires a bit of study. Suffice
to say that when I got mt Amel I fitted the Icom that I had taken off
my dreadful Oyster but bought a ham radio as well in the light of my
experience in the Pacific.
I have an Echopilot FLS which I also brought from the Oyster only
because it cost a lot of money andadded nothing to the saleability of
that boat. The problem with them is that they only work to the
claimed ranges if the bottom is rocky of the end is a harbour wall.
On most bottoms the signal bounces off into the far yonder and gives
little useful info over a normal echosounder. Additionally if you are
travelling at a speed over one knot or not concentrating the warning
of a rock ahead will come far too late. If you are in a current
moving you towards the hazzard the instrment is useless. Do the
arithmatic..time taken to cover forty yards at one ,two or three
knots! Where it can be useful is at very low speed trying to miss
coral heads but at such times your crew will be looking down over the
bow. It would be useful in coral in the dark but you should not be
there at that time.
If I were going to cross the Pacific again I would carry a spare
course computer as well as having two drive units. The latter are
very hard working and are not really built for long distance sailing.
The ST6000 we had had nylon? gears in the linear drive with a life of
about 10,000 miles.Bronze gears were available at ten times the cost
but Olivier assured us that the bronze ones are used by Amel. You
would be well advised to take spare brushes for the drive motors
as they only last about 30-40,000miles before they are badly worn
and the motor stops working because the carbon dust in the motor
housing results in the signal no power on the computer. This happened
to us when we were in Fiji and Raymarine were outstandingly useless
when they told us that they had changed their motor suppliers and had
no spare brushes for our six year old unit omitting to tell us how to
get in touch with their previous motor supliers!
Good luck and good sailing, Anne and John SM319