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Route Taken By The MaunawiliCargo Ship
Jon Van Allen is in charge of radio communications on the Maunawili Cargo Ship. The ship travels from Long Beach, California to several ports in China with a stop along the way in Hawaii. The amazing thing about their journey on the ship is that they have Satellite Radio coverage along most of the way. Jon learned about TSS-Radio on www.digitalradiocentral.com, a useful site for Satellite Radio information and tips. Jon is the Radio Electronics Officer on the ship. He is responsible for maintenance & repair on communications equipment, navigation equipment such as radars, GPS and also computer networks on the ship.
Some people have both SIRIUS and XM, but this ship has SIRIUS, XM and Worldspace Satellite Radio, another satellite radio service with fewer chanels and less success than SIRIUS XM with satellites over Africa, Europe, and Asia. Since the Maunawili ship delivers in China, the Worldspace service allows them some coverage where neither SIRIUS nor XM can.
The Maunawili Loaded With Cargo
Jon has setup two heavy duty antennas on the ship which have lasted hurricane strength winds. They have the Worldspace antenna and a Pixel Pro-500 heavy duty antenna available from TSS-Radio (link). The ship currently has two Sirius and two XM radios that are connected to the Pixel antenna with a 4 way splitter (link). The crew often listens to channels like Classic Rewind, Fox News, The Bridge, Howard Stern, NPR and Coast to Coast AM on the SIRIUS and XM services. The SIRIUS and XM coverage has some slight differences but the ship receives fairly good coverage between Long Beach, CA and Hawaii with a small area of no coverage. Once west of Hawaii the signal returns (there is a technical reason why this happens by the way) Then coverage almost remains constant up until the international dateline. The ship going west will soon pickup the Worldspace signal closer to Asia at which point they listen to different channels on the Worldspace network.
Sirius/XM Pixel 500 and Worldspace Antennas
The ship has some other communications but Satellite Radio is by far the most dependable. They are able to connect via Satellite to the internet to check email about 4-5 times per day, which is a very expensive task as well as being painfully slow. They hope to have full time internet in the future but are unsure when exactly that will happen. And Satellite TV won't broadcast as far into the Pacific Ocean as Satellite Radio, so they don't have Satellite TV.
Jon and the crew are forever grateful that SIRIUS XM and Worldspace give them a connection to the outside world, especially when facing harsh weather and working conditions. Satellite Radio shines a light on a ship that otherwise has few forms of entertainment.