The propagation of weakly dispersive modal pulses is investigated using data collected during the 2004 long-range ocean acoustic propagation experiment (LOAPEX). Weakly dispersive modal pulses are characterized by weak dispersion- and scattering-induced pulse broadening; such modal pulses experience minimal propagation-induced distortion and are thus well suited to communications applications. In the LOAPEX environment modes 1, 2, and 3 are approximately weakly dispersive. Using LOAPEX observations it is shown that, by extracting the energy carried by a weakly dispersive modal pulse, a transmitted communications signal can be recovered without performing channel equalization at ranges as long as 500 km; at that range a majority of mode 1 receptions have bit error rates (BERs) less than 10%, and 6.5% of mode 1 receptions have no errors. BERs are estimated for low order modes and compared with measurements of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and modal pulse spread. Generally, it is observed that larger modal pulse spread and lower SNR result in larger BERs.