Marine SSB, HAM, and the law - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-18-2015 Thread Starter
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Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

I just passed my ham tech license test this week!
Now I am looking for a good, low priced, radio to talk on.
I want one that does marine, and HAM.
So I have owned in the past an Alinco dx8-t.
I understand you can do a "mars mod" on this radio to open up channels. Does this open up the marine band channels, or something less desirable? $600 for a radio is a very good price, if it will transmit on the marine badns as well, and much lower priced then the 802 at $1700, YIKES!

The other question will this radio control my antenna tuner?


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post #2 of 12 Old 06-22-2015
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Re: Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

I'm going to assume you mean the Alinco DX-SR8T radio. This is not a bad HAM radio, and it can be opened up to transmit on the marine SSB channels, but using it to transmit on those marine channels is illegal (except in a real emergency). Of course, some people will tell you not to worry about it, that this is the type of law that it is okay to violate. Maybe it is, in the sense that getting caught is extremely unlikely. But don't expect those people--who told you it was okay to ignore this law--to help you pay the fines just in case you are one of the rare ones who DOES get caught.

As to whether or not it will control your antenna tuner depends on what type of antenna tuner you have.
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-22-2015
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Re: Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

Got my ham license last year mainly to use the Winlink system. I found an ICOM 700pro on eBay for a decent price but the radio itself is only part of the install. Tuner, antenna, counterpoise, and wiring add a lot to the cost, not to mention a Pactor modem and computer needed to run radio software. Dockside Radio is a great source for equipment and good advice. Except for the radio, I got everything else from Dockside, including good advice on installation and use. I'd stick to marine products just because they are built for a marine environment. As far as specs on different radios and programming, maybe check the manufacturer's website for installed channels and whether it needs reprogramming by a shop or if you can DIY. As mentioned above, that may actually be illegal and if you check the FCC enforcement website data, it's apparent that they DO give out warnings and fines for misuse.

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Last edited by smurphny; 06-22-2015 at 11:59 AM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-22-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

I am having difficulty understanding why a modification would be illegal?
If you are on spectrum your authorized to be on, inside the power you are permitted to use, then what makes it illegal?
If you can build your own radio, why can you not modify one for use on legal bands?

I am replacing a datamarine sea 222. So I have the 2 wire datamarine tuner.

"marine rating" is actually a false idea in 90% of cases. I have seen everything from real marine radios to off the shelf electronics in boats. I have never had a failure. The datamarine was not in anyway marinised.


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post #5 of 12 Old 06-22-2015
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Re: Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

type approved marine ssb radios are tested to transmit within a much tighter frequency range. This helps to not "contaminate" adjacent frequencies. So, you can get away with a non type approved radio but you are being a bad citizen of the airwaves.

by the way, here's another vote for Dockside Radio. Just installed a new 802 on my new to me boat and after following the advice given it worked the first time! Price is good too.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-22-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

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Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
type approved marine ssb radios are tested to transmit within a much tighter frequency range. This helps to not "contaminate" adjacent frequencies. So, you can get away with a non type approved radio but you are being a bad citizen of the airwaves.

by the way, here's another vote for Dockside Radio. Just installed a new 802 on my new to me boat and after following the advice given it worked the first time! Price is good too.
Please keep in mind, I am new to radio. So I could be wrong.
The specs on the alinco are
Maximum FM deviation +/-2.5KHz
Spurious emission Less than -50dB (Less than -45dB in 30m band)
Unwanted sideband More than 50dB(1KHz)

the specs on the 802 are
Frequency stability 10 Hz (at 20C to +55C)
Spurious emissions 62dB
Unwanted sideband 55dB
Is the alinco going to transmit that much extra spurious emissions with quite alike specifications?

If I had $1800 for a marine radio, I would have $800 for a second ham radio


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Last edited by UnionPacific; 06-22-2015 at 08:57 PM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-23-2015
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Re: Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

Here's a previous thread that explains it: hf radio modified marine or modified ham

There have been a number of excellent threads on this if you search around. It is worth doing that because some of the posters here have lots of expertise. I have learned a great deal from their posts in the past.

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post #8 of 12 Old 06-23-2015
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Re: Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

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The specs on the alinco are...
Doesn't matter what the specs on the Alinco are. Alinco has not submitted that radio to testing for type acceptance by the FCC, for transmitting on the marine SSB channels. Without type acceptance it is illegal to use for transmitting on those channels (again, except in an emergency).
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-23-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

guess I could keep the sea222 for marine, and get an antenna switch for using the alinco. I would still do the mars on the alinco, because if the sea222 is not working in an emergency, I could fall back on the alinco.


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post #10 of 12 Old 06-23-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Marine SSB, HAM, and the law

Oh, while I have a few hams here, is it worth the extra cash to get the SDR equipped radio?


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