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  #21  
Old 05-21-2009
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Steve,

Congratulations on your new license! You'll really enjoy using it both afloat and ashore.

I believe that all SSB installations should have a good cross-needle PWR/SWR meter located near the transceiver to give continuous monitoring of power output and performance of the antenna system. The Daiwa CN-101L is a good one ($99 online price from Chuck Martin RF Shop). I nearly always include one on my installs.

Don't believe you can adjust the mic gain on the 802. The 802 does have a speech compression "feature", but it's turned off by default and can only be turned on with the proper software. However, the 802 is likely no longer compliant with the FCC type-acceptance requirements with its compression turned on...that's why they leave it off by default.

The net result of this is that the 802, on average, seems to have less "talk power" than other marine SSBs in it's class. Gordon West has noted this, as have others.

I agree with you re: the 802 Instructions. Badly written. Marty Brown (the IdiYacht series author) was working on a rewrite last year; don't know if it's surfaced yet.

As a matter of fact, there lots of things to dislike about this rig, including the inability of even an experienced radio person to puzzle out even simple operations -- like programming in new frequencies -- without a cheat sheet. Intuitive it is NOT! One would expect better from Icom, especially for their flagship SSB. Truth is, you'll probably have much more fun with the 718 at home :-)

Invite you to join us on the Waterway Net mornings beginning at 0745 EDT on 7268 LSB. Runs for almost an hour, with position reports from boats beginning at 0815.

Best,

Bill
WA6CCA

Last edited by btrayfors; 05-21-2009 at 09:42 PM.
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  #22  
Old 05-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Steve,

Congratulations on your new license! You'll really enjoy using it both afloat and ashore.

I believe that all SSB installations should have a good cross-needle PWR/SWR meter located near the transceiver to give continuous monitoring of power output and performance of the antenna system. The Daiwa CN-101L is a good one ($99 online price from Chuck Martin RF Shop). I nearly always include one on my installs.

Don't believe you can adjust the mic gain on the 802. The 802 does have a speech compression "feature", but it's turned off by default and can only be turned on with the proper software. However, the 802 is likely no longer compliant with the FCC type-acceptance requirements with its compression turned on...that's why they leave it off by default.

The net result of this is that the 802, on average, seems to have less "talk power" than other marine SSBs in it's class. Gordon West has noted this, as have others.

I agree with you re: the 802 Instructions. Badly written. Marty Brown (the IdiYacht series author) was working on a rewrite last year; don't know if it's surfaced yet.

As a matter of fact, there lots of things to dislike about this rig, including the inability of even an experienced radio person to puzzle out even simple operations -- like programming in new frequencies -- without a cheat sheet. Intuitive it is NOT! One would expect better from Icom, especially for their flagship SSB. Truth is, you'll probably have much more fun with the 718 at home :-)

Invite you to join us on the Waterway Net mornings beginning at 0745 EDT on 7268 LSB. Runs for almost an hour, with position reports from boats beginning at 0815.

Best,

Bill
WA6CCA

Bill,

The knowledge availble from SailNet members never ceases to amaze me!!

If you are not especially keen on the Icom 802, which SSB/Ham radio model would you recommend for a marine installation?

Apologies if you answered that question earlier in this thread -- it's been a while since I read it "cover to cover".
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  #23  
Old 05-21-2009
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Hi, John...

That's always a tough one, 'cuz there's no perfect solution.

IF you can live without HF/DSC (i.e., the 802)...

AND you have room enough to install a full-size radio (and don't need a removable control panel like the 802)...

THEN IMHO the best buy on the market is the Icom M700Pro. It costs a lot less than the 802, it's built like a tank (same architecture as the M710), is easy to program, works well on both ham and marine bands, works fine with HF email (Pactor III), and is extremely robust and reliable.

The slightly more costly M710 has more memories, but isn't as easy to program and use on the ham bands. However, it's still a great radio.

NOW, IF you can live without HF email...

THEN, there are some great buys in older used marine radios. Among these my favorites are the old M700 and the smaller M600. Both very fine radios. Not well suited to ham operation, though, but you can program in net frequencies and use them on the ham bands just fine for net operations.

Other great little radios are the Kenwood TKM-707 (my personal favorite..I have two), but it's hard to find; and, the Yaesu System 600 (also known as the FT-600)....fine little marine radio -- I have one on my boat. See pic next to my Yaesu FT-900 ham rig. NavStn_0140

Although the Furuno 1503 is a fine little radio, I'm not real fond of it and it's damned expensive to repair if something goes wrong.

There are probably a few others I've missed, but these are the "usual suspects" :-))

Bill
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Old 05-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Steve,

Congratulations on your new license! You'll really enjoy using it both afloat and ashore.

I believe that all SSB installations should have a good cross-needle PWR/SWR meter located near the transceiver to give continuous monitoring of power output and performance of the antenna system. The Daiwa CN-101L is a good one ($99 online price from Chuck Martin RF Shop). I nearly always include one on my installs.

Don't believe you can adjust the mic gain on the 802. The 802 does have a speech compression "feature", but it's turned off by default and can only be turned on with the proper software. However, the 802 is likely no longer compliant with the FCC type-acceptance requirements with its compression turned on...that's why they leave it off by default.

The net result of this is that the 802, on average, seems to have less "talk power" than other marine SSBs in it's class. Gordon West has noted this, as have others.

I agree with you re: the 802 Instructions. Badly written. Marty Brown (the IdiYacht series author) was working on a rewrite last year; don't know if it's surfaced yet.

As a matter of fact, there lots of things to dislike about this rig, including the inability of even an experienced radio person to puzzle out even simple operations -- like programming in new frequencies -- without a cheat sheet. Intuitive it is NOT! One would expect better from Icom, especially for their flagship SSB. Truth is, you'll probably have much more fun with the 718 at home :-)

Invite you to join us on the Waterway Net mornings beginning at 0745 EDT on 7268 LSB. Runs for almost an hour, with position reports from boats beginning at 0815.

Best,

Bill
WA6CCA
Thank you for information. So I gather the M802 doesn't have a built in SWR meter like the 718 does. Also, thank you for the invite. I'll try to catch the Waterway Net sometime soon.

Steve
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  #25  
Old 05-23-2009
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On the M802 the indicator that says "TUNE" or "THRU" depending on the antenna tuner state--if you use an Icom tuner--will flash "SWR" when the internally measured SWR is high enough to cause the final protection circuit to start reducing power.

I will add my voice to Bill's that a good cross-needle SWR meter is a valuable and inexpensive addition to any installation.

In addition to the brands noted above Sailor makes some very nice marine SSB radios.

I differ from Bill on the usability of the M802. I enjoy using mine on marine SSB channels and ham radio frequencies alike. Different brains work in different ways, and the 802 controls seem quite natural to me. I can give you a long list of people who are likely to say there is something odd about me, so try to spend some time in front of one before making a choice. I'm definitely happy when I get on a boat to do a delivery to have an 802 aboard.
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Old 05-23-2009
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This is quite interesting to me, because of the propaganda out there that the ICOM M-802 is the "cruiser's SSB of choice". I had an opportunity to get a Kenwood TS-50S for "cheap" a while back, but as the SSB installation is about the last thing I need to do before we leave in 2011 (along with the radar, and yes, I'm waiting for a fuller suite of broadband radars), I thought I would wait.

Because we will be teaching a child offshore, and will need some form of SailMail/Winlink, etc. I liked the M-802/AT-140 tuner/Pactor III modem combo because it seemed to promise some automation of the process, so we could take advantage of propagation windows to send "bursts" of e-mail and get GRIB files, etc.

So I would love to hear alternatives, because I may be letting the crowd sway me. I just got my ROC(M) licence, by the way (not a HAM licence, just SSB and I get an MMSI number for my DSC radios), and I would like to learn more.
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Old 05-23-2009
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Don't get me wrong - I like the M802. I wish it were more like the Icom-718 in some ways, but if I were buying another marine HF radio it's likely I'd buy another one.
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Old 05-25-2009
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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Hi, John...

That's always a tough one, 'cuz there's no perfect solution.

IF you can live without HF/DSC (i.e., the 802)...

AND you have room enough to install a full-size radio (and don't need a removable control panel like the 802)...

THEN IMHO the best buy on the market is the Icom M700Pro. It costs a lot less than the 802, it's built like a tank (same architecture as the M710), is easy to program, works well on both ham and marine bands, works fine with HF email (Pactor III), and is extremely robust and reliable.

The slightly more costly M710 has more memories, but isn't as easy to program and use on the ham bands. However, it's still a great radio.

NOW, IF you can live without HF email...

THEN, there are some great buys in older used marine radios. Among these my favorites are the old M700 and the smaller M600. Both very fine radios. Not well suited to ham operation, though, but you can program in net frequencies and use them on the ham bands just fine for net operations.

Other great little radios are the Kenwood TKM-707 (my personal favorite..I have two), but it's hard to find; and, the Yaesu System 600 (also known as the FT-600)....fine little marine radio -- I have one on my boat. See pic next to my Yaesu FT-900 ham rig. NavStn_0140

Although the Furuno 1503 is a fine little radio, I'm not real fond of it and it's damned expensive to repair if something goes wrong.

There are probably a few others I've missed, but these are the "usual suspects" :-))

Bill
MAny thanks, Bill.
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  #29  
Old 07-17-2009
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Hi Bill and all :-)

I'm in the process of buying an SSB setup and all of your posts have been a tremendous help......thanks alot! We're on a tight budget, and casting off for unknown lands in 1 month, so "research" time is almost up :-) I'd like to find the radio, tuner, and pactor modem for around $1,000.....if that's not possible then I'll hold off on the pactor modem for now.

Is it possible to send/recieve e-mail and weather files with the M700 or the kenwood/Yaesu models you mention? When looking at used radios on ebay what tells me if it can be used with a pactor modem?

cheers!

~morgan
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Old 07-17-2009
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Hi, Morgan...

Well, you simply aren't going to find an SSB, tuner, and Pactor modem for $1,000 (unless your aunt Mary has one to give you). Sorry.

Pactor modems go for $600-900 or so used. A new one will run over $1,000 and, with the very desirable Pactor III license, more than that.

Re: the SSBs, a good place to review various radios and their suitability for email is the tech portion of the SailMail website. There are some very good notes there on specific radios. SailMail Primer

Most radios can be made to work...if somewhat fitfully...with data modes. However, the pertinent factors to look for include: (1) T/R switching speed (some older radios are really too slow for serious Pactor work); (2) sustained power output (some radios can't run semi-continuously at their rated outputs; email modes work them pretty hard, so they need to be operated at lower power output levels; (3) easy connection to the modem; and (4) compatibility with computer control programs.

If you're seriously interested in email, I'd go for a radio like the M710 or M700Pro for marine band work, with the capability of transmitting on ham bands as well. Or, for ham band use, the 718, 706MKIIG are very popular radios and interface with Pactor modems easily....cables readily available.

I believe that for many cruisers HF email is becoming less attractive, both because of it's high priced equipment and because Wi-Fi and Air Card data services are becoming widely available, especially in popular cruising spots.

By the way, I still have several older SSB rigs which I haven''t had time to put on eBay yet. Just sold an M700Pro yesterday. These are fully tested and programmed for both marine and ham use. Anyone interested please email me or PM me and I'll send a list of what's available.

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 07-17-2009 at 08:47 AM.
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