ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel - SailNet Community

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Old 09-08-2013
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ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

When I transmit my ICOM M-710 lights up most of the pilot lights on my electrical panel. The stronger my modulation the brighter the lights are. I get good signal reports but I wonder if I'm irradiating the entire boat with RF? I have an antenna tuner. What's going on???
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Old 09-08-2013
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Re: ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

Could you be getting a backfeed through the ground plane? Lights are non-polarized so any current making its way back through the ground side could cause this. If the engine and house grounds are in the ground plane circuit, it's a good possibility.
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

The M-710 is a powerful beast, up to 150 W output power. Rather wide bandwidth as well.
First suspect is the antenna network, including your antenna tuner. Are there any leaks? Contacts, connections, cable.

The M-710 is a stationary radio. It is maybe mounted in the neighbourhood of your instrument panel?
All connections (except antenna) to the M-710 should have ferrites.

It is often seen on sail boats that antenna connections is somewhat crude. This, together with all the metal in the sail rig may easily lead to extensive intermodulation (IM).

Your mentioning increased modulation makes perfectly sense in this context.

Propose you go through all the installation. Even if the radiation most likely is harmless for you, you are putting valuable energy in the wrong direction.

/J
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

LED lights on your electrical panel, right?

First - you are definitely flooding the boat with RF. That's the way things work when you sit under the antenna. Even if everything is absolutely perfect and there is no radiation from anything except the antenna element (ha!) you are still in the near field of the antenna. It won't hurt anything.

On to the lights.

Did you ever build a little crystal radio when you were a kid? A metal whisker on a crystalline mineral like galena functions as the detector. Guess what a diode is? A metal whisker on a piece of crystal. Your LED indicator lights are little radio receivers and the power leads to them are antennas.

If the only radio issue you have is flashing LEDs on your power panel you are in good shape. No worries.

If it really bothers you try shifting the power leads to the LEDs around, adding really tiny ferrites, unplugging the indicators completely, or covering them with black electrical tape. *grin* Sorry - I have a warped sense of humor.
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

Just part of it when transmitting with SSB! I have had an ICOM M710 for years with the same thing--no problem.
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Re: ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

+1 on ferrite beads. They make a big difference in keeping RF interference out of the system. I have them on all the data lines to computer and Pactor. A great website for SSB info: Pactor-II/III Radio Modem sales, FCC License filing, Marine SSB & HAM Radio Net schedules &amp frequencies. I have an M700Pro and got my set-up materials from Dockside. They were very helpful.
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Re: ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

When I was a SSB installer I had a big bag of ferrites. The old M-600 needed a lot of them on jsut about every wire but the antenna lead or it would not work.
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Re: ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

The Pilot lights did not light up in the past year on the marine band. They are circa 1993 & may not be diodes(?). I transmitted by mistake without the flat copper strip for a brief time recently after reinstalling the M-710 but when I refastened the ground the electrical panel lit up. I don't understand why the change? The only difference may be the frequency - I just started operating on the 20 meter amateur band. (I am licensed: WB2BXF.). Does this change anyone's diagnosis?
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Re: ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

Sure - it will vary by band.
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Re: ICOM M-710 Lights up my electrical panel

Maybe try disconnecting different ground components like s.s. rails and thru-hulls one by one to see if maybe one is the cause. Do you have a central thru-hull bronze sintered ground plate with the copper foil attached? I ran the copper foil stem to stern, attached to everything, stanchions, bronze thru-hulls, water heater, pushpits, etc. including the ground plate which grounds the engine and everything else. It could be your ground plane is not effective enough? That's the thing that would seem a potential problem with the small (kiss) ground plane/counterpoise units.
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