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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics > The bottom line on Ham radio
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-12-2014 04:11 PM
Coquina
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

So forget about the 706 then
My TS-440 has tolerated a decade of boat use and was used when I got it. They are really old now though.
Actually THIS looks like a great boat radio and is new:
Icom IC-7200 Transceiver, Icom 7200
05-12-2014 03:13 PM
hellosailor
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

An Icom 706 (any series) might actually make a good compact receiver. Especially because they often died when the transmitter final transistors blew, and for some years now there have been no replacements available for those. So there should be units being sold "as is, for parts, does not transmit" out there.

But equally, be warned that a 706 series would be a poor choice for anyone expecting to transmit in the future, as any damage to the finals is not repairable. In theory, sure, that would never happen. In practice, there was a lot of protest about this.

At the right price...as long as you know the story. They also drain power even when they are off, and they are vulnerable to voltage damage, as the input power uses capacitors rated at 15VDC. On a 14.4 power supply, those should have been rated 25VDC. Capacitors generally are only manufactured to a 10% voltage tolerance, so a 15 volt rated part is really only designed to be used up to 13.5 volts, which is less than normal alternator power.

Good radios--but like many, some frailties. There are reasons Icom discontinued them.
05-12-2014 02:37 PM
Coquina
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Some advice:
Do not waste time with low budget HF receivers. A good one is hardly any cheaper than a HF transceiver and a cheap one will frustrate you.

I have NO knowledge of these units other than looking them up, but here are a few samples:
Icom IC M700 Single Side Band Radio System w Sea 1612 Auto Tuner Excellent Cond | eBay

The old IC-M700s are very good radios and do ham frequencies.

The 706 does BOTH HF-SSB and 2 meters and is quite small.
ICOM U*-IC-706MKIIG-VA14 | HF, 6M, 2M, 70CM All Mode Mobile Tranceiver in original box.

You will find VHF and UHF radios fairly limited on a boat. I do have 2 meter gear, but very few boats do. I would guess 99.5% of maritime radio traffic is ham-HF/SSB, marine HF/SSB, and marine VHF. I have my 2 meter on all the time and I think I have heard another boat on there maybe twice in 15 years. Most 2 meter activity seems to be people driving to and from work conversing on a repeater. I did program my Standard-Horizon HX370s for some 2 meter frequencies. It works well on them and also remains a watertight and legal marine VHF radio.
05-11-2014 12:14 AM
davidpm
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
I see Universal Radio has a special for $300.
That is tempting. The alternative is a sw scanner and a VX-6R waterproof for dinking around.

Please see my post above. I'm very interested in what you guys that are both hams and sailors have to say.
05-11-2014 12:10 AM
davidpm
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post

As noted above, you really need a General Class ham license for maritime operation. I'd work on that...spend your time boning up, get the license, then get a real SSB transceiver. You can get a ham or even marine SSB rig for $200 and up. Even the lower cost transceivers have excellent receivers which will afford you the opportunity to listen as much as you like and, eventually, to transmit as well.
Yes I'll go for general asap.
Any candidate receivers you have in mind. None of my Elmers seem to have any knowledge of marine matters and other than maybe a minor interest in ARES my interest is exclusively marine.

I expect to be full time on board in about two years so I don't want to go to the expense of building a killer shack although it would be fun.

My thought was to get a short wave scanner to pick up marine ssb traffic just to get used to the lingo. I've found that "old ears" sometimes take a little time to adjust to a combination of poor reception and special vocabulary. I've got nothing to do anyway for a couple years so I figured I could at least get used to it.

Then I figured I would get a good HT like a t CT-60R or VX-6R or Vx-7 some of them are waterproof so when I'm doing coastal deliveries I would have something to keep myself entertained on watch.

Then I saw the above kenwood model and figured I could get it all in one small box.

You are a unique resource as you know boating and Ham so now that you know my goals maybe you could point me in the right direction.
05-10-2014 05:09 PM
btrayfors
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Keep working at it!

In theory, your radio is capable of receiving SSB and CW signals over a wide frequency range, including HF (3-30 mHz) where most of the marine SSB transmissions take place.

However, the radio does not have a true product detector; rather, it uses IF filtering for SSB and CW modes. This is from the Icom manual:

The transceiver uses a general purpose IF filter to
receive signals in LSB, USB, CW and AM modes.
So, when you receive signals in LSB or USB mode,
the opposite side band signal is not fully attenuated.
At the same time, since the same filter is used for CW
reception, you may have difficulties seperating the
CW signal from other signals in the crowded band.


What that means is that you may indeed be able to hear some marine SSB transmissions, but not as clearly as you would with a true SSB radio. And, they won't be anywhere near as easy to tune.

Still, it's worth a try. Listen in on 8152 kHz every morning beginning at 0830 Eastern time. You may hear one or more of the many boats checking into the Cruizheimer's Net on marine SSB. And, throughout the day you may hear some traffic on the ham frequency 14,300 kHz where the Intercon Net and the Maritime Mobile Service Net take place.

As noted above, you really need a General Class ham license for maritime operation. I'd work on that...spend your time boning up, get the license, then get a real SSB transceiver. You can get a ham or even marine SSB rig for $200 and up. Even the lower cost transceivers have excellent receivers which will afford you the opportunity to listen as much as you like and, eventually, to transmit as well.

Good luck and 73,.

Bill
WA6CCA
05-10-2014 05:03 PM
SVAuspicious
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
As I read the specs it specifically says SSB for receive only, what am I missing.

KENWOOD TH-F6A 144/220/440 MHZ HANDHELD TRANSCIEVER+WIDEBAND RECEIVER(SSB,CW)
You missed nothing - I did. Read too fast. My apologies.

You will want a bunch of wire up in the air for marine SSB reception. Do be sure you can get a connector for the antenna.

I didn't read the owner's manual (it is on the Kenwood website) but I bet they talk about external antennas.

I see Universal Radio has a special for $300.
05-10-2014 01:11 PM
davidpm
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
The TH-F6A is VHF and up only for transmit. You can open it up to listen to marine VHF but I suspect that isn't what you mean. As I read the specs there is no SSB capability (you need a BFO for that). You can listen to international AM broadcast on HF (shortwave) that isn't what will interest you.

Read up on spectrum, frequencies, and modes.
Thanks for putting up with my dumb questions.

As I read the specs it specifically says SSB for receive only, what am I missing.

KENWOOD TH-F6A 144/220/440 MHZ HANDHELD TRANSCIEVER+WIDEBAND RECEIVER(SSB,CW),

But I have learned enough to know that just because it says that doesn't mean I will be able to pick up marine ssb frequencies.

And even if it will pick up marine ssb frequencies I'm sure I'll need an antenna.


Yes my knowledge of spectrum, frequencies and modes is in its infancy. I'm working on it.
05-10-2014 10:20 AM
SVAuspicious
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Until then what are the chances I will be able to tune in (listen only) to any marine traffic on this HT Kenwood TH-F6A.
The TH-F6A is VHF and up only for transmit. You can open it up to listen to marine VHF but I suspect that isn't what you mean. As I read the specs there is no SSB capability (you need a BFO for that). You can listen to international AM broadcast on HF (shortwave) that isn't what will interest you.

Read up on spectrum, frequencies, and modes.
05-10-2014 10:16 AM
davidpm
Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post


Filter selection is the big one for me. Everything else is second order.
Rats, I hate this stage of understanding. The stage where you know enough to ask a question but not enough to even understand the answer.
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