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Old 09-02-2011, 19:52   #1
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About to Pull the Trigger on M802 SSB . . . Any Don'ts ?

We're getting closer by the day ... I'm now literally a retired rocket scientist as of two days ago

After 30+ years of dreaming and 3.5 years of planning it is all becoming very real and a lot of decisions have to be made.

For off-shore communications M802 SSB Marine Radio System seems like the choice ... is it still ?

Thanks, and there will be more questions to come, lots more !



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Old 09-02-2011, 20:32   #2
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So... no gun thread? You can't use words like "pull the trigger" and get away without a cheap "shot".
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Old 09-02-2011, 20:38   #3
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So... no gun thread? You can't use words like "pull the trigger" and get away without a cheap "shot".
Is it ok if I stop laughing ?



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Old 09-02-2011, 21:07   #4
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I've been studying the same question. What I come up with is that many people complain that the M802 is not as robust as some of the 7- series radios, and of course there was a factory defect clipping problem in the early ones you have to watch out for. But my conclusion was that the 802 would be the way to go for me, anyway -- I like the DSC, like the facility for easily connecting pactor, and so forth.

By the way, I really like ICom radios in general (my fixed VHF is a 604 -- love it to bits).

Now I'm sure someone will come up with a different view.
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Old 09-02-2011, 21:46   #5
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Ditto what Dockhead said above. You might consider that Sat Phones are displacing SSB for many people. It's something to consider. I'm on the fence. I use a Icom M710 SSB, with the whole Sailmail setup. I love the tech-geek-factor. But if I was to replace it I'd consider the Sat Phone. Or both. I think the M8?? modulation problems have been addressed by Icom...but others would know better.
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Old 09-02-2011, 22:15   #6
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I also chose the 802, Sven - the deciding point for me was the ability to use it on ham bands with proper tuning, yet type-accepted for marine. I also have the mating tuner, and the insanely overpriced PACTOR TNC. Hope to be firing it all up Real Soon Now... it's just no fun when still in the box.
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Old 09-02-2011, 22:24   #7
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If you do get one, I'd encourage you to get your ham license as well, if you don't already have it. That'll allow you to participate on ham nets like the Maritime Mobile Service Network and use winlink email, which is free for non-commercial use.

I have a 700Pro and like it, although I do miss the DSC, but I've got that on my VHF which is probably more important anyway.
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Old 09-02-2011, 22:27   #8
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Oh, btw, you don't need an expensive Pactor modem to use winlink, just a good sound card. I already had the modem, so I haven't done it yet, but will look into at some point.
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:56   #9
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I got an 802/pactor setup last year. Not cheap but it works extremely well. With the airmail software it is extremely Sat phones are good if you want to call a particular person but they arent a substitute for an ssb. I am actually happy not to be able to take phone calls while on passage. When I get where I am going, there are always cell phone companies happy to sell you a sim card.

Yes, do get the ham license. It isnt all that hard and you will learn some useful stuff about short wave communications.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:37   #10
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If you buy a satelite phone with data cable first, then imho you can do whatever you like with the rest of your money. But for a safety thing the Sat phone is far, far, far better.



Its a very exciting time for you!


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Old 10-02-2011, 07:42   #11
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Oh, btw, you don't need an expensive Pactor modem to use winlink, just a good sound card.
How does this work?

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Old 10-02-2011, 08:19   #12
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Take a look at winlinks website explaining how the sound card can decode the emails
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:03   #13
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For off-shore communications M802 SSB Marine Radio System seems like the choice ... is it still ?
I believe the Icom M802 is still the most useful SSB radio for the small boat market. The ability to separate the control head from the main body is handy for installation, the radio has worked very well for me (I bought the radio in 2006). I also have a Pactor modem (PTC-IIpro), have a general ham license, and use SailMail as my preferred way to send/receive short emails (and to get grib data) while offshore. The ham license is nice to have as it opens up access to Winlink for your non-commercial traffic.

So you're looking in the right direction. Do be certain the radio will fit into the boat - they are not all that small.

I purchased mine through HF Radio On Board in California, Don is knowledgable about radios in the cruising community and I found his short write-ups on long range communications to be a good place to start (note: I am not affiliated with HF Radio, I just buy things from him).

H.F. Radio on Board SSB/Ham Radio information page

- rob/beetle
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:07   #14
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Congrats, and SSB vs SatPhone

[QUOTE=MarkJ;615869]If you buy a satelite phone with data cable first, then imho you can do whatever you like with the rest of your money. But for a safety thing the Sat phone is far, far, far better.

Congratulations on implementing your plan!
Regarding communications and safety, you'll find differences of opinion on the safety aspects of SSB vs. SatPhone, with threads on that subject alone. These are different tools for different purposes. I've had both onboard, and if I had to choose between them, I would chose the SSB for BROADCAST capability vs. the SatPhone for point to point communication. Also consider that safety isn't just emergency communication. The ability to participate in cruisers nets, and take weather forecasts from boats in route goes a long way to staying out of trouble.

My self-installed ICOM M802 has worked beautifully. The options on ground plane installation can be confusing. I went with the copper foil laid in my bilges and have had no problems with that aspect.
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Old 10-02-2011, 13:06   #15
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Have you looked at going with a Ham radio instead of the much more expensive Marine HF?? The Icom 7200 ham radio is nearly a boat unit cheaper than the M802 and has almost all the capabilities of the Icom Marine radios including water intrusion protection. I bought a used Icom 718 that was opened up for transmit on all frequencies, for $400 and an AH4 antenna tuner and I was up and running for $700 for the actual radio equipment. Antenna, ground plane, Pactor Modem and installation are going to be comparable to a Marine Radio. No matter what radio you end up with, suggest you get an SGC 230 tuner instead of an Icom Tuner. The SGC tuner has the highest rating, doesn't need an Icom specific circuit to operate, just a coax connection to the radio, and will work with any other manufacturers radio equipment.

The Ham radio general license will take a little work but it's information that you will need to get the most out of any HF radio, in any case. There are a number of sites on the internet that will tutor you for the Ham General License. A day or so of answering sample exam questions and you should pass the exams with flying colors. You have to first pass the Technicial License to get the General License. You can sit for both licenses at the same time, you just have to do them in order. If you want to be able to use a little bit larger frequency spectrum, you can also go all the way to the Extral License at the same time. The Ham license is free, testing costs run around $15. Winlink Email is free. Contrast that with the Marine HF license that the FCC will charge you $300 plus just for the piece of paper. Sailmail is a good email source but it's not free. You cabn use your marine HF radio on the Ham bands with the proper license, it will just cost you more money.

Officially, you can't transmit using a Ham radio on other than Ham frequencies except in an emergency. Since an emergency is just about the only reason I 'd use the Marine HF frequencies, it's not a limit for me. The official reason for not using a ham radio on Marine frequencies is frequency stability and control. I've heard that that is a bit of a canard as the newest Ham radios are just as good at frequency control as the Marine radios.

The maritime mobile nets that I'm familiar with are all run by Hams on their frequencies (many are on 14.350 mhz with different times for different areas of the world) Impromptu Ham nets are typically also on the ham frequencies. When we were in French Polynesia, a cruiser got a serious head injury that required hospitalization and treatment. At the time facilities in the Marquesas couldn't handle him. The cruising community, through the ham net stretching from the Marquesas to Papeete, arranged to get him to the neareast airport and on an airplane to a hospital, provide a free place for his wife to stay while they were still in Papeete, arranging air transport back to the States, deliver their boat to Papeete and watch over it till he was well enough to return. Don't know if you are going to find that on Marine HF.
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