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
, 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.