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Old 19-05-2015, 11:07   #1
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Free Icom 745 . Good for high seas communication?

I was going to buy a new Icom 802, but my father in law has offered me his Icom 745. He says it works perfectly.

Is the 745 a good choice for high seas communication? Can they get weatherfaxs and emails? Willl they work with a pactor modem and weatherfax 2000? ( still need to buy those. Is the 745 an SSB as well as a HAM radio. I don't know exactly what an SSB is and what the advantages are. Another words, I don't know anything but would like to save 1,800 if its will do the above mentioned jobs.

Thanks for your advice!
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Old 21-05-2015, 13:31   #2
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Re: Free Icom 745 . Good for high seas communication?

Onemoreproject,
1) First off, the IC-745 is a ~ 30 year old "2nd generation" solid-state up-conversion HF ham transceiver...which currently sells for about $200 on the used market...
And, while in its day, it was a good radio.....albeit with rather high osc. phase noise, it is showing its age these days...

As originally delivered, it will NOT transmit on the marine HF bands/frequencies.....although some hams have modified it to do so, it cannot be legally operated on the marine bands...(and in some countries, this can get you some very hefty fines....in addition to causing interference to other HF radio users, other sailors, etc....)

Yes, it will receive HF wefax transmissions, and you can connect its audio output to a laptop's audio/mic input and use any one of a number of free / inexpensive software packages (JVComm32, GetFax, SEATTY, etc.) to get WeFax images on your screen...(as would just about any HF radio, including inexpensive portable SW radios)...


Now, understand that it is a well laid-out rig, both from an operating and repair stand point, but certainly NOT a radio that I'd recommend to be used on-board as a primary long-range communications radio....even if it works perfectly now, it's just a matter of time, before components fail, caps dry out, etc....

So, I would NOT recommend this radio to you...

(please understand that I think your father-in-law means well, but he's probably not really sure what your needs/requirements are...)


2) Secondly, like most "12vdc" ham radios, the IC-745 really needs to be run at 13.8vdc, in order for it to perform at its rated specs.....and like most others of their ilk, it will become problematic when attempted to be operated on low voltages such as below 12.3vdc....


3) Third, should you have a need for e-mail connectivity while out at sea and/or in remote locales (away from cellular/3G/4G and/or Wi-Fi), then you may in fact want to add a PACTOR modem, and while the IC-745 might work okay, you will need to carefully adjust the drive levels, and its trans/rec switching time and AGC recovery time, might prove problematic (not sure)....

{Take note that many find no need at all for e-mail connectivity while out at sea or in remote areas.....although those who still run businesses, etc. when out at sea will obviously need e-mail, etc...but there is no need for most of us, as the gold standard of weather info/forecasts do not require e-mail connectivity, nor does radio-telephone interconnects, etc....so before you figure out your communications budget, be sure you understand what your precise needs/desires are...}


4) Also, the IC-745 is a rig full of knobs/buttons/adjustments, which in addition to being intimidating to the new HF radio user, will require much more operator skill in order to get the radio to work well...
Which is quite opposite from what you get in a marine HF radio, where it is designed to be used by non-trained / non-technical sailors!!
{and of course MF/HF-DSC functions are idiot-proof...)



5) The Icom M-802 is the only affordable MF/HF-DSC-SSB radio for a cruising boat...which sells for about $1800 new....(and about $1200 on the used market), and if you're interested in a full-fledged marine HF radio, there is no other substitute for less than 4 - 5 times the price...
There are NO ham radios that have this DSC capability...
And, the M-802 is also an excellent rig to use on the ham radio bands while on-board, as well!!!

http://www.docksideradio.com/Icom%20SSB%20Radios.htm

http://icomamerica.com/en/products/marine/ssb/m802/default.aspx


Here's just part of my Nav Station (showing one of my M-802's...)








6) Finally, I applaud you for asking questions!!!
The smartest people I've ever met are the ones that understand they don't know everything, and ask questions!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onemoreproject View Post
I don't know exactly what an SSB is and what the advantages are. Another words, I don't know anything but would like to save 1,800 if its will do the above mentioned jobs.
Have a look at the stickys at the top of this Marine Electronics page....especially this one, where there are a plethora of references / links to just about anything "marine radio", "ssb", "offshore communications", "offshore weather", etc. related...
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/marine-ssb-stuff-how-to-better-use-proeprly-install-ssb-and-troubleshoot-rfi-etc-133496.html


But, even easier, if you have a few minutes free and have decent internet, have a look at these videos....you'll learn a lot...

Maritime HF Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2nPNdApNsZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y

HF-DSC Comms...
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2n3z5nlv-ga2zYuPozhUXZX

Offshore weather...
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2mPZAx2vWzdjTJjHlChruyY

Icom M-802 instruction videos...
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2npivDjoFrC-8QKVyMb4tVr




So, all-in-all, even though the IC-745 isn't a bad radio, it is not something I'd recommend for you and your application...

I hope this helps...

fair winds...

John
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Old 21-05-2015, 14:05   #3
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Re: Free Icom 745 . Good for high seas communication?

John and I agree on most things, but not on the DSC imperative.

Yes, the Icom M802 is the only semi-affordable marine SSB available new...for several years now you cannot legally sell a new SSB without DSC capability.

However, to determine whether or not DSC capability is REQUIRED for your intended use depends very much on you and on your cruising plans.

I personally believe that DSC is NOT an imperative for me nor for many other sailors, and we prove it every day by using non-DSC equipped SSB radios to communicate on both the marine bands and the ham bands.

There are lots of excellent marine SSB radios on the market in used but excellent condition which are perfectly legal for use on the marine bands. There are also some new marine SSBs still available, including the excellent M710, the M700Pro, and a few others.

Good used marine SSBs can be had for anywhere between about $300 and $800. These can be used on both the marine bands and the ham bands, with proper licensing.

Bottom line: while DSC is a useful capability -- especially in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia -- it is not IMHO an absolute necessity, especially not this side of the Big Pond. You can do most of the things a cruising sailor wants to do with a used marine SSB radio: voice, email, wefax, distress, etc.

The cost saving can be on the order of $1000-1500 compared to the cost of a new Icom M802, with the only forfeit in functionality being the loss of DSC capability.

Bill
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Old 21-05-2015, 14:43   #4
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Re: Free Icom 745 . Good for high seas communication?

Yeah, Bill and I disagree on the DSC stuff...

But, I do agree with him here...sort of...

If budget is a big issue, then YES, buying a used M-700Pro or M-710, etc. is a MUCH better approach for most cruisers than a 30 year old IC-745...

Fair winds...gotta' go!

John
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Old 21-05-2015, 14:55   #5
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Re: Free Icom 745 . Good for high seas communication?

We certainly agree on the 745. Not a good choice.

If you want a ham rig, there are LOTS of other good choices more suitable for use on a boat.

Bill
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Old 21-05-2015, 15:38   #6
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Re: Free Icom 745 . Good for high seas communication?

Thanks everyone for the resounding no. I will order the 802 ASAP.

Anyone care to share where the best prices are to be found?
Also, I tore out the old ground plane. Has anyone used the KISS style ground plane? It sounds great because its a cheap and simple solution and install. But is it as good as a copper plate on the hull? At least I kept the insulated back-stay when I re-did the rigging.

Thanks again!
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Old 21-05-2015, 16:11   #7
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Re: Free Icom 745 . Good for high seas communication?

Not sure if they have the absolute lowest price on the planet but great service and support. Can buy a complete setup from them, ready to install. Highly recommended.

Pactor-II/III Radio Modem sales, FCC License filing, Marine SSB & HAM Radio Net schedules &amp frequencies.
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Old 21-05-2015, 16:30   #8
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Re: Free Icom 745 . Good for high seas communication?

Yes, as skipmac said, Dockside Radio is a very good source for the Icom M-802.

You've got the insulated backstay already. Good. You'll need an automatic antenna coupler (tuner) also: the AT-140.

And the connecting cables...

And the station license and operator's permit....

And, and, and.

Gary at Dockside Radio can help with all these.

The KISS is a good alternative for a ground plane, not the best possible but perfectly adequate for many cruisers. There are hundreds of satisfied customers out there.

No need for an outside plate on the hull.

Good luck,

Bill
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Old 21-05-2015, 17:34   #9
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Re: Free Icom 745 . Good for high seas communication?

Look into Ham Radios. Same or better range range possibilities for a lot less money. Radios and tuners are cheaper for ham radios. An Icom 718 and an AH4 tuner will set you back around a boat unit. Used is even cheaper. An 802 with the AT-140 tuner will set you back 2 1/2 boat units. No DSC is the negative. Takes more time to open the case than to make the easy mods for tranmitting on all HF frequencies including Marine SSB. Further on the Ham side, operation is usually free for things like Pactor Email. Not sure how well it works but Winmore may let you do email without the expensive Pactor Modem.

Will need to get the Ham General License to be able to talk on the radio but that's relatively ease. Took me a day of serious study with online test prep guides to pass it. Most of what you learn for the test is useful information for actually operating in the HF frequency spectrum. Now that they dropped Morse Code for a Ham license, don't really know what the fascination for spending big bucks for Marine SSB is except for DSC.
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