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Old 15-04-2010, 20:02   #1
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Furuno SSB ?

New to the forum...wondering if anyone has any experience with a Furuno 1503 SSB. Looking to do some cruising in a couple of years, getting the boat set up now, need a SSB, and it looks like the Icom 710, 802 and 700PRO would all be fine, but a Furuno 1503 has come up for sale locally. Any thoughts??? Plan to get a Ham license before departure, so would like to have the Ham bands available; not sure if the Furuno has that capability. Seems like it's oriented mostly to the fishing fleet. Many thanks!!!
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Old 15-04-2010, 21:58   #2
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OK, I haven't used the Furuno 1503 and I do have an Icom 802 however my 2 cents are:

Both manufacturers have a very good reputation - I would suggest that Furuno may even have a better reputation.

I am fairly sure the 1503 is not HAM convertible.

The 1503 will probably be more intuitive and easier to operate.

Price may be a deciding factor.

HOWEVER, I am a strong believer in not buying electronic devices until you are actually about to use them. They are always developing better and often cheaper products.
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Old 16-04-2010, 15:27   #3
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I am fairly sure the 1503 is not HAM convertible.
Yes, it is via the service menu.

Eric
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Old 16-04-2010, 15:47   #4
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The 1503, as Eric says, is usable on the ham bands.

HOWEVER, it's not real convenient to use. And, as much as I really like and use Furuno stuff, I believe they missed the boat with the 1503. I had one here which needed repair. A relatively minor repair. A new board.

Furuno was delighted, they said, to sell me the board for $1,500.

"Ridiculous", I said. "I'm in the business", I said.

"Great", they said. "We'll sell you the board for half that...only $750."

In the end, because I didn't have a lot of bucks in the unit, I let them repair it.

But, truth be told, I really never liked the radio. Any of the Icoms would be better.

If you don't need HF/DSC or a small control unit separate from the main transceiver unit, I'd suggest either the M-710 or the M-700Pro. Both are bullet-proof, great radios. The Pro is a bit easier to use on both marine and ham bands, but lacks a couple of features of the more expensive 710 (number of memories, 3 power levels, etc.).

Bill
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Old 16-04-2010, 21:04   #5
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I am not sure about kevkal but I have just learnt something new about Furuno; so that is a good start to the day - Thanks Eric and Bill.
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Old 17-04-2010, 11:46   #6
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Gentlemen: THANK YOU! All excellent thoughts and much appreciated! In the department of redundancy department--a little redundancy always being a good thing on the ocean--I was thinking that maybe two radios wouldn't be a bad idea? One oriented toward SSB, and one toward HAM? Or maybe one set up mostly for weatherfax and/or email, and the other for daily nets? Or perhaps one at the nav station, and one nearer the helm and cockpit? And then, of course, if one were to fail, you always would have the other... But being completely uneducated on the topic, if the two radios were, say, a Furuno and an Icom, would there be any problem if they shared the same antenna tuner? Or perhaps redundancy there might also be a good idea? If I haven't exhausted your patience, your thoughts would be appreciated!

Many thanks.

Kevin
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Old 17-04-2010, 11:55   #7
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Kevin,

You're thinking is right on!

I have both a ham radio (FT-900CAT) and a marine SSB (Yaesu System 600) on my boat. It makes a lot of sense, both for convenience and redundancy (and to be legal).

Yes, you can share the same antenna tuner and the same antenna, but NOT at the same time. Just use coax switches to choose the rig and the antenna. I can choose either the FT900 or the System 600 with a 2-position coax switch, and one of four possible antennas (one of which is a backstay antenna fed thru a SG-230 tuner) with a 4-position coax switch.

RE: coax switches, Alpha-Deltas are best, though pricey; Daiwas are OK; wouldn't use the others.

Bill
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Old 18-04-2010, 16:22   #8
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I had a furuno 1503 , not in my mind a great perfromer. ICOM seem better
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Old 20-04-2010, 14:37   #9
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Once again, thanks to all for very informative and helpful advice.

Just to share a little more, on a parallel path, I asked Furuno some of the same questions via their website. I thought their responses were interesting, and a bit discouraging, given the lack of agreement with our discussion herein on the first two. Here are my questions, and their answers:

Hello Kevin,
Thank you for contacting Furuno USA, Inc. Please see below in answer to your questions:


1) Can your FS1503 SSB be effectively used with an antenna tuner other than the one normally supplied, like an Icom AT130 or AT140?
No

2) Can your Furuno AT1503 antenna tuner (normally supplied with the FS1503) be effectively utilized with other radios, for example, an Icom M710 or M802?
No

3) Is the Furuno FS1503 capable of being modified to operate on HAM radio bands?
Yes, with proper license.

4) Is there a way to set up the Furuno FS1503 for email (like the Furuno FS1503EM)?
Yes, when optional Control PCB is installed.

Thanks again for contacting Furuno USA, Inc. We hope we have been able to answer your question. Please feel free to contact us with further questions in the future.
Kind regards,
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Old 20-04-2010, 15:00   #10
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Kevin...

Interesting. BTW, their first answer is wrong. While it's true that the Icom AT130/140 won't work -- at least not easily -- the SG-230 tuner will work with ANY HF radio, and it's the tuner-of-choice!

Bill
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