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Old 16-09-2013, 18:50   #16
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
While Winmor may be comparable to P2 speeds if you have a similar connection, how many Winmor stations are there to connect to?
We used RMS Express/Winmor/Winlink this year during our 6 months cruise to the Bahamas. We never failed to make a HF connection although it was sometimes after multiple tries. We restricted our RMS mailbox to the fifteen or so people we really wanted to hear from, leaving AOL via WiFi/cell data for all the rest. We connected with RMS Express twice per day either by HF/Winmor or telnet. We got AOL when we had WiFi/cell data. Because we could usually get our daily weather via VHF/ChrisParker/Navtex/NMG/NMF/NMN either text, voice, or Fax, we seldom bothered with GRIB files.

We used Winmor stations in Florida, Nova Scotia, South Carolina, Georgia. Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma.

We already had an Icom M710 and a laptop so the cost for RMS Express/Winmor/Winlink was maybe $100 for a Signalink sound card and $30 for a control cable. For our situation, I can see no need for a Pactor modem.

You should have no troubles on the Great Loop.

http://www.winlink.org/RMSChannels with the Winmor radio button pressed will give you your answer to "How many."

Bill Murdoch
AK4PO
Irish Eyes to the Bahamas
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Old 21-09-2013, 07:12   #17
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Hi all,
I am a new ham and soon I will get my general license, what would be a good radio model to set up on my sailing boat? I am looking for a ham equipment not a marine one ( I won't use it on the marine band) the main usage will be mail and weather.
Thanks
Shachar
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Old 21-09-2013, 07:50   #18
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Re: Ham radio at sea

They are getting old and hard to find, but I loved my Icom 730.
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Old 21-09-2013, 11:12   #19
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Re: Ham radio at sea

I have an Icom IC-7200 and it's pretty sweet. It has a USB port which provides a serial control port and a sound-card interface, so I can plug it in to my computer and run WINMOR without needing any external junk. For Pactor I would still need the external modem.

There are plenty of good radios out there. There are HF radios that also cover 2 Meters, and if you want to work repeaters that might be a good feature.
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Old 21-09-2013, 18:29   #20
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Shachar,
Since we do not know what boat / what size boat you sail, nor where you are planning to sail, nor exactly what your application will be....it is difficult to give you anything other than general recommendations...



Quote:
Originally Posted by sgel View Post
I am a new ham and soon I will get my general license, what would be a good radio model to set up on my sailing boat? I am looking for a ham equipment not a marine one ( I won't use it on the marine band) the main usage will be mail and weather.
1) For new hams, I always recommend a simple-to-use radio, which does not need multiple menus to change levels/features....

2) For new hams, I always recommend a new radio, which eliminates the possibility of buying a defective/damaged radio...

3) For hams on-board boats, I always recommend a decent sized radio, with dedicated knobs/buttons and a decent-sized display, rather than the small/mini-sized radios...

4) For new hams, I generally recommend a radio / manufacturer with a good reputation for reliability and ease of finding service if it ever needs it...



5) If you add up the above 4 recommendations, you are not left with many radios...
Such as the Icom IC-718....


And, if you add COST ($$$) into the equation, the IC-718 is on the top of the list...


Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu are all good current ham radio manufacturers, along with TenTec and Elecraft, with icom having a market-share advantage (especially in the marine/maritime HF radio market)....
In addition to the Icom IC-718 (approx. $650), the Kenwood TS-480HX (approx. $1200) also makes the list...as would the new Icom Marine M-802 (approx. $1800), as would older/used Icom M-700pro or Icom M-710 (both in the $600 range used)...

BTW, the IC-7200 is an okay/decent radio, but more expensive and more complicated than the IC-718....
(But, the IC-7000 is not that great of a radio, significantly worse than the old IC-706 series...and both are small/mini-sized radios as well...)

Using the info you provided, my personal recommend for a HF Ham Radio is the Icom IC-718...

IC-718 HF All Band Transceiver - Features - Icom America

ICOM IC-718 Product Reviews

Icom IC-718, Icom 718 Amateur Transceiver





6) There have been other discussions about this issue before, have a look at these threads....
SSCA Forum • View topic - SSB Receive Only

Choosing HAM transceiver (under $500)



7) And, here are a few threads discussing tips for those new to HF radio communications (ham and marine)....as well as tips/recommendations on how-to get weather and get good communications while at sea...

SSCA Forum • View topic - Tips for using an HF-SSB Radio (mostly for newcomers)

SSCA Forum • View topic - Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

SSCA Forum • View topic - What SSB to buy?

SSCA Forum • View topic - ICOM 802 - Purchasing a New SSB Radio



8) If you give us more info, we may be able to give you a more clear recommend...but maybe not...



I hope this helps...



Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 22-09-2013, 16:21   #21
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Hi,
Thank you for your detailed reply!
a little about myself, I live In israel and I have 34' "kaiser gale force" long keel cutter. a very nice old fashion boat. my plan is first to sail in the mediterranean and later cross the atlantic to the caribbean, (and then who knows ).
getting into ham radio is part of my preparation, since I want to install SSB and also to know how use it....
transceivers for hams have more options and they are less expensive. later if I would get a good deal i would add a marine ssb.
actually the ic 718 was my first choice and later I saw the kenwood ts 480. it is not much expensive (about extra 200$) and it have an internal auto tuner and the panel is separable from the main unit. what do you think regarding the two?
I have another novice question, what about QRP radio like ft817, will it be hard to use? I like the idea of using it with its internal battery.
I apologize if i am a bit clueless and again thank you all for your replies,
73
Shachar
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Old 22-09-2013, 23:39   #22
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Re: Ham radio at sea

You can make good contacts with a QRP rig, but it takes luck and skill, and better antennas sure help. It also helps if the guy at the other end is willing to work a weaker signal. As a hobby it's fine, but on my boat I like having 100+ watts available. That random-length sloping backstay antenna isn't always going to be pointing in the best direction!
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Old 23-09-2013, 06:53   #23
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgel View Post
Hi,
Thank you for your detailed reply!
a little about myself, I live In israel and I have 34' "kaiser gale force" long keel cutter. a very nice old fashion boat. my plan is first to sail in the mediterranean and later cross the atlantic to the caribbean, (and then who knows ).
getting into ham radio is part of my preparation, since I want to install SSB and also to know how use it....
transceivers for hams have more options and they are less expensive. later if I would get a good deal i would add a marine ssb.
actually the ic 718 was my first choice and later I saw the kenwood ts 480. it is not much expensive (about extra 200$) and it have an internal auto tuner and the panel is separable from the main unit. what do you think regarding the two?
I have another novice question, what about QRP radio like ft817, will it be hard to use? I like the idea of using it with its internal battery.
I apologize if i am a bit clueless and again thank you all for your replies,
73
Shachar
I used to own an IC-718 and my ham radio club has a TS-480 at our club station. For operating, I don't care for either one personally. They seem to be well made, but the Icom has the absolute worst DSP filtering I've ever used. It's in the audio section of the receiver, and is not very effective at reducing noise. I've owned a Yeasu FT-920 that had audio DSP that was fantastic. I thought the newer IC-718 would be as nice or better, I was mistaken. I replaced it with a Yaesu FT-857 and was very pleased, plus it had 6m, 2m, & 70cm bands. I'm not as familiar with the TS-480, but it wasn't intuitive for me and audio quality on receive was muffled sounding. It was donated by a club member who couldn't get used to all of the menus.

I'll echo another post here and say the Icom IC-7200 would be a good choice, It's one of the few rigs out there that are "rugged-ized" for mobile use and has effective and useful IF DSP filtering. As Paul Elliot described, It is ready for computer control and also has an ethernet connection for remote control over the internet. If I were to put HF on my boat, it would be an IC-7200.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:50   #24
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Rubio View Post
I'll echo another post here and say the Icom IC-7200 would be a good choice, It's one of the few rigs out there that are "rugged-ized" for mobile use and has effective and useful IF DSP filtering. As Paul Elliot described, It is ready for computer control and also has an ethernet connection for remote control over the internet. If I were to put HF on my boat, it would be an IC-7200.
As I said, I do like the IC-7200, but if it has an ethernet connector I haven't managed to find it. As far as I know the internet connections are done via the USB port and an attached internet-connected computer.
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Old 23-09-2013, 13:04   #25
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Shachar,
You're welcome!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by sgel View Post
I live In israel and I have 34' "kaiser gale force" long keel cutter. a very nice old fashion boat. my plan is first to sail in the mediterranean and later cross the atlantic to the caribbean, (and then who knows ).
getting into ham radio is part of my preparation, since I want to install SSB and also to know how use it....
1) This is a good plan, and I do wish you well on your endeavor!!!
Check out the ARRL for info on ham radio and ham radio licensing...
www.arrl.org
(I'm assuming you're a US Citizen, or dual-citizenship, as you mentioned working on your "general class"....but if not a US-citizen, be sure to check out ham radio licensing in Isreal, as well as using the ARRL reference...)

2) Learning about HF radio and radiowave propagation will ALWAYS pay off....and I applaud your desire to learn!!!
(all too often I see people ask a few questions, primarily to find the "cheapest" way to do things, without caring about the details nor what might be "best" for them....and someone desiring more / self-education is a wonderful change-of-pace!!!)




3) Entire chapters of books have been written about radio features, etc...and I don't have the time to run thru them all....
But, here I think I should clarify a few things...
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgel View Post
getting into ham radio is part of my preparation, since I want to install SSB and also to know how use it.... transceivers for hams have more options and they are less expensive. later if I would get a good deal i would add a marine ssb.
While most HF "ham transceivers" do have more features, that does NOT mean that they work better than a commercial maritime HF radio (actually almost ALL preform significantly worse!!), nor does that mean that they're less expensive (feature for feature, they have comparable prices.)
You originally wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgel View Post
I am a new ham and soon I will get my general license, what would be a good radio model to set up on my sailing boat? I am looking for a ham equipment not a marine one ( I won't use it on the marine band) the main usage will be mail and weather.
Which is why I recommended the IC-718....BUT....


But, now you write:
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgel View Post
...I want to install SSB and also to know how use it....
.....later if I would get a good deal i would add a marine ssb.
So, now I think you'd be MUCH better served by an HF Marine Transceiver such as the Icom M-802...which would give you BOTH ham and maritime bands...
(and IF you should ever find yourself becoming a "radio nut", then you can look for a ham transceiver that suits your specific desires/applications...)

The Icom M-802 Marine MF/HF-DSC-SSB transceiver (costs about $1800 new) has a transmitter that is MUCH cleaner than any ham radio unit....and has an excellent receiver (comparable to the IC-756ProII, without all the "fine adjustments")
Further, assuming you have the internal "speech compressor" turned ON, its 150-watt (continuous-duty-cycle rated) transmitter will outperform almost any other ham transceiver on voice communications (ham or maritime)...and will allow a significant power output advantage (and a CLEANER, more robust, and higher data rate signal) over the less powerful and lower-spec'd ham transceivers on digital modes used for e-mail (such as PACTOR)!!!

Although not a 2013 design, it is a well designed and built radio, that meets all the US Part 80 specs (as well as ITU specs) for commercial maritime service, and of course has full MF/HF-DSC capability (which is a fairly important feature to have on-board these days....and is the ONLY HF marine transceiver < $5000 to have it!!!)
{Please search other threads for my discussions of HF-DSC features and necessities..}

Further, the M-802 has a nice big, easy-to-read (day or night), dimmable display, and has a nice keyboard and big knobs that are all easy to use when at sea!!
It is easy to use, both on the ham bands (yes the "vfo" tunes in 100hz steps, but that's never been an issue for me) and marine bands, and unless you turn into a complete "radio nut" and find yourself living on-the-ham bands 18 hours a day, there is not much that the M-802 cannot do and do well...
It is a rock-stable radio, that will work great with analog voice, cw (morse code), and all other digital modes (PACTOR, PSK, etc...), whether ham of maritime....
It is a full featured IF-DSP radio, both on transmit and receive...
And, note that it does have 3 different digital mode filter bandwidths as well as voice and cw bandwidths....and unless you're into a lot of radiosport contests, not having the continuous-tuning / fine-adjustements, will not be missed....
IC-M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components


I own two Icom M-802's and I love them....






See other photos of my Nav Station here...
Nav Station



4) Some further clarifications of radio "features"...
In addition to manufacturers adding knobs, buttons, features, options, etc. JUST in order to sell/promote their radios, most of these features ("options") of ham transceivers are for specific uses/purposes, and many of those simply do not arise when at sea on a sailboat....

There are many "features" on ham radios that many/most hams never need nor use....
But a few features that they have (AND the M-802 has as well)....
--- One that should be used more often and unfortunately isn't....such as the RF Gain control...(always use the minimum setting that still allows easy communications...)
--- And one that should be used judiciously and only when necessary....such as the "noise blanker" or "noise reduction"....(adjust the level as needed, or simply switch it off..)

Yada, Yada....I could go on...
But in my ~ 40 years of HF radio experience (ham and maritime), the bottom line is that, a good radio with few features is almost always better than a poor/mediocre radio with lots of "features"...

But, of course the BIGGEST bottom line of all:
What makes things work on-the-air: It is 45+% antenna, 45+% operator, and 5-10% radio!!!

So, do a good job on your antenna system....and learn about radiowave propagation, radio operating techniques, and how-to-use YOUR radio....and you're 90-95% to having a great HF radio experience, no matter what radio you have!!!



5) Briefly to some of your specific questions..
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgel View Post
actually the ic 718 was my first choice and later I saw the kenwood ts 480. it is not much expensive (about extra 200$) and it have an internal auto tuner and the panel is separable from the main unit. what do you think regarding the two?
I have another novice question, what about QRP radio like ft817, will it be hard to use? I like the idea of using it with its internal battery.
I apologize if i am a bit clueless and again thank you all for your replies,
---- The Kenwood TS-480sat (a 100-watt radio w/built-in tuner) is much less expensive than the TS-480HX (a 200-watt radio w/ no tuner)....but the "built-in tuner" will NOT do what you'd need it to do for an on-board tuner....
Assuming you desire a wide-band/all-band antenna system (which I and everyone else will recommend to you), you WILL need a remote auto-tuner, no matter what radio you buy....

---- The IC-718 is a "basic" / "entry-level" HF ham transceiver....and while some may not like its DSP, it is NOT designed nor marketed as a "DSP" radio....it is a basic crystal-filtered / analog radio....
In its price range, and for what its intended use is, it is a great radio...

---- In my opinion, the over-marketing of "DSP" is hurting ham radio....understand that if well done, digital signal processing can be great, but until you get into radios costing 1000's of $$$$, it is just some more (fairly useless) stuff added to radios, in order to MARKET them....

Yes, the M-802's are true, full-DSP radios, and they do work great....
But, I'd still prefer my old Drake TR-7's for talking/contesting on the ham bands (but they just don't fit on-board!!!)
http://www.qrz.com/db/KA4WJA




---- If you desire a separate front panel / control head, in order to make installation / mounting easier on-board, the Icom M-802 has a separate control head....as does the older (and discontinued) Icom M-710RT...

And, if looking at only ham radios, then the Kenwood TS-480HX (it has the separate control head) would be my recommend...


---- As for the nifty little FT-817....while a cute and fun little radio, it is NOT something I'd recommend for you....
It is SMALL, the display is SMALL, it would be difficult to use at sea (it's SMALL!).....and it has only a 5 watt output, which is NOT something that new hams, nor those using the radio for possibly safety reasons would find helpful!!!

---- As I wrote earlier, the IC-7200 isn't a bad radio, but I would recommend the Icom M-802 MUCH more than the IC-7200...



I think I hit on all your questions....and I do hope this helps....



Fair winds and 73,

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 24-09-2013, 06:27   #26
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
As I said, I do like the IC-7200, but if it has an ethernet connector I haven't managed to find it. As far as I know the internet connections are done via the USB port and an attached internet-connected computer.
I should have noticed that. I looked at one of those about a year ago and that was one of the things I thought was odd. It's still a nice rig for the money. I saw where Gigaparts is offering it in camoflage, olive drab, & emergency orange. My ham radio club gave one away at our annual hamfest & offered $500 cash as a second choice if the winner didn't want the radio. The guy took the $500 cash-go figure?
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Old 24-09-2013, 07:20   #27
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Shachar,
You're welcome!!


1) This is a good plan, and I do wish you well on your endeavor!!!
Check out the ARRL for info on ham radio and ham radio licensing...
www.arrl.org
(I'm assuming you're a US Citizen, or dual-citizenship, as you mentioned working on your "general class"....but if not a US-citizen, be sure to check out ham radio licensing in Isreal, as well as using the ARRL reference...)

2) Learning about HF radio and radiowave propagation will ALWAYS pay off....and I applaud your desire to learn!!!
(all too often I see people ask a few questions, primarily to find the "cheapest" way to do things, without caring about the details nor what might be "best" for them....and someone desiring more / self-education is a wonderful change-of-pace!!!)




3) Entire chapters of books have been written about radio features, etc...and I don't have the time to run thru them all....
But, here I think I should clarify a few things... While most HF "ham transceivers" do have more features, that does NOT mean that they work better than a commercial maritime HF radio (actually almost ALL preform significantly worse!!), nor does that mean that they're less expensive (feature for feature, they have comparable prices.)
You originally wrote: Which is why I recommended the IC-718....BUT....


But, now you write: So, now I think you'd be MUCH better served by an HF Marine Transceiver such as the Icom M-802...which would give you BOTH ham and maritime bands...
(and IF you should ever find yourself becoming a "radio nut", then you can look for a ham transceiver that suits your specific desires/applications...)

The Icom M-802 Marine MF/HF-DSC-SSB transceiver (costs about $1800 new) has a transmitter that is MUCH cleaner than any ham radio unit....and has an excellent receiver (comparable to the IC-756ProII, without all the "fine adjustments")
Further, assuming you have the internal "speech compressor" turned ON, its 150-watt (continuous-duty-cycle rated) transmitter will outperform almost any other ham transceiver on voice communications (ham or maritime)...and will allow a significant power output advantage (and a CLEANER, more robust, and higher data rate signal) over the less powerful and lower-spec'd ham transceivers on digital modes used for e-mail (such as PACTOR)!!!

Although not a 2013 design, it is a well designed and built radio, that meets all the US Part 80 specs (as well as ITU specs) for commercial maritime service, and of course has full MF/HF-DSC capability (which is a fairly important feature to have on-board these days....and is the ONLY HF marine transceiver < $5000 to have it!!!)
{Please search other threads for my discussions of HF-DSC features and necessities..}

Further, the M-802 has a nice big, easy-to-read (day or night), dimmable display, and has a nice keyboard and big knobs that are all easy to use when at sea!!
It is easy to use, both on the ham bands (yes the "vfo" tunes in 100hz steps, but that's never been an issue for me) and marine bands, and unless you turn into a complete "radio nut" and find yourself living on-the-ham bands 18 hours a day, there is not much that the M-802 cannot do and do well...
It is a rock-stable radio, that will work great with analog voice, cw (morse code), and all other digital modes (PACTOR, PSK, etc...), whether ham of maritime....
It is a full featured IF-DSP radio, both on transmit and receive...
And, note that it does have 3 different digital mode filter bandwidths as well as voice and cw bandwidths....and unless you're into a lot of radiosport contests, not having the continuous-tuning / fine-adjustements, will not be missed....
IC-M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components


I own two Icom M-802's and I love them....






See other photos of my Nav Station here...
Nav Station



4) Some further clarifications of radio "features"...
In addition to manufacturers adding knobs, buttons, features, options, etc. JUST in order to sell/promote their radios, most of these features ("options") of ham transceivers are for specific uses/purposes, and many of those simply do not arise when at sea on a sailboat....

There are many "features" on ham radios that many/most hams never need nor use....
But a few features that they have (AND the M-802 has as well)....
--- One that should be used more often and unfortunately isn't....such as the RF Gain control...(always use the minimum setting that still allows easy communications...)
--- And one that should be used judiciously and only when necessary....such as the "noise blanker" or "noise reduction"....(adjust the level as needed, or simply switch it off..)

Yada, Yada....I could go on...
But in my ~ 40 years of HF radio experience (ham and maritime), the bottom line is that, a good radio with few features is almost always better than a poor/mediocre radio with lots of "features"...

But, of course the BIGGEST bottom line of all:
What makes things work on-the-air: It is 45+% antenna, 45+% operator, and 5-10% radio!!!

So, do a good job on your antenna system....and learn about radiowave propagation, radio operating techniques, and how-to-use YOUR radio....and you're 90-95% to having a great HF radio experience, no matter what radio you have!!!



5) Briefly to some of your specific questions.. ---- The Kenwood TS-480sat (a 100-watt radio w/built-in tuner) is much less expensive than the TS-480HX (a 200-watt radio w/ no tuner)....but the "built-in tuner" will NOT do what you'd need it to do for an on-board tuner....
Assuming you desire a wide-band/all-band antenna system (which I and everyone else will recommend to you), you WILL need a remote auto-tuner, no matter what radio you buy....

---- The IC-718 is a "basic" / "entry-level" HF ham transceiver....and while some may not like its DSP, it is NOT designed nor marketed as a "DSP" radio....it is a basic crystal-filtered / analog radio....
In its price range, and for what its intended use is, it is a great radio...

---- In my opinion, the over-marketing of "DSP" is hurting ham radio....understand that if well done, digital signal processing can be great, but until you get into radios costing 1000's of $$$$, it is just some more (fairly useless) stuff added to radios, in order to MARKET them....

Yes, the M-802's are true, full-DSP radios, and they do work great....
But, I'd still prefer my old Drake TR-7's for talking/contesting on the ham bands (but they just don't fit on-board!!!)
KA4WJA - Callsign Lookup by QRZ.COM




---- If you desire a separate front panel / control head, in order to make installation / mounting easier on-board, the Icom M-802 has a separate control head....as does the older (and discontinued) Icom M-710RT...

And, if looking at only ham radios, then the Kenwood TS-480HX (it has the separate control head) would be my recommend...


---- As for the nifty little FT-817....while a cute and fun little radio, it is NOT something I'd recommend for you....
It is SMALL, the display is SMALL, it would be difficult to use at sea (it's SMALL!).....and it has only a 5 watt output, which is NOT something that new hams, nor those using the radio for possibly safety reasons would find helpful!!!

---- As I wrote earlier, the IC-7200 isn't a bad radio, but I would recommend the Icom M-802 MUCH more than the IC-7200...



I think I hit on all your questions....and I do hope this helps....



Fair winds and 73,

John
s/v Annie Laurie
That's a beautiful nav table, John!

Sorry for the thread drift, but it might be useful as well for the OP --

So you are happy operating HF ham with the M802? I haven't tried mine yet -- still waiting to find time to install it. I've heard conflicting reports about how well it works for normal ham operation -- can you comment?
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Old 24-09-2013, 14:46   #28
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Shachar,
You're welcome!!

1) This is a good plan, and I do wish you well on your endeavor!!!
Check out the ARRL for info on ham radio and ham radio licensing...
www.arrl.org
(I'm assuming you're a US Citizen, or dual-citizenship, as you mentioned working on your "general class"....but if not a US-citizen, be sure to check out ham radio licensing in Isreal, as well as using the ARRL reference...)

2) Learning about HF radio and radiowave propagation will ALWAYS pay off....and I applaud your desire to learn!!!
(all too often I see people ask a few questions, primarily to find the "cheapest" way to do things, without caring about the details nor what might be "best" for them....and someone desiring more / self-education is a wonderful change-of-pace!!!)




3) Entire chapters of books have been written about radio features, etc...and I don't have the time to run thru them all....
But, here I think I should clarify a few things... While most HF "ham transceivers" do have more features, that does NOT mean that they work better than a commercial maritime HF radio (actually almost ALL preform significantly worse!!), nor does that mean that they're less expensive (feature for feature, they have comparable prices.)
You originally wrote: Which is why I recommended the IC-718....BUT....


But, now you write: So, now I think you'd be MUCH better served by an HF Marine Transceiver such as the Icom M-802...which would give you BOTH ham and maritime bands...
(and IF you should ever find yourself becoming a "radio nut", then you can look for a ham transceiver that suits your specific desires/applications...)

The Icom M-802 Marine MF/HF-DSC-SSB transceiver (costs about $1800 new) has a transmitter that is MUCH cleaner than any ham radio unit....and has an excellent receiver (comparable to the IC-756ProII, without all the "fine adjustments")
Further, assuming you have the internal "speech compressor" turned ON, its 150-watt (continuous-duty-cycle rated) transmitter will outperform almost any other ham transceiver on voice communications (ham or maritime)...and will allow a significant power output advantage (and a CLEANER, more robust, and higher data rate signal) over the less powerful and lower-spec'd ham transceivers on digital modes used for e-mail (such as PACTOR)!!!

Although not a 2013 design, it is a well designed and built radio, that meets all the US Part 80 specs (as well as ITU specs) for commercial maritime service, and of course has full MF/HF-DSC capability (which is a fairly important feature to have on-board these days....and is the ONLY HF marine transceiver < $5000 to have it!!!)
{Please search other threads for my discussions of HF-DSC features and necessities..}

Further, the M-802 has a nice big, easy-to-read (day or night), dimmable display, and has a nice keyboard and big knobs that are all easy to use when at sea!!
It is easy to use, both on the ham bands (yes the "vfo" tunes in 100hz steps, but that's never been an issue for me) and marine bands, and unless you turn into a complete "radio nut" and find yourself living on-the-ham bands 18 hours a day, there is not much that the M-802 cannot do and do well...
It is a rock-stable radio, that will work great with analog voice, cw (morse code), and all other digital modes (PACTOR, PSK, etc...), whether ham of maritime....
It is a full featured IF-DSP radio, both on transmit and receive...
And, note that it does have 3 different digital mode filter bandwidths as well as voice and cw bandwidths....and unless you're into a lot of radiosport contests, not having the continuous-tuning / fine-adjustements, will not be missed....
IC-M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components


I own two Icom M-802's and I love them....






See other photos of my Nav Station here...
Nav Station



4) Some further clarifications of radio "features"...
In addition to manufacturers adding knobs, buttons, features, options, etc. JUST in order to sell/promote their radios, most of these features ("options") of ham transceivers are for specific uses/purposes, and many of those simply do not arise when at sea on a sailboat....

There are many "features" on ham radios that many/most hams never need nor use....
But a few features that they have (AND the M-802 has as well)....
--- One that should be used more often and unfortunately isn't....such as the RF Gain control...(always use the minimum setting that still allows easy communications...)
--- And one that should be used judiciously and only when necessary....such as the "noise blanker" or "noise reduction"....(adjust the level as needed, or simply switch it off..)

Yada, Yada....I could go on...
But in my ~ 40 years of HF radio experience (ham and maritime), the bottom line is that, a good radio with few features is almost always better than a poor/mediocre radio with lots of "features"...

But, of course the BIGGEST bottom line of all:
What makes things work on-the-air: It is 45+% antenna, 45+% operator, and 5-10% radio!!!

So, do a good job on your antenna system....and learn about radiowave propagation, radio operating techniques, and how-to-use YOUR radio....and you're 90-95% to having a great HF radio experience, no matter what radio you have!!!



5) Briefly to some of your specific questions.. ---- The Kenwood TS-480sat (a 100-watt radio w/built-in tuner) is much less expensive than the TS-480HX (a 200-watt radio w/ no tuner)....but the "built-in tuner" will NOT do what you'd need it to do for an on-board tuner....
Assuming you desire a wide-band/all-band antenna system (which I and everyone else will recommend to you), you WILL need a remote auto-tuner, no matter what radio you buy....

---- The IC-718 is a "basic" / "entry-level" HF ham transceiver....and while some may not like its DSP, it is NOT designed nor marketed as a "DSP" radio....it is a basic crystal-filtered / analog radio....
In its price range, and for what its intended use is, it is a great radio...

---- In my opinion, the over-marketing of "DSP" is hurting ham radio....understand that if well done, digital signal processing can be great, but until you get into radios costing 1000's of $$$$, it is just some more (fairly useless) stuff added to radios, in order to MARKET them....

Yes, the M-802's are true, full-DSP radios, and they do work great....
But, I'd still prefer my old Drake TR-7's for talking/contesting on the ham bands (but they just don't fit on-board!!!)
KA4WJA - Callsign Lookup by QRZ.COM




---- If you desire a separate front panel / control head, in order to make installation / mounting easier on-board, the Icom M-802 has a separate control head....as does the older (and discontinued) Icom M-710RT...

And, if looking at only ham radios, then the Kenwood TS-480HX (it has the separate control head) would be my recommend...


---- As for the nifty little FT-817....while a cute and fun little radio, it is NOT something I'd recommend for you....
It is SMALL, the display is SMALL, it would be difficult to use at sea (it's SMALL!).....and it has only a 5 watt output, which is NOT something that new hams, nor those using the radio for possibly safety reasons would find helpful!!!

---- As I wrote earlier, the IC-7200 isn't a bad radio, but I would recommend the Icom M-802 MUCH more than the IC-7200...



I think I hit on all your questions....and I do hope this helps....



Fair winds and 73,

John
s/v Annie Laurie

Wow, it looks like a spaceship
I am an Israeli, I already pass the Israeli test for the basic license (similar to technician), then I had to practice and make HF connections with experience operator, and now I am only waiting for the test for the HF license (similar to general).
actually my boat is American

I also read mixed reviews regarding the icom 802, but for me the major drawback is the price, its over my budget. This is the reason I thought first to get a good Ham unit and later if it will be possible to get a marine unit (maybe a used IC-M710). they could backup each other in case of failure and emergency.

The 7200 look like an interesting unit, what about the ft-450d? (I think the Icom case looks stronger)

regarding the antenna tuner i am thinking of sg230, it should be compatible with all the brands and it seems rigged.(am I correct?)

Thanks again for your help, you gave me more thinking material (now I am even more confused)
Fair winds
Shachar
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Old 24-09-2013, 20:58   #29
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Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Dockhead,
Thanks for the compliment....

I've added some more breakers, and a couple switches, to the Catalina-factory-installed main breaker panel (lower right panel), but completely redesigned / rebuilt the rest of my Nav Station (the other three panels) to my liking, a few years ago...(keeping enough room for future additions, such as, a PACTOR modem, a second HF rig, Iridium docking station and/or an INMARSAT-C terminal control, and/or some additional metering...)
And, as I still use paper charts as my primary charting, I desired to keep my chart table, to use for charts!! (rather than a place to install electronics...)





As for the M-802...(while everyone knows that it works quite well as a HF Marine transceiver, and is the only AFFORDABLE MF/HF-DSC-SSB Marine Transceiver on the market....the following is ham-radio specific..)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
So you are happy operating HF ham with the M802? I haven't tried mine yet -- still waiting to find time to install it. I've heard conflicting reports about how well it works for normal ham operation -- can you comment?
1) I am completely happy with the M-802 for "normal" / "casual" ham operation....(see below for some specifics..)


2) Aside from the "twiddlers" / "knob turners" that can't leave well enough alone....most "casual" HF ham operations require few adjustments / controls...

The first 6 comprise almost all the controls that are actually needed for most HF ham operation....and certainly all that most casual operators use...
--- On/Off switch / button
--- Mode switch / button
--- Band switch / button
--- VFO
--- Volume / AF gain
--- RF Gain

These and some sort of metering (power / S-meter) and/or display...a speaker and a headphone jack, etc....and most "casual" HF operators have almost all they need..


Next, you have some things that are nice to have, and can be helpful in some cases...
--- Receiver IF bandwidth selection / narrow filters, etc. (whether automatically selected by mode or manually selectable)
--- Passband tuning / "IF Shift" (and/or IF DSP)
--- Mic Gain
--- Speech Processor (fixed or adjustable)
--- Memory channels
--- RIT / Clarifier
--- Transmitter power output control
--- Noise Blanker / Noise reduction circuit
--- VOX and CW Full-Break-in
--- AGC control (either automatic rise/delay time selections based on mode, or manually selectable, or manually switchable)
--- Scan
--- Panel / Display dimming
--- Squelch
--- Speaker on/off

{Note that the items above in Bold-Type are features that the M-802 has...}

How easy-to-access / easy-to-use any or all of these need to be, depends on your specific ham radio application / your operating style / etc...

If you were into radiosport contesting, serious DX'ing, etc....and had some tall directional antennas, 1.5kw amps, etc....then you'd probably desire some of these controls to be separate / dedicated knobs (such as the RF Gain, Mic Gain), and/or "continuously adjustable" (such as receiver IF passband selectability, notch filtering, Mic Gain, Speech Processor, etc.)...
But, for most "casual" HF ham operations, most find that once most of these adjustments are set, they're good for that whole day/night....and many hams never do any adjusting other than the VFO and Volume!!




3) As for how-to-use the M-802 effectively on the Ham Bands....that's easy...
Here's what I do:
{---- I have programmed 16 of the 160 "User Channels" to some specific frequencies on the various ham bands....160m, 80m(3), 40m(3), 20m(4), 17m, 15m(2), 12m, and 10m....
Some of the 40m, 20m and 15m channels are on some of the popular nets...and the other channels are either some freqs that I use and/or are in/near areas of the band that interests me....(the exact freqs that you choose, is your choice!!) }

a) After turning the radio ON, simply turn the "channel knob" (the right-hand big knob) to select what ham band / what part of the ham band, that you desire....

b) Press the "RX / clar" button (allowing the "channel knob" to function as a "VFO")

c) Adjust radio frequency by turning the "channel knob" / "VFO"....or by using the "up/down" buttons on the microphone...
(if you desire, you can change the "tuning speed"/"tuning step", by a quick bump of the left-hand "group" knob..)

d) Press "F" (Func) and "6", to adjust Receive RF Gain...(use lowest setting that allows clear communications...)

e) Adjust volume to desired level....

And, you're all set....
All pretty simple and straight forward....

{If you desire to "store" this frequency you can simply hit ENT....
Or if you desire to simply to return to your "default frequency", just press "RX/clar"..
And then, if you desire to change bands, simply turn the big right-hand "channel knob" again, until you get to the band you desire, and start using that band...}

I can't think of an easier way to do it...
BTW, I have my microphone "P" key programmed to turn the Voice Squelch On/Off....which allows me to "mute" the static on nighttime 80m operations when waiting or just listening....
The nighttime static crashes on 80m in Florida/Bahamas summertime are pretty heavy....and sometimes 80m DX'ing from the boat, I end up listening to it in the headphones for hours, so if I'm just waiting, I'll hit the voice squelch and have silence...
A further reason I love this, that sometimes I'm doing this in the cockpit (using a 20' mic cord extension and a 20' headphone cord extension), so having the ability to not just change freq (using the "up/down" buttons on the mic), but to also select the Voice Squelch (using the "P" Key, on the mic), is really nice...




4) Some other M-802 thoughts...
Since the M-802's receiver is pretty darn good (comparable to the Icom IC-756ProII, without all the fine adjustments) unless you need to make any further RF Gain adjustments or for some reason (such as you're at the dock) you need to switch on the Noise Blanker, or turn off the speaker...there is little need to do much else with the M-802..

And, if you have the internal Speech Compressor turned ON (must be done thru software), you'll find the M-802 to have a nice "punchy" but CLEAN, and pronounced, on-air signal...and with its extremely clean transmitter and 150-watt output, it will sound better than 99.999% of the other ham radios on-the-air....
(and if you have a decent antenna system on-board, you'll find that many will think that you're at home running a kilowatt and a yagi....got to love a vertical over sea water!!!)

{Please note (from the NTIA) that WITH the speech compressor ON, at the 100 watt output level, the M-802 DOES meet the ITU and FCC spec for maritime MF/HF transmitters.....but at the 150 watt output level, WITH the speech compressor ON, it missed the spec by about 1db to 1.5db...
BUT...
[But, this is still 20 - 30 db better than most/all HF ham radio transmitters these days....and as much as 40db better than some of the worst ham transceivers on the market today...I just saw that the IC-7200's 5th order transmit IMD spec (responsible for much off-channel "splatter") is a db worse than the 3rd order, at only -31db from PEP (-25db from the carriers), which is truly horrible, but there are other ham transceivers that spec out a -22 to -26 from PEP, which is no better than cheap CB radios....
So, using a certified marine transceiver on the ham bands will show others what good signals sound like!!!]
But, with the speech compressor OFF, it does meet the ITU/FCC spec....so the radio is shipped from the factory with the speech compressor OFF.....and you can get just about any Icom M-802 dealer/installer to switch this ON for you....
Or you can have Gary at Dockside Radio install his mod that allow you to switch this on/off from the front panel...
Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components }




5) Bottom line the M-802 is a fine radio...it has an excellent, clean, transmitter...and as well as an excellent, well-designed receiver...
It works VERY well for "normal" HF Ham operations and will get you many unsolicited reports of "great audio", etc...

I cannot think of many HF radios that are a better choice for a boat these days....




6) As for "bad reviews" and a "spare" radio....
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgel View Post
I also read mixed reviews regarding the icom 802, but for me the major drawback is the price, its over my budget. This is the reason I thought first to get a good Ham unit and later if it will be possible to get a marine unit (maybe a used IC-M710). they could backup each other in case of failure and emergency.
a) The earlier M-802's did have an "issue", the so-called "clipping issue"....but that has been fixed for years now...
See this thread for the details...
http://www.ssca.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12547

I suspect that many of the "bad reviews" of the M-802, stem from this early issue.....so any M-802 made since 2008 or so, is not an issue....(and any of the older ones are modified for FREE by Icom, so that there should be no reason for any further "bad reviews"...


b) As for a "spare radio"....
I have TWO Icom M-802's....but I realize that isn't in most sailor's budget...
And, more importantly, unless you take a direct lightning strike to the mast, you're unlikely to ever need a "spare" for your M-802, as it is a VERY reliable radio!!! (as is a M-700pro or M-710, although buying them used will probably mean that they're a bit old and possibly a bit less reliable...)

But, yes you could buy two used radios for the price of a new M-802....
I even saw a used M-802 selling for $900 recently...
(don't forget that most marine HF rigs are sold with their tuner, so there can be as much as $300 - $500 of that price in the tuner...)
So, looking for an M-802 is still my recommendation for you!!!

{Not to mention the aspect that you will not be able to signal / communicate with other vessels at sea (outside VHF radio range) without the HF-DSC capability of the M-802....as their have been NO "voice radio watch" required on-board commercial vessels since Jan 1999, and in reality, not much, if any "voice watch" for a few years before that as well!!!
PLEASE read over the other threads where I (and others) have tried to inform my fellow sailors/cruisers of these facts...as I don't wish this thread to drift into "DSC"...
Understand that the M-802 is the ONLY Marine HF-DSC transceiver selling for less than $5000 USD!!!}

And, while the $1800 price might be outside your budget, remember that an IC-7200 and a used M-700pro (or M-710) are going to cost you just about that much!!!
And, with many sailors now buying $300 smart phones and $600 tablets, etc. etc.....

Bottom line here:
My recommendation is to NOT skimp when it comes to "mission critical" systems....skimp on the luxury items, but not on the "important" stuff...
Just my thoughts here...take them or leave them...






Sorry about my longwinded ramblings....

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 25-09-2013, 01:38   #30
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Re: Ham radio at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post

Bottom line here:
My recommendation is to NOT skimp when it comes to "mission critical" systems....skimp on the luxury items, but not on the "important" stuff...
Just my thoughts here...take them or leave them...






Sorry about my longwinded ramblings....

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
John,
I really appreciate all you advice and help. I apologize for my novice questions, of course safety is always the main concern.
Since I am new to ham radio, I am very excited about It.
Thank you again and fair winds
Shachar
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