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Old 25-09-2013, 10:15   #31
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: The boat: Cowes (Winter), Above 60N (Summer); me: somewhere in the air!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 21,316
Originally Posted by ka4wja
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..) 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 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, 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 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 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.... 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...

I suspect that many of the "bad reviews" of the M-802, stem from this early 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 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 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...

s/v Annie Laurie
Sorry about your "longwinded ramblings"?? Ridiculously misplaced modesty. That's the best thing on the subject I've ever read, by far. I'm going to print it out and keep it in my nav table. Thanks a million - incredibly useful.

"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-ętre pour sauver mon ame. . . "
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